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If we eliminate the speakers (as it seems to be the input signal that is lacking), then your possibilities (there are doubtless more) are:
- Dodgy mic; try it in another PA - a decent music shop will let you A/B it with one of their own mics, especially if you hint that you're after a second mic but want to see if it'll be a suitable match ;-), or borrow a mic that you know works n try it thru your PA
- Dodgy/unsuitable lead. Are you using an XLR to XLR lead, or is it XLR to jack (like a guitar lead end)..? An XLR to jack lead can inhibit the input signal a lot (this is my prime suspect atm..). I deliberately use one for micing my kick drum for that very reason - to stop it peaking. Try a decent XLR/XLR lead if you can
- Something on the desk isn't right. I looked at the 2442fx manual, there doesnt seem to be a lot else it can be control-wise that hasnt been covered in this post, and if you're sure that the mic/lead are OK, then it could be that the desk is faulty.
Hope you sort it. Years of PA frustrations have given me a lot of sympathy for those with vocal issues..!
Few points there so I'll split them up :
The gain is definitely WAY more than 1/4. Has to be over half to register on the first row of lights.
Can't be dodgy mic as I have 3 and they all do the same. Might have 3 dodgy mics though?!
Leads are brand new Award Session xlr-xlr so shouldn't be a problem.
I think that's all your points replied too?!?
Even the mic/channel I use isn't loud. I'd expect it to clip when I shout into it and the gain is over half way up?
Really getting a bit confused by this TBH.
Practiced last night so I tried a few things out.
The gain didn't seem to be as high this time to get a decent volume. However, this was probably due to the Mackie speakers being up full - as per previous posts/comments.
The gain was at 10 o'clock, so about 1/3 of the way up and strangely gave a decent signal when pfl'd/solo'd/level checked/whatever you call it. However, when the solo was switched off and put through the normal mix, the level meters barely moved. Only on the ACDC numbers did it move the lights? In other words, only when the singer screams do the lights move with the gain 1/3 up.
I did notice that her mic technique was pish. I pointed this out and it improved the situation. Lights moved, volume was good, etc. But it still wasn't up to the 0dB levels that people say it needs to be at. Nowehere near in fact.
I was thinking about plugging in an ipod, etc into a channel to see if the lights/levels move and everything works ok as it's a known source and easier to get a constant signal. This will remove the issues of mic technique, voice volume, etc.
You only need be concerned with the meter levels when solo'ing her channel on PFL at the mo. When the solo button it switched out then the meter is normally monitoring the left & right mix bus. Now she might not be causing many LED's to light but if you mic'ed up the drums, guitars and DI'ed the bass then the meters would be lit up like a disco You don't want the "Total" sum of the mix bus to exceed 0dBm (775mv into 600 Ohms) in general although some systems are +4
Have a think about a compressor in her vocal chain, your desk will have an insert on every channel so hooking one up won't be hard. One of the worse things about most pub\ club PA sounds is how uneven the vocals are volume wise. You won't hear a professional recording that doesn't use compression on the vocals, and live sound isn't any different. Singers are louder on some notes than others, no matter how good their technique ... compression helps even this out.
The mixer has fx built into it so I'll have a butchers to see if comp is one of them
From the description of the problem, a compressor should help. Built in desk effects might not work as you expect though due to the signal routing.
There are two ways that FX can be applied to a channel, through an insert point or from an FX/aux send.
The insert point, usually a stereo jack for send and return, breaks the signal path in the channel strip, and diverts the whole signal to the FX , then returns the effected signal back to the same channel strip.
Using an FX/aux send taps a proportion of the signal and sends it to the effects, and will usually return it to either a dedicated FX return channel or another channel on the board. They do not break the signal path
Dynamic effects that effect the sounds envelope like compression/limiting/expansion work better when used with an insert point. You want to be effecting the whole signal not just a proportion of it.
Effects like reverb and delay work better with fx/aux sends as they give more control over how much of the signal is being effected, and how much of the effected signal you have in the mix.
Sorry if this was preaching to the choir
In jazz, you never play the same thing once.
Had a look and my mixer doesn't ahve compression built in. Boo.
Had a butchers at Dolphin and there's a few there. I don't want to spend over £100, and these caught my eye :
I'm tempted by the DBX (2nd last on list) as I know the brand, etc.
Right, I've decided to go for the Alesis. It appears to be industry standard and is cheap. It also seems simple enough to use whilst having all the controls I need. Pluss, the lights look cool.
Anyway, next question is that my insert points have the send & return on the same jack, but the comp has separate jacks for send/return. Can I get a cable splitter?