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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » F/X » » Best mixer settings for mentalism (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Federico Soldati
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Regular user
Switzerland
132 Posts

Profile of Federico Soldati
Hi guys,

I just bought my new PA system (mixer, microphones, speakers, ecc.) and I would like to know what
type of settings you're using for mentalism/ magic in general. Should I use Reverb? Other effects? Low Cut?

I often perform for small crowd (like 30-60 persons) at restaurants and private party. I always talk…I never sing. Some people suggested me to add a little bit of Reverb. Do you agree?

I hope you will give me some help to understand better how the effects of the mixer should be used (if used at all).

Thank you Smile

Federico
Ray Pierce
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Inner circle
Los Angeles, CA
2200 Posts

Profile of Ray Pierce
In general, the purpose of a PA system is to make sure you're heard and the key element of that is intelligibility. In some sound systems where you are adding vocals to other musical elements reverb helps blend the voice and and give you extra ambience in what would otherwise be a very dry or sterile room. Most rooms have natural acoustical bounce so for the most intelligibility the last thing you want to do is make it even boomier by adding reverb to it.

The purpose of EQ is to "equalize" the sound for various rooms. With a multiband or parametric EQ, you can actually retune the inadequacies of the room to flatten out the sound and not only come closer to the original intent of the music you're playing back, but you'll get more gain before feedback for your mics as well due to notching out the resonant frequencies of the room with your equalizer. If the room is large and boomy, a low-cut would help with that by taking out some of the low end of the mix. The other thing to know is that certain mics like the ubiquitous SM58 have a proximity bass boost as you get close to them. For this reason, if you're going to be very close to that mic, a low-cut will take up some of that bass and increase intelligibility. I haven't seen too many rooms that were to tinny and required a cut in the high-end. In fact, I tend to push the high just a little to give me a little more clarity but this can be overdone as well so discretion is necessary. Some sound guys recommend only cutting and not adding for EQ. I do understand that but the goal is to make it sound good so play with what is there to get the best sound.

Without knowing the sound system, the room, the mic or any other of your variables I would say leave the reverb off, as a low-cut and see how it sounds. If it still sounds muddy you can take out a little more base and add a little high until it becomes clear. Keep in mind that doing a sound check in an empty room is not the same as a room with people. The bodies will absorb a lot of the high-end so you have to know how to compensate for that. Ultimately, it just takes experience with the particular system and having people listen to the sound and adjust it until you get something that is appropriate.

Hopefully this will be a start!
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
Federico Soldati
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Regular user
Switzerland
132 Posts

Profile of Federico Soldati
Hi Ray,

thank you for you kind answer. I appreciate your help.
I think that a little bit of reverb may add some beauty to the voice, if the environment of the show doesn't offer enough natural reverb.
But I do agree that the intelligibity of the voice is the most important thing. If you guys have any other suggestions, thy are obviously welcomed!

Thanks again

Federico
Ray Pierce
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Inner circle
Los Angeles, CA
2200 Posts

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Yes, I agree that reverb can add some warmth to the voice. Certain rooms are acoustically very flat and so all electronic reverb does is re-create the acoustic bounce of the perfect room. It must be used very discreetly though or you will lose intelligibility. The example is singing in the shower or how good your voice resonates in a long tiled hallway. That is natural reverb but it also causes a loss of intelligibility.

As with any good food, a little seasoning helps the dish but too much overpowers it. We should always use electronic modifications to the voice in the same way.
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
dmkraig
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Inner circle
1949 Posts

Profile of dmkraig
I agree with Ray 100%. Nobody can give you a pat "here's what you do" answer because the room, the height of the ceiling, the number of people at the show, even the type of chairs and the weather can effect the sound. That's why sound engineers can make good money.

If it's cold and people are wearing heavy clothes an the room is filled, you could try boosting the high mids (the top of the vocal range) with EQ and stick in a tiny--very tiny-bit of reverb.

If it's warm and people are wearing less clothes, the room is part empty and the ceiling is low, I would suggest trying no reverb, flat EQ and roll off the bass at a relatively high frequency (100-250 Hz or higher).

These are starting point not rules.
the levitator
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Spellbound Productions
546 Posts

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When it comes to lighting and PA, Ray really knows his stuff! Smile I definitely agree that, when it comes to adding audio effects, less is more. Smile
"It's all in your head...."



James Anthony
www.spelz.net
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