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Tutorial on press conference sound.


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Long time no see BR! (I´ve been reading but not posting recently).


Due to the current state of things over here I have a lot of spare time and a lot of work experience to teach. From that I have been making some basic videos about various subjects.

It all started with the linux howto I posted in BR a while back.. most have been about DSLR audio because I wasnt entirely agreeing what most people were stating, that they record bad audio, they just dont fit perfectly into the standards....



ANWAYAY.. Yesterday I uploaded this video and overnight thought this is the ideal place to post it.

Its all about the way that I choose to setup a sound desk when opping press conferences and why.


Feel free to use this setup, or ignore it... maybe it will just give you an idea as to your preffered way to do things... maybe your´re already doing it. (which is why I posted it here rather than in the sound forum)


Hope you enjoy and hope its of use to some people.



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Surely the problem is that portable mixers, like the SQNs and others just are not geared up to do what a conventional mixer, even a dirt cheap one offers - a bog standard pre-fade send. Portable video kit always seems to offer lots of output monitoring and other video gizmos, but miss out on something so simple. If there is a PA, even a small one for the press conference, wouldn't using a small mains powered mixer be so much easier (as mains is available for the PA, presumably) and then you'd have a fader for the PA that can be dimmed as they walk past the speakers, while the pre-fade send goes to the press pool feed?


These portable audio recorders are great, but they're not made for PA use - and if you use the headphone output to drive other kit, you've lost your headphones capability too? I'd rather shell out on a £60 soundcraft and have headphones, mic inputs and pre and post fade sends?


Have I missed something, or is it just a case of the usual broadcasters bodge approach to sound?

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Yes.. you missed me say that I used THAT mixer because its so basic that it proves swapping bus/aux outputs with master is very simple but makes an important difference. (mainly your master vu´s/levels/headphones etc etc are all going to the recording which is the important part).


Yes MOST mixers will have independent control of the aux before master, but specifically two of the analoge yamahas (the 10/2 is one, for the life of me forgotten the model number of the other), we have in the company are just that, post master so its something to be aware of.


Also yes.. that portable recorder is not broadcast quality..... but In no moment in the video did I state I was doing a broadcast rig.. I was doing a demo of the tecnique I am using, and teaching to others, with equipment I have at hand, at home... just like the pc spearkers are not a D&B rig........


Without a doubt I could´ve rigged my ls9 and a line array with me stood at a lectern with a backdrop and some lighting, recorded on our avid airspeed and dubbed in the company sound studios and used a pretty assistant in a tight dress etc.. but the video is not about the exact gear being used. Its about a way of connecting it that I think gives an easier way to really control the signal you are sending to any recording device, be it press, cd, ob truck, sat truck etc.. and yes it only works on jobs with a basic PA and a send to "recording". (which I also state).

Also I personally only own this mixer and a yamaha LS9.. and I think that the ls9 might have complicated the video too much for a "newbie". Just using what I have that can exlpain the concept in a simple manner.


It was really done with that gear in a "if I can do it with this, you can do it with what you have" manner.


Obviously I know you lower a fader when a presenter walks infront of a speaker with wireless mic... That was the example that came to my mind at that moment. Its also a video aimed at "begginers".. I´m not about to start knocking them down saying, if its feeds back its because your not good enough at your job. Again. Take note I posted in this section, not sound... thats who the intended audience are.

As I also say in the video, it could even be as simple as the client asking for more volume in the PA, but it could be any reason for altering the signal going to the PA... and as I demonstrate, any alterations to the PA will not effect the press send..

Its just an explanation of why ALWAYS using master L & R for PA, may not be the ideal setup.


I am not entirely sure I would like to prefader send all mics in a press conference to a press box... I´ll state an example I do every year with nobel prize winners:

The setup is 2 lectern mics, 3 table top mics and a wireless handheld for questions..

If I pre-fader those, the recording would have all 6 mics open and just end up sounding messy, private comments could be recorded over a presentation or even just the noise of the wireless being handed around. You still need to control each channel as its needed.. They must be post fader sends.

If you mean pre aux/bus fader send ie of the group send to press... ok yes thats another matter, however you are removing an element of control over the entire send level.


No it is not "the usual broadcasters bodge approach to sound".

That statement trully surprised me that it came from you. We have all seen both excelence and bodge in both live and broadcast and in all departments and from techs/companies from all over the world, sometimes even on the same day from the same tech..

Also the whole point of this video is to show a system that gives a better quality of service, ie all monitoring (vu and heaphones etc etc) are directly of the recording... all VU meters should line up perfectly (if you spend the time calibrating your DA´s etc)... As a tech, doing this you can really be ontop of the signal you are sending and not have the levels bouncing all over the place, or if they are (due to different voices, people sharing mics or whatever) you can hear and visually see it instantly in the best vu meters your desk has.

So I see this as quite the far from a bodge.

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When asked to provide sound for a press conference (as we were several times a week) we'd just toss in a splitter snake. One set of outputs would go to a mixer for the PA and the other into a simple mixer that fed a rack of Audio DAs to provide a feed to anyone who needed it.


We certainly didn't use fancy mixers for either part of this--just small portable units with enough inputs--Shure or Audio Developments being the most common.

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Sorry - you missed the point. I wasn't suggesting anything you did was wrong, but that thankfully, most of us never need to use an inappropriate type of mixer for this kind of thing. I suspect many of us have used a headphone output as a feed for the main PA as a work around bodge when things go wrong or fail - and indeed faced with a battery operated video mixer, I'd do exactly the same thing for the reasons you suggest. In fact I think this video would be useful on a video forum - where people own these mixers, and NOT the kinds we use. I am quite happy using these things in a bag, on a strap running around following a cameraman, but I suspect that a beginner here wouldn't realise the design limitations these devices have. It's feature set is so different to what reader here might assume. For your people, having these on the shelf as regular tools, means that your bodges to work around the limitations of the design make sense to teach - BUT there's a danger that readers new to PA could assume that it's common practice to run a PA from the headphone soccer - which if posed as a question in the sound section would result in a lot of "don't do it" posts.


In the example you use talking about how to cope with an event with all those open mics, then personally, it's an operational choice. If your major concern is to prevent feedback from unexpected people movement, then your choice is dip the troublesome mic to everyone, or dip it just in the PA. In your workaround, you can just dip it in the PA, leaving all other mics open - or you can dip it in everything. If you bring down the channels of those that aren't speaking - they're not open, so I don't quite see the problem? - instead of a rotary on the front of the mixer, you have one two knobs or so away.


The idea is to have two mixes isn't it? Obviously I wasn't suggesting the prefade mix be preset and left. My real purpose in the comment is that you don't make it clear the workaround (bodge) is simply a result of equipment deficiencies not operator problems. As a teaching scenario, I like it - problem solving is always good - but without explaining why this mixer is so different, a general audience has trouble following - your own people probably see them on the shelf, so are already aware.


The key feature of videos like this is the audience. I think a video audience, who usually are so green about any sound issue that doesn't involve a short shotgun, would be better. For typical live sound people, giving video people a feed is a common request, but rarely given much thought!


I was intrigued by your comment the mixer isn't broadcast quality - why not?


When I went to schools and colleges, so many had taught their kids on inappropriate equipment, and sadly they'd learned bodges as standard practice, so much so that in the real world, really basic common practice was absent. One had a mixer with no PFL, so a separate identical basic mixer was connected to each input with y splits. One could then be used to 'hear' the mics and then drive headphones. It worked of course, but I had the distinct impression the kids thought this was how it was always done? They had no idea it was because the school bought two crap mixers and not one proper one!

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Bobbsy, out of interest, when you setup like that, do you have 2 techs running 2 desk, or just leave everything open on the "press mixer"? I´ve never seen that way of doing it being used but thats the thing about our job. There are so many "right ways" that its just a case of finding what works for you and your company, what gives the desired results and isnt dangerous.


Paul I think you are latching on to the wrong information....

I AM NOT saying use a location mixer for press conferences... And I am not saying use a headphone out as an aux send. Like I said I own 2 mixers, and I think the LS9 would´ve just been information overload or unclear to younger/newer techs viewing the video.


If I owned a small live mixer I would have done the video with that.. but I dont. Just as I cant do this while on work time, I cant go taking their equipment home for my videos and even If I could, I dont know how ethical it is to do that with all the company stickers all over them.. its forcing my employer to be behind every statement I ever make in any video....


Ok so lets assume I own one of these... for the case of being the first photo of a mixer I found with enough quality to read the labels but not be a massive resolution. Its a generic "anybrand-livemix"



MOST people connect Pa to the ST outs and the aux to pressbox....


If your pressbox has no VU meters (mine does but they are easily adjustable by hand so really mean nothing) then you really have ZERO reference of what you are sending.. .. yes it has afl and I´m sure if I spend the time looking there is a way to set a vu meter to the aux output..


So why not just make it as simple as L & R to the pressbox and have everything by default ready to go for your press send.. and run the PA off the aux 1 and just go by ear.. you dont need the vu meter to tell that everybody can hear or that its feedingback.



Plus I didnt say the mixer isnt broadcast quality.. actually it is (be it a little old.. but I got out the oscilioscope and replaced a lot of tired capacitors and the fader knobs and its now extremely clean like when new) I said the RECORDER is not broadcast quality.


Also agreed.. this video would inform video-sound techs (er sound techs who work in video, whats a good way to write that ** laughs out loud **!) But I find it more likely that live techs would be the ones doing a press conference... To be honest this would be far more obvious in the video world, as in that case we would be more likely to patch L&R as main out to sat truck/VT and send an aux to audience speakers or comentator headphone amp or so on and so forth... so really thats where the "trick" comes from ;)


No need to appologise.. Genuinely at no stage have I been angered or felt my cage was being rattled. I was more wondering if you wernt fully paying attention when you watched it or if my explanation was so bad it wasnt clear... or both... and like I said yesterday.. the "bodge" comment was the only thing I found iffy.. purely because, as I said.. its a very broad sweaping statement to make and even then I DID NOT feel it was directed at me. I´ve been on this forum long enough (admitadly quietly lately) for people to know that I am not just a broadcast sound bodger and am capable of far far more.


Do I need to do the video again to explain it better?

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Bobbsy, out of interest, when you setup like that, do you have 2 techs running 2 desk, or just leave everything open on the "press mixer"? I´ve never seen that way of doing it being used but thats the thing about our job. There are so many "right ways" that its just a case of finding what works for you and your company, what gives the desired results and isnt dangerous.




Being brutally honest, it depended on the nature of the the presser and who was paying.


At one end of the spectrum would be the long table of film stars all there to talk about their latest release--paid for by the studio who demanded everything be perfect. They'd get the full 2 mixer, 2 operator treatment.


At the other end would be the one or two politicians at podiums summarising the results of their inquiry into low pay in the entertainment industry (if only). That would probably be left largely untouched (at least for the press split) but with the ability for a single operator to tweak things or open/close channels as required.


The middle ground would probably have channels "mixed" but with one op doing everything on side by side field mixers.

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