Live set up and Compressors

Live patching, designs, and techniques that push the performance envelope.

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Live set up and Compressors

Post by r05c03 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:18 am

So, I am 1/2 of a synth pop duo that will hopefully be playing soon. The other 1/2 is the vocalist. I use primarily Elektron gear and some modular. I am not sure how I will ultimately cable everything up for playing out. I could cable everything to itself through the external inputs (which is nice because I would not need to haul out my mixer and it offers a certain set of sonic/compositional advantages) and feed a stereo pair to the sound guy, and let him handle the vocalist separately. Alternatively, I could haul out my mixer (which allows other advantages such as quick level adjustments and a different set of compositional / performance advantages) and feed him out the entire mix ass it comes out of the mixer and is how we rehearse. In either case I am curious as to your thoughts about utility of a compressor strapped across the main outs (it actually is mix out inserts).

I guess a third option would be to feed him all the signals as they come out of the various sources but that is a lot to expect him to mix, potentially, and a compressor would not be needed, by me, at any rate.
Gear List: Elektron Octatrack, Elektron A4,Microbrute, Bass Station, Rings Braids, Pitts Ring Mod, Pitts Osc, Echophon, Intillegel uFold / uMIDI, PNW2, Doepfer 138-c, 119, Tiptop Z4000, Maleko Fade / 8NU8R

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Re: Live set up and Compressors

Post by Hovercraft » Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:58 pm

If you have the option of running a compressor on your main bus, I think it’s a great option for controlling the sound of your mix. Some light compression or analog limiting works wonders, as far as I’m concerned. Unless you know and trust the person running sound at the venue, I’d use your own mixer—-as long as you have good monitoring in place.

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Re: Live set up and Compressors

Post by r05c03 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:07 am

Hey! thanks for the input. I appreciate that.
Gear List: Elektron Octatrack, Elektron A4,Microbrute, Bass Station, Rings Braids, Pitts Ring Mod, Pitts Osc, Echophon, Intillegel uFold / uMIDI, PNW2, Doepfer 138-c, 119, Tiptop Z4000, Maleko Fade / 8NU8R

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Re: Live set up and Compressors

Post by ZargZorg » Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:56 pm

I'd sum it up in 3 options.

1. You know or trust the mix engineer and let him handle everything.
2. Send him the stereo and let him be the one to apply compression and eq the "master"
3. Literally turn the engineer into a volume fader.

I personally almost go for the 2nd because no one knows the music better than yourself and mixing can change a HUGE deal about how people perceive your songs. BUT if you know the guy and enjoy his work, he'll always have a better perception of the venue than you due to his placement plus he probably works there every other night.

IF you know the guy and don't like his usually live mixing, that's where option 3 kicks in xD

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Re: Live set up and Compressors

Post by blownauratone » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:34 pm

I use a Bugbrand Stereo Compress (kinda wacky SSL mix buss comp clone) on my live setup, and I just love it. Helps to rein in errant signals, and I like the feeling of "togetherness" it brings to my output. I make subtle changes to the settings throughout the set to bring a bit of different texture to parts, too. It's a nice thing to have control over.

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Re: Live set up and Compressors

Post by dubonaire » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:22 pm

It's always easier to do a live set with a mixer especially to get your levels right, and also to kill a machine quickly if something goes pearshaped. Pulling out a wayward part and restarting it is much less obvious to a crowd than trying to audibly recover. It also means you can cue the individual instruments in headphones.

Zargzorg's advice is good. If the house has a compressor using a compressor yourself can cause problems. The only thing you might think of is a limiter on your modular output if you occasionally do things with it that can cause big volume spikes.

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Re: Live set up and Compressors

Post by Keltie » Wed Apr 15, 2020 5:27 pm

I send a stereo out, from a small mixer that I have with me on stage with its own EQ, comp on a few channels, and internal delay/ verb; and discuss compression and eq with whoever’s doing sound. Often they’ve never had a modular through their board before. In my case I ask for a handful of dB of compression when the rack is balls out. On EQ, I suggest a couple of dB extra at the bottom end, some low mid scoop, and a touch of top end....all in a friendly, non dictatorial way, and then finish with “ that works most of the time, but if you think the room needs anything else, go for it” . Generally that’s accepted with good grace, if not actual gratitude for the general guidance, and I’m pretty happy with the result. Sound check is what makes this work, I play a minute or two each of my loudest and then quietest stuff. If you have no sound check, it’s harder I guess...

The one thing I absolutely wouldn’t do is ask any sound bod to mix a bunch of channels of Euro sight unseen. It’s really unfair to do so, IMO, but if you do, show some mercy and make sure that the kick is always the kick, that the bass line doesn’t become your lead melody in the next track etc etc. That’s going to kill any engineer stone dead, believe me.

I’ve seen both sides of this, have played in various bands and also done sound from local deps up to continental tours....

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Re: Live set up and Compressors

Post by Hutenberger » Thu May 28, 2020 2:36 pm

With my live setups, i tried several options over the last years (although most of it wasn't Eurorack but Octatrack-based). As i mainly play techno venues, there usually is no audio engineer (who really cares ;-))

Using an iPad App for mastering. Together with an audio interface such as the Alesis ioDock.
Quite precise and you can even get a "true" limiter, as it is software
Your nice analogue sound goes through a digital thing
a touch display might not really feel good ;-)
by using an iPad audio interface, there is always danger of really ugly input clipping, you need to go down to line-level, the ADC/DACs might be low-cost, and so on.

Using an analogue Standalone Compressor, in my case the RNC1773
True analogue VCA stereo compressor, but controlled by a microcontroller Envelope. IMO best of both worlds.
Not eurorack, but there are also Eurorack alternatives (Waldorf CMP1 for example)
It's a device you carry to your gig and practically won't touch it.
Not a Limiter
--> I ended up with using the RNC as a sidechain compressor for synths, triggered by the kick drum

Using the Elektron Heat as the last stage before the club mixer (<-- my final "solution")
You can map an envelope follower internally to the "WET" level and build a slight compressor that way. The HEAT can also be used non-distorting.
2-Chanel EQ on board
adjustable compressor (envelope follower with threshold, attack, release, also possible to create a dry/wet mix as parallel compression)
good sounding master filter (you definitely want one for Techno music)
you can save your mastering settings as a preset
add slight overdrive, if your music style allows that
The Heat can actually boost your volume quite high if for some reason your incoming signal is not so loud.
Cons: Not a Limiter

Example with iPad App:

Example with RNC1773:

Example with Elektron Heat:
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Re: Live set up and Compressors

Post by blw » Thu May 28, 2020 3:22 pm

I'd do it all yourself. For a lot of us little guys performing means doing 20-30 minute sets on a bill with a bunch of other people. In this scenario, the sound guy may well run off and be chatting with friends during your set or otherwise not really give a crap. I wouldn't leave too much to him. Agree that compressing/limiting yourself is ideal if anything might get crazy. The sound guy will wake up at a noisy squawk and likely just turn everything down if you've only given him single feed (been there, done that!). I kind of like the idea of the vocalist on his or her own channel so they don't get lost in the mix, but there is a lot to communicate there, and you might not have more than a cursory 'is this thing on?' sound check in some places. If you mix the vocal from the stage too, you could step into the audience for a quick sound check and communicate the levels to the vocalist before before your first song.

I would use a mono mix if possible. Stereo is problematic live and pointless except in specialized environments.

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Re: Live set up and Compressors

Post by tigersi » Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:32 am

I might be in the wrong thread, if so could someone let me know please.
I’m after recommendations of a small mixer to do live shows with.
One where I can send a couple of pedals in to the channels if and when required.
I’ll be using my eurorack set up which I have a Line Level Audio Interface to send it to the mixer, plus an old electribe
Any help is greatfully appreciated

Edit* I think I’ve just found another thread asking a similar question
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