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Spencer Fleeman’s Guide to Using a Sound Board


Sound Vocabulary Input- A connection that takes sound from another item s output. Output- A connection that sends sound from itself to whatever other device s ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Spencer Fleeman’s Guide to Using a Sound Board

Spencer Fleemans Guide to Using a Sound Board
Sound Vocabulary
  • Input- A connection that takes sound from another
    items output.
  • Output- A connection that sends sound from itself
    to whatever other devices input its patched to.
  • Source- An item that is reinforced such as a
    persons voice, guitar, keyboard, mini-disc
    player, an entire choir
  • Channel- An independent input on a sound board to
    plug in a microphone, CD player, or whatever the
    source is.
  • Phantom power- certain fancy microphones need
    additional power to operate, therefore they
    require a battery or a soundboard that supplies
    48 volts down the mic cable, the 48 volts is
    known as phantom power.
  • Unbalanced- When a connection is made with a
    cable that has 2 conductors, it is unbalanced.
    This is similar to using a 2-prong extension cord
    instead of one that has 3-prongs making it
    grounded. Unbalanced connections typically do not
    sound as good as ones that are balanced. CD
    players, keyboards, computers, etc. are usually
    un-balanced sources. Cables include RCA and ¼
    with 2 conductors (1 line on the connector.

Sound Vocabulary (2)
  • Balanced- The audio connection is made with a
    cable that has 3 conductors. These connections
    sound better, less risk of having a buzz (like
    one that could be heard between a guitar and a
    guitar amp). XLR cables are always balanced, ¼
    cables are balanced if they have 3 conductors (2
    lines on the connector).
  • Group- A grouping of channels that are grouped
    together by picking on each channel with group it
    should go to.
  • Direct Box- If a guitar, laptop, VCR, keyboard,
    or any other device that is un-balanced/ has no
    xlr connection. A direct box is used to change
    the ¼ unbalanced connection to a balanced xlr
    connection that can be sent all the way up a long
    mic cable to the sound board.
  • Insert- A connection found on each channel or
    group that has a purpose of inserting a device
    onto the channel or group such as an equalizer,
    effect box, or an audio limiter. When a device
    is patched to the insert connection, the channel
    or group it is plugged into will be changed by
    that device.

Sound Vocabulary (3)
  • Equalizer- A device that has an input and an
    output, it takes the sound that is sent to its
    input and changes the frequency tones of the
    source. Ex The whole body mic group sounds like
    it has too much bass, the lower part of the
    equalizer can be turned down to loose some bass
    on everyones body mic on that group. The
    equalizer can be patched to any channel or groups
    insert connection with an insert cable.
  • Audio Compressor/limiter- Although un-necessary
    for basic sound reproduction, sometimes it helps
    to have one patched to a channel or group. It
    takes a source and automatically turns it down
    when its too loud or uses its gate function to
    automatically mute the source when its too quite.
    Ex Theres an actor that has random lines where
    he/she is supposed to shout, the compressor would
    turn down their volume automatically when they
    get loud.
  • Trim- the first knob on a channel that is used to
    adjust the initial volume of a source. Ex A
    trumpet may need its trim down low to avoid
    distortion, a whispering actor on a backstage
    microphone may need its trim up high to boost
    his/her voice.

Sound Vocabulary (4)
  • Distortion- This occurs when a source is
    overloading a channel, a source overloads a
    device, or an amp is overloaded by the loudness
    sent to it. It makes the sound seem poor and
    rough. To correct distortion, do things like
    turning down trims on channels that have
    distortion or if it is a device, turn down the
    volume of what is being sent to it and turn up
    the devices output instead. Distortion is
    commonly heard in rock music when a electric
    guitar doesnt sound all clean and pretty but
    more rock like.
  • Feedback- A woooooooooaaaaaaa, quoooooolllllllllla
    aaaaaaa or a seeeeeeeee noise that instantly
    makes everyone look at you with dissatisfaction
    because their ear drums are bleeding in pain.
    This happens when a mic going through a speaker
    can hear itself from the speaker and it cycles
    around and around. When adjusting a trim to set
    how loud the mic can get, turn the trim up until
    right before the feedback starts. Common day
    example of feedback would be Youre on the phone
    and you turn on a speaker phone while the other
    is still on and you hear the noise- That is
    Feedback! Not just some random noise, it has a
    reason, it happens when we screw up how loud we
    turn something up.

Sound Vocabulary (5)
  • Analog- Sound that is natural, not digitized.
    Ex Microphone, Cassette tape, VCR, old
    cell-phones, amplifiers.
  • Digital- Sound that is digitized to record it or
    modify it more easily. The analog sound is
    changed to computer language but is later changed
    back to analog to listen to it. Ex CD Player,
    Mini-disc, Computers, Digital Equalizer, new
    cell-phones, or a keyboard before the sound makes
    it to the speakers.
  • Sub Woofer- A speaker that only produces bass
    frequencies that is intended to be used with
    other speakers to produce the middle and high
  • Speaker- A device that is patched to an amplifier
    that makes the sound the audience hears.
  • Crossover- A device in the amp rack that
    shouldnt be touched normally, it divides which
    sound should go to the subwoofers and which sound
    should be sent to the speakers.
  • Amplifier- Normal sound connections only contain
    enough power to make sound through headphones.
    In order to power speakers, an amplifier must be
    patched to the line and the speakers are
    connected to the amplifier.

Sound Vocabulary (6)
  • Hotspot- A small speaker that is used in
    situations where a few people need to hear a
    device(s) It still must be connected to an
    amplified line. Ex Stage managers, Choral
    director, piano player, keyboardist, or actors
  • Pan- Knobs on the sound board that choose whether
    a source belongs on the left or right side of a
    stereo mix/ whether the source goes to an even
    group or an odd group.
  • Stereo- Sound that is divided into two separate
    channels. Ex The left speaker in an auditorium
    as to the right speaker. Ex 2 You are listening
    to a band on an ipod and you notice one singer is
    heard in your left ear and the other is in your
    right ear as well as hearing a lead guitar on the
    left and the keyboard on the right. This is a
    stereo mix.
  • Mono- No division of channels is necessary,
    everything is pooled together. Ex Podium mic
    going through all speakers equally. Ex 2 A
    recording from before the 1960s when stereo
    sound started.

CablesYou couldnt use anything without them
  • XLR to XLR- The cable that is used most, a
    balanced connection that locks securely. Ex
    Microphones, Mixer connections, Amplifiers,
    Processing Devices, Jacks around the room.
  • ¼ to ¼ Balanced (TRS)- A patch cable that is
    balanced, it has 3 conductors (2 lines) just like
    an xlr but does not lock. Ex Board to board
    connections/ processing devices
  • 1/4 to ¼ Un-balanced (TS)- A cable that does
    not lock but only has 2 conductors (1 line).
    This cable will be likely to buzz because it is
    not balanced.

Notice the ¼ unbalanced has one line on the tip.
Notice the ¼ balanced has two lines on the tip.
Cables (2)
  • RCA to ¼- CD Players, VCRs, Mini-disc, DVD
    players use RCA connectors to send and receive
    sound, the sound board does not have RCA
    connectors. Use the RCA to ¼ cable to connect
    devices like these to the sound board or a direct
    box, they are unbalanced cables.
  • RCA to XLR- Same thing as RCA to ¼ except has a
    XLR connector for when ¼ is not available.
  • ¼ to XLR- A cable that takes a ¼ connector and
    connects it to an xlr connector. These would be
    used commonly with connecting the mixer to
    processors or amplifiers that only have XLR
  • ¼ to ¼ unbalanced thick gauge- This is an
    unbalanced ¼ to ¼ except the wires are thicker
    to carry high voltage audio which speakers have.
    These are used to connect speakers to amps or
    speakers to jacks that lead to an amp.

¼ to XLR
Cables (3)
  • ¼ to speakon- A speaker cable that is for
    speakers that do not have ¼ connectors but
    instead have a locking speakon connector. Some
    speakers in the auditorium have speakon while
    others have ¼
  • ¼ to banana- Some amplifiers do not have ¼ or
    speakon connectors but instead have a red and a
    black post like connector, these are called
    banana plugs, use the cable to change banana to
    the ¼ connector found on the speaker.
  • ¼ balanced (TRS) to two ¼ unbalanced (TS)
    connectors. This is known as an insert cable, the
    TRS end plugs into an insert connector on a
    channel or group and changes it to two TS
    connectors for send and receive to make the
    insertion. Another use would be to take a stereo
    output on a device and change it to two mono
    connections (one for left, one for right). EX To
    connect a keyboards stereo output to one direct
    box for left and another for right. EX 2 To
    connect an equalizer to group 3 or channel 10 on
    a sound board.

Cables (4)
  • 1/8 balanced (TRS) to two ¼ unbalanced (TS)
    connectors- Same thing as the ¼ insert cable
    except with an 1/8 connector that is smaller.
    This would be used to patch a portable device
    such as an Ipod or computer to the sound board.
  • XLR to TA3 (Tiny audio 3)- This is used to
    connect floor microphones to xlr connections in
    the wall, snake, or sound board.
  • MIDI- These 5 or 6 pin cables are used to connect
    keyboards to keyboard equipment or computers to
    use software with the keyboard. They are used
    rarely for ordinary sound.
  • Coax- A cable that is usually used for cable TV
    connections but is also used for connection
    antennas to body mic equipment.

  • Each device needs to be patched to a channel,
    either XLR or ¼ balanced/ unbalanced, choose ¼
    or XLR with the switch on the channel labeled
  • The Avlex board has 32 mono XLR/1/4 channels and
    4 stereo channels that have a left ¼ and a right
    ¼ input.
  • Use stereo channels for CD player, Mini-disc,
    computer, etc.
  • Mono channels are best used with microphones or 2
    separate channels for a stereo source.
  • Each channel has trim for a pre-volume, an
    equalizer, auxiliary sends, mix B, a volume
    fader, and assignment switches with a pan knob to
    fade L to R / 1 to 2
  • Also, each is equipped with a green low-cut
    switch, push it in unless the channel has a
    piano, bass, or other sources that produce low

Mono Stereo
Channels (2)
  • Each channel with exception to the stereo ones
    has 5 connections.
  • First is an XLR, use it for all microphone
    connections and devices with xlr outputs. If the
    device requires phantom power (see defined
    terms), push down the phantom switch next to the
    xlr input.
  • Next is a ¼ unbalanced or balanced, use it for
    cd players, board patches, devices with ¼
  • Insert connection is used to patch a device to
    modify a channel (EQ box, effect box, compressor)
  • Direct out is used if you need to send the sound
    of only one channel to an additional item such as
    another sound board.
  • Tape input is never used in our situation but it
    is an alternate input.

Direct Out
Channels (3)An example
  • Channels 1-10 may have body microphones
  • Channels 11-16 may have stage microphones
  • Channels 17-20 may have handheld microphones
  • Channel 21- piano low, 22- piano high, 23- bass,
    24- guitar, 25- drums, 26- violins
  • Channels 27-32 should be used for the matrix

Trim -also known as gain, headroom, clip, or as I
call it pre-volume
  • Trim- also known as gain, headroom, clip, or as I
    call it pre-volume
  • Next to the trim knob, there is a green light and
    a red light, if the channels singer or whatever
    is singing and the green light is blinking, the
    trim is at a good level, if the red light is
    blinking, the trim is too loud and is distorting
    the sound on the channel, so turn it down!
  • A good way to set the trim on a live microphones
    channel is to bring the fader up all the way and
    turn the trim up until the microphone starts a
    feedback noise over the sound system, then bring
    the trim back to where the feedback goes away,
    but dont turn the trim up so far that the red
    light blinks with the singers voice.

Equalizer settings
  • Each channel on a sound board has EQ settings.
  • The Avlex board has 6 knobs per channel for EQ
  • The high and low knobs are similar to a stereos
    bass and treble knobs.
  • The high mid knob controls what the top part of
    the mid spectrums frequencies sound like and the
    low mid knob controls the bottom part of the mid
    spectrums frequencies.
  • The high and low mid knobs also have an
    additional knob ganged to them that choose which
    low or high mid frequency is changed
  • Leaving all EQ knobs in the middle takes no
    frequency away while also not adding any
    therefore, leave them all in the middle unless
    the item on the channel sounds like it needs a

High volume
High mid frequency choice
High mid volume
Low mid
frequency choice
Low mid volume
Low volume
  • Auxiliaries are used to send a channels source
    to an extra place besides the main speakers.
  • Includes Dressing rooms, VCRs, sound effects
    speakers, orchestra pit monitors.
  • On the Avlex board 1-4 always send sound even if
    channel is muted, 5-6 are joined with 7-8
  • Best way to use them is to send an entire group
    from the matrix to an auxiliary- Ex send group
    one body microphones to auxiliary 1, 2, and 4 for
    all monitors

Sends 5 and 6 to 7 and 8
Solo- also known as pre-fader listen, cue,
  • So the show is going and you notice the trombone
    on channel 11 sounds like it needs to have its EQ
    changed and you cant turn everything off to
    listen to it.
  • You can press its channels solo button and in
    the headphones connected to the sound board, only
    the trombone is heard so you can adjust the EQ
    without hearing anything else in the headphones
  • The rest of the sound system remains to sound the
    exact same with or without solo buttons selected

Solo button
Send Aux returns to a group
Pan knob
Choose group on channel
  • Groups are used to organize channels
  • Each channel has 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, and L/R
  • Go from 1 to 2, L to R etc. by turning the pan
    knob from the left to the right. (example, in the
    middle, both in left and right)
  • Auxiliary returns can also be sent to groups by
    pressing their assignment switch.

Groups (2)
  • Each group has 3 outputs, on the board they are
    labeled outputs 1-24, 1-8 would go to groups 1-8.
    9-16 go to groups 1-8 again 9 to 1, 10 to 2, 11
    to 3 etc. 17-24 go to 1-8 as well, 17 to 1, 18
    to 2, etc.
  • A ¼ balanced cable would be used to patch a
    group output to the matrix, amplifier, recorder,
    or whatever other sound device.

These are the outputs..
Inserts are these jacks through here
As well as outputs, each group has an insert in
which just like a channel, you can insert a
device onto a whole group as to individual
channels. (Ex a reverb box on group 1 for all
mens body mics.
Groups (3)
  • Groups 1 through 6 need one of their 3 outputs to
    be patched directly to the matrix, group 7 is
    patched to the front ceiling amp in the amp rack
    and group 8 goes to the amp for the balcony
    ceiling speakers.
  • If a multi-input recorder is used to record a
    musical and needs each groups sound, patch to
    the extra outputs on each group.
  • The inserts on each group should be patched to
    the equalizers and compressors, chances are they
    should be set neutral so that they do not do
    anything but Defeo will be happy to see the
    1,000 equalizers in use.

  • Like groups 1-8, channels and auxiliary returns
    can also be patched to L/R (Mix), on this
    theatres setup, the stack speakers are patched
    to the L-Mix-R
  • The blue mono fader is the Left and Right mix
    faders combined making it mono, the mono fader is
    not used in our set up.

The left, right, and mono can also have a device
inserted on them.
The actual outputs are XLR
Auxiliary Returns
  • An auxiliary return is like a channel without EQ,
    auxiliary sends, and pre-volume/trim
  • Use them to plug in the return from an effect
    device, the mix B ceiling assignment, or other
    devices where only basic control is needed.
  • The Avlex sound board has 6 of them and return 1
    is used for the ceiling mix (assigned to group
    7/8 for front and balcony)

The Matrix!AKA- Spencers Creation
Pre-volume leave at 10 o-clock
Equalizer for group
  • The channels 27-32 on the board are used as a
    Matrix system.
  • They are used to pick where groups 1-6 go.
  • They can be sent to Auxiliaries 1-8, group LR
    for stacks, and Mix B for ceiling

Front/Balcony Ceiling
Left/right selected
How The Ceiling Send Works(Using Mix-B)
Each channels mix B knob
  • On the matrix channels, there is a volume knob
    labeled Mix-B
  • The Mix-B knob has its own pan knob, fades source
    from front to balcony.
  • Mix Bs output is connected to Auxiliary 1 return
    which is assigned to groups 7 and 8 which output
    to the ceiling amplifier.
  • To mute Mix B, use the source switch within the
    Mix Bs area, in for on and out for off, use it
    to take a group in or out of the ceiling.

Master Mix B
Kinds of Microphones
  • To mic a vocalist, presenter, or even drums,
    horns, and guitars- use a sm-58. The theatre
    currently has about 7 to use
  • To mic critical items such as a group of singers,
    violins, piano, or a flute, or as an extra
    hanging mic use a cm-700, theatre has 8
  • If STUCO or someone risky needs a microphone, use
    the RE-10, it is like a brick and sounds

Kinds of Microphones (2)
  • To mic a vocalist for a recording, mic an entire
    choir, or even instruments a large diaphragm
    studio mic is a good choice, currently have 4
  • If a person needs a mic to sing or speak into but
    does not want a cord, use a wireless sm-58 (have
    5) or the Mipro Wireless (have 1)
  • A great mic for area use with plays, use the 2
    (hopefully more) shotgun mics
  • Across the stage and in the little theatre there
    are hanging mics to amplify play

Body Microphones
  • Different than a microphone that is held in the
    hand, body microphones are when a small mic is
    taped to ones head and are discreetly wired to
    a transmitter that is belted around the person.
  • The voice goes through the mic, then to the
    transmitter pack, through the air, to the
    assigned receiver
  • Patch the receiver to an empty channel on the
    soundboard with an xlr cable
  • Occasionally when the actor shouts a lot or has a
    loud voice, it is necessary to turn down the gain
    knob inside the pack, youll know when this
    occurs if the mic sounds distorted even with a
    low level on the board.

Body Microphones (2)
  • The newer body mics can be programmed to any of
    the new receivers, simply hold the pack up to the
    receiver, press the ACT button and the pack is
    then connected to the receiver.
  • The old Shure body mics that hopefully will be
    gone soon have more problems with going out of
    range, make sure the packs antenna is sticking
    out of the actors costume.
  • The antennas for the rack of Shure body mic
    receivers can be placed anywhere, you just run
    coax cable to them, in the booth sit the antennas
    in the window sill but when in the house, tape
    the antennas to the balcony railing.
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