[Callers] How to "Ring out a (microphone) channel"

Will Loving will at dedicationtechnologies.com
Wed May 6 18:42:16 PDT 2009

A very knowledgeable pro audio person just gave me a mini-course on how to
do basic sound setup for a mike, something I¹ve always wanted to know more
about. At many dances there is a sound person who will do this for you but
sometimes there isn¹t and this little bit of info may be of help. It
certainly demystified things for me. I wrote this up and then edited it a
bit more after getting his feedback. Others may have additional comments.

How to ³Ring Out a Channel² for a microphone

You overall goal is to adjust the sound coming out of the house speakers to
get as much volume as you can without any Œringing¹ sound. Every room is
different in terms of what frequencies it absorbs and reflects, so the
necessary settings will differ from place to place. Different mikes will
also require different settings. The adjustment described below can be done
systematically and in just a few minutes.

1. Setting Initial Gain from the Mic (aka input level or ³trim²)
> * Turn house volume (for your mike) completely down ­ usually the last knob or
> slider 
> * Set all EQ controls to flat (middle position)
> * Turn up Gain - usually the first control knob or slider for your microphone
> Œchannel¹ - while speaking into mike until you see levels on the meter or the
> clipping light flashes. Adjust gain to just below clipping or 0db (same thing)
> depending on what kind of feedback ­ level meter or clipping light - is
> available on the sound board.
2. Setting EQ (balancing the sound for the room by getting rid of the
> * Turn up house volume on the mic channel until you hear a ringing along with
> your voice 
> * Reduce level on first EQ slider/dial (often labeled Œhighs¹) to see if it
> reduces or eliminates ringing. If it does, increase house volume again until
> ringing is again apparent. If no change, reset to flat and go to next EQ
> range. 
> * Reduce level on next EQ slider/dial to reduce/eliminate ringing. Increase
> house volume again until ringing occurs.
> * Repeat for each subsequent EQ range available on sound board ­ some may just
> have highs, mids and lows, others may have multiple mid-range adjustments. You
> may not need to adjust all the EQ¹s, e.g. the low frequency in particular,
> just keep running up the volume and adjusting out the rings until you have
> plenty of volume. Your objective is to get as much volume as you need for the
> performance without ringing.
3. Fine-tuning: If time permits after you¹ve rung out the channel you can
then play with the EQ to adjust for sound quality. Keep talking into the mic
and make very subtle adjustments to the EQ until you get a smooth natural

Will Loving
Amehrst, MA

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