Need help using microphone and my Denon MC6000

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jturk1000

And WHERE is Alma MI ?!
So I'm quite proud of my purchase (MC6000) - but had some scary stuff happen last night.

I've only had occasion to use the MC6000 twice (outside of my living room, that is) since my purchase.

When I talk into my microphone (ATW-3000 series handheld or Gemini UHF5200 - both do the same thing) WHILE MUSIC IS PLAYING at a level above dinner-music volume, my speech is garbled - as though I'm clipping the sh*t out of something. The first live gig with the new controller was great - entire event nearly at dinner music volume and all speaking was done without music playing.

Last night there was a period of time when the music was low and I did not have a problem with the mic. But when I had the dance floor filled, I couldn't use the microphone without my voice being completely garbled. Didn't matter if I used Mic 1 or Mic 2 input on the Denon

Here's some settings:
2 K10s, level at 12-o-clock and 1 KW181 - same level setting.
Denon MC6000
Master knob at 12-o-clock
Cue knobs for individual decks all at 12-o-clock
Channel sliders were up between 50% and 80% for the volume level that I was putting out
Microphone Hi-Mid-Low knobs on front were all counterclockwise
The only other level I was setting on the Denon was the Mic level which was near 50% (12-o-clock)

I used to use the ATW handheld at -6db attenuation, but found I had to raise the Denon mic level WAY high to get enough volume out of it - I've been using it now at +6db. The Gemini mics I have not changed from when I used it with my Numark C3USB.

Arghhh....
 

BillESC

Member
Sounds like you're over modulating the wireless.

First, set the 3000 to 0dB which is the factory default setting. Then with music playing at volume speak into the mic, the meter on the right side of the receiver should not go past 0dB if it does, that's over modulation and adjusting the squelch on the back of the receiver will be required.
 
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jturk1000

And WHERE is Alma MI ?!
I initially ruled that out because I did not adjust the Gemini microphone when going from the Numark Mixer to the Denon Controller - and it displays the same problem. But certainly the Denon will handle the Mic signal differently than the Numark. I'll give it a try.
 

larry62

New Member
A) If I read your post correctly, you said you had the microphone tone controls at counter-clockwise, which would be a ~15 dB reduction of bass, mid, and treble, if I read the manual pictures and specs correctly.
You might want to try those at 12 0'clock for '0' cut/boost, or unity-gain (no added or reduced level) for bass, mid, and treble to start.
In an 'ideal' 3-band EQ, all 3 controls at minimum would reduce your mic level by 15 dB, and in a real analog EQ, would likely sound bad no matter what you did.
(Sometimes it makes sense to think of a tone control as just a volume control, which happens to apply to only certain frequencies, so if all bands in an EQ are radically cutting or all boosting, it is often better to reset them to '0' and change the overall level someplace else. Same thing with a single EQ band on all channels. If the treble knob on every input is cranked to +15, maybe it's a problem with the speaker system.)
The 6000 manual block diagram indicates the mic input goes to the level control, then the A/D (analog to digital converter), then the EQ, so it is likely a digital EQ. Not sure how gracefully that deals with all 3 controls at minimum, but I'm sure it cuts a lot of level.
If you were down 15 dB, you might not have had the master up high enough to make up for that 15 dB loss of level from the mic EQ, if there is even enough gain to do that in the 'back end' of the mixer.
So, it is possible that the combination of a hotter wireless output level or mic volume level you used to try to get enough sound may may have caused the A/D or mic pre-amp to clip.

B) On the wireless over-modulation issue, I think Bill laid it out pretty well, (except that I thought squelch control was about setting the RF threshold for where the receiver un-mutes the audio based on how hot a radio signal it sees, like an old school CB radio. I don't think the audio level of RF modulation impacts the amount of RF signal seen by the receiver squelch circuit.) For nearly all wireless mics, the level controls or menu settings in a wireless mic transmitter (handheld mic or bodypack) are the ONLY adjustment that can be used to prevent distortion due to limiting or over modulation in the RF (Radio Frequency) channel. That is NOT something that can be fixed by any controls at the receiver, (possibly with the exception of very new, high end, digital units that have a reverse control RF link from receiver back to the transmitter, to tell the transmitter to turn down.) In general, you can only put so much level into an RF (wireless) link, and units will typically have a poor-sounding brick-wall limiter to prevent over-modulation and grief from the FCC. To account for the wide range of mic volumes possible, any decent wireless will have a control for that in the bodypack and handheld transmitter. It may be a small volume control set with a small screwdriver, switches, or a menu setting (-6, 0 +6) like the newer AT gear has. While you can't set this at the receiver, you CAN clearly see it on most wireless receivers that have meters, as the receiver meters are usually calibrated to indicate when limiting or over modulation occurs. Lots of red lights in loud spots usually corresponds to limiting or over modulation, giving a poor sounding mic and running out of level (with the mic not getting louder when the person gets louder). Turning down the receiver output level control on the receiver won't fix this, it will just give you quieter distortion.

After doing musical theatre sound for a few years, I've gotten to a point that I can be attending an event, hear a mic break up, look over to the mix position at the rack of wireless receivers, and tell you which wireless receiver corresponds to that channel by how many extra red LEDs there are. (And I've seen that on professional touring shows far too often.) Bill's suggestion of starting at the AT default of 0, then checking the meter (at show level), is a good one. Likewise, unless you have serious vocal chops or sing at Broadway levels with a headworn/headset or hairline mic, you probably won't need the -6 (to turn it down 6 dB), but using the receiver meters at show level is the best way to find out. You might use the +6 now and then to give you more level, if the handheld is on a lectern, or a bodypack is being used with a lapel mic on a quiet officiant, but that's more likely to sound bad when somebody gets loud on the mic later on, or you swap from a lapel to a headworn mic, and this might be part of what you are seeing with the +6 setting. So, if you aren't getting a noisy signal with a quiet talker with a '0' or mid-level setting on the transmitter, it's probably better and easier to turn up the receiver level or the mic input level in a temporary situation, rather than fuss with the transmitter.

Nothing worse than cranking up the transmitter trim levels on a bunch of bodypacks for quiet kids in an elementary school show, then putting those wireless into a rehearsal or one-off with hairline mics on professional singers and forgetting to turn the trims back down. Usually makes for a long rehearsal with crappy sound, or a lot of work running around catching each performer one at a time, apologizing for having to get to packs under costumes, etc.

-larry-
 

RhinoRider

Member
I'm actually going to print this reply off and read it a few times LOL! I will have to admit some of the verbiage was foreign to me LOL
 

Conanski

Active Member
Microphone Hi-Mid-Low knobs on front were all counterclockwise

I used to use the ATW handheld at -6db attenuation, but I've been using it now at +6db.
There are the two key pieces of info right there, the mic output is now way too high and you are trying to reduce the whole signal with the EQ controls.. which is bad practice and probably contributing to the bad sound your experiencing, So you need to go back to the 0db setting on the mic or even the -6db setting depending which one produces better results. Don't worry about where the individual level controls on the console end up, it doesn't matter as long as you can get clean sound at the level you need.
 

jturk1000

And WHERE is Alma MI ?!
I have another event this Friday, and I don't plan to be on the Mic too much, so this should be a good time to try things out.

When I first got the 6000, I had my mics at -6db (on the transmitters). I made the change to +6db, because to get the volume I needed out of my speakers, I had to turn up the mic volume very high - and that resulted in what I thought was too much ambient noise (hiss) from the speakers. Therefore I moved to +6db and simply lowered the mic volume on the controller.

At the same time, I can't move the 3 EQ knobs up from full "off" position without feedback.

I'll definitely try going back to 0 (or -6db) and seeing what I can come up with.
 

chubbyb

New Member
I have the same issue - running the Denon with a Line 6 - Denon master output at 12:00...I barely move the Mic 1 vol. past 1-2 - literally at the very low end of the volume- if I try to go hotter, I experience feedback which I never had a problem with my Rane Mojo
 

larry62

New Member
Sorry if this goes on and on, may need another printout.

It would be nice if connecting wireless mics were as simple as cabled mics, but that's sadly not the case in reality.

A) If you are getting feedback any time the EQ settings are anywhere except all bands at full cut, that is likely a big problem. Sort of like putting your foot fully on the gas pedal, then using the brakes to slow down. Not very smooth...

If you had only feed back at the lows, or only mids, or only highs, then cutting just one frequency band might help, but tone controls cover a wide frequency range. Our music covers 10 musical octaves (which relate to doubling of frequencies, so the tones between 20 Hz to 40 Hz, then 80, 160, 320, 640, 1.28K, 2.56K, 5K, 10K, 20K are octaves). A 3 band EQ is probably 3 octaves per band. Turning down 3 octaves to cut feedback takes out everything else there, too. Think about taking out the 3 middle octaves on a piano just to cut feedback that is much narrower in frequency width than just one note. EQ is rarely the ideal answer to anything, even though we use it a lot.

But, if all 3 bands need to be down to prevent feedback at low and mid and high, all at once, like you appear to be seeing, that probably means either something's just set way too loud internally, or your speaker is aiming back at your mic, and you need to fix the physical / room feedback problem first.

B) The Denon 6000 has 'hot' mic inputs, meaning it expects / handles a fairly low mic signal, like that which would come out of a normal dynamic handheld mic, and has the internal amplification bring that up to full, professional line level at the outputs. That's actually a good thing, but it makes using the control knob finicky. From the specs, the Denon will handle mic inputs from about -50 to -30 dB (or .003 volts to .03 volts). (While most folks don't like using dB, it really helps, once you get the hang of it.)

Short vent about even the best DJ gear falling short of pro gear. The Denon only has one knob to control the mic. DJ mixers, unlike nearly every other type of pro audio and even semi-pro audio mixers, still only have one mic level control, rather than two that are typical, one 'trim' / 'gain' for matching the various mics and mic levels to the mixer, and one for setting the actual volume for artistic reasons. So, we have to be careful to use one knob to do both jobs.

The AT 3000 wireless, on the other hand, has an output which is adjustable by a knob on the back, that will go anywhere from mic level up to an almost-pro line level, up to about 10 dB, or 3 volts, which might be 40 dB too hot (or 100 times the voltage too big) for the Denon. So, 100 times the voltage is a big problem, just stick wall power directly into your cell phone and see. (Way back in the old Altec days in the start of the home studio era, Greg Mackie thought he had a better 'single knob' answer with mixers from the first version of the 'Tapco' company, later bought by EV, long before Greg started Mackie, but he abandoned that 'single knob' idea as well.)

C) So, I think the +6 / 0 / -6 on the transmitter, and even +/- 15 dB on the EQ is sort of small compared to the 40 dB range of the other controls, I think there are other things to sort out first. I do own AT 3000s, but not the Denon 6000. I do have A&H & Rane DJ mixers, though, and have set mic gain stages on a wide range of other stuff. I use an 'alternative' approach to setting pro sound gain levels that works well for churches, houses of worship, corp and civic events, etc., as opposed to the standard Rock and Roll method of setting each mic preamp as hot as it will go. Lots of other folks do this too, it shows up on live sound forums now and then. For a normal mixer, rather than setting each mic preamp trim/gain knob to 'just below clipping' and having the mic volume slider way down for hot mics or loud instruments, you just bring in only as much as you need, starting with the sliders in the sweet spot, then bringing the mic trims. Work from back of system to front. I'll try to describe that here.

But, it would be helpful to know where folks use the 6000 find the 'sweet spot' on the mic vol knob to be. Is that about 12 O'clock, or 3, or ???. Where is it smooth, still gives you some level when you need it, etc. If you are too high, most gain controls 'run out of steam'. Too low, and they are too jumpy.

D) What I'd do is this:

1) Set the EQ controls back to +/- 0 dB (middle, no cut, no boost, 12 O'clock.) You may end up cutting the bass later on a bit if the mic is muddy, but no more than say 6-8 dB, or halfway, but again I'd do that later on.

2) Set up the normal music levels and masters on the 6000 for normal use, same with powered speakers, etc. and get music playing, all that stuff.

3) If you have a plain old handheld dynamic low Z corded 'ball' mic with the 3 pin XLR connector, use that. (You can get a tolerable one for probably $30 and it makes a handy backup as well, along with being a great piece of test gear to have in the adapter bag, so maybe buy a budget one. Or splurge and buy a Shure SM57 or SM58 for $100 or $110, or that Chrome super 55 you've been wanting). 57/58's have been a defacto pro standard for what, almost 40 years now, so they'll be widely acceptable as fully professional for a few more years, without the credibility issues that a Behringer or AT mic has (but I do like the AT HH mics.)

4) Start turning up the mic level with the cabled mic, do your normal vocal stuff, and see if you can get this setup with the cabled handheld to work, and find out where the sweet spot is on the mic control.

5) You might need to adjust the masters (or even powered speaker gains) and music slider levels a bit to get the mics and music such that all the controls are in the 'sweet spot', but every manufacturer has a sweet spot. They usually mark them with a detent, fat line on the silkcreen scale labels, '0' dB, or use '7' out of '10'. The manual will have many hints, even the pictures or drawings. When in doubt, try to get everything near that '7' or '0' setting, and go from there.

6) If you are fighting feedback due to being a rehearsal space or shop, get a feel for the music levels, then turn the speaker gains or masters down for testing, but keep track of the relative level between mic or music. If you have a feedback problem due to speakers aiming at the mic, you can solve that with a cabled handheld as easily as the wireless, and mic technique goes a long way. (Cardioid mics are less sensitive at the back, so point the back end of the mic at the offending speaker. That may seem strange, we usually point the back end of the mic outwards or down. But, I've seen people use HH's in front of screaming speaker stacks fed from that mic, just by pointing the back of the mic at the speakers, and not get feedback.)

7) If you don't have a cabled handheld, maybe someone here will chime in here with where they run their mic vol on their 6000 as the sweet spot, use that instead, if you don't have a handheld.

8 ) You can also tell a lot with headphones, 'suss out' the problem back to front, or front to back, see where it goes from bad to good, or vice versa. You can probably hear stuff in headphones you might not in the speakers, like the mic breaking up.

9) OK, at this point you should have your 6000 sort of dialed in with a 'reference' cabled handheld mic.


10) Set up your wireless. I'd start with the transmitter at '0' dB of gain (which they've picked as the nominal 'middle of the road' setting) for now. Turn down the back volume control completely. Turn down the 6000 mic control (to avoid 'hot patching'), patch it all in.

11) Now, slowly turn up your 6000 mic control back up to your sweet spot, leaving the wireless back panel volume as low as it will go. You should get almost no level, or maybe a nominal level from the mic, and should have virtually no hiss.

12) Bring the wireless back volume control up gradually and see if you can get the mic levels to where you need. If your wireless back volume control ends up really high (which I doubt), you might want to turn up the Denon mic level a bit. (Most clipping problems happen because a level control early in the signal path is too high, and a later control is too low. When in doubt, turn the back end controls higher, and the front end controls down. That may give you more hiss, but less clipping, and then you can adjust to find a happy medium. Hiss usually means stuff at the back end (masters, amps, speakers) are set too high, and front end levels are set too low.)


13) If you are working at 'nominal' vocal levels, now get louder into the wireless. Check the meters on the receiver. If you are seeing the audio meters go into the red, you may want the -6 setting, and then turn up the rear control to compensate. If the Denon mic vol control is still at the 'sweet spot', all should be good. We're using the wireless mic receiver rear output level control to match the wireless to the Denon input, so the Denon mic vol knob can be used to control the artistic level, in its 'sweet spot'.

14) This whole thing take some tweaking, based on the design of the gear and your preference. Since Denon mic inputs run 'hot', they are likely happier with a somewhat lower setting. Someone was talking in another post about RMX gear not having as much 'output', that likely means it was designed for the controls to run higher to get the same level to the powered speakers. Also, it depends where you like your sliders. Some folks like them near the top, less likely to accidentally bump them and have stuff go way too loud, but sometimes you don't have enough level, and 'run out of slider'. I like to run my setup such that my sliders are lower, are punchier, and so I have more 'room' to crank up quiet stuff, so I usually turn my system back end up a bit, so my sliders sit a bit lower.


Anyway, sorry this went on so long, but hopefully it's helpful.

-larry-
 

larry62

New Member
Actually ran into a character limit...

There is lots of good info on the web on setting gain structures. A classic is the 'Sound Reinforcement Handbook', also called the Yamaha Sound Reinforcement handbook.

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Reinforcement-Handbook-Gary-Davis/dp/0881889008

It's a complex read, but is considered the bible for pro audio by many. Even if you get a copy and jump around, you'll eventually fill in the gaps. Older Yamaha user manuals used to have a lot of the same info, new ones may as well.

I also found a couple of links to older write-ups from Yamaha on this, see the 'Optimizing Gain Structure' and 'Dynamic Range and Headroom' here:

http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/ContentDetail/WrappedTextDetail.html?CNTID=48563&CTID=227500

Pro sound web also has some stuff:

http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/the_basics_of_gain_structure/av

While it may seem daunting at first, digging in a bit makes it easier to know what to try in what order, so you don't add to the problems by changing other things.

-larry-
 

Ken Heath

Super Moderator...da-ta-daaa!!!
Staff member
This is going to sound strange... but how many volts are you getting from your power source?

I've had this happen at certain events where, as it turns out, I wasn't getting enough juice to run the system. The music would run, or the mic would run, but not both together... when I increased my voltage (I noticed on my meters that anything under 116v ac and I had problems), the problem disappeared.

Clean power can solve a host of musical maladies!!!
 

jturk1000

And WHERE is Alma MI ?!
Wow - so many new things to try - can't wait to give it a whirl on Friday - I'll let you know what I found.

I'm sure, however, that we can agree that it has been well documented (at least in this post) that this controller's Microphone controls run too hot for many users. This was a problem with my Numark mixer as well, but I was able to fix things by running my mic at -6db attenuation and running a VERY low volume level on the mixer.

To Ken, I have most of my equipment running through a uninterrupted power supply (UPS), so although I'm not certain, I'm fairly confident that I had a consistent and sufficient amount of power.
 

jturk1000

And WHERE is Alma MI ?!
Sounds like you're over modulating the wireless.

First, set the 3000 to 0dB which is the factory default setting. Then with music playing at volume speak into the mic, the meter on the right side of the receiver should not go past 0dB if it does, that's over modulation and adjusting the squelch on the back of the receiver will be required.
Oddly enough, the factory default is +6db (as described in the user manual). And when you perform the functions necessary to "restore to factory settings", there it is: +6db. I'll take your advice, though, and start with 0db. I suspect I'll need to increase the attenuation - and as I've read in the manual, there is a physical switch hiding inside that takes you another -6b beyond the -6db max you can reach using the on-board menu (that's -12db!).
 

jturk1000

And WHERE is Alma MI ?!
OK - maybe a separate topic, but I'll put it here. For those MC6000 users, have you noticed how much noisier Mic2 is versus Mic1 (even without a microphone connected)? It's shocking - I'm hoping to improve it once a microphone is attached, but the noise is intense - nearly unusable.
 

DropZoneDJs

Member
Not sure if the 6000 does this but you can run the American Audio VMS4.1 just off the usb and no power supply. I never run my controller with out using a power supply. If there is a voltage issue this could be it if you are just using the PC to power the 6000. Just a thought.
 

jturk1000

And WHERE is Alma MI ?!
Update

Fortunately, the 6000 runs off its own power supply.

I did some playing around in my basement, but until I'm "live" and at operating volume, I really will not have an accurate picture of how it sounds.

Right now (basement DJing) I took Larry's great advice and set the MC6000 Mic EQs to 12-o-clock (0db), my ATW-3000 Mic volume to 25% (arbitrarily - did not use a handheld to find sweet spot - I can do that later), set microphone transmitter to 0db (ATW default is oddly +6db) and then adjusted the rear volume knob on the ATW receiver to get a volume that I thought would be appropriate (again - I'll have to wait and see how it goes when I'm live). I'm not quite happy with the ambient noise (hissing) that is coming out of the speakers when the Mic is on but I'm not speaking, but I can learn to live with it. I have a gig tomorrow and will do some tweaking - then will come back with more details.

My Gemini UHF-5200M is Mic2 on my MC6000. I'm forced to use the 1/4" jack rather than an XLR since Mic2 can only handle 1/4" on the back of the Denon. From what I can tell, I can't adjust the attenuation on the Gemini. There are two volume knobs on the receiver that I can adjust (for the two wireless transmitters), but this doesn't appear to have much of an effect on ambient noise (hiss). Again, took Larry's advice for some of the adjustments, and we'll see how it goes tomorrow. Right now the ambient noise coming out of Mic2 (when on) is quite loud - unacceptable for my ears, but I think I might be using a cheap unbalanced 1/4" cable - hoping if I switch to a balanced cable this takes care of some of that noise.

I'll come back soon with results.
 

Ausumm

Active Member
Sounds like you're over modulating the wireless. First, set the 3000 to 0dB which is the factory default setting. Then with music playing at volume speak into the mic, the meter on the right side of the receiver should not go past 0dB if it does, that's over modulation and adjusting the squelch on the back of the receiver will be required.
Also, look for a gain control INSIDE the actual microphone. I know mine has a small turn/screw inside, next to the on/off button.
 

jturk1000

And WHERE is Alma MI ?!
The ATW manual refers to a mechanical switch/pad that gives an additional -6db attenuation - they say it is inside the microphone ball attached to the condensor. I can't find it, but there does appear to be a small screw. I may not need to use this, but it is a great tool to have available. Anyone know more about this on the ATW series transmitters?
 

Conanski

Active Member
Jeff, this controller has a ducking feature on the mics that may be helpfull when music levels are high, engaging it automatically reduces music level when the mic is switched on so it's easier to get vocals over the music. In the absence of a compressor limiter on the mic(there's no way to connect one on this console) using this feature may be the only way you'll get acceptable performance when things are rockin, it's been my experience that even after you get all the gains dialed in to optimal settings it'll still be pretty easy to overload the mic input channel so keep this in mind on your next gig.

On a side note I remember when I first got my Sennheiser Freeport wireless system and connected it to my console it immediately produced screeching feedback the second the mic channel was turned on, I had to turn the gain on the back of the receiver way down from the factory setting to get it to perform similar to my wired mic... a Sennheiser E835.
 
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