Just got the system with the bass module and went to work on it today. After reading some of the posts on this forum, it seems to me a good idea to just throw out my issues and get some help before I get all crossways and cranky.

First, it went better than I expected. Second, what was working was really working. Third the vocals were NOT a problem, just the opposite, I loved the way my voice sounded. Of course that is partly due to reading the posts of those who had trouble and trying to follow the advice. So since the advice was so good on one issue I will just lay the rest out.

I play in an acoustic duo format, mostly blues and blues related with a harmonica player/singer who is very well know among the harmonica/singer crowd nationally ( was invited to sit in a full set with Kim Wilson who is . . . well anyway the cat is a great player. Up to know we were using a McKenzie 8 channel amp/mizer and floor monitors, Bag End Mains.

I play a 92 Collings version of a D_28 with a K and K Trinity Western pickup. Its stereo out to a preamp that mixes signals from a small mic in the inturment and a Piezo under the bridge. Its tuned down to "D" but in standard tuning then capo'd up to E or whatever key I need, sometimes playing in D its a good harp key. I play fingerstyle blues, Piedmont stlye, Blind Blake etc and some standards like Key to the Highway etc. Everything on the Collings is fingerstyle.

My other insturment is a 74 Martin D 28 with a Rare Earth single coil and an L R Baggs para acousitc preamp mostly for tunes that have to drive pretty hard, strong bass, use a flatpick etc.

Final in a National Single Cone tuned to open D played through a Shure SM 86 which I also use to supplement the sound of the other two. It is used for Elmore James style rockers played in open D and played loud and hard.

I sing through an EV N/D 767a but I am not yet a very good singer: mostly Blind Blake tunes and some Muddy stuff.

OK that said, whew! Right now I run each through a PA Channel, so I use four in all. My questions are
What suggestions do you all have for me in terms of the set up I describe?
I these problems from my first day on the unit:
The main unit trim control has to be at 10 to get any hint of a red light and mostly not even then. The National mic'd through the Sure does get some red. It does not seem that it should be so hard to get a signal.
My volume is OK and I can get a good sound without feedback BUT not at anything near club volume. Granted, I may not need as much as I used to but still there has to be a lot more volume in this thing than I am getting.
Next is there any easy way or even a not so easy way to set up with the various insturments I am using when I only have what looks like two inputs that can be adjusted with presets. One has to go to the vocal mic.
Feedback: connected to the other issues, when I start to get the unit up in volume, I get some really nasty sounds with the acoustic Collings. I was sitting about 6 -7 feet away from the speakers. Suggestions for a remeedy please. I used the National and could get it pretty loud but not with good tone. A Strat plugged into a preset sounded very good, seriously good. I just can't use it in this venue.

My next post will be how to set up one for my partner but thats for another day.
Again I realize lots of info but if you don't know you can't help. You all seem very helpfull and I am looking forward to getting this thing running right so I can take it out to our Monday gig. Or Monday after next if need be.

Thanks again.
Kingbee aka Patrick Nichols

PS should I cross post this to some of the other forums, ie Guitar and/or Vocal?
Original Post
Hi Kingbee,

Lots of info to digest and I'll see if I can help but in the meantime...

No need to cross post, judging by the response level around here, most of the regulars at least glance at all the new posts. You'll probably catch the attention of those who can help with this one.
Hi Kingbee (or do you prefer Patrick?)

OK that said, whew! Right now I run each through a PA Channel, so I use four in all. My questions are

Can you say more about the PA Channel? What kind of PA or mixer is this?

I understand that with as many instruments as you've got, you want to go through some kind of mixer so you don't have to keep plugging/unplugging things, BUT

At least for testing, can you bypass the mixer or PA and let us know how it sounds for your instruments?

You mentioned 'club volume'. How big a club? (people or dimensions)

Lotsa stuff here.

Is the harmonica player also in your system?

With just your four inputs, pan vocal one way and guitars the other, utilize PS1 inputs one and two, from the L & R outs on your mixer. In the initial setup leave remote control EQ settings flat.

Set one preset to match your vocal mic, and as a starting point, set the other for the mic used for the national.

It is my opinion that when using a mixer, gain should be set per the mixer manufacturers directions, and the PS1 input gain set at or very near 0. In most cases this will give you the best signal to noise ratio, resulting in less hiss coming from the L1.

Utilize the mixer EQ section for each individual instrument as you did pre PAS. The vocal should not be a problem at all. Three different guitars through one preset might be less than desirable, but if you take the time to experiment I feel very confident one will work.

For the guitars start with mixer EQ flat and work with the preamp tone controls where available. Most troublesome acoustic guitar feedback comes from frequencies below 440hz, more specifically about 70hz to 300 hz. utilize notch filters on the preamps, phase switches, and B1 placement to control these problem areas. I am not sure if the propensity for low feedback will be greater because you are tuned down, or not, but that won't change the frequency range where the problems occur.

Guitar mics are more difficult, hopefully your National is pretty loud. For greater freedom on stage, I would try to mute the guitar(National) mic any time I was using a guitar with a pickup.

Regardless of what you have done in the past, try to get the volume up before making tone adjustments, then make small boost or cut adjustments as needed to satisfy taste or eliminate problems. Utilize the mixer for the more specific instrument and vocal EQ, and utilize the remote if a more general overall EQ is needed for the individual PS1 channels.

This may be more basic info than you hoped for, but there are so many variables in style and performance volume levels that it is hard to be more specific at this time.

Try to answer the questions above, and provide anymore information you think might be pertinent and we'll talk more later.

With a little time you will find you are hearing your guitars better, and it will change the way you play, and the way you listen to what you play, so be patient and enjoy your new adventure.

Remember these are not hard, fast rules that must be adheared to, but general suggestions for directions to go in.

Trying to judge PAS volume for a venue is tricky. If you're used to LOUD sound pressure in your stage pocket, the PAS probably isn't gonna replicate that. PAS dispersion is so much different you gotta learn that what may seem "mild" in your pocket is actually about right for the job at hand.

IMO - For some venues, it may not ever get loud enough because that's not the type of system it's designed to be.

If you push things too hot with the Collings, you're just gonna need to notch the flying Freqs out and/or stuff a donut in the soundhole, etc. There's simply too much resonance going on at the levels you're trying to achieve. Surgical notch filtering and acoustic deadening is about the only way to crank the volume way up with a sensitive guitar.
Continuin sorry dang "enter" key. ..
SO anyway if it works he will get one and with only two channels in use should be just fine, dont you think?
Club size is hard to state but we are dealing with bars, one about 30x100 the other maybe 50x70 with lots of crowd noise.
Oldghm thanks for some clear and usefull suggestions. This is mostly what I try to do but what I got from you is to get a mixer in the system ( our old one was on the PA not stand alone ) and try that once I get the guitar to work or to notch filter feedback. Am I hearing you right? I will do that today and work over the weekend.
Finally on the Collings we were able to make the volume level we needed through a old school PA system so we really are not all THAT loud.
Thanks guys for your suggestions. I will report back after further experiments and of course welcome suggestions from everyone else.
You'll be in for a challenge just mic'ing an acoustic instrument and trying to get to club levels. I've messed around with it at home, and had a rough time. You might consider investigating the DTAR Mama Bear or Fishman Aura, which are more or less "acoustic modelers". Fishman has a downloadable image for a Sheerhorn Dobro, and will probably soon have a National model. The DTAR I believe already has a National model in it (single-cone and tri-cone, I think) If you'd be willing to put a biscuit bridge pick-up in the guitar, you might be surprised at the results through one of these preamps. You could still augment with an external mic, but you wouldn't have to depend entirely on it.
You also might consider the bluegrass set-up mentioned in another thread, where the band played into two mic's, and the PAS's were set up slightly ahead of the players. The at-Bose-guys did this in their live performance room with what they considered spectacular results. I've played standing next to and even slightly behind my PAS with great results, particularly as the volume goes up. You can hear pretty darn well behind one of these things, especially in a duo setup.
I spent 15 years using pickup-internal mic combos of every type in my acoustic instruments (including the K&K, which is quite natural sounding), but now I just run through the Aura or Mama Bear with a piezo signal, and get excellent, consistent sound.
Originally posted by Kingbee:
Continuin sorry dang "enter" key. ..
SO anyway if it works he will get one and with only two channels in use should be just fine, dont you think?
Club size is hard to state but we are dealing with bars, one about 30x100 the other maybe 50x70 with lots of crowd noise.
Oldghm thanks for some clear and usefull suggestions. This is mostly what I try to do but what I got from you is to get a mixer in the system ( our old one was on the PA not stand alone ) and try that once I get the guitar to work or to notch filter feedback. Am I hearing you right? I will do that today and work over the weekend.
Finally on the Collings we were able to make the volume level we needed through a old school PA system so we really are not all THAT loud.
Thanks guys for your suggestions. I will report back after further experiments and of course welcome suggestions from everyone else.

No dude, I'm not attacking your LOUDNESS but just pointing out that the PAS is LOUD in a much different way than spherical cabinets. Anybody who's managed much electric guitar feedback/squealing with a PAS will probably understand what I mean. The acoustic energy is dispersed so differently that decades of old rules will never apply.

You'll get it happening with a little time/work.

Good luck!

I didn't realize you didn't have a suitable mixer on hand.

Your setup will work directly into the PAS,

Vocal mic into channel one...

National mic into channel two...

Collings into channel three...

Martin into channel four...

The Collings and the Martin will depend solely on the preamps for EQ, I know the LR Baggs para DI will do the job, not sure about the other one.

Use the appropriate preset for your EV N/D767, #10 I believe in V.2

And try 41 or 42 for the national mic. This will likely be the most trouble to get right. there are some vocal mic presets that could work, try the "high gain" presets 03 and 04.

I don't recall a lot of talk here about micing resonator guitars, so experimenting is in order. It could work out better than some of us expect because you are not dealing with the resonance problems in the same way as a typical wood guitar.

It probably will take a fair amount of tinkering to get everything set so that all gain, EQ, matches the feel you expect from your instruments and matches up to the Master level on the remote.

I would try to get my vocal right first, then work each individual instrument into the mix at the predetermined Master level.

You are sure to learn a lot in the next few days, keep us posted on your progress, and feel free to ask more questions.

Thanks for the help. I see now about doing all four since I do have preamps.
I am not defensive about volume, I am just trying to get the most headroom out of the system and try it at different levels of volume.
All in all its working pretty well for just having it for a week. Did not get to take it out today, the club had double booked the evening so next Monday is the day.
Thanks for all the help.
But here is a question: how does the volume/gain ration or control work in theory. My K ank K had internal gain control as does the L R Baggs. I know it increases the signal strength before the volume control, right? What else does it do? How can I use it to tailor my sound?
Also is is normal for the master volume on the Base of the unit to be set at our about 9-10? Its that way on both vocal mics and instrument mics. If so why? Sorry for all the Qs but I really want to know.
It is unusual for you to have the gain set so high on the Powerstand all the way around. You should check the gain on the PS1 for each instrument/channel using the method described in the following link.


Follow the instructions to the letter; use the remote to drive the sound up to playing levels.

You may need to use "phantom power" for some microphones.

Hope this helps
The Gain on the LR Baggs serves the same purpose as the trim or gain control on the PS1, it is the initial stage of signal amplification, and if set correctly will keep noise to a minimum throughout the signal chain, from guitar to Baggs to PS1 to speaker.

Personally, and this is opinion, I utilize gain to try to get my signal/volume to "feel" the same through the system as it does without the system. I think of the gain as a sensitivity setting, and my goal is Baby Bear's soup. If the guitar signal is real hot, you must play softly and you still hear every touch of string against fret, pick against string, etc. If the guitar signal is not hot enough I find myself playing too hard, gripping the neck with white knuckles, in a sense over playing. Each guitar / pickup / preamp combination results in a slightly different setting for me. I spent several weeks when I first recieved my PAS trying different things, I am at a point now where my two favorite guitars are quick to set up even though I use different settings. One I can be very happy with or without the LR Baggs DI, the other I always use the DI.

Guitar tone is so subjective that anything goes as long as you are happy. I am always looking for natural acoustic tone "as I hear it" and there is never an EQ control left flat when I get what I want.

When using a mixer or preamp in front of the PS1 inputs, generally speaking the PS1 gain will be set considerably lower because you will already have boosted the signal to a point where the PS1 doesn't need to do much.

Inputs 1 and 2 are different than 3 and 4.

1 and 2 are designed for mics, they will work with many line level outs from other equipment but you must be careful not to overdrive them. If you are using a mixer they will be at or very near 0.

3 and 4 are designed for line level and should work fine with your guitar Pre's, cd player, etc.

The only real weakness of inputs 3 and 4 is the absence of presets. Since I only use 1 mic and 1 guitar I go direct, if I were going to use two or three guitars I probably would bring along my Alesis mixer so I could get everything into 1 and 2. Again that is a personal opinion, you will have to tinker and figure out what works for you.

It is important to remember that we all sing a little different, so what works for one may or may not work for another. I look for the same thing with my vocal as I do with my guitar, I want the system to respond to the way I feel, in a natural way, sooo... there is a balancing act between singing style, mic used, trim setting, volume, and the space you are in.

When you speak of "master volume on base of unit", I am guessing you are speaking about the Trim or channel Gain control on the PS1. Are you talking about 9 or 10 as printed on the PS1 or talking in terms of a clock face??

As a clock face that probably is not high enough, if you are relating to the printed #'s and marks, 10 probably is near the upper limit for most mics.

What seems to work for me with the N/D 767 is somewhere around the 2:00 position, that allows me to get the CHANNEL volume AND the MASTER volume ON THE REMOTE a little past the 12:00 position most any place I play without any feedback problems. In the places that I have enjoyed playing the most I was able to have vocal trim, channel volume and master volume all at about 2:00 with EQ near flat.
It took awhile for me to get to where I'm at but I use very little EQ on my vocal, when trim / channel volume/ master volume are all set right the preset is all I need to get started. Each venue is a little bit different but rarely do I end up with more than 2 or 3 db cut or boost on any of the vocal EQ controls.

I hope I have not rambled too much, and you find something here that helps in your search for your PAS sound.

Stay in touch,
I appreciate all the help. Yes I am referring to the master control on Ch 1 and 2. In order to get the hind of red I need to be up to 8-9 of the possible 10. The Mics are that way even with the phantom power on.
Gain, it sounds like has to be adjusted to a personal level, what sounds good. I appreciate the discussion and ideas.
I followed the link on setting the trim and that is how I have done it since I first got the system. With the K and K, if I turn up the preamp I get feed back but I will try it again and different variations to get the master trim to set at about 2:00 position. Fiddle with it, I will.
Hi Patrick,

It sounds like you are concerned that you have to turn up the gains 'too much' in order to get a signal into the system. Nothing to worry about here.

So many controls have a centre detent (a notch at the halfway point) that suggests that this is the recommended spot and for some controls that makes a lot of sense (things that control bass, mid range, high frequencies) because at that magical middle, they are transparent.

Your trim controls are not like this. You set them where they need to be. You're ok unless
- shut all the way down you are clipping, or
- opened up completely you are not getting enough signal.

This will vary on the input and with microphones, even the singer and instruments, the player.

I typically have my input trims set higher than the guy who stands beside me. Why? He sings louder and plays his instrument harder. So his settings are usually closer to "half-way" and a bit and I'm usually closer to "three-quarters" or more. (I usually use the clock face analogy but this is more about feel than precision).

By the way, the phantom power doesn't add anything to the signal (it's not stronger). It's just that some microphones required this power to work at all.

Since you've got the trims set as per the instructions (strong, steady in the green, only rare flickers in the red). You're finished with the trims.

The settings on the Remote may not be as critical as you'd think. Sure, I like it when the volumes (individual and master) are at 12:00 because I have this nice feeling that there's plenty of wriggle room, and that's really the point. Depending on the song and what's happening, I adjust those while performing just like I do the controls on my instrument. I actually think of the Remote like a part of the instrument. I don't tend to adjust it as much the volume control on the Guitar but I don't feel compelled to set it and live with it either. I have a mental picture of how loud the system is in absolute terms and my ideal starting point. But that is no more correct than any other where things wind up at the end of a super quiet song or the finale of a rockin' set.

So, it's right if it sounds right and you've got the dynamic range to be do what you want.

Okay - enough of that!

When you said that you had feedback with the K and K, could you describe it? Low end howl, high end squeal?

Low end?
Try the B1 at different angles.
Do you have a notch filter in your signal chain somewhere? Try it.
Try different presets (version 2.0 try all the 40 somethings)

Hi end?
Change the position of the input or change the angle of the System slightly.
Turn down the highs on the Remote (a little goes a long way here).

Looking forward to hearing that you've found "it" soon.
Hi Patrick - Dialing in your sound IS a personal preference, but proper gain staging does have some technical right and wrongs.

The accepted rule is to set your gain as HIGH as possible, as EARLY in the signal chain as possible - and adjust each consecutive gain stage until you reach the last component. This will give you maximum headroom and the best signal-to-noise ratio. Every signal carries some noise with it, and if you set your gains too low at the front (preamp/mixer/processor), and then try to compensate for it at the end (PAS), you will be magnifying the "noise" as well as the signal. The "cheaper" the equipment is that you're using in front, the more obvious this will be.

The easiest way to do this is to just VISUALIZE how your signal runs. Whatever your signal from the guitar or mic hits first - be it internal or external preamp, processor, mixer, whatever - maximize THAT trim control first. Having LED's to visually see the clipping makes this job much easier - just sing or play as loud as you plan to (turn the master down - you don't need to actually make noise to set your trims if you have LED's) and crank the trim/gain until it flashes red into clipping - then back it off a bit to give yourself some room. Then continue down the path of the signal chain - this includes any "inserts" into the chain - adjusting each component until you finally hit the PAS, which is the end of your chain.

Every piece of equipment that I've used in my PAS has benefited from this rule. I've had some pieces that had intolerable amounts of noise (the Digitech Vocal 300 comes to mind) when the gain at the Digitech was set low, and the PAS set high. When I reversed them back to the "rule" - set the Digitech gain as high as possible, and just adjust the trim at the PAS only as needed, it became a usable piece of equipment.
To All watching this thread,

I'm going to get into something that may be a slippery slope so bear with me.

I try not to think about it too much because there is so much on the technical side of gain staging that I don't understand myself, certainly not well enough to explain, but......

If ST and I are standing side by side, performing on separate Personalized systems, each using the same model mic, standing the same distance from the L1. The EQ is flat and volume controls on the remote are adjusted to produce equal average performance levels, let's say about 90db.

Because our singing styles and strengths are different ST's PS1 TRIM stage is set at 3:30 and mine is set at 2:00. Which of us is more likely to have a feedback issue???


Now *there* is the Oldghm I remember from last year.

The answer: All things being equal (but they never are)...

I will probably have a greater tendency for feedback issues because my input sensitivity is higher.


This will depend on our respective mic techniques, and quite probably the respective size and shape of our heads.
Ok ST I agree, and the point I am trying to make is that Gain and Volume are two separate issues.

Sometimes the choice of words used to describe gain setup, In my opinion, cause some to do the wrong thing.

If for example I sing as "loudly as I can" to set gain for my vocal I will end up with a setting too low for most of my material. Instead I will use average material and singing levels to set the gain and then back off the mic a little when singing the louder material.

Not picking on you gitar-jonz, but the suggestion to set gain as "HIGH as possible..." would create a very harsh sound from my acoustic guitars.

I'm not sure how best to explain to new users about gain staging, so they get it right. I am pretty sure that many who are initially unhappy, are unhappy because they don't get it right, right at first.

I think it is important to remember the default settings for the PS1, if the remote is not installed, is the equivalent of those remote settings being at 12:00. While I'm not sure how critical it is to keep those settings near that mark, I have to believe that the system is calibrated to work efficiently at those levels and it might be important to consider that as we are adjusting the gain.

What I am searching for is terminology that is easily remembered, easily communicated, easy to understand, and gives good results to the questioner. This thread is just one of many that illustrate how we sometimes struggle as a group to provide complete, concise info on this important subject.

Comments, anyone?
If for example I sing as "loudly as I can" to set gain for my vocal I will end up with a setting too low for most of my material. Instead I will use average material and singing levels to set the gain and then back off the mic a little when singing the louder material.

Good point....I guess there are no absolutes here because of varying styles, especially vocally. If someone goes from a whisper to a scream in a performance, they are going to drift outside that optimum window. You certainly want to avoid clipping at the loudest extremes though, and I think that's what GJ was trying to confirm. I think we'll just have to settle on a description (as simple as possible) that works for most performers. That's why I always revert back to the "gain staging" tutorial. It's a good place to start.
Oldghm, I agree on a couple of your points - but disagree on most.

Who's to say which signal is "louder" or "stronger" - the one where you're singing lightly right up on the mic, or screaming into it from 6 inches away. They could be identical in strength. The LED's will tell you which is the stronger signal, and THAT'S how you set your gain. I didn't say sing "as loudly as you can" - I said sing "as loudly as you PLAN to" - meaning your loudest normal performance...whether it's right on the mic or a foot away. The whisper on the mic just might be the "louder" of the two.

As for your guitar, I've never seen a situation where proper gain staging hurt the tone or made it "harsh". The "trim" and "gain" controls are NOT volume or tone controls - they're attenuation controls. If anything, the more headroom you have, and the better signal-to-noise ratio you have, the more full bodied the signal typically sounds.

The phrase "set the gain as high as possible" does not read properly when taken out of context to the rest of the statement..."as early in the signal chain as possible". If you have a complex signal chain, it's absolutely imperative to follow this. If you are simply plugging your guitar straight in to the PAS, by all means set it as low as you want - if it sounds good to you, then it IS good. I would still prefer to have the gain structure "optimized" and turn the guitar VOLUME (and TONE) up or down from some other source - the guitar preamp controls or the remote controls.
Thanks for the comments guys, lets keep talking and remember this is not a contest.

First let me say "sing as loud as you can" was not intended to be a quote of GJ, just something that (I think) has been said before in these pages.

Let me use my situation as an example. With any of my acoustics, If I plug them into the LR Baggs, which has Gain and volume controls, and I turn the Gain as "high as I can" this being the earliest place in the chain to do so, the preamp will accent all of the sounds of fingers sliding on strings, any and all percussive sounds, and in most cases an unwelcome amount of extreme highs and lows that become more difficult to control later in the signal chain. This is due in part to the characteristics of many of the under the saddle and inside the guitar pickups, being more sensitive to the higher and lower frequencies. Resulting in what can be (in my opinion) a harsh sound.

Pickup manufacturers are definately improving but there are more bad pickups in use than good ones.

Thus gain becomes a balancing act between the extremes of 0 headroom to too sensitive to touch, inherent noise, and feel. I don't want the audience to hear my guitar rubbing against the buttons on my shirt.

I wholeheartedly agree that gain is not a tone control, but would suggest that because gain is in affect a measure of sensitivity, tone is affected by gain, and therefore is a consideration of gain. Example, a person singing 2 inches from a mic will need both less gain and less bass than they would if singing 8 inches from the mic, to achieve the same tone and volume at the speaker. If you set everything to your liking and then turn the gain down and the volume up to get the same db, I think you will find a difference in the tonal balance.

The LED will tell you which signal is stronger, but it can't determine if it is a plosive P or a glass falling off a shelf across the room. In order to have the system "feel right" we have to tinker, and I would love to be able to communicate how to find the settings that "feel right". In the end I think feelings is what the music is all about. The way we feel it and the way we want our audience to feel it.

Volume on the other hand comes after gain and tone has been dealt with and does not affect the sound that we have created in a spectral way.

Yes Bose has an official How to set gain page and all of us have tried more than once to help those who follow those instructions and still come up with something less than satisfactory. So I guess what I'm hoping for is words that make the proper method work better for the new user, if that's possible.

I was more than a little curious about Patrick setting his gain at 9 or 10 for his vocal mic. I'm still not sure Patrick, exactly where you are setting the dial. The PS1 gain and volume controls go to 12, so 9 or 10 would be about the 3:00 position.

I am using the same mic so I went over to the Basement and put the mic about 10 feet in front of the L1, set the gain on 10, the master volume on 6, with all tone controls flat was unable to bring the channel control to 4 without going into extreme feedback. I moved the Master volume back to 4, added another mic cord and took the mic nearly 40 feet away and was able to talk and sing into it but just the slightest signal caused the channel LED to go to constant red. I stayed and tinkered for a while and was unable to get any staging that worked properly with the initial stage set at 10.

I'm not sure if there is anything one can say for sure in this instance, but based on my findings, Patrick's system does not work like mine, or we are not on the same page, thus this quest for a better way of communicating.

For all who read this, If you are just starting with your new system, and you have difficulty with getting volume without feedback, and tone that suits you, try this:

Set the Preset to match your vocal mic, and set ALL CONTROLS to the 12:00 (clock face) position. This should be a good starting place to work from. I have not been anyplace yet where those settings would cause a problem. Maybe in a real small rehearsal space, or very close to the L1, one would need to turn down.

Although I stated earlier in this thread that I normally use the same mic as Patrick with gain set at about 2:00, upon visiting the basement I would say it is more like 1:00 to 1:30, between the 6 and 8.


Patrick, it is not my intention to hijack your thread, if you have more questions or comments please jump back in.
Oldghm, I understand that this is not a contest..I just feel that the point I was trying to make was too badly misunderstood, misinterpreted, misquoted and misrepresented out of context for me to not try to set the record straight.

In any field - live sound included - there are rules and guidelines that are generally accepted and proven. That said, there is always a point where common sense has to kick in as well. Now, at the risk of redundancy, my opening statement was "Dialing in your sound IS a personal preference, but proper gain staging does have some technical right and wrongs."

The simple right and wrong is that optimizing and maximizing your gain as early in the signal chain as possible yields the best signal to noise ratio. That's not a guess or an old wives tale or conjecture...it's a fact. The common sense that would kick in would be - if you don't like the sound of your equipment set up for maximum signal-to-noise ratio (as in your case), then "dial in your personal preference."

The other common sense thing is - when setting gain stages, you're setting them for THAT person. When a sound man sets levels at sound check, he always says to me "Give me your main rhythm sound, and then your main lead sound" and he sets the gain to MY general playing style at MY general volume. He doesn't say "Play some Metallica as loud as you possibly can" The point here is, if you sing like Nat King Cole, you shouldn't set your gains by screaming like Axle Rose...or "as loud as you can". Sing or play the way you normally sing or play, but try to do the things that you feel would have the best chance of clipping the system at that gig. That doesn't mean the loudest your voice will be (you MAY be a foot away from the mic at that point) - it means the strongest signal the mic will have to take in. You simply want to get the signal as strong as you can without any risk of clipping. That's all.

Maybe I've run too many sound systems for too many years... but to me setting gains is simply a mechanical thing, not part of the art of performance...get the signal strong and clean without clipping. Simple. It's pretty black and white. Plosives, sibilance, proximity, tone - are all part of the art of using the mic once the gains are properly set.

As I said earlier, this is a slippery slope.

All of our collective knowledge, ideas, opinions, rules, experience, sometimes still does not help those who ask questions.

In this case Patrick clearly stated he had done the gain staging as per Bose directions and still was having some difficulty.

How to communicate our collective experience to he and others in a general, easy to understand dialogue is what I was hoping to get from this exercise, unfortunately I even failed to communicate that to you.

If you read back through this entire thread I think you will find that we have sent mixed signals, not neccessarily wrong information, but not a clear general direction for Patrick to move in to find his own way. Your first response I think failed to take into consideration I was trying to give general information about my experience with the LR Baggs DI which Patrick also has, and asked specifically about. This paticular DI, (LR Baggs Para Acoustic) is designed to work with everything from passive undersaddle pickups to active on board preamps.

It is very easy for me to get a red LED with my EV mic over a range of 8 or more of whatever unit of measure that is on the PS1 trim. If I can do that so can others with considerably less time than me with this system or any other. If it was not possible to follow the instructions and still get it wrong we wouldn't continue to get questions about it. To those with much less experience than us I am sure it becomes confusing. Where is the best place to set it, and how do I balance that with channel and master gain.

It remains my opinion that the red clipping led can be very misleading to some, and I believe the number of times gain staging comes up in discussions suggest that we are not doing as good collectivly as we should.

As I have said before if there was only one way to do it the knobs wouldn't turn, my personal tendency is to try and share in a positive manner ideas that work for me, and encourage others to experiment with those ideas to find what works for them.


To Follow up on the hypothetical question about gain and feedback on ST's and my system.

How do we control the feedback?

If ST really needs the gain that high, we can turn the volume down, but then he's out of the mix. we could change the EQ but then we are messing with his carefully crafted tone, and he wouldn't sound like himself.

Soooo, we have to teach ST to get a little closer to the mic, sing a little stronger, so we can reduce the sensitivity of his mic by turning down the gain a little.

This is what I mean about general, easy to understand dialogue that will help those with less experience get the most from their PAS.

Am I off base here or does this make sense?
Originally posted by gittar-jonz:
Maybe I've run too many sound systems for too many years... but to me setting gains is simply a mechanical thing, not part of the art of performance....


So many here believe that the PAS is an extension of their art, or their instrument, most are very happy to have control of their sound, in part because they have not had good experience with sound techs who did not understand the importance of their art, and speaking for myself, each stage of setup becomes a part of the art of performance, when the performance starts.

If you ever see a really good show, where every thing is just right, you can rest assured that the sound techs are every bit as much of an artist as the performers are. They understand the equipment and know what and how to do what ever it takes to let the performers shine, without worry or concern about getting their message across.

Respectfully, Oldghm
Thanks for the suggestions and here we are.
The K and K has internal controls which I reset and using the active channel (2) was able to get a good sound. When I moved them to ch 3 things went wrong. By the time I got the bass rumble and the high end feedback out and gain low enough to get volume without feedback I had no tone. I think the K and K does not give me enough control over my signal going into the unit. ( Of course I could be wrong and trust that you all will set me straight if so. ) It seems to me that there are three choices for a solution:
1. The K and K preamp I am using is a very basic blender with controls for bass mid treble and gain INSIDE the unit adjusted with a micro tiny screwdriver. So I could pay $400 for the much nicer 2 channel blender with stereo out and lots of other possible plusses. Here is a link to the product:
Hope that comes up OK.
2. Buy something else to do the same thing: a good eq, a mizer etc. If I got a mixer I would have to run all three guitars through it into the ch 2 but that might be OK since I only play one at a time. Still a good eq would let me tinker and cut the specific areas of feedback. Could also get some kind of feedback device but I don't know anything about them
If so what do you all think or suggest for more gear.
3. Scrap the K and K. Under the rubric of "throwing good money after bad", buying more stuff to make it work may just be a mistake. It may be a dandy set up but for some reason just does not work for me on my set up high end acoustic, standard tuning down to D, fingerstyle blues/ragtime, light gauge strings ) without too much hassle. Lots of good new acoustic picup/preamp stuff out there and maybe I should just make a change.
I suggest thiz partly because I have never been really thrilled with the sound of the K and K, either through our old Mackie/Bag End PA or through channel 2. In Ch2 it was pretty good but nothing to write home about. I was able to get the volume and basic tone out of it but only able to run it about 1/3 to 1/2 volume before the blend ( adding in the internal Mic set about about 2 - thats 2/10, not 2:00 ) started causing problems.
I am going to call K and K today and talk to them, go to my guitar guy who really does know his stuff and put my frustrations to them and see what they think I should do.
BTW, my partner and I got a second unit for the vocal and harp. He plays harp, both diatonic and chromatic natural and through a PodLine6 for enhancement here ( never with his full band ) and we dailed him in in about an hour and a half.
Thanks for the support and suggestions.
I hope I have answered the questions for clarification: Feedback and bass rumble seem to be coming as stated above. By the time I roll off the base to cut the rumble and the treble to cut the feedback ( ch 3 ) I have no tone.
I appreciate the suggestion to change the angle of the system and will try that today.
So today I am going to work on the Martin/Rare Earth single coil throug an LR Baggs para and the national open D slide througn a Shure 85.
Thanks again.
Hi Kingbee

Thanks for the detailed report.

adding in the internal Mic set about about 2 - thats 2/10, not 2:00 ) started causing problems.

If you need them, I can find some references*** but there have been several posts from people acknowledging that the blended internal mic approach is usually the first thing sacrificed when you are playing at significant volumes. That is, you end up 'blending' it out of the mix to avoid the issues you raised.

*** Edit: Here's a recent discussion that seems on topic.

Have you tried the Collings w/ KK through the LR Baggs??

I have not used anything newer in design than the Baggs para DI, so I can't speak for anything else.

I do like the features on the Baggs, primarily because it is designed specifically for guitar, there are other preamps out there that are very similar, and probably work as well.

EQ's in general will not, notch filter, frequencies as well or as narrow in range as something that is designed for that purpose, such as the Baggs. In my opinion working loud, and close to the L1/B1 requires notch filters.

There is some very good information on the Baggs web site about controlling feedback, and if you still have the manual that came with the Baggs Para Acoustic DI it has some good general info in it as well as more specific info just for the DI.

Have you experimented with the guitars directly into the Bose? Some pickups work quite well that way if you are not trying to push real heavy bass. If one of yours did, (work good direct) you could spend the money on a decent mini mixer, use the Baggs on the other, run both through the mixer, and maybe even end up with some effects, if you are into that kind of thing.

I have the Alesis multimix 8 USB. It is not completely transparent but does not get in the way of the quality Bose sound either. In or out of the signal chain it would take a good ear to tell the difference. This is not a recommendation, just a suggestion for consideration.

Congratulations on the 2nd system, it won't be long till you are comfortably on your own.


I read back through your post and now I realize the K and K is an onboard preamp. So my suggestion in previous post *is* an option.

If you thought it was pretty good in channel 2 on your first try, don't go scrapping it yet. The Personalized Amplification System is pretty amazing with acoustic guitars, a little tinkering might be the silver bullet.

Good luck
OK here we are!
The Martin/Rare Earth Single coil/Baggs Para went into Ch3 with no problems. The National with the Shure sm86, same story. Spent no more than an hour on each to get up to as much volume as I can ever imagine needing and really still having more to give. VERY satisfying.
The Collings? Well I called K and K and spent about an hour with their tech person who sugested some things which I did try. The upshot is that the transducers work well and have a lot of power. Once I add the mic in it goes to crap. So as per a previous post, yep, the blending is the first to be blended out. Downside, I am not real happy with the tone but still way, way happier than yesterday. Its got all the vol I need, satisfed I am getting the tone from the preamp ( BTW its on outboard, stereo preamp
So all is getting way better. Now I am trying to decide if I want to add a mixer such as the Alesis and run the three guitars through it or just the Collings to tweak the sound. I like the idea of all three because then I have more control which in a duo is pretty big. What do you all think? Is it worth a try to buy one and see? Is the Alesis a good choice. I also like it because we do some stuff that needs a tremlow and I see it has effects.
I am so happy to have all the help from this board and Bose. My friends are amazed at how much support we are getting.
My partner who has made 9 records for labels like Blacktop and others said yesterday it has always been a dream of his to play through Bose equiptment.
So my next problems are going to be how to set up in club environments where we don't have the same kind of room for an optimal setting.
Thanks again and what do you think about using a mixer and putting all three into ch2 or just a mixer for the collings into Ch4 or something else.

Personally, I like the mixer idea in your situation. The Alesis has worked well for me and is reasonably priced, there are others often mentioned here, Yamaha and Mackie come to mind as being in the same league with the Alesis, and along the same price point.

There are any number of ways to set it up, but I would try to take advantage of the presets if possible, so that confines you to 1 and 2.

The Collings and Martin for sure will go to the same channel. The mic'd National could go either with the vocal or the guitars, you will have to experiment. If the National, when mic'd will work with the guitar preset, then in most cases you will only have one hot signal source in each PS1 channel at any given time, I don't know if it matters from the technical standpoint but might be easier to manage that way.

Running the vocal direct to the PAS is also an option that shouldn't be over looked, whatever works simplest for you and sounds good, is the way to go.

When using a mixer, gain staging can be more confusing, frustating, and difficult, as you know from reading this thread, but if you take what you have learned and apply it to the mixer, and keep the PS1 input trim at or very near zero, you should not have any problems you can't work through.

It seems to work best for me to use the mixer channel EQ leaving the Bose remote EQ in the flat position.

You can preset the volume controls on the remote or keep it handy which every works for you. Use the mixer throughout the program to mute individual instrument or mic channels not in use, and possibly the remote to tweak the changes that sometimes take place, as the venue fills and empties throughout the gig.

I have used 2 conductor cable, 10 feet long from my Alesis to channels 1 and 2 with no noise problems.

Other mixers may have XLR outs that will allow longer balanced runs without noise, but may or may not require pads to correct a too high mixer output signal.

A search here for "mixer" will lead to a lot of discussion.

Good Luck,
Have you tried running the Collings through the PADI to get the filtering you're looking for? If the PADI settings are not too far apart, you could even use an A/B switch to change guitars. I would avoid the external mixer if you can.

I had an event a couple of weeks ago with a couple of great blues musicians on acoustics. One of them was Will McFarlane (formerly with Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section), who was playing an amazing sounding Goodall acoustic with some kind of Baggs pickup through a PADI, and I'm here to tell you, the acoustic guitar sound was monsterous and the Bose put it everywhere. This was, by a long way, the best live acoustic guitar sound I've ever heard. The players loved it, the audience loved it, and I felt privileged to be a part of it.

Thanks I will try the mixer ( got it yesterday ) and just running the Collings through the "PAD1"
I do want to report we played our first job with the set up last night. The club we were booked at is about 30x80 with a nice stage at the back, perfect we thought to give it a try. When we got there the club had an "emergency" remodel in progress. Well we agreed to play at their club across the street. Much diffrent. Our space was a square room maybe 25-30 per side with the stage in a corner, one wall of pinball machines and one with a couch. The far corner was the bar. The stage was way too small to put both on it. Just off the stage ( about 18" high ) on my side was the pinball wall and the corner of the other side was such that there was a corner in front of it, a protrusion from the wall of windows and couch that ran to the door. Not at all what we expected but the system worked out pretty well. We put one in the corner of the stage and one of the floor by the stage in front of a pinball machine. We could hear it and no one complained about the sound.
We were pretty mad about being moved but got over it and all in all things went OK for a first time out. Seemed to me a good thing to have to make it work in a less friendly environment. The National did not have any clarity or ring to it but the Collings came across fine as did the Martin.
I am thinking more and more of just running both through the Baggs.
The upside is we got $60 in tips for a two hour show and one was a $5 from one of the twenty somethings that worked there with a note about how much she enjoyed it. This club plays a lot of young bands, many of which are on the way up, it has that rep. So we felt pretty good that the help would tip us.
Next week we are supposed to be back at the other place and we are going to hit two other clubs in the next couple of weeks, one a major sound killer with odd shaped room and lots of crowd noise and one a restored hall where big acts play just to see how much we can make it do.
Thanks again for all the help.
If you have any suggestions for a better setup where we do not have room on stage for both or otherwise for the venue described I would love to hear them.
Would it have worked to run only one PAS in such a small venue and use a mixer to get all six imputs? If so would we set the PAS on stage with us or in front of the stage or even 8-10 feet off the stage??

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