HELP! In Ear Mixer Problems (also using the Roland SPD SX)

Moonman

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Hello all, I've put this in the Electronic thread due to the SPD SX, but it might need to be in the General section.

It was one of the best and worst nights in my 30 years of gigging... I had an unfortunate experience using my Behringer Eurorack Mixer / In Ears / and SPD SX setup alongside my full kit and could use your help identifying the problem.
I've used this setup 4 times successfully and never had any problems, until now. To make things worse, it was a sold out show; totally packed house. The first gig we've had since Covid hit. It was likely the best venue in the state and a room I've played over 100 times (just not with in-ears except for twice).

PROBLEM: I couldn't get the levels right on anything coming into the mixer and ultimately had to turn them all down to the point I couldn't hear anything at all except what my actual ears could detect from the room. Everything coming through my mixer to my in-ears had crazy high levels and effects on them and sounded nothing like anything I've ever experienced. I honestly don't know if there was a limiter of some sort that was cutting everything off or where the source of the problem could have been. I have another gig like this coming up in a month and absolutely have to solve this problem before then, whether it means buying new gear or figuring out what went wrong so I can be assured it will NEVER happen again.

The Good News: No one else noticed but me. Thankfully, I knew the material well enough that I basically played the show by myself without hearing a single note from the bass, vocals, guitar, etc. It was a frightening experience, BUT somehow it worked.

The setup:
I had two XLRs coming into the Behringer mixer from FOH (lines 1 and 2) instead of a wedge and was running one 1/4" line to the house DI - from the engineer's standpoint everything sounded great (at least that's what he told me). No complaints from anyone out front or other band members. I was running the SPD SX Master Out to FOH and the headphone jack out from the SPD SX to the mixer line 3/4 and had my in-ears coming out of the phones jack from the mixer.

Are there any specific buttons on this mixer that could've caused this? Does any of this sound remotely familiar? I'm truly stumped, somewhat embarrassed, and horrified all at the same time.

I'm not sure if any of this is making sense, but it's very difficult for me to explain. I appreciate any help or input you're willing to give.
 

bpaluzzi

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It sounds like the mix that the engineer gave you was too hot. Was it a powered output (expecting a speaker load on the other end)? Were you using TRS or TS cables?
 

Moonman

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It sounds like the mix that the engineer gave you was too hot. Was it a powered output (expecting a speaker load on the other end)? Were you using TRS or TS cables?
First, thank you for responding! I've had to swallow my pride a bit to make this post.

Was it a powered output (expecting a speaker load on the other end)? I'm not sure what you mean exactly -- I'm admittedly a novice in this regard. Our old bass player was also a sound guy and loved checking drums for me when I gigged with a hybrid kit so it was never a problem.


TRS or TS cables? I believe I was using a balanced cable (TRS) through the Master Out from the SPD SX to FOH. It's very possible that I may have accidentally used an unbalanced TS cable to go from my Headphone out (SPD SX) to the mixer. Do you think this is where I may have gone wrong?
 

bpaluzzi

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Thanks for the details -- just so I can get a better picture, can you confirm that the set up was like this:

- Main output of SPD-SX (L/Mono): 1/4" TS --> DI Box --> FOH mixer
- Headphone output of SPD-SX: 1/4" TRS --> "L" channel of input 3/4 on your submixer
- Aux / monitor output of FOH mixer --> XLR (x2) --> Channel 1 and Channel 2 of your submixer

When you say your mix was blown out -- was this the monitor mix coming from the front of house, the sounds from your SPD-SX, or both?

For the question about the powered output / speaker load -- I'm trying to figure out if it was coming from an amplifier or not. If it was a signal that was meant to go into a passive speaker (one without an onboard amplifier -- the only connection would be the speaker cable, not a power cord), then it would be way too hot for your submixer. This type of signal would generally not be sent on an XLR, but it's possible with some cable makeups to get there. 9 times out of 10 though, an XLR cable for a monitor means that it's meant to go into a powered speaker (has an onboard amplifier - two connections to the speaker: a speaker cable and a power cord), which _should_ be okay for your submixer (although it'd be running a line-level signal through the microphone preamplifiers, so you'd still have to set all of your gains + levels pretty low).


If it's only the sounds from the SPD-SX that were blown out, that's a relatively straightforward fix -- you were running a stereo signal into a mono balanced input, so you were only getting the phase-inverted difference in your mix (that is, only the things that were different from the L and R halves of the stereo mix -- anything that was panned to the center would be completely removed). To connect this properly, either:
1. use a TRS-to-dual-TS cable (a "Y-cable" or "insert cable" is what you'll see if marketed as), plugging the TRS side into the headphone out and the TS sides into both channels 3 (L) and 4 (R) on the mixer.
2. use a TS-to-TS cable (standard "instrument" or "guitar" cable) and plug from the R main output of the SPD-SX into the channel 3 (L) input on the mixer. For this to work, you should pan all of your sounds on the SPD-SX to dead center though. This means that master out L will go to the DI box --> FOH mixer, and master out R (an exact copy, if you pan to the center) will go to your submixer. This doesn't work if you use the SPD-SX click, though, so if you do that, then use the previous (headphones w/ y-cable)
 

Geardaddy

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I can see several potential issues in your setup. And also that it should be able to be resolved.

First, why are you running a headphone signal from your SPD SX to an input on your Behringer mixer? That is just not a good idea (headphones should be the only thing plugged into a headphone output). To monitor the SPD SX output, run a 1/4" cable out of the SPD SX to the house DI and another one back from the house DI to your mixer. That way you have the same signal going to both mixers. Virtually all DI boxes have two 1/4" jacks for that purpose.

Second, what kind of signal was being sent to you on each of the 2 XLR's you are getting from the FOH? Two different signals? Left and right? Without knowing that, it's difficult to say if that is where your problem was coming from or not. But it's a good place to look. As a previous responder stated, the signal could have been too hot or the wrong type (speaker level vs line level). Did you ask for effects on the signal coming from the FOH? In other words, what are you trying to monitor on your Behringer mixer from the FOH mixer? Once that is determined, it will be easier to advise you on what to ask for the next time.
 

Moonman

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Thanks for the details -- just so I can get a better picture, can you confirm that the set up was like this:

- Main output of SPD-SX (L/Mono): 1/4" TS --> DI Box --> FOH mixer
- Headphone output of SPD-SX: 1/4" TRS --> "L" channel of input 3/4 on your submixer
- Aux / monitor output of FOH mixer --> XLR (x2) --> Channel 1 and Channel 2 of your submixer

When you say your mix was blown out -- was this the monitor mix coming from the front of house, the sounds from your SPD-SX, or both?

For the question about the powered output / speaker load -- I'm trying to figure out if it was coming from an amplifier or not. If it was a signal that was meant to go into a passive speaker (one without an onboard amplifier -- the only connection would be the speaker cable, not a power cord), then it would be way too hot for your submixer. This type of signal would generally not be sent on an XLR, but it's possible with some cable makeups to get there. 9 times out of 10 though, an XLR cable for a monitor means that it's meant to go into a powered speaker (has an onboard amplifier - two connections to the speaker: a speaker cable and a power cord), which _should_ be okay for your submixer (although it'd be running a line-level signal through the microphone preamplifiers, so you'd still have to set all of your gains + levels pretty low).


If it's only the sounds from the SPD-SX that were blown out, that's a relatively straightforward fix -- you were running a stereo signal into a mono balanced input, so you were only getting the phase-inverted difference in your mix (that is, only the things that were different from the L and R halves of the stereo mix -- anything that was panned to the center would be completely removed). To connect this properly, either:
1. use a TRS-to-dual-TS cable (a "Y-cable" or "insert cable" is what you'll see if marketed as), plugging the TRS side into the headphone out and the TS sides into both channels 3 (L) and 4 (R) on the mixer.
2. use a TS-to-TS cable (standard "instrument" or "guitar" cable) and plug from the R main output of the SPD-SX into the channel 3 (L) input on the mixer. For this to work, you should pan all of your sounds on the SPD-SX to dead center though. This means that master out L will go to the DI box --> FOH mixer, and master out R (an exact copy, if you pan to the center) will go to your submixer. This doesn't work if you use the SPD-SX click, though, so if you do that, then use the previous (headphones w/ y-cable)
I'm pretty sure that I had the TS and TRS cables switched from what you've listed above like this: If I'm wrong, which is entirely possible, maybe this is my problem. I do know when I told the engineer I was having some trouble in sound check he said he was "getting everything just fine and it could be a cable or something." We had to leave for the first act to come in and it was never truly solved.

- Main Output of SPD-SX (L/Mono): 1/4" TRS (I know the cable literally says 'balanced' on it) --> DI Box --> FOH mixer
- Headphone output of SPD-SX: 1/4" TS --> "L" channel of input 3/4 on your submixer
- Aux / monitor output of FOH mixer --> XLR (x2) --> Channel 1 and Channel 2 of your submixer

When you say your mix was blown out -- was this the monitor mix coming from the front of house, the sounds from your SPD-SX, or both? Both were off, but in different ways.
The mix from FOH was uncontrollably loud and the sounds from the SPD-SX seemed to have massive amounts of delay and inconsistent volume. I do use the click from the Roland on a few songs that require loops.

For the question about the powered output / speaker load : I don't know what was being sent to me, I only know we were using my sub-mixer in place of the monitor wedge. The Behringer mixer itself does have a power chord and also a phantom power button. Again, it's not the first time I've used this setup with this engineer or venue. I think you may have hit the nail on the head, but will need you to confirm. Does this help?

Again, thank you for your time and help. If I can get this straightened out, I'm going to need your Venmo so I can send $ for some adult beverages on me.
 

bpaluzzi

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I'm pretty sure that I had the TS and TRS cables switched from what you've listed above like this: If I'm wrong, which is entirely possible, maybe this is my problem. I do know when I told the engineer I was having some trouble in sound check he said he was "getting everything just fine and it could be a cable or something." We had to leave for the first act to come in and it was never truly solved.

- Main Output of SPD-SX (L/Mono): 1/4" TRS (I know the cable literally says 'balanced' on it) --> DI Box --> FOH mixer
- Headphone output of SPD-SX: 1/4" TS --> "L" channel of input 3/4 on your submixer
- Aux / monitor output of FOH mixer --> XLR (x2) --> Channel 1 and Channel 2 of your submixer

When you say your mix was blown out -- was this the monitor mix coming from the front of house, the sounds from your SPD-SX, or both? Both were off, but in different ways.
The mix from FOH was uncontrollably loud and the sounds from the SPD-SX seemed to have massive amounts of delay and inconsistent volume. I do use the click from the Roland on a few songs that require loops.

For the question about the powered output / speaker load : I don't know what was being sent to me, I only know we were using my sub-mixer in place of the monitor wedge. The Behringer mixer itself does have a power chord and also a phantom power button. Again, it's not the first time I've used this setup with this engineer or venue. I think you may have hit the nail on the head, but will need you to confirm. Does this help?

Again, thank you for your time and help. If I can get this straightened out, I'm going to need your Venmo so I can send $ for some adult beverages on me.

Thanks for that -- I'd say that there were two issues then

1 - you were receiving a level that was way too hot for your mixer from FOH. This could have been a speaker-level output, but more likely was just a cranked line-level signal. If they can't reduce the signal from FOH at all, you may need to purchase an in-line pad to bring that level down. Something like the Whirlwind IMP Pad would work great for this

2 - you were taking a center-nulled stereo signal from the headphones out. either switch to a Y-cable from the headphones out, or use a TS cable from the R output (or from the DI's "link" output, as Geardaddy mentioned)

TRS from L output to DI shouldn't cause any problems, but a TS would be the "correct" cable for that use. The SPD-SX doesn't have any balanced outputs (which is why you need the DI in the first place)
 

Moonman

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I can see several potential issues in your setup. And also that it should be able to be resolved.

First, why are you running a headphone signal from your SPD SX to an input on your Behringer mixer? That is just not a good idea (headphones should be the only thing plugged into a headphone output). To monitor the SPD SX output, run a 1/4" cable out of the SPD SX to the house DI and another one back from the house DI to your mixer. That way you have the same signal going to both mixers. Virtually all DI boxes have two 1/4" jacks for that purpose.

Second, what kind of signal was being sent to you on each of the 2 XLR's you are getting from the FOH? Two different signals? Left and right? Without knowing that, it's difficult to say if that is where your problem was coming from or not. But it's a good place to look. As a previous responder stated, the signal could have been too hot or the wrong type (speaker level vs line level). Did you ask for effects on the signal coming from the FOH? In other words, what are you trying to monitor on your Behringer mixer from the FOH mixer? Once that is determined, it will be easier to advise you on what to ask for the next time.
First, why are you running a headphone signal from your SPD SX to an input on your Behringer mixer? I was advised to set it up this way so only I could hear the click track that's assigned only the headphones. I suppose I could route the click through the Sub Out and achieve the same thing, but not 100% sure.

I think I was receiving left and right signals from the FOH. I didn't ask for any effects on the signal from FOH. I'm simply trying to replace the monitor wedge and using the Behringer mixer to do so (bass guitar, a touch of keyboard and guitars, a touch of vocals).

Thanks for your help.

PS - Ultimately I want this to be done properly and professionally. Clearly I'm the weak link in the chain here. I'm totally open to buying something better if it will achieve this purpose and eliminate the "ID10t" variable.
 

bpaluzzi

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First, why are you running a headphone signal from your SPD SX to an input on your Behringer mixer? I was advised to set it up this way so only I could hear the click track that's assigned only the headphones. I suppose I could route the click through the Sub Out and achieve the same thing, but not 100% sure.

I think I was receiving left and right signals from the FOH. I didn't ask for any effects on the signal from FOH. I'm simply trying to replace the monitor wedge and using the Behringer mixer to do so (bass guitar, a touch of keyboard and guitars, a touch of vocals).

Thanks for your help.

PS - Ultimately I want this to be done properly and professionally. Clearly I'm the weak link in the chain here. I'm totally open to buying something better if it will achieve this purpose and eliminate the "ID10t" variable.
The problem with the sub out on the SPD-SX is that it's either/or for a pad sound -- you can either have sounds come out of the main output OR the sub out, but not both. So you could route your click to the sub out, but you wouldn't hear any of the actual sounds. The headphone out is the only "premixed" output with both click + sounds available. (unless you route the click to the main output, but that's generally not useful)

The gear you have should absolutely do what you want -- I used a similar set up for years on tour. Once you get the proper cables sorted out, you should be good to go. You've done the hard part already! :)
 

nylontip

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I had this type of problem twice. Once with a Behringer 802 and once with a Yamaha mixer. As it turned out, the the foam case I had the mixers in,
depressed one of the various "push buttons" on the mixer and it severely effected the sound in to my in-ears.
Now I check all "push buttons" to make sure they're properly set and not inadvertently depressed by the case or in handling during set up.
I bring a small flashlight as well to help check my settings (since lighting is scarce in some places).
 

cruddola

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I had this type of problem twice. Once with a Behringer 802 and once with a Yamaha mixer. As it turned out, the the foam case I had the mixers in,
depressed one of the various "push buttons" on the mixer and it severely effected the sound in to my in-ears.
Now I check all "push buttons" to make sure they're properly set and not inadvertently depressed by the case or in handling during set up.
I bring a small flashlight as well to help check my settings (since lighting is scarce in some places).
I always had a few headlamps scattered about my cases and their batteries without fail.
 

Moonman

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Thanks for that -- I'd say that there were two issues then

1 - you were receiving a level that was way too hot for your mixer from FOH. This could have been a speaker-level output, but more likely was just a cranked line-level signal. If they can't reduce the signal from FOH at all, you may need to purchase an in-line pad to bring that level down. Something like the Whirlwind IMP Pad would work great for this
@bpaluzzi Would the Whirlwind IMP Pad - 20 db be the right choice, or would you suggest a different db number?
 

bpaluzzi

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Moonman

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bpaluzzi

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Thank you! Also, I'm going to upgrade my cables and make sure I have high quality backups and buy my own dual DI Box -- would you suggest active or passive?
Passive is fine. Active is generally only necessary for things like basses/guitars without any onboard preamplifiers.
 

VirgoStorm

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Cool, thx. Was just curious.
With that setup you are at the mercy of the monitor engineer for your mix, correct? (In this case foh)
And then basically eq-ing those 2 sends?
 

VirgoStorm

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Gotcha. Always a huge unknown and potentially frightening thing to have another human involved in your ears.

I'd say that was likely the issue, not your gear.

Previous poster correct imo, a limiter or attenuator probly the best solution.

Did this issue not get caught during sound check?
 


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