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Obviously, my post did not clarify my views. Your points are all valid. We could argue offline the different DSPs out there. I am partial to nion, London and the dBx Driverack 4800. I have not used a Sabine in 12 years.
My point is not to avoid DSPs. As said above, I never do a system without one. My point was that having worked for one of those reputable national contractors, and being forced to use an FBX901 on every system, no matter the design, I became a little bitter toward them. After 5 months or so, I would go back to an install and scratch my head trying to figure out why things sounded bad, usually, the bypass button fixed them.
I think they have a place, but I think we use them too easily. It was like they were somehow the big read EASY button for audio. My position is always to use any and all processing tools with caution because everything we do to audio signals electronically has a trade off.
I did not intend to offend anyone. The post brought up some bad memories and I have a few hot buttons with the "easy" fix. If I did offend you, I am sorry.
Sounds like the problems with using feedback eliminatros frequently fall under two situations:
-Putint the unit on the whole mix
-Leaving the unit unlocked so they are constantly seeking feedback. As a result the filters are getting wider and deeper.
I admit a feedback eliminator is a bandaid solution. But sometimes it's the only feasable solution. If you are going to use a feedback eliminator try to:
-Use it on a single channel or a sub group
-Knock out the first x number of frequencies and then lock it down
I've used feedback eliminators on choir mics and lapel mics only. Both are the most challenging sound reinforcement tasks because it's fighting physics. I use them to increase GBF because they do a better job than 31 band graphic EQ.
Feedback eliminators are a compromise of GBF and musical quality. I've found them helpfull when I don't have a digital board to work with.
Every system I've put together now in the last 3 years has had DSP with a feedback exterminator in the line. Granted, I'll only spec Sabine or dbx, because IMO they are the best.
If configured properly, it should be nearly transparent. I've only ever had one guy say he could hear the difference and he was wrong. He said it was on when it was off, and vice versa. I don't leave any live filters at config, everything gets fixed. The FBX doesn't even come into play until the room has been properly RTA'd.
Once set up, I've usually got to crank the system to an extreme level to make it feedback to even set the filters. On average, I'd say I'm 15-20dB over the standard performance level before feedback, unless some chucklehead aims a mic at a speaker.
Thanks for all the input on this topic.
I thought I would update my original post. We did go ahead and use the dbx DriveRack PA processor's feedback suppression function on the entire mix for our Palm Sunday service. The service was comprised of the choir singing to an accompaniment DVD that included the music for the songs. Our choir is approximately 25 people. During rehearsal last Wednesday, the sound guys tried to push the choir mics to boost the choir volume, but they started feeding back. We took a quick break, they ran the config on the DriveRack (8 fixed notches, 4 "roving") and then we came back to complete the rehearsal. They were then able to get significantly more volume from the choir mics.
The sound guys think they could hear a slight difference in the fullness of sound coming from the DVD, but the increased volume from the choir more than made up for this difference. We will use the same set-up for the Good Friday/Easter programs this weekend since it is basically the same components.
We are concerned of what the notches could do to the mix when we have the normal worship service, complete with live praise band, so we are planning to purchase a Sabine FBX unit to put on the choir mics for the future.
Again, thanks for all your help.
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