Digitally Mixing Modern Worship Part 3: Life with the GLD-80

About four months ago I began this series on digitally mixing modern worship with a post about getting started with the GLD-80. I thought it was time for a short post on how “life with the GLD-80” has been over the last few months, so here goes:# Volunteer Friendliness
Unless you’re working for a “mega-church” you probably don’t have staffed audio engineers. Neither do we. When considering a new console, friendliness to volunteer audio engineers is really important. I’m not always able to be the one behind the desk, so having a desk I know I can quickly train a non-professional to use effectively is important.

Shows, Scenes and Presets

Since installing the GLD-80 I’ve begun to depend more and more on presents, especially when it comes to training and empowering volunteer staff. Since most (okay… none) of our Sunday audio engineers have official schooling on audio engineering and I don’t have the time (or ability, honestly) to teach professional audio engineering, we have to depend on presets to help make things easier.
I’ve created presets for each of our regular musicians and vocalists, and all of our engineers use the same saved show every week which contains all our effects and routing. This is a huge time saver. On Sunday morning all the engineer has to do is load up the show and recall the presets for the musicians and vocalists performing in that set. At that point they are 90% of the way there. This leaves lots of time for learning the set (lead instruments and vocalists) and fine-tuning things (EQ’s and effects).
I highly recommend that unless you have full-time staff, you have all your engineers share presets and shows. That way every week builds off the tweaks and improvements from the previous week’s changes and you can all make improvements to the overall “sound” of your church’s worship as a team. Giving each engineer their own layout or routing puts you all into silos and removes the huge potential teamwork benefits digital consoles offer.

Tip Share presets and shows! It’ll help you improve your overall sound week to week, and keep your whole team on the same page.

Live Audio Quality

Overall I’ve been blown away by the mixes we’ve been getting from the GLD-80. I’d like to say it’s because I’m just an incredible engineer, but really it’s because of the great features and effects the GLD-80 comes with.

Multi-stage Processing

The GLD-80 can make it incredibly easy to get a good basic mix. They key is using many, many stages of compression and processing to help smooth things out and give you a good foundation to work with.

Tip Utilize the many stages of processing and compression the GLD-80 offers. It’ll help keep your mix smooth, balanced and clear without being piercing or requiring constant fader-riding.
To give you an example what I’m talking about, here are the stages of compression our lead vocal channel goes through:

1. MultiBD compressor 4

First, there is an insert on the DSP channel that routes the audio through the MultiBD compressor just after the gate. I use this to help crush common problem frequencies:
Multiband lead vocal compression
The main thing is taking out those high mids that often cause the vocal to sound piercing or harsh, especially if you have a dynamic female lead.

2. Channel compressor

Next we hit the channel’s compressor. I’m using the 16T model with the following settings:
Lead vocal 16T channel compression

3. Group bus MultiBD compression

Thirdly, the lead vocal is grouped in with the rest of the vocals in a subgroup, and the first thing that happens there is another round of multiband compression:
Group multiband compression

4. Group bus compressor

Finally, the vocal group is compressed as a whole using the 16T model compressor:
Group 16T compression
This stage helps keeps the vocals even as a group. Instead of simply compressing the lead vocal during a dynamic jump, the entire vocal group is compressed to keep the balance consistant.


Similar signal chains are used for each instrument, but the point is that when you take advantage of the incredible processing capability of the GLD, it makes your life easier.

Dante

I wrote a whole seperate post addressing Dante. Dante helps clean up noise and reduce the need for analog inputs on your stage or at the GLD. If you don’t have it yet, get the Dante Virtual Soundcard and use it for all your digital audio.

Recording

We aren’t producing live recordings or anything, but we do record a stereo bus every week, and the GLD has certainly helped with this.
I have our recording bus set up as an aux, with almost every channel set to be in the aux post-fader at unity (0 dB). This means the recording is basically a copy of the main mix.
Then I set a couple of channels (room mics, emcee mics, etc) as pre-fade and mix them manually to make sure they sit correctly in the recording bus.
I also use a bus compressor to help keep the overall recording level as “normalized” as possible to minimize the amount of post-processing we need to do.

19 Comments

  1. Nicholas Jackson June 5, 2019 at 1:03 am

    Hey Ryan,
    Thanks for putting these articles together on the GLD. I really like how you have it setup! However, I am not exactly understanding how you are routing a few things. For example, how do you route groups? Is the lead vocal assiged to LR or only to a group? Also, when inserting the multiband compression on the lead vocal, you are using an FX slot and now can’t use it for anything else. How does that work for you? Thanks for your thoughts!

    Reply
    1. Ryan - Site Author June 5, 2019 at 8:20 am

      Glad you appreciated them! You’re right about group routing. If you’re using a mix group to do compression or something on audio like a group of vocals, you’ll likely want to route those channels only to the subgroup, and then route that group into the mains. I end up using the group bus as a way of mixing groups of instruments, drums, or vocals as well. Hope that helps.

      And yes, you’re right: in our set up we have two reverbs, a delay, and 5 multiband compressors, which we use on three vocal channels as inserts, and then on the vocal group bus as an insert and our drum bus as an insert. Honestly, we may be the only ones in the world doing that much dynamic processing, but I really find it makes our vocals much smoother and easier to mix–which is especially nice since all of our mix engineers are volunteers with very little training.

      Hope that all helps!

      Reply
      1. Luis May 29, 2020 at 7:21 am

        I have a question. On the GLD, are you limited to 48 inputs? Or are you able to access more inputs using the Dante card (64 i/o)? I saw your article over running Waves-tune with the GLD and we’re a bit tight on channel count to be able to use your method of routing a mic to 2 separate ins. Thank you.

        Reply
        1. Ryan - Site Author February 5, 2021 at 11:33 am

          Luis, so sorry I didn’t see this sooner–not sure how it got missed!

          That’s an interesting question. On the GLD, you are limited to 48 input channels in terms of the board’s ability to process a channel as an input. Interestingly, the GLD’s patch bay DOES allow you to route a signal from an input (either dSnake or I/O port or any other input) to an output (again, dSnake, I/O port, etc.) WITHOUT using one of the 48 input channels. This sounds a bit like magic, but it comes in very handy if you want to use the GLD as an intermediary to route signals from a preamp to Dante, but you don’t want to use an input channel.

          Whether or not this will resolve your issue depends a bit on how you run monitors. If you’re using the ME system (like we do), you could route the pre-amped vocal signal to the Monitor output to get a non-tuned vocal to your signer, and then run the pitch correction as a channel insert on the vocal channel itself. This gives you a clean vocal signal for the stage, but doesn’t use up an extra input channel on the GLD.

          Hope that helps!

          Reply
  2. Nicholas Jackson June 5, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Hey Ryan,
    This is super helpful!
    Since you are using inserts and that FX can only be used for that channel, how do you not run out of FXs since you can only use 8 at a time?

    Would you be willing to share your show file so I can look through your routing? We have a very lively room and I too need that much dynamic processing.

    Reply
    1. Ryan - Site Author June 5, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      Of course, you can get it from here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wvHv003Zlloy4vkmgHqzhPPcfzpy07ic&authuser=ryan@hcfcornwall.ca&usp=drive_fs.

      We’re only using two reverbs and a delay, so those three along with the 5 multiband is how we use our 8. There are lots of other great effects you can use, but we just find that this is the best way to utilize the 8 slots we get. How you decide to use your 8 is really going to depend on your instruments/vocals and room!

      Reply
  3. Nicholas Jackson June 5, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Ryan,
    You are super helpful and quick to reply. I am very fortunate to have found your site. Thanks for your kingdom work mate.

    Reply
    1. Ryan - Site Author February 5, 2021 at 11:33 am

      My pleasure!

      Reply
  4. Nicholas Jackson June 6, 2019 at 2:54 am

    Ryan,
    I have been rummaging through your setup and this is very helpful. Question: Why are you using Direct Out for port out instead of the input sockets. Can’t the sound change when coming back into the board this way? I always keep my digital trim at zero so perhaps this shouldn’t matter?

    Reply
    1. Ryan - Site Author June 6, 2019 at 8:20 am

      Good question! To be honest I wasn’t sure what you meant at first, because I didn’t realize you could patch input sockets directly as an output! 😂🤯 Thanks for enlightening me. I think in just about all cases, using input sockets makes more sense, and honestly, I think I’ll switch to that now!

      I’d say the only downside is that (for us at least) the input sockets don’t always map to the same actual input. I might re-patch a vocal for example to a different dSnake channel. If you use input direct outs, you can have a Logic (or other program) template that matches all your inputs intuitively, and even if you re-patch the source for that input, your template is still going to work. If you use input sockets and move the source for an input, that input (say “vocal 1”) isn’t going to match on your template anymore.

      Reply
  5. Luis May 29, 2020 at 7:23 am

    I have a question. On the GLD, are you limited to 48 inputs? Or are you able to access more inputs using the Dante card (64 i/o)? I saw your article over running Waves-tune with the GLD and we’re a bit tight on channel count to be able to use your method of routing a mic to 2 separate ins. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Ryan - Site Author May 29, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Good question: no, unfortunately you’re still limited to 48 (we’re pretty close to full too). Alternatively, you can run pitch correction by using Ableton as an insert on those channels which doesn’t require any additional inputs. You’ll just have to make sure your monitor feeds are pre-insert to ensure you aren’t sending tuned vocals back! I can give you more info if you’re interested.

      Reply
  6. Luis May 31, 2020 at 3:22 am

    Ah okay! We have a Dante network set up at my church. How would I configure inserts for my channels on Ableton using the Dante card without getting a feedback loop? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Ryan - Site Author June 9, 2020 at 1:00 pm

      It might be better if I walk you through this. Email your contact info to me@rythechurchtechguy.com and I’ll get you set up!

      If you’re looking for some quick steps, you’re going to open processing for the channel you want to pitch correct, go to the insert tab, and assign the output and input to I/O port channels. Then you’ll use Dante Controller to map the I/O port output on the GLD to the Ableton input on your pitch correction system, and the output of that Ableton system to the input I/O port on the GLD. So the signal flow is:

      Mic -> dSnake -> input channel on GLD -> insert output to Dante via GLD I/O port -> Ableton input from Dante -> pitch correction -> Ableton output to Dante -> insert input from Dante on GLD via I/O port.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  7. Graham Fosh February 4, 2021 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Ryan, thank you so much for taking the trouble to share this very useful information. A couple of questions:

    1. What is the difference between a subgroup and a group?

    2. We use up to 5-7 vocal mics in our church. We rarely use more than three, but we can’t predict which ones from one service to the next. Given the GLD-80’s limit of 8 FX channels, we can’t afford to insert FXs on all the individual channels. Is there a strong reason for inserting multi-band compression in vocal channels, rather than chaining them in the vocal group?

    3. Do you have any documentation that explains your particular choice of parameters on the compressors please?

    Thanks, Graham

    Reply
    1. Ryan - Site Author February 5, 2021 at 11:29 am

      Graham, glad you appreciated it!

      1. To be honest, I’m using those terms interchangeably. The GLD has “group” busses, and that’s what I’m referring to when I say group or subgroup. Unlike a DCA, it’s an actual audio bus that can be mixed, but unlike an aux bus, the mix levels are based on the “main” mix level.

      2. I generally only run insert multi band on our lead vocalists (because of the bus limit you mentioned). The benefit is that you can tailor the bands to the singer’s voice. For example, I find female vocals often benefit from more compression in the high-mids, but generally that isn’t as much of a challenge on male vocals. You can definitely do a lot with a bus compressor, it’s more making a decision of where you can best utilize those precious FX channels (reverbs, delays, insert effects, bus effects, etc.), so you really just need to decide what is best for you.

      3. I’m afraid not! Essentially I started flat, and then adjusted by ear based on the frequencies I found troublesome. I have found that our preset is subtle enough that I can use it on just about any properly-gained vocal as an insert without needing to tweak it, but I don’t have any particular documentation or methodology besides listening and adjusting. I dialled those in primarily using a multitrack playback, so I didn’t need a live vocalist and I could replay a song or part over and over until I was happy with the settings.

      Hope that helps! Happy to chat more if you think it’d be beneficial.

      Reply
      1. Graham F March 2, 2021 at 6:39 am

        Hi Ryan,

        That’s helpful, thanks. It has taken us several weeks to get our three groups set up, as we had to free up some auxes and matrices. I tried it on Sunday and the extra control was wonderful. There are a few things that I am interested in:

        1. I have been using the standard compressor and setting attack, release, soft knee… I have tried the other compressors a bit, but have not reached a clear view on them. Why do you prefer the 16T? Did you try the others – Manual Peak, Manual RMS, Auto Punchbag, Slow Opto or 16VU…?

        2. Have you tried Dynamic EQ4 as an alternative to the Multiband Compressor?

        Thanks,
        Graham

        Reply
        1. Ryan - Site Author March 2, 2021 at 8:02 am

          Hey Graham! Glad to hear it was helpful, thanks for that! Great to heart the groups were helpful.

          1. To be honest, I don’t have a strong opinion or preference. I haven’t spent enough time to really understand how the different models work and where they’re best put to use. I’m sure the 16T isn’t the best for all scenarios, and it may not even be the best where we’re using it! My guess is that I started with one of the GLD’s built-in presets for whatever channel type I was working with, and it used that model. Sorry I can’t help there!

          2. Same sort of answer here! I actually haven’t ever used a dynamic EQ. I will say that I know the Waves C4 plugin (a 4-band compressor very similar to the one on the GLD) is incredibly popular on live vocal chains, so I think that’s why I went with the multiband compressor and haven’t really given the EQ4 much of a try. Again, I’m sure there are scenarios where it’s a better tool for the job!

          If you do play with different models I’d love to hear what you find out! It’d be great to have some sort of a guide or a recommendation of which models to use for what scenarios!

          Reply
          1. Graham F March 2, 2021 at 4:14 pm

            Hi Ryan, the challenge is being able to hear what all these effects are doing. I have watched lots of YouTube videos, so I understand the theory. However, there are so many parameters to tweak, that it is easy to confuse oneself – or start making mistakes due to listening fatigue. I put in a budget request for a Dante card, so that I could remix tracks at my leisure after the service, but there was insufficient funding available.

            I have found that I can tell there is a difference when turning on DynEQ4 Vocal Fixit, for example. However, I find it harder to tell whether I prefer it to be on or off! We have quite a variety of singers – some more classical and some more chorus style. I suspect that the classical singers probably need less vocal correction, because their vocal technique is better.

            I have heard that you need to be careful with Multiband EQ, because it splits the signal into 3-4 separate bands, compresses each band independently and then sticks them back together. That can cause phase distortion, if you pick the wrong frequency boundaries and use it too aggressively – but can we or anybody in the congregation actually hear such distortion?

            Dynamic EQ, as its name suggests, adjusts the EQ dynamically, without splitting the signal, so there should be no distortion. My impression is that Dynamic EQ is more clinical and precise than multiband compression, so ideal for fixing a very specific problem.

            Every demonstration of Waves that I have heard on YouTube has really impressed me. I didn’t realise that the C4 was a multiband compressor, so I will give MultiBD4 another try.

            I’m still learning as I go along, but I’d be happy to share, if I find anything special.

            Thanks, Graham

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