|DJ system designer/builder extraordinaire Terry McNeil wants maximum headroom and clarity with no feedback or distortion - and for that, he uses Sabine's FBX Feedback Exterminators. "A lot of guys who do these festivals and parties don't know about Sabine," states McNeil. "They're busy doing different things trying to get rid of the feedback, and I tell them you gotta try using FBX," he continues.
McNeil designs and manages large outdoor electronic music festivals, as well as consults on nightclub installations and upgrades. "Basically, I am bridging the gap between the big festival and the nightclubs ... and with that comes a lot of issues with feedback, specifically with turntable feedback because the music that is coming out now is really bass heavy," he asserts. "Rather than using a 31-band EQ and notching out all the sound," McNeil advises, "I keep the headroom and clarity to a maximum using Sabine's FBX-2020Plus and FBX-SOLO - and they work great!"
McNeil cites the increased size and power of today's sound systems as the reason for feedback problems. "You combine a big sound system with some bass-heavy music, and you're in for a standing wave of bass that will roll across the turntable headshell and blast the room with feedback," states McNeil. His company, Futuristic Entertainment Technologies, Inc., has designed and run sound for several large-scale music festivals and arena shows in the South Florida area. These include Cyber Fes, three years of Ultra Beach, ULTRA 2000 and ULTRA3 Electronic Music Festivals, two years of the Powerhouse arena shows and two years of "Intergalactic Beats" at ZetaFest. "Ultra Festival was a concert/dance party hybrid", recalls McNeil, "with two tents equipped with decent-sized sound systems, and one big main stage with a 24-stack NEXO sound system." McNeil's used the Sabine FBX-2020Plus to keep the gain structure high so that the people manning the mixers on stage would not have to run their mix into the red, thereby causing distortion. "The one thing we noticed was that we had stage rumble because the subs were on sound wings connected to the stage," McNeil states. "But that soon disappeared when we let the FBX-2020Plus do its work." The FBX-2020Plus has 24 independent digital notch filters (12 per channel) and Sabine's patented ClipGuard Adaptive Clip Level Control, which allows the FBX-2020 to accept input signals up to 27 dBV without clipping, increasing the effective dynamic range to 105 dB. Sabine Feedback Exterminators typically find and eliminate feedback in less than half a second.
According to McNeil, nightclubs present another difficulty. Although the DJ is usually isolated from the sound system, most clubs like to have two or three wireless mics for stage acts. McNeil solves the resulting feedback problem by using a Sabine FBX-SOLO Feedback Exterminator for each mic. "The FBX-SOLO instantly cuts out the feedback, without taking away from the sound," McNeil asserts. The FBX-SOLO 820 Series has eight FBX filters controlled automatically. FBX-SOLO SM-820 has two XLR-3 PIN balanced connectors, while the FBX-SOLO SL-820 has two ¼" TRS connectors.
Feedback Exterminators are not the only Sabine equipment on McNeil's DJ essential-tool list. "I started using Sabine back in the summer of 1997 with the Sabine FBX-2020 and FBX-SOLO. I have also used the Sabine Real-Q [Real-time Adaptive Equalizer]. The main thing that we looked at was the Real-Q's ability to automatically adjust for temperature, humidity and crowd density - and it worked great!"