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Subject: Vocal Processor for the Stage


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Original Message 1/13             16-Feb-05  @  11:18 PM   -   Vocal Processor for the Stage

CydoniaCell

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Cheers everyone

I'm working in a new EBM/Industrial project. I know sounds, and synths and all that business, and honestly I've been makin' cyber/jungle/breakbeats etc for too long to admit... But I haven't spent any time with vocal processors. ANY!!!

SO the front man/ego of the project uses a guitar processor to effect his vocals. I'm not up on vocal processors, but I knew this would be a problem the minute I heard this. He insisted it was fine, and sensitive vocalist ego wasn't going to be argued with... so I said simply, "I don't like it"... and that was that.

We had a show this weekend and the feedback on the vocal mic was fuckin' impossible!!! Bear in mind this guy uses distortion, heavy flange or other types of modulation, and delays!!!

I'm thinkin', "Those Dancetech people know everything", (or they think they do...)

What you any of you reccomend? Now I know must of us around here don't DO vocals... I don't either... but I'm branching out, embracing something different, and where it comes to vocals I'm totaly at a loss.

Any ideas? I need a stage worthy vocal processor that isn't noisy as all hell, and won't produce NASTY feedback like the unbalanced POS the guy is attached to now!

Help a brotha....

e



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Message 2/13             17-Feb-05  @  09:01 AM     Edit: 17-Feb-05  |  09:15 AM   -   RE: Vocal Processor for the Stage

milan

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well... dunno much about vocal processors, but the feedback is probably caused by two things:

a) extreme frequency peaks caused by the fx processing,

and b) residual noise of the fx which is probably present constantly, not only when he speaks, right?

ok, thats not hard to figure out... but the question is whats your pa setup? do you guys use your own pa? do you have monitor speakers? how are they positioned? graphic eq? any other tools available?

i guess you could try the usual methods of combating feedback: a) eq-ing the sound on the board to taste, then inserting a 1/3rd octave graphic eq into his monitor chain to filter out problem frequencies, and using a gate/expander on the input of his fx unit to stop the fx from triggering the whole time because of mic bleed from other sources. if its a multi-fx box, then it probably already has one built in anyway. you should take some time to set the threshold carefuly, to make sure its a) not opening when its not supposed to, and b) not cutting of his vocs. that can be a bit of a bugger, but it can be worked out... esp. if you take care about mic placement on the stage (e.g., pointing away from any obvious sound sources such as speakers, amps etc...

if you have your own pa, i cant stress importance of good graphic eq enough! (preferably something better than behriger, but even that will help as they have built in leds on each band which can help you identify the problem frequencies).

also... i'm afraid that prety much any fx box will be noisy when using distortion/ flange w. heavy feedback/ etc... its the nature of those fx isnt it.

and also... you may want to try a feedback supressor unit on him too... i'll be honest and say i dont know anyone in the live arena who would use them, but according to magazines they can get the job done. there are some cheaper models from dbx etc which got good reviews in the mags, so maybe try to borrow one from someone for testing.

well... hope some of this will give you an idea as to what you can do  

it really would be nice to know what your live setup is tho!



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Message 3/13             17-Feb-05  @  10:08 AM   -   RE: Vocal Processor for the Stage

k

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just get a feedback destroyer.... or try a freq concious gate - but something like this:

http://www.dancetech.com/aa_dt_new/shop/edit.cfm?product_id=152974&carrywith=/aa_dt_new/shop/shop.cfm?type=sp


has a gate built in

___________________________________

I had an idea for a script once. It's basically Jaws except when the guys in the boat are going after Jaws, they look around and there's an even bigger Jaws. The guys have to team up with Jaws to get Bigger Jaws.... I call it... Big Jaws!!!



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Message 4/13             17-Feb-05  @  02:37 PM   -   RE: Vocal Processor for the Stage

craig

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Simply can't use distortion on stage without some way of keeping it out of the monitors. Think about how distortion works... It's like taking the gain knob on the mic pre and turning it all the way up.. Yup, feedback. You'll either want to use in-ears (which carry their own dangers of hearing loss if feedback does occur), or if you've got competent sound people send them a dry and wet signal, wet to the mains, dry to the monitors.

Another option is to vocode with noise instead of using distortion. Similar sound, no chance of feedback caused by vocoding.



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Message 5/13             17-Feb-05  @  08:35 PM   -   RE: Vocal Processor for the Stage

CydoniaCell

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Cheers you guys...

I appreciate the input... (and this guys not going to like being told that he just CAN'T use distortion on vocals... "Skinny Puppy does it, Psychlon 9 does it, Even Nine Inch Nails..." we've had this discussion, hehehe)...

but, yeah... the DBX feedback eliminator didn't even come close to helping. It killed a few channels but this is some disharmonious and aggressive feedback!!!

The show in question used house sound in a small room. But then, most of our venues will be relatively small, it's an underground sound (especially in the States). I have 4 JBL 125's (500 watts) and a pair of Crown CE1000's. The vocal monitor is a JBL 112 wedge (250 watts) ... and I monitor on a JBL EON15 (175 watts) I sub mix all the music at the rig and go out to house, and he runs vocals through the horribly noizy vocal processor and then to a compressor/gate and out to house. Again, most venues are clubs with house sound, and the result is that my PA is usually unwelcome/unnecessary.

Isn't EQ going to need to be set and changed on a room by room basis? Sounds like we need a dedicated sound guy... I'm not opposed to this at all, but I hoped to blame this problem on the vocalists shitty processor. Sounds like it's a bigger issue than i thought.

Again, I'm new to vocals here. I'm on the back end of this curve... And I'm seriously considering just going back to breaks and hard trance...!!! hehehe

thanks

e



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Message 6/13             17-Feb-05  @  08:37 PM   -   RE: Vocal Processor for the Stage

CydoniaCell

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oooh. vocode with noize... hmmm... nice trick... I'll look at that...

We vocode quite a bit, and My vocode mic is about 3 feet from my EON monitor and we don't get ANY feedback there...

thanks for that Craig.

e



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Message 7/13             17-Feb-05  @  09:36 PM   -   RE: Vocal Processor for the Stage

craig

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I should charge for that tip  

Let me guess, your vocalist is using a DOD VoTec

The way that NIN and Puppy and everyone else gets away with it is by using different monitor and mains mixes, and in most cases these bands use in-ears. Both of these methods prevent overdriven sound from getting back through the mic which is what causes your feedback. Actually, when you go to a KMFDM show they do NOT use distortion on the vocals live, although it's all over the records. What you could do is run his mic into your board and out through the monitor mix, then run the vocals out of a send through the vocal processor to the house. This assumes you're powering your own monitors and not using the club's. Even that might not work if the room/stage is small enough. You've got to prevent leakage from the speakers back into the mic.

Now, I don't know about where you are, but around here sound guys are cantankerous creatures who don't get paid enough to listen to all the shitty emo that gets played in their club, so convincing these people that they need to do anything beyond the ordinary is near impossible. You better have your shit totally together before you start running vocal effects through their PA or they're libale to either turn your vocalist down so low you can't hear him, or just let the fucker squeal.



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Message 8/13             17-Feb-05  @  10:54 PM   -   RE: Vocal Processor for the Stage

damballah

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yeah, if you want anything special, you gotta have your own guy and not the club's house guy. Craig covered quite a lot of it. Some guys I know have both the provided vocal channel, the usual 58, to the board and also have a guitar amp with some stomp boxes fed by a green bullet harmonica mic that he sings into for effected vocals and that sucker is miked up but with little to no foldback into the monitors. then again, when I saw the butthole surfers many years ago, gibby haynes had a bunch of toys he was running his mic through and playing with himself, so it may be a matter of skill, too.



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Message 9/13             21-Feb-05  @  11:56 AM   -   RE: Vocal Processor for the Stage

k

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but adding distortion is not the same as adding OVERDRIVE - overdrive will increase the gain and feedback will occur, but distortion just breaks up the signal & makes if distorted. The two are not the same.

___________________________________

I had an idea for a script once. It's basically Jaws except when the guys in the boat are going after Jaws, they look around and there's an even bigger Jaws. The guys have to team up with Jaws to get Bigger Jaws.... I call it... Big Jaws!!!



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Message 10/13             21-Feb-05  @  02:08 PM   -   RE: Vocal Processor for the Stage

craig

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Well, you can get right up on stage and try it K   Most distortion boxes do make their sound from clipping something so...

Actually, someone I know claims those old single rackspace zooms don't cause feedback. You could also try one of those heinous sounding digital distortion boxes from the 80s.



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