#1
Hi im a singer i havent been singing from much but i think im pretty descent i just have trouble when mixing through my PA Like i dont know how to get the best of my voice through it and i dont understand how does mixing the low mid and high frequencies work in certain cases please post all the tips that you know so we can all probably learn one or two things. I also wish to know about effect like reverb chorus etc
Thanks for your time.
#2
Stay away from the EQ, and all effects aside from compression, reverb, and occasionally delay.

You need barely any reverb, if more delay then reverb, because live theres natural reverb. Reverb is much more needed in a studio setting.

A tiny bit of quick delay can thicken your voice and held out notes a little, but it's a tool, not a crutch. Use it sparingly.

Compression is very nice, it essentially removes dynamics. When you whisper, it brings it to the level of normal singing when set right; when you yell the volume is 'squashed' and reduced back to normal singing level.

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Stay away from the EQ if you don't know what your doing, and the EQ is only really used on live singers voice if something is wrong (EX. It's the voice is so trebly it hurts your ears.) Maybe slight boosts on mids, but THATS IT. STAY AWAY.

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Chorus, flange, etc. On a voice, especially live is really cheesey. Don't do it.

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Finally, if your not satisfied with whats coming out of the speakers, it's not the speakers, it's the singing. You can have the best recorder and producer in the world, but if the talents not there, then the tone and sound won't be there. The best sound coming out of your PA is your clean voice.
Quote by Venice King
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#3
Reverb is one of those things that you should only notice when it's gone - if you can hear the reverb then there's usually too much.

I'd disagree about the EQ though, EQing is probably the most important part of getting the vocals right, however it isn't something that you should have to touch once it's been set in the soundcheck.
Actually called Mark!

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#4
Quote by Ghast

You need barely any reverb, if more delay then reverb, because live theres natural reverb. Reverb is much more needed in a studio setting.


Is it just me who disagrees?

The natural reverb you get from a PA speaker in a room is totally different to the natural reverb you would get with the human voice in a room. Different frequencies are amplified etc...

I agree that reverb is needed much more in a studio setting, but I'm pretty sure you also lose some of the natural reverb you would get with your voice.

I always though that when you sing, the whole point of learning to project using head/chest voice etc, is about resonance and creating a type of reverb...which can be partly lost when going through a PA.

I suppose it does depend more on the room you're in though...
#5
Projection helps your tone BIG TIME because it bounces around in your throat and sinuses before exiting your mouth.

PA Systems don't loose any natural reverb, because you really don't create natural reverb like your thinking of. What you sing, a microphone captures. The Natural Reverb you're thinking of is how the sound bounces around your head, amplifying and smoothing the voice, not actual studio reverb that leaves a distinct trail.

Sing a projected note; You don't hear any reverb trail in your head. You hear it coming from the room. Thats why you apply reverb in a studio setting; Your voice naturally has little to none (I'm trying to think of a way to explain the natural reverb your voice makes, so if you're still confused tell me and I'll try to re-explain it).

In a live setting, theres either TERRIBLE acoustics, in which case you want no reverb out of the PA system because it will sound like shit, or GREAT acoustics, in which you need almost none, because everything coming out of the PA system will get reverb'd.

If you add too much reverb, it comes out of the PA system, then bounces around the room, creating.... SUPERVERB! That sounds like shit. Makes everything sound muddy as hell.

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As for EQ, I didn't mean NO EQ, but it can only make up for slight gaps in the frequencies. EX: Theres a wall that sucks up all the treble, you can boost treble a little, to make up for that wall.

In EQ, you usually cut, not boost. EX: If a guitar is too hissy, or a voice to trebly, or something like that, you cut said frequency to fix the problem as best you can.

EQ will not make your voice by any means. If your voice doesn't sound good to begin with, EQ will not fix it. It can be used to make a room have flat frequencies, to make up for slight frequency deficiencies, or to cut annoying frequencies.

It is not a talent booster, and it is not god.
Quote by Venice King
Beethoven ****ed Jimi Hendrix and I was born. I make my own music.
Last edited by Ghast at Jun 15, 2010,
#6
In that case we're pretty much in agreement - although you can help a poor singer with judicious EQing. However, I've certainly found in my experience that the better a singer is the less effect EQing seems to have on their voice...if they're good they'll sound good regardless.

Once a room EQ is set I've sometimes had to boost or notch the mids on the desk for a certain singer but nothing more drastic than that.
Actually called Mark!

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#7
Quote by Ghast
Projection helps your tone BIG TIME because it bounces around in your throat and sinuses before exiting your mouth.

PA Systems don't loose any natural reverb, because you really don't create natural reverb like your thinking of. What you sing, a microphone captures. The Natural Reverb you're thinking of is how the sound bounces around your head, amplifying and smoothing the voice, not actual studio reverb that leaves a distinct trail.

Sing a projected note; You don't hear any reverb trail in your head. You hear it coming from the room. Thats why you apply reverb in a studio setting; Your voice naturally has little to none (I'm trying to think of a way to explain the natural reverb your voice makes, so if you're still confused tell me and I'll try to re-explain it).

In a live setting, theres either TERRIBLE acoustics, in which case you want no reverb out of the PA system because it will sound like shit, or GREAT acoustics, in which you need almost none, because everything coming out of the PA system will get reverb'd.

If you add too much reverb, it comes out of the PA system, then bounces around the room, creating.... SUPERVERB! That sounds like shit. Makes everything sound muddy as hell.


I think I've just been singing through a PA in rooms with shit acoustics!

I wasn't trying to argue with you, I just meant that sometimes reverb is a good thing to add because it makes up for a room with hardly any (full of soft furniture etc).

Like I said, depends on the room you're in...and the speakers you're coming out of...

When I sing, unamplified (but projected) in some rooms theres a noticable delay between when I stop and the reverb stopping (noticable to me at least). With a PA that doesn't always happen.
#8
I also got another problem sometimes when raising the volume to be able to hear myself above the drums and guitar I find myself getting high amounts of feed back any tips to reduce it? I've had bought already the best cables so it wont affect i set the speakers in front of the microphones so it wont create feedback and still got problem with the feedback volume relationship there is
#9
Quote by chainsawguitar
I think I've just been singing through a PA in rooms with shit acoustics!

I wasn't trying to argue with you, I just meant that sometimes reverb is a good thing to add because it makes up for a room with hardly any (full of soft furniture etc).

Like I said, depends on the room you're in...and the speakers you're coming out of...

When I sing, unamplified (but projected) in some rooms theres a noticable delay between when I stop and the reverb stopping (noticable to me at least). With a PA that doesn't always happen.


The reason it only happens in some rooms is because the sound waves reflect off the walls more of that room, creating a longer reverb. Dumb luck
Quote by Venice King
Beethoven ****ed Jimi Hendrix and I was born. I make my own music.
#10
Actually there is much more to this than you think. I'm not a singer but I've mixed and engineered for a lot of bands.

Obviously you can't make up for lack of talent but the mic's and PA and especially the monitors will all make a big difference to your performance.

Firstly mic's. They differ in frequency response even if the frequency range is the same. They also differ in their ability to handle feedback and their directional qualities and even in the distance from your mouth they are designed to work. Tiny frequency differences can make a huge difference in sound. Boosting sibilances will make every singer sound as if they have a lisp for example. The characteristics which separate your voice from every other human beings are due to small resonant peaks and troughs in frequency. Some mic's work well with some voices and not others so audition mics and be prepared to buy your own mic.

feedback avoidance is worth a whole article but some mics are much better than others at avoiding the problem. There are plenty of reviews around so start reading.

Learn mic technique. singing close to a mic boosts the bass as well as increasing the volume and you can control the volume and tonal balance at the same time by moving the mic.

It is really hard to EQ yourself so start with the controls flat and get a friend to twiddle but be aware that the setting that works will vary from room to room as they all have different sonic characteristics. Mainly eq works to iron out problems with the room, the mic and the PA speakers. The rule with eq is to use as little as you can get away with.

Not all PA speakers are good on voice frequencies where good clean mids are much more important than deep bass and sizzling treble.

Most importantly get yourself a decent set of monitors. You really won't even be able to sing in tune if you can't hear yourself and you really need to hear in a lot of detail if you are really going to be able to control all the vocal nuances that make or break a performance. I've heard really big bands sound dreadful because the monitoring is poor and I would say this is the biggest factor in most poor performances.

There is lots to think about and it can take years to really get good mic technique but reading will really help. You could look up my guide to PA in the columns as a start.

If you have any questions on the technology side of this I'll try to answer them
#11
Best way to avoid feedback.... rather than turning the vocals up, turn the other stuff that's too present in the mix DOWN!! Yes, down. Seriously.

Mics - the more cardiod (directional) a mic is, the less likely it is to feed back. Beware, though, because with a tighter polar pattern, the trade-off is that it is less forgiving for the singer who does not sing *directly* into it. (in other words, if you are a lead singer who doesn't play an instrument, great.... if you sing and play guitar, it takes a lot of effort to make sure you are focusing your voice directly on axis all the time so you don't fade in and out....)

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#12
Quote by axemanchris
Best way to avoid feedback.... rather than turning the vocals up, turn the other stuff that's too present in the mix DOWN!! Yes, down. Seriously.


If we're talking about live situations this can sometimes be impossible.

You can't assume that everything is going through the P.A....and I know with my band that if it was (guitars, basses, vocals) it would still have to be at high volume because of the drums.

You can't turn an acoustic kit down without having the drummer rock out slightly less.

So, yeh, turning other things down isn't always an option (obviously this doesn't apply in larger venues when everything is mic'd up so that it can be heard).
#13
Quote by axemanchris
Best way to avoid feedback.... rather than turning the vocals up, turn the other stuff that's too present in the mix DOWN!! Yes, down. Seriously.

Mics - the more cardiod (directional) a mic is, the less likely it is to feed back. Beware, though, because with a tighter polar pattern, the trade-off is that it is less forgiving for the singer who does not sing *directly* into it. (in other words, if you are a lead singer who doesn't play an instrument, great.... if you sing and play guitar, it takes a lot of effort to make sure you are focusing your voice directly on axis all the time so you don't fade in and out....)

CT

+1 for this advice, and whilst the drummer doesn't have a volume switch an experienced drummer can still rock at different sound levels.

If the band are so loud that they can't really hear you singing clearly a foot(30cm) away then no mic on earth is going to be able to hear you clearly anyway. Any band that blast away at volumes that drown out the singer is still very much an amateur band.

Super Cardiod and Hyper Cardioid mikes have a narrower pick up than cardiods but at the expense of a little sensitivity from behind. If you use these then your monitors need to be behind the mic but very much to the side. The other thing to do would be to buy a vocal processor (£150) which will add compression to your voice and help you cut through the mix giving your voice more presence.