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Live vocal FX done the right way?

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Ted Gravlin:
Looking for advice from the pro sound guys. Regional band touring as a tribute act. A couple steps above the local bar band playing for the drunks. But not with the budget to carry a crew with us.

How should I feed to FOH the specific vocal FX that my band would like for various parts of songs. In the same way that my guitar rig knows that the bridge of Song A needs a delay of exactly 456 ms, I'd like to be able to send the FOH a delay signal from our singer's mic. These would ideally be programmed to kick in various presets timed with our backing tracks using MIDI like most of our other gear.

And it's not even very often... just about 5-6 times in the set when things need to get a bit trippy for about 20 seconds. That will make it sound EXACTLY like the original artist.

Yes I know the stock answer is to let the FOH engineer do it. But they often miss the cues for specific sounds and special FX like super long specific delays that aren't just part of the "normal" vocal chain. Just like I wouldn't expect someone else to be switching my guitar tones an hour after we met.

We're already carrying our own IEM rack with an X32 rack and our own split snake. We could split the wireless mic signal in our rack from whatever source and send both a dry signal and then a "Special FX" line down the snake to FOH into a separate channel.

But what's a good unit to use that won't cause an eyeroll from the FOH engineer? We don't intend to mess with the rest of the signal path. Good FOH guys already handle reverb, slapback, compression etc just fine. Just add in the special stuff to the mix.

I guess i could run Waves or whatever but then I need yet another laptop to run Superrack and what not. I kinda like hardware solutions for being more bulletproof.

Any other suggestions are welcome.

Les Kanekuni:

--- Quote from: Ted Gravlin on April 06, 2024, 04:30:24 PM ---Looking for advice from the pro sound guys. Regional band touring as a tribute act. A couple steps above the local bar band playing for the drunks. But not with the budget to carry a crew with us.

How should I feed to FOH the specific vocal FX that my band would like for various parts of songs. In the same way that my guitar rig knows that the bridge of Song A needs a delay of exactly 456 ms, I'd like to be able to send the FOH a delay signal from our singer's mic. These would ideally be programmed to kick in various presets timed with our backing tracks using MIDI like most of our other gear.

And it's not even very often... just about 5-6 times in the set when things need to get a bit trippy for about 20 seconds. That will make it sound EXACTLY like the original artist.

Yes I know the stock answer is to let the FOH engineer do it. But they often miss the cues for specific sounds and special FX like super long specific delays that aren't just part of the "normal" vocal chain. Just like I wouldn't expect someone else to be switching my guitar tones an hour after we met.

We're already carrying our own IEM rack with an X32 rack and our own split snake. We could split the wireless mic signal in our rack from whatever source and send both a dry signal and then a "Special FX" line down the snake to FOH into a separate channel.

But what's a good unit to use that won't cause an eyeroll from the FOH engineer? We don't intend to mess with the rest of the signal path. Good FOH guys already handle reverb, slapback, compression etc just fine. Just add in the special stuff to the mix.

I guess i could run Waves or whatever but then I need yet another laptop to run Superrack and what not. I kinda like hardware solutions for being more bulletproof.

Any other suggestions are welcome.

--- End quote ---
IMO you are asking too much.  Imagine getting a new band member who had never rehearsed with you or heard the material and asking them to play specific things at specific points in songs.  It probably wouldn't work out too well.  Find some kind of pedal-controlled mute switch and have someone in the band un-mute the FX at the appropriate moments.

Ted Gravlin:

--- Quote from: Les Kanekuni on April 06, 2024, 04:50:41 PM ---IMO you are asking too much.  Imagine getting a new band member who had never rehearsed with you or heard the material and asking them to play specific things at specific points in songs.  It probably wouldn't work out too well.  Find some kind of pedal-controlled mute switch and have someone in the band un-mute the FX at the appropriate moments.

--- End quote ---

Actually I'm not asking the FOH engineer to mute or unmute or do anything at specific points at all. I'd like to control it from our own rig. Either from our backing track rig sending MIDI to our unit to select the proper FX patch and mute/unmute. OR I could send the same MIDI from my guitar rig MIDI controller. (pretend its just another guitar pedal)

The real question is what gear will decent good sound guys not reject out of hand? And how to connect to FOH? ( as I mentioned I'm assuming a dry channel and wet channel in their board would be best)

Don T. Williams:
A little bit more about your setup would be helpful.  What are you currently using MIDI with and for?  MIDI can be set up to change EFX parameters. The EFX sound you want can be set up in your X32 Rack and sent to the FOH engineer's console for him to mix into the house PA.  Just assign the EFX to an empty buss and patch that to a line going to FOH.  This would let you control whatever EFX sounds you like with the FOH engineer adding your EFX to his mix.  It might be best to go through a DI box or isolation transformer with the outgoing EFX signal.  Your X32 may not like the FOH consoles grounding or phantom power showing up on its output.

Tim McCulloch:
You may dislike the results but at least it will be for a different reason...

The one thing I never, ever want to see is a wet mix as the only source for the vocal.  As the house FOH guy, give me a dry-only vocal and a wet-only vocal.  I can mute the wet side when the singer speaks and otherwise adjust the balance as needed.  If it sounds sterile I may add a bit of reverb to the dry signal so it sounds like it's in the same acoustic space as the rest of the of sources.

In the end I don't really care how you do it.  If it sucks, it ain't my fault.  If it's great, I'll point to the band and say "the magic happens on the stage."

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