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Live vocal FX done the right way?

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Ted Gravlin:

--- Quote from: Don T. Williams on April 06, 2024, 05:27:49 PM ---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.

--- End quote ---

My guitar rig is 100% MIDI controlled. Fractal Audio Axe FX controlled by a MIDI controller pedalboard. This board also calls up presets on our laptop for backing track Playback and I have a button dedicated to start/stop. SO... for each song... I select the song from my pedal board. (usually its the next one in the bank since I try to program them in setlist order). Once a song is selected It sends out MIDI PC to the guitar rig and the laptop to make the proper patch changes. It also reconfigures the pedalboard as needed for the proper FX on/off states for each effect in the virtual world. There's no reason that some extra commands couldn't also be sent where it needs to go to set up vocal effects processing for that song also.

I thought about just using one of the X32 rack's FX units. (we're only using 2 of the 8 as it is) And that might be a great solution. As you said create the routing to send the FX out directly to one of the XLR outs and send it down the snake.

I guess I'm asking if anyone has a better solution ... as in "DUDE you need to check out one of THESE because they're awesome"

Ted Gravlin:

--- Quote from: Tim McCulloch on April 06, 2024, 06:04:09 PM ---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."

--- End quote ---

Definately wouldn't send only a wet signal.... It would be a dry signal (where the FOH guy would do his "normal" reverb ans whatnot.) And a separate wet channel that wouldn't even be active all that often. Probably just need to run the fader up and leave it alone. If things go to shit.... there's a mute button and the regular vocal is still running.

Matthias McCready:
Are you running Ableton? If so why not just record the vocal effects/parts and mix them ahead of time, and have that as a track channel hitting FOH?

This offers a few advantages:

1. it gives a wet (prerecorded)/dry(live)
2. The effects can be dialed in perfectly, and you may have access to better feeling tools - I can make the delay on the console in front of me work, but there are certainly some plugins I would prefer given the opportunity
3. No potential for feedback, or any other weird issues - as a FOH engineer I would be leery a vocal effects unit for just this reason, even when in parallel what has been outputed has not always been inherently useful.
4. Delays tend to pickup drums and all sorts of room stuff, this would clean the effect up a lot, allowing it to be cleaner.
5. It gives FOH the ability to control the tonality of the fx to the room.

---

If redundancy is important you could run two computers with the same Ableton session and use a Radial SW8-USB - this unit acts as 2x interfaces and a switcher. For the setup you use a midi controller that fires both sessions. Your first computer has a 1k output, if that stops it automatically rolls over to the 2nd computer. The switch is so fast and seamless you cannot hear it.

---

That would be my approach, not sure if that is helpful or not though.

Art Welter:

--- Quote from: Ted Gravlin on April 06, 2024, 06:11:14 PM ---Definately wouldn't send only a wet signal.... It would be a dry signal (where the FOH guy would do his "normal" reverb ans whatnot.) And a separate wet channel that wouldn't even be active all that often. Probably just need to run the fader up and leave it alone. If things go to shit.... there's a mute button and the regular vocal is still running.

--- End quote ---
Ted,

Using one of the X32 rack's FX units for the "wet" channel should work OK once dialed in.
Since the FOH engineer would be leaving it up all the time for the 5-6 times in the set when it's used, you may also want to put a noise gate on the FX return channel.

Art

Tim Weaver:
Option A: Tracks. They work, but you need to communicate to the FOH guy that they need to up in the mix. Too many bands bring tracks that are basically a complete other band and it just serves to destroy a mix because it gets too crowded.

Create the FX you need, put them on a single track and feed that to FOH on it's own. If you have any other tracks like percussion or whatever, make sure those get their own track and channel to FOH.


Option B: Route the FX to an aux out of your stage mixer. Devise a way to mute, unmute, and change patches from the stage then send that to FOH own it's own channel. Communicate to the FOH guy what that channel is, what it does, and not to mute it out front. If you screw up the muting, thats on you.




Either way you want to feed a "clean" channel to FOH with the FX on it. It needs to be fully wet, no dry. Let the mix engineer decide how much to use out front because every venue is different.

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