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Author Topic: Compression / Expansion on Vocals  (Read 1910 times)

Mike Ferrand

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Compression / Expansion on Vocals
« on: April 07, 2011, 02:46:24 pm »

Hey all,

This is my first post here.

I am in a five piece band.  We generally do our sound from the stage, sometimes we have a sound man.  All of us sing so there are five vocal mics.  I am wondering if we could use a compressor / expander to control how much of the drums and instruments 'leak' into the vocal mix.  Right now it is quite a bit.  We generally play small venues so we are not mic'ing the instruments.

So it would work like this.  When no one is singing the expander is effectively turning down the mic's.  When someone is signing the compression is kicking in.  Is this the best way to deal with this?  Any suggestions on a box that would do this?

Cheers, Mike
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Compression / Expansion on Vocals
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2011, 03:02:00 pm »

Hey all,

This is my first post here.

I am in a five piece band.  We generally do our sound from the stage, sometimes we have a sound man.  All of us sing so there are five vocal mics.  I am wondering if we could use a compressor / expander to control how much of the drums and instruments 'leak' into the vocal mix.  Right now it is quite a bit.  We generally play small venues so we are not mic'ing the instruments.

So it would work like this.  When no one is singing the expander is effectively turning down the mic's.  When someone is signing the compression is kicking in.  Is this the best way to deal with this?  Any suggestions on a box that would do this?

Cheers, Mike

As a sound guy out front I often end up having to do this.  However, I would not be in a hurry to do it from the stage as this type of setup needs supervision and is not exactly a "set it and forget it" kind of thing.  You might find some benefit from it and it shouldn't hurt if it's a little off.  But the first thing to do is to keep the unwanted sound from the mics in the first place.  Pointing the amps ACROSS the stage rather than towards the house will help.  Tilting them back to point at the players ears will help even more once you've got them "cross-stage".  You can also make up some small plexiglass panels to mount on old mic stands or wire tripod music stand bases to put between the cymbals and the vocal mics.

Getting control of your on-stage volume is the key to success in so many ways.  Cleaner mix for the audience, fewer technical "band-aids" and so on.


Good luck.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Compression / Expansion on Vocals
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2011, 03:39:54 pm »

Hey all,

This is my first post here.

I am in a five piece band.  We generally do our sound from the stage, sometimes we have a sound man.  All of us sing so there are five vocal mics.  I am wondering if we could use a compressor / expander to control how much of the drums and instruments 'leak' into the vocal mix.  Right now it is quite a bit.  We generally play small venues so we are not mic'ing the instruments.

So it would work like this.  When no one is singing the expander is effectively turning down the mic's.  When someone is signing the compression is kicking in.  Is this the best way to deal with this?  Any suggestions on a box that would do this?

Cheers, Mike

I'm not sure it would quite work that way. Some compressors have a built in noise floor downward expander, but the problem is the drum wash sounds just like a vocal to the dumb audio electronics.

You need to get the stage wash under control, using something more fundamental, like Dick's suggestion.

JR

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Patrick Tracy

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Re: Compression / Expansion on Vocals
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2011, 04:30:01 pm »

Stage practices will solve your problem better than any processor. Use inverse square law to your advantage: sing with lips touching the grill if you aren't already. Moving as little as 3/4" off the grill raises the relative level of the bleed by 6dB.

There has to be a significant level difference between the vocal and the bleed for the gate to work. If bleed is so bad that you are tempted to try to gate it you probably can't gate it without affecting the vocal.

Mark Chrysostom

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Re: Compression / Expansion on Vocals
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2011, 04:34:41 pm »



There has to be a significant level difference between the vocal and the bleed for the gate to work. If bleed is so bad that you are tempted to try to gate it you probably can't gate it without affecting the vocal.

And nobody likes it when the beginning and end of every word is cut off...
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Re: Compression / Expansion on Vocals
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2011, 04:34:41 pm »


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