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Author Topic: Compressed vocals in the monitors?  (Read 11184 times)

Derek Konop

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Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« on: June 28, 2011, 04:21:24 pm »

First post on the new boards....

Does anyone prefer to have compressed vocals in the monitors? I know most folks advise against it, just wondering if anyone actually prefers it. If a sometimes quiet and sometimes screaming loud Singer can tear the heads off a crowd through the main PA if uncompressed, why should the band be subjected to that through the monitor rig?

Thanks,
Derek
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Shy Clyman

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2011, 04:30:59 pm »

Hey, heavey compression like what youre describing can take the dynamics out of vocal somewhat which can make the vocalist compensate by singing louder and harder during softer sections, which is probably what he/she doesnt want to be doing. so most singers would rather have no compression the monitors, oh and it can also bring about some nasty feedback.

First post on the new boards....

Does anyone prefer to have compressed vocals in the monitors? I know most folks advise against it, just wondering if anyone actually prefers it. If a sometimes quiet and sometimes screaming loud Singer can tear the heads off a crowd through the main PA if uncompressed, why should the band be subjected to that through the monitor rig?

Thanks,
Derek
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Alan Sledzieski

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2011, 05:28:44 pm »

First post on the new boards....

 If a sometimes quiet and sometimes screaming loud Singer can tear the heads off a crowd through the main PA if uncompressed, why should the band be subjected to that through the monitor rig?

Thanks,
Derek

As far as the band being subjected to a screaming loud singer,,, maybe he will learn how to sing after he really hears his ups and downs in his voice.

 I run a compressor on each vocal to keep things at bay, unfortunately the monitors are compressed, and feedback can be a issue.  I made some splits, 1 xcrf to 2 xcrm, ( hope this works ) I'm going to run each vocal on 2 channels, one with a compressor for front of house, and another with the fader down but aux feeding there monitor mix.  I have a few singers that are so quiet at times, then they are at -12 db of compression a few seconds later.
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2011, 05:31:58 pm »

I have read, many years ago, that Robert Plant hates to hear his vocals without compression. This was in reference to the recording of the Walking to Clarksdale album.

I suppose that if he prefers compression while tracking he might like it in his in ears as well, but that's an assumption on my part.
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Greg_Cameron

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2011, 05:36:14 pm »

I run a compressor on each vocal to keep things at bay, unfortunately the monitors are compressed, and feedback can be a issue.  I made some splits, 1 xcrf to 2 xcrm, ( hope this works ) I'm going to run each vocal on 2 channels, one with a compressor for front of house, and another with the fader down but aux feeding there monitor mix.  I have a few singers that are so quiet at times, then they are at -12 db of compression a few seconds later.

Splitting the vocals to other channels is very effective for both removing compression from monitors as well as providing separate channel EQ to the monitor mix vs. the mains. Another way to avoid compressed monitor mixes is to use group compression for vocals which can work well also without chewing up channel strips you might need. You don't get separate channel EQ for monitors though, but it's not usually a problem.

Greg
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Dave Dermont

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2011, 05:50:00 pm »

I have read, many years ago, that Robert Plant hates to hear his vocals without compression. This was in reference to the recording of the Walking to Clarksdale album.

I suppose that if he prefers compression while tracking he might like it in his in ears as well, but that's an assumption on my part.

It's a fair assumption, but keep in mind that tracking a vocal in the studio and a live performance are two different animals.

Another good assumption to make is that not all singers are Robert Plant.

Issue #1 is that a singer wants to HEAR. If they can't hear, they sing louder. If they sing louder and the compressor squashes the vocal, so they still can't hear, which means they sing EVEN LOUDER, which squashes the vocal more, which means...

You get the idea.

What eventually happens is the singer blows out his voice by trying to sing loud enough to hear what he is singing.

If the singer is subjecting the band to too much vocal on stage, turning the monitors down is possible.

No, really. I've done it.

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Derek Konop

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2011, 06:21:22 pm »

It's a fair assumption, but keep in mind that tracking a vocal in the studio and a live performance are two different animals.

Another good assumption to make is that not all singers are Robert Plant.

Issue #1 is that a singer wants to HEAR. If they can't hear, they sing louder. If they sing louder and the compressor squashes the vocal, so they still can't hear, which means they sing EVEN LOUDER, which squashes the vocal more, which means...

You get the idea.

What eventually happens is the singer blows out his voice by trying to sing loud enough to hear what he is singing.

If the singer is subjecting the band to too much vocal on stage, turning the monitors down is possible.

No, really. I've done it.

Mild compression allows a vocal to be loud enough to cut through the main mix but limit peaks that would dominate the mix or hurt people ears with volume spikes.

I'm a little confused as to how utilizing this in the monitor mix would create a situation where the vocals are squashed down to inaudible or unintelligible volumes in monitors.  I plan on trying some compression on the vocals in the monitor mixes this weekend. We've got 3 nights back to back for the holiday weekend so I should have plenty of trial and error time :)

I will check back and let you guys know what happens, hopefully not the death and destruction that I think this may lead to! Most of the time when I question something like this it turns out that the things everybody told me in advance were exactly right.  ;D
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Dave Dermont

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2011, 06:48:44 pm »

It's a fair assumption, but keep in mind that tracking a vocal in the studio and a live performance are two different animals.

Another good assumption to make is that not all singers are Robert Plant.

Issue #1 is that a singer wants to HEAR. If they can't hear, they sing louder. If they sing louder and the compressor squashes the vocal, so they still can't hear, which means they sing EVEN LOUDER, which squashes the vocal more, which means...

You get the idea.

What eventually happens is the singer blows out his voice by trying to sing loud enough to hear what he is singing.

If the singer is subjecting the band to too much vocal on stage, turning the monitors down is possible.

No, really. I've done it.

Mild compression allows a vocal to be loud enough to cut through the main mix but limit peaks that would dominate the mix or hurt people ears with volume spikes.

I'm a little confused as to how utilizing this in the monitor mix would create a situation where the vocals are squashed down to inaudible or unintelligible volumes in monitors.  I plan on trying some compression on the vocals in the monitor mixes this weekend. We've got 3 nights back to back for the holiday weekend so I should have plenty of trial and error time :)

I will check back and let you guys know what happens, hopefully not the death and destruction that I think this may lead to! Most of the time when I question something like this it turns out that the things everybody told me in advance were exactly right.  ;D

Some bands have singers who are quite capable of using compression in the vocal monitors. That's kinda what I meant by the "not every singer is Robert plant" comment.

Some bands want every wedge to light their hair on fire.

It just a matter of one guys 'good mix' being another guys 'I can't hear a freakin' thing'.

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David Parker

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2011, 07:49:07 pm »

more often than not vocal compression in the monitors will cause problems. I've never had a singer ask for compression on their vocals in the monitors. I've had plenty feel starved due to compression in the monitors. They keep asking for more of the vocals in the monitors until it starts ringing.
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Andrew Makinson

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2011, 09:37:00 pm »

First post on the new boards....

 If a sometimes quiet and sometimes screaming loud Singer can tear the heads off a crowd through the main PA if uncompressed, why should the band be subjected to that through the monitor rig?

Thanks,
Derek

As far as the band being subjected to a screaming loud singer,,, maybe he will learn how to sing after he really hears his ups and downs in his voice.

 I run a compressor on each vocal to keep things at bay, unfortunately the monitors are compressed, and feedback can be a issue.  I made some splits, 1 xcrf to 2 xcrm, ( hope this works ) I'm going to run each vocal on 2 channels, one with a compressor for front of house, and another with the fader down but aux feeding there monitor mix.  I have a few singers that are so quiet at times, then they are at -12 db of compression a few seconds later.

I have often done multi way splits where the lead vocalist had a channel just for their own monitors (uncompressed, but with eq to their taste), then a channel for the rest of the band member's monitors (that is compressed), and a channel for FoH.  This can be really useful with a vocalist that doesn't stay where they can hear their monitors.  With an analogue desk or when it is necessary to use only 2 channels for the vocalist, you can send the FOH (compressed) signal to the other band members.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 08:41:16 am by Andrew Makinson »
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Andrew Makinson
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2011, 09:37:00 pm »


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