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Author Topic: Compressed vocals in the monitors?  (Read 11182 times)

Chuck Simon

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2011, 11:13:19 pm »

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Some bands have singers who are quite capable of using compression in the vocal monitors.

YES!!  It just so happens I worked last weekend with a band that is internationally known and considered by many to be one of the top Irish bands in the world.  They all use in-ears which they control on stage.  Guess what - they use compression in every channel!

I have read way too many generalizions here at this forum on what "should" or "shouldn't " be done, but compression is just another tool that can be used or mis-used!
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Robert "VOiD" Caprio

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2011, 07:54:11 am »

YES!!  It just so happens I worked last weekend with a band that is internationally known and considered by many to be one of the top Irish bands in the world.  They all use in-ears which they control on stage.  Guess what - they use compression in every channel!

I have read way too many generalizations here at this forum on what "should" or "shouldn't " be done, but compression is just another tool that can be used or mis-used!

You're referring to using compression in IEM mixes which is a VERY different story than using compression in wedge mixes. Only with wedges (and to a lesser degree, sidefills) do you run the risk of feedback, especially if using compression. It is not uncommon to use comps on many (if not all) the channels when mixing for IEMs because it's often the goal of the mon engineer to make it sound like "the record" in the performer's ears. As we all know compression is rampant on recordings thus leading to it's use on stage for IEMs. Plus, if done correctly, it can be very useful and pleasant sounding.  You're right that compression is just another tool in our arsenal, it's one I make use of all the time.
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Chuck Simon

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2011, 09:27:52 am »

There is no inherent reason why compression should cause feed back. If your'e trying to use too much compression and have the gain very high you could have feedback issues.  I compress vocals in wedges without problems all the time.  Of course it depends on the singer.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 10:13:56 am by Chuck Simon »
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Dave Neale

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2011, 10:15:07 am »

YES!!  It just so happens I worked last weekend with a band that is internationally known and considered by many to be one of the top Irish bands in the world.  They all use in-ears which they control on stage.  Guess what - they use compression in every channel!

I have read way too many generalizions here at this forum on what "should" or "shouldn't " be done, but compression is just another tool that can be used or mis-used!

IF it's the band I'm thinking of, the artists push their IEM's to stupid levels because of the compression and the main singer has strained her voice before.  Are you up in New England?
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Chuck Simon

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2011, 10:28:05 am »

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IF it's the band I'm thinking of, the artists push their IEM's to stupid levels because of the compression and the main singer has strained her voice before.  Are you up in New England?
No, different band.
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Dave Dermont

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2011, 04:51:54 pm »

There is no inherent reason why compression should cause feed back. If your'e trying to use too much compression and have the gain very high you could have feedback issues.  I compress vocals in wedges without problems all the time.  Of course it depends on the singer.

The singer sings.

The comp reduces gain.

The singer stops singing.

The comp releases, and the gain goes up.

Feedback happens.

The more compression, the more gain there is when the comp releases.

Like most things, the more you know what you are doing, the less trouble you have.

There are a lot of reasons to not have compression in the monitors, and the consequences of doing it wrong can be pretty bad.
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chuck clark

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2011, 06:51:07 pm »

Hi Derek, I use limiting with the threshold set about 3 -6 db before clipping the monitor amp to keep levels from tearing anything up. Oddly, regular compression tends to bring feedback when there is NO singing and the gain comes back up from it's compressed (reduced) level.
Have you tried having that little talk about "mic technique" with the singer? It couldn't hurt! Ha!
Good luck, Chuck
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Dave Neale

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2011, 10:08:40 pm »

No, different band.

Just wondering. I toured mixing an "internationally known" band from Galway, doing IEMs and FOH on one desk and compressing everything for a radio friendly ears mix that caused me no end of grief in the house mix. 

Even on inputs I'd have compressed anyway, what worked for IEMs was never right for the house and vice-verse.  But I had a knowledgeable band leader with studio engineering experience and the guy paying the bills is always right, right?

I ended up splitting every input to both layers of the console, and even that was something of a compromise.  Sometimes things just got strange, as musicians responded to dynamics in their ears that were somewhat different than the house layer.  The lead singer I ran uncompressed in her ears, but the heavy dynamics some of the musicians preferred would really mess with her head, so she was always looking for maximum level on her vocal, sometimes pulling one IEM out to listen to the side fills.

If the step dancers wanted the side fills louder than usual on a given night things could get dodgy there too.

Anyway, over the course of a couple tours I gradually lightened up on the IEM input compression until it was very light or non existent,  with the exception of a few things that really did need to be squeezed fairly hard, and for the most part none of them ever missed it.

I feel that a talented player on an instrument with good tone really needs very little to no compression and can do all the dynamics processing with their hands,or lips, or whatever. 

That's not to say that less talented players don't need some help inserted now and then, but I always listen first, and if it doesn't need compression I don't use it.  If I do, I'll always A/B it with the bypass switch to make sure I was right.

And of course I always do vocals and almost always bass guitar. 

« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 10:13:37 pm by Dave Neale »
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Robert "VOiD" Caprio

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2011, 10:11:35 pm »

I feel that a talented player on an instrument with good tone really needs very little to no compression and can do all the dynamics processing with their hands,or lips, or whatever.

Amen. That's probably represented by 1 out of 100 artists, maybe less.
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Chuck Simon

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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2011, 10:16:06 pm »

There is no inherent reason why compression should cause feed back. If your'e trying to use too much compression and have the gain very high you could have feedback issues.  I compress vocals in wedges without problems all the time.  Of course it depends on the singer.

The singer sings.

The comp reduces gain.

The singer stops singing.

The comp releases, and the gain goes up.

Feedback happens.

The more compression, the more gain there is when the comp releases.

Like most things, the more you know what you are doing, the less trouble you have.

There are a lot of reasons to not have compression in the monitors, and the consequences of doing it wrong can be pretty bad.

Well gosh, if you are having all these problems with compression in monitors then you should not be doing it.  I seriously doubt that I am the only one here who can use compressors in the monitors without problems!
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 10:21:47 pm by Chuck Simon »
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Re: Compressed vocals in the monitors?
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2011, 10:16:06 pm »


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