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Author Topic: Big Vocals  (Read 5987 times)

Michael Prudhomme

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Big Vocals
« on: January 21, 2011, 04:41:54 pm »

Can any one suggest how to make my vocals have that live full sound? I have compression and effects. They just sound thin and not full.
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Taylor Phillips

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2011, 09:25:39 pm »

What exactly do you have at your disposal? What is your effects engine, what is your mixer, what mics are you using?

The thing that's made the biggest difference for me is reverb and delay. The other difference maker is EQ.  Of course, if you don't have good mics, it will be really difficult to get the sound right. Compression helps with dynamics (loudness vs. quietness) rather than making a full sound.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2011, 08:46:43 am »

Can any one suggest how to make my vocals have that live full sound? I have compression and effects. They just sound thin and not full.
Are you referencing recording or live sound or maybe both?  In the case of live sound the reproduction system from mic to listener, both electronic and acoustic, can affect what is heard so that could be a much more encompassing discussion.
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Arnold B. Krueger

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2011, 05:00:12 am »

Can any one suggest how to make my vocals have that live full sound? I have compression and effects. They just sound thin and not full.

A good live sound system in a good room with a good vocalist will do that with no special tricks. Please describe your room, your system, and the specific problem(s) that you are having.
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Kent Thompson

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2011, 05:58:14 pm »

A good live sound system in a good room with a good vocalist will do that with no special tricks. Please describe your room, your system, and the specific problem(s) that you are having.

add to that a good microphone.
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Arnold B. Krueger

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2011, 08:20:59 pm »


add to that a good microphone.

My live sound system comes complete with good microphone! ;-)
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Kent Thompson

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2011, 12:37:42 am »

You could also purchase something like a great river preamp run your Neumann microphone through it into the line in of the console.(if the rest of the system is good other wise its a waste of money and time) How much money do you have? lol


Seriously though how do you define big vocals. Sometimes full big vocals can be counterproductive since most of the time you end up rolling off the vocals as high as 200hz at times just to make things clearer. As everyone else has stated good sounding vocals start with a good source and ends with a good system any compromises in chain lowers your
 chances of getting a good sound with any input.
 Here is a link to an article to read there are more here on this site that might help you. http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/church_sound_files_the_hunt_for_the_perfect_eq_setting/
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 03:12:35 pm by Kent Thompson »
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BrianAbington

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2011, 12:13:47 pm »

Honestly it depends a lot on the person singing. If they have a great strong voice all the tricks you can do will get that effect for you. Then put the vocals into their own group and put that out front of the mix.

Our church in Iowa had a variety of worship volunteers. 5 of the 6 had great voices that I could add a bit of reverb and delay to and it sounded great, then you mute the reverb when they are talking between songs so it doesn't sound weird.

Then that one lady... ::) she had this monotone drone to her voice that was impossible to make it sound good.
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Matthias Heitzer

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2011, 12:25:47 pm »

Singing needs to be learned, too. Quite a few people can hit the right tones without special training, but breathing techniques have to be practised. If a vocalist has got a trained voice, he or she still has to learn how to use a microphone.



Of course, there are some voices around that just don't sound good......
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Don Sullivan

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2011, 05:54:14 pm »

Here are a couple of tricks I use:
If you are running in stereo, pan the vocals in pars slightly left and right.
Use a harmonizer or chorus effect, or a slight pitch shift up with a small delay ( 5 ms or so )
send your vocals to it and bring the return in, mix to taste. Acts like a vocal doubler.
Use a reverb and echo on the vocals.

I use an M7 and regularly run the following effects :

Hall Reverb, 2.2 sec Rev time, 32 ms initial delay high diffusion
Stereo Delay, tap to set to rythm of song
HQ Pitch ( my little vocal doubler) Pitch = 0 , Fine = +1 delay =0 FB.Gain = 0, mode = 1
Plate reverb for the drums, various settings.

I run the instruments and vocals through the reverb,
Vocalss (some instruments ) Through the echo
Vocals only through the HQ Pitch
Snare, toms through the Plate

Just my preferences, and everything else said here is true, given the choice between good effects and good mics, I'll take the mics every time.
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PVKC

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2011, 03:56:05 pm »

Can any one suggest how to make my vocals have that live full sound? I have compression and effects. They just sound thin and not full.

Tricky subject really...ask a question like this and you'll likely get some subjecture and differences of opinion. In truth...it doesn't really matter as long as what YOU are doing works for YOU, right?

But...it sounds like what you are doing doesn't really work for you. All the advice I read here is pretty much right. It's really needing the missing info that others have requested and so far (as far as I can tell) you have yet to provide...

Assuming you are talking about LIVE vocals...here's what works for ME...

In our church not everyone is a gifted vocalist...and I also play in the band...so I can't always work the console, sometimes I have to train and delegate. Speaking in the most general of terms...our sound system has a really GREAT heart (the mixer) and the rest of it is 'iffy'. Luckily I can get some pretty decent sound out of it anyway. I don't have the luxury of great mics, amps and speakers...our stuff is at best middle-of-the-road quality-wise. BUT...we've got a Yamaha 01V mixer and that alone has made ALL the difference.

ANYWAY...on the practical advice-

I generally use Compression, Verb and Delay on ALL vocals. How much I use depends on the singer. Standard Compression settings start at around 2:1 ratio, instant attack, 250-500ms release, threshold set to give about 3 or 4 lights on the dB reduction meter and makeup gain set so that you don't lose any signal from the compression. Soft knee as well.

On bad singers I tend to ride the EQ and effects a lot and hope that I can make them sound at least pallettable! hope that helps you out!
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 03:58:09 pm by Paul Valenti »
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PVKC

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2011, 04:05:25 pm »

Also...big vocals ONLY happens with a hands-on soundman who knows his stuff. This is accomplish through judicious application of DELAY and a little reverb. Reverb is generally used as a basic 'wash' to set the basic sound of the room and make things just a bit bigger sounding. The Delay however is what makes vocals SOAR like an Eagle or NOT. When riding the Delay properly a proper soundman will make sure that a tap tempo is available so that he can sync the delay time to the BPM of the song (tempo).

Additionally...whenever a performer goes for a LONG note the soundman will boost the return from the delay in the mix so that it encompasses the voice and makes it sound quite literally 'larger than life'. e
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chuck clark

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2011, 06:23:34 pm »

Live is a different animal.

Imagine you have an sm-58 and a small mackie mixer. now plug it into 10,000 watts of power and a huge array of EAW or Turbosound or other top grade of concert speakers and subwoofers.

Now imagine you have one million $$$ worth of mics and mixers and every effect processor known to man. Now plug it in to a TV w/ 5 watts and a couple 3" speakers.

Which one will sound "bigger"?
Chuck
 
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2011, 08:41:57 pm »

Live is a different animal.

Imagine you have an sm-58 and a small mackie mixer. now plug it into 10,000 watts of power and a huge array of EAW or Turbosound or other top grade of concert speakers and subwoofers.

Now imagine you have one million $$$ worth of mics and mixers and every effect processor known to man. Now plug it in to a TV w/ 5 watts and a couple 3" speakers.

Which one will sound "bigger"?
Chuck

The TV
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Jean-Pierre Coetzee

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2011, 04:13:34 pm »

Can any one suggest how to make my vocals have that live full sound? I have compression and effects. They just sound thin and not full.

All that channel eq you have to compensate for the system. Get rid of it, make sure your system sound good without screwing up phase and all such things with eq. If you think it needs eq it doesn't, eq is a 'I know' thing, 'I think' destroys tone.

Other than that don't over compress, it will kill your vocals and will generally make the ambience (cymbals) louder in the vocal mic. Make it work without the comp then add the compressor to keep the volume the same so you don't need to ride the fader.

With the fx. If in doubt use a plate. Any other reverb may sound great but you need to know how to use it, just throw on the plate and it's likely to sound good.

If you don't have tap delay throw the unit away or find the tap setting (may need a fs). If the delay is obvious in a church turn it down. Obvious delay is a nic trick, but the music must call for it.

Good luck with the budget and hope the pastor has a touch of sense when you inform him that you might need a budget for a decent system.

Give us the specs, your asking : How do I get my car to drive like a mercedes. I have cruise control and a retractable roof...
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"If you want "loud", then run a piece of sheet metal through a table saw------

If you want "watts"-then plug in a toaster"
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Jon Palmer

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2011, 01:02:52 am »

Can any one suggest how to make my vocals have that live full sound? I have compression and effects. They just sound thin and not full.

On a thin vocal, I would alway use a Sennheiser e835, this should help. I would also come off the direct on that channel and patch it into another channel that I would use for effects. One clean and one with delay. I would have a little different eq on the 2 channels and experimented with the pan. I never could make a condensor mike work with weak vocalists, it only made it worse. What have you tried?
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Jeff Babcock

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Re: Big Vocals
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2011, 02:16:27 pm »

Can any one suggest how to make my vocals have that live full sound? I have compression and effects. They just sound thin and not full.


Troubleshooting step 1:

Insert CD of music with the vocal sound you like, and listen on your live sound system.  Does it sound correct, or is it also "thin and not full".

Troubleshooting step 2:

If the results of step 1 are "it sounds thin and not full" - You have an OUTPUT problem (processing/system EQ, speakers, room etc).

If the results of step 1 are "it sounds correct" - You have an INPUT problem (Source, Mic, Console, Channel EQ, etc)


........

You get the picture......
Basically start at the top and methodically keep drilling down until you find the source(s) of the problem.

Then post back what you've found the issues to be, and everyone can be much more helpful in terms of the advice they can provide.



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