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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => LAB: The Classic Live Audio Board => Topic started by: peter dakin on June 30, 2014, 04:38:57 am

Title: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: peter dakin on June 30, 2014, 04:38:57 am
Recently started working with a new group and its proving to be a challenge.

Lead singer performs at a whisper, her singing voice is lower than a soft talking voice. She has amazing tone and she sounds incredible, but has no projection or power behind her.

I've moved her over to ears which has been the first step in the right direction, I currently insert a graphic over her voice and "go-to-town" on the offending rings as they pour in.

I've currently got her on a e935 which she loves in her ears, however I'm not feeling it out front. The proximity effect is a little too much, but is great for feedback rejection.

Anyone any recommendations for mic improvements?
The likes of KMS105's or 87 cause more problems than they help, as a lot of shows are on small stages, close to PA.

Obviously the logic fix is the source, but that's not really option!
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Jonathan Goodall on June 30, 2014, 05:49:32 am
AKG D7?  had very few feedback issues with mine.
oh and most of my use is with female vocals and get great results.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Jordan Wolf on June 30, 2014, 08:46:07 am
Heil PR-22, Audio-Technica AE5400, AKG C535, Shure SM86.

You might want to consider a Crown CM311...

(I'm kind of joking)

Subtlety and dynamics go hand-in-hand to make a great performance.  Your lead singer has to command that stage with her voice...otherwise, it's going to chew her vocal performance up and spit it out.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Bob Leonard on June 30, 2014, 08:50:39 am
Try her on a Heil PR-35. Plenty of GBF with that mic, and of course, technique.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Robert Piascik on June 30, 2014, 08:51:06 am
My thought would be to turn the monitor DOWN, which might encourage her to put more oomph behind her sound.

I'm not sure there is a one-size-fits-all technical solution for this
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Jordan Wolf on June 30, 2014, 09:00:10 am
Peter,

Do you use compression on her vocals?  Normally, compression in the monitor mix is a no-no, but hit might just force her to push a little more.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Jordan Wolf on June 30, 2014, 09:01:00 am
Try her on a Heil PR-35. Plenty of GBF with that mic, and of course, technique.
Yeah, should've put that one on the list, too...
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: John Penkala on June 30, 2014, 09:11:47 am
Recently started working with a new group and its proving to be a challenge.

Lead singer performs at a whisper, her singing voice is lower than a soft talking voice. She has amazing tone and she sounds incredible, but has no projection or power behind her.

I've moved her over to ears which has been the first step in the right direction, I currently insert a graphic over her voice and "go-to-town" on the offending rings as they pour in.

I've currently got her on a e935 which she loves in her ears, however I'm not feeling it out front. The proximity effect is a little too much, but is great for feedback rejection.

Anyone any recommendations for mic improvements?
The likes of KMS105's or 87 cause more problems than they help, as a lot of shows are on small stages, close to PA.

Obviously the logic fix is the source, but that's not really option!

Peter,
        I was in a very similar situation a while back. After doing a number of shows with the artist and alot of trial and error, mostly error.  I finally decided to get her alone with a small PA and about 30 vocal mics for an afternoon of trial and error.  I borrowed the majority from friends. After trying everything from 58's to 105's the winner for her voice was the Audix OM6. That mic worked for her.
        I'm not sure what the artist's level is or aspirations are. If they are serious, don't limit the amount spent on a mic to $100. I never understood how every member of a band usually has thousands of dollars invested in personal gear but the singer doesn't want to spend more than $100-$200 for a mic that is arguably the most important input on the show.

JP
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Tim Halligan on June 30, 2014, 10:01:26 am
My thought would be to turn the monitor DOWN, which might encourage her to put more oomph behind her sound.

I have used this kind of Jedi mind trick before with some success with "challenging" vocalists.

Sometimes they can get spooked by hearing themselves too well...especially if the vocal is "high and dry" in the mix.

It can be problematic - especially in wedges - but perhaps reverb on her voice will make her more comfortable.

I'm not sure there is a one-size-fits-all technical solution for this

Indeed.

Cheers,
Tim
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: John Halliburton on June 30, 2014, 10:14:11 am
Peter,
        I was in a very similar situation a while back. After doing a number of shows with the artist and alot of trial and error, mostly error.  I finally decided to get her alone with a small PA and about 30 vocal mics for an afternoon of trial and error.  I borrowed the majority from friends. After trying everything from 58's to 105's the winner for her voice was the Audix OM6. That mic worked for her.
        I'm not sure what the artist's level is or aspirations are. If they are serious, don't limit the amount spent on a mic to $100. I never understood how every member of a band usually has thousands of dollars invested in personal gear but the singer doesn't want to spend more than $100-$200 for a mic that is arguably the most important input on the show.

JP

Or a vocal coach to help her develop strength and projection.

John
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: John Penkala on June 30, 2014, 10:29:52 am
Or a vocal coach to help her develop strength and projection.

John

Ideally. But the OP seems to eluded that changing the source isn't an option.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: peter dakin on June 30, 2014, 12:38:45 pm
Or a vocal coach to help her develop strength and projection.

John

She's a fairly new artist to me, so once we've a good working relationship, this will be the first chat. However in the meantime I must be seen to be getting it right, rather than her! She's the star, I'm the hired professional!

To other comments, she currently has a "mildly damp" in-ear mix, I've tried her with loads and hardly any level of herself, dry mixes, completely wet mixes, compression, no compression etc.
Most to no avail, compression just enables her to go louder for those loud moments, rather than holding back the actual rare semi loud bits she does.

Heil were top of my list, with a side recommendation of a d:facto2 by DPA, however not so sure of that one, as specs look similar to that of a 105, which I've tried and doesn't work. Might as well put a 105 on the hi-hat and have her sing 5m away. Sounds about the same!  :o
GBF is the rule of the day, everything else comes second.


 
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Kevin Maxwell on June 30, 2014, 12:42:09 pm
She's a fairly new artist to me, so once we've a good working relationship, this will be the first chat. However in the meantime I must be seen to be getting it right, rather than her! She's the star, I'm the hired professional!

To other comments, she currently has a "mildly damp" in-ear mix, I've tried her with loads and hardly any level of herself, dry mixes, completely wet mixes, compression, no compression etc.
Most to no avail, compression just enables her to go louder for those loud moments, rather than holding back the actual rare semi loud bits she does.

Heil were top of my list, with a side recommendation of a d:facto2 by DPA, however not so sure of that one, as specs look similar to that of a 105, which I've tried and doesn't work. Might as well put a 105 on the hi-hat and have her sing 5m away. Sounds about the same!  :o
GBF is the rule of the day, everything else comes second.

What is the style of music? Are the drums behind a shield?
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Don Boomer on June 30, 2014, 12:46:44 pm

I worked with a singer like this some time back.  I found inserting a BBE on her channel helped a lot.  Depending on what you are mixing on I expect there are some modern dynamic EQ plug-ins that could do the same job.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Craig Montgomery on June 30, 2014, 12:49:32 pm
Recently started working with a new group and its proving to be a challenge.

Lead singer performs at a whisper, her singing voice is lower than a soft talking voice. She has amazing tone and she sounds incredible, but has no projection or power behind her.

I've moved her over to ears which has been the first step in the right direction, I currently insert a graphic over her voice and "go-to-town" on the offending rings as they pour in.

I've currently got her on a e935 which she loves in her ears, however I'm not feeling it out front. The proximity effect is a little too much, but is great for feedback rejection.

Anyone any recommendations for mic improvements?
The likes of KMS105's or 87 cause more problems than they help, as a lot of shows are on small stages, close to PA.

Obviously the logic fix is the source, but that's not really option!

There's nothing wrong with a 935, and proximity effect is probably your friend in this case.  You've got her right on the mic, I assume?
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Russ Davis on June 30, 2014, 01:07:14 pm
She's the star...

How can she be a "star" when she doesn't know mic technique, and is apparently frightened by the sound of her own voice?  No mic can fix that if she's not willing to put in some effort on her part.  Been there, dealt with that (diplomatically, of course!)...
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Riley Casey on June 30, 2014, 01:43:55 pm
Ummm because she pays the bills. You might have some success with the the old Greatful Dead wall of sound dual mic technique but it's not terribly telegenic.

How can she be a "star" when she doesn't know mic technique, and is apparently frightened by the sound of her own voice?  No mic can fix that if she's not willing to put in some effort on her part.  Been there, dealt with that (diplomatically, of course!)...
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: lindsay Dean on June 30, 2014, 01:59:35 pm
Ummm because she pays the bills. You might have some success with the the old great til dead wall of sound technique but it's not terribly telegenic.

I have dealt with this type of thing also(,super high birdie soprano) one solution that worked was to apply about a 5 to around 11 ms delay on the vocal,any more than 12ms will give an undiserable  flange/chorus effect .
   Carefully increase the effect level, use as little as needed , i gave her no delay inthe monitors. to aviod her backing off more and encouraged her to stay within a half inch of the mic  on axis
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Jason Raboin on June 30, 2014, 02:45:58 pm
Baez sings very quietly.  All 3 vocalists are on Heil PR35's.  The gain settings are 22 for the male, 28 for the female, and 40 db of gain for JB.  I can usually hear the fans on the moving lights through her vocal mic, but rarely have issues with feedback.  That said I am mostly on long line arrays with good pattern control.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Jordan Wolf on June 30, 2014, 05:46:26 pm
I am mostly on long line arrays with good pattern control.
That's a nice thing to have, that pattern control. :-)

To the OP: your singer is holding the band back (as a whole) from performing to their greater potential.  If ego/pride is a problem, she's gotta swallow it and do what's best for the group of performers she's with.  Vocal coaching will go a long way to giving her a longer career singing, as well.  Multiple performances without proper rest wreak havoc on the voice.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: paul bell on June 30, 2014, 06:12:20 pm
After trying everything from 58's to 105's the winner for her voice was the Audix OM6. That mic worked for her. JP

I was also gonna suggest this mic.

I always advise artists like this to sing like a school teacher trying to reach the kids in the back of the class.

If she's serious about singing and considering this an actual "career" direction for her, she should look into professional vocal/singing lessons.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: duane massey on June 30, 2014, 11:43:43 pm
Surprised no one mentioned the EV N/D-series.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Tim Padrick on July 01, 2014, 12:29:40 am
When I read the OP I thought of the girl in Mazzy Star.

The PR22, AE5400, and KMS105 will certainly make matters worse - sound great, pick up everything in the room.  935 is a good choice.  Never used a PR35.  Have read good things about the PL80A.  OM7 may or may not help your problems - don't know if you will like the sound as much.  SM86 is the only Shure I like, But I've used it only on strong singers and a comparatively quiet stage.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: John Moore on July 01, 2014, 12:50:31 am
PR35 mic would be my choice. we have RC 35 capsules on wireless and the GBF is amazing...the capsule is huge and will pick up a lot of audio, good technique as others have mentioned is also key. but give the PR35 a shot, see if you can borrow one? the Heil mics are amazing.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Bob Leonard on July 01, 2014, 11:39:54 am
Baez sings very quietly.  All 3 vocalists are on Heil PR35's.  The gain settings are 22 for the male, 28 for the female, and 40 db of gain for JB.  I can usually hear the fans on the moving lights through her vocal mic, but rarely have issues with feedback.  That said I am mostly on long line arrays with good pattern control.

Hello Jason, hope all is well.

I believe you, JB, and Bob Heil have been working together for some time now, but check me if I'm wrong. As I had mentioned above, wonderful mics those PR-35s, better rejection than almost any mic I can think of and they work wonders on low volume vocalists.

To those suggesting the vocalist in question here learn how to use a mic, helpful suggestions might work, but then again, the OP hasn't revealed any names. Let's see how long you last with Maria or J'Lo after you tell them they don't know how to use a mic. eventually you get to a point where the talent, at any level, has developed good or bad habits that won't be changed. We don't break habits, we work with them.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Brian Jojade on July 01, 2014, 12:18:50 pm
I can usually hear the fans on the moving lights through her vocal mic, but rarely have issues with feedback.  That said I am mostly on long line arrays with good pattern control.

You can't out-mic physics.  If your singer is not producing more volume through their mouthole than other items on stage getting into the mic, you're not going to be able to do much about it.  In a studio, you can have more control of the ambient sounds, but on stage, you can only do so much.

Before changing out hardware, simply talking with the artist can go a long way in solving the problems.  Maybe they don't realize they are singing so softly because nobody ever told them.  Approaching them in the right way will make your job a TON easier.  If you go with the approach that you're going to fix it on your own without including the artist, you've got a huge risk of failure on your hands that will only make you look like you don't know what you're doing.

It's not wrong to have a conversation with them and discuss the issue that you're having.  If you had an artist that insisted on singing off axis into the mic, would you not talk to them about technique before you replaced the mic?  If they are using your gear incorrectly, working with them to use it the right way helps. I once worked with an artist that was used to using a Shure SM55 mic.  Well, for this show, the vocal mic was an SM58.  Their mic technique, since they were used to the SM55 was to point the 58 straight up and sing into the side of it.  Imagine how well that show would have gone had I not had the conversation with the artist immediately when the problem was discovered.

Simply saying that their singing is much quieter than you're used to working and you're having a hard time getting the mic that you've got to pick her voice out from the existing stage volume is often enough to encouragement to get them to push a little more.  If at the same time, you swap out the mic, now the solution is hugely improved.  The artist is happy because they were able to improve.  You look like a hero because you made the sound much better.  Everyone wins.
Title: Re: Super quiet female Vocalist
Post by: Gary Green on July 01, 2014, 08:31:12 pm
those PR-35s, better rejection than almost any mic I can think of.....
Add another vote for the PR35....stable,rich,smooth.articulate and all those other words we like to use . I haven't come across another dynamic mic that exhibits the same characteristics of this thing. I like it more every time I use it.
I think it should be at the top of the list to try with this person. Another one I use regularly that might fit the situation is the headset DPA4088. .. This one (positioned right) is stunning in its rejection and sonic quality.
Finally , when Levoln Helm last played my venue , the foh guy was talking about how weak his voice had been becoming and that attempts to pull his voice out were just catching more kit. I suggested he use one of my OM6 s. It worked great ! I think that is what they used until he left us - not sure, but it solved that OP's similar problem.