ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Down

Author Topic: Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space  (Read 1023 times)

Radoslaw Andruszkiewicz

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 11
Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space
« on: July 25, 2021, 04:44:05 PM »

I need help or further suggestions for vocal monitor setup in a rehearsal room. At the moment it goes only against a guitar amp (I sing and play guitar), and that is a 30W / 2x12, which I like cranked; I also wear -15db ear plugs. While of course it is not necessary to play this loud by myself, I will want to join a band at one point, and to my ears that guitar amp at max volume is roughly how I remember my last drummer's volume (before I played bass only, and the drummer wasn't a hard hitter).

My current vocal setup is Shure Super 55 > DBX 286a channel strip (used only as a preamp with 80hz filter, no other processing) > DBX 2031 31 EQ / limiter > EV ZLX 12p. Mic direct into EV produced feedback pretty early, at volumes I can still stand without ear plugs. So I purchased the EQ, and made my attempt at removing feedback points in order to turn up the EV louder to the point I can hear it with ear plugs too. But I ended up turning all the high frequency sliders down, and once I got this muffled sound under 'control' so I could turn up the volume to where I heard something coming up also with ear plugs in, I reached the limit of the system; either the preamp's, EQ's, or monitor's clipping indicator began flashing.

Is there anything I can do here, or am I asking for too much to have a guitar amp cranked, wear ear plugs, and still have a monitor wedge running at audible volume?
Logged

Caleb Dueck

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1466
Re: Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2021, 04:58:32 PM »

Is there anything I can do here, or am I asking for too much to have a guitar amp cranked, wear ear plugs, and still have a monitor wedge running at audible volume?

Move the cranked amp into a room or iso cab, with a pair of nice mics (say, a ribbon and a condenser).  That will give you the tone of the amp, and allow you and others to hear it as the audience will eventually hear it.

That eliminates the root problem (excessive stage wash), and allows you to have a wedge you can hear clearly.  Plus it means your vocal mic isn't picking up a small amount of vocal plus waves of stage wash. 

Ditch the graphic EQ, those don't have a place in a vocal chain. 

Go with a good wedge, like RCF NX12SMA, FBT Ventis 112MA, or better. 

Have the vocal(s), instruments, and everything go through a decent digital console- whatever you plan to use live.  MR18 or better, A&H SQ, etc. 
Logged
Experience is something you get right after you need it.

Luke Geis

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2290
    • Owner of Endever Music Production's
Re: Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2021, 09:40:00 PM »

Well...... It's complicated. I have used the EV ZLX before as a monitor and I think it did great for a low-cost monitor. In my case, it also required very little work to get loud enough to have the limiter kick in well before feedback was an issue.

I think there are three things here you can do. The first is to get a vocal mic that is a little more stable. The Shure Super 55 is not my favorite mic... I usually cringe when I see one. They are more for looks than anything. An SM58, an Audio Technica ATM510 or AT2010, or some other more standard microphone will help a little bit I think. Next is to have a mixer, preamp, or DSP device that has simply gain, High-Pass, and a parametric EQ.

With monitors and vocal-only support, it is often best to High-Pass them as high as you practically can. This for me usually ends up around 140hz to 160hz. Next is to have a few parametric EQ filters that you can use to get rid of the problem frequencies only. This will usually end up being around the speaker's crossover point. So 1.6khz to 2khz, is often where you get feedback first. I find I usually don't have to cut much once the first major feedback mode is dialed back. If you find that you have feedback that you chase around with EQ filters, it is often because you just have nowhere left to go. In this case, I take a different approach.

If you just can't dial out the feedback, or enough of it, then you need to dial out what it is that makes the monitor unclear, muffled, or simply not able to cut through the noise. Going with a thin and bright monitor often helps in that case. When you wear earplugs, you get bone conduction in your ears. So you hear a lot of woof and bass more from the bone conduction and having a woofy monitor won't help. The earplugs also cut a lot of the highs out from your ears. So reducing the highs in the monitor definitely won't help. In essence, what you are trying to do is find a way to make what you can get loud be as loud as you can so that it fits in the sonic space that is not being used.

After all that, a Two Notes Captor X is the best thing since sliced bread. You can tame down the SPL, use it for recording, or going straight to FOH and monitoring! It is a great way to get what you want and reduce stage volume.

If what you are after is the visceral experience of a cranked amp and " HOW YOU FEEL " on the stage/performance space, then you need to step back and think about who all this is really for. If you are playing to entertain people, then you have to change how you play to suit the best possible result for your fans and attendees. If you only care about how you feel, then that is fine too, but remember it will affect your fans and the quality of sound. What sounds great to you on stage doesn't always present well in the crowd. As a musician, you have to find that balance between playing for your happiness and the crowd's best sonic experience. Louder is not always better. Often quieter with the ability to be louder is.
Logged
I don't understand how you can't hear yourself

Patrick Tracy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2416
    • Boulder Sound Guy
Re: Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2021, 03:48:40 AM »

You may need to think about placement and orientation. The corner of the ceiling and back wall can form a retro-reflector (if the surfaces are untreated and you're set up square the the wall), sending sound back down a parallel path and right into the mic. The corner of the ceiling and two walls is an even better retro-reflector. Try placing the wedge a little off center and angled slightly back across the center line of the room.

Also, you need to be aware of the polar pattern of your mic. The Super 55 has a supercardioid pattern, so it has a pickup lobe 180 off axis and rejects best at about 120 off axis. Place your wedge and orient your mic accordingly, being aware that reflections into the main lobe of the mic also matter.

Lowering stage volume is a time tested way to reduce feedback in the monitors and improve the audience mix.

Radoslaw Andruszkiewicz

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 11
Re: Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2021, 02:17:40 PM »

Okay, I will say first that I did not have a perfect sound from the monitor, then cranked the amp, and then got feedback issues; what I did is I tried to get as much volume as possible just with the vocals and through the wedge, ended up with weird EQ settings, and then played the guitar amp for comparison. So let's say from now on the guitar part is non issue, either it's the correct volume or direct, or something similar. If I get a great sound / mix, and ruin it with a cranked amp, I will ask on a different forum ;-)

I assumed that since Super 55 is just a Beta 58 in a vintage looking enclosure it will be okay, but changing the microphone is the first thing I'll try. I have access to a Sennheiser's MD421 U5 and E835. Yes, I'm aware of different pick up patterns, so I made sure the 55 is angled towards the speaker, also I used the HF unit as my center rather than the middle of the speaker.

I'm reading now here on the forums, that many of you find the ZLX somewhat limited in volume, so I guess investing in a different speaker is an option, hard to say now what budget. I checked your suggest models; RCF sound s(and looks!) amazing, but really pricey, FBT seems bit more within reach.

Why is 31 band EQ not suitable in a vocal chain?
Logged

Patrick Tracy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2416
    • Boulder Sound Guy
Re: Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2021, 02:30:18 PM »

Yes, I'm aware of different pick up patterns, so I made sure the 55 is angled towards the speaker

I assume you mean you angled the back of the mic toward the speaker. But the back of the mic has a response lobe, so you need to angle the back of the mic about 40 away from the mic, which is to say place the speaker 120 off axis from the mic rather than 180 off axis.

But that might be secondary if surfaces are reflecting the sound back into the mic too directly.

Matthias McCready

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 378
Re: Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2021, 03:14:35 PM »

I assumed that since Super 55 is just a Beta 58 in a vintage looking enclosure it will be okay

The beta 58 is my second least favorite vocal microphone. I do not enjoy what it does do vocals. It is great for rappers and I find acceptable for talking heads. But I avoid them like the plague for vocalists.

The Super 55 is my absolute least favorite vocal microphone. It is a dreadful sounding mic. I encounter more of them in the wild than I care to. It takes a LOT of processing work to get it sounding acceptable.

---

I don't think microphone quality is our biggest problem here though.



I'm reading now here on the forums, that many of you find the ZLX somewhat limited in volume

As a wedge it should have plenty of volume; as the entire system that is another story.

I don't think getting a different speaker is going to fix your problems. You have already hit feedback, so louder is not the answer.


Why is 31 band EQ not suitable in a vocal chain?

A 31-Band EQ is usually used to ring-out a mic. This is done when necessary for wedges (less and less common); and this usually takes place after the vocal chain proper; ie on the output to a wedge.

For a vocal chain a parametric EQ will serve better.

----

It sounds like your main problem is feedback.

The loudest noise at your mic wins. If that is your voice great, if that is your wedge you will get feedback.

If you getting feedback now, getting a larger and more powerful speaker will not help this problem.

Sure some microphones have more controlled pickup patterns, but this will not change your fundamental problem.

The problem is, as I see it, that your voice is not as loud as your cranked guitar amp. In a small space even a high quality microphone or wedge won't eliminate this as problem.

It should be noted that "ringing" out something with a graphic EQ usually only give you another 3-10dB before feedback. You are just wanting to grab those first 3-5 frequencies that feedback. After you grab those first few frequencies you have done what you can, as MANY frequencies will start to feedback (ie pulling down the entire top end on your current graphic EQ). This is happening because it is not frequency problem, it is a volume one.

It is also worth noting that even with a great mic, every single cut with a graphic makes things sound worse not better. Even a great mic can sound terrible with the wrong EQ. EQing for feedback is not EQing to make a mic sound more better or pleasant, it is trying to eek out the last ounce of volume when conditions are not ideal at the expense of quality.

The real influencers for feedback are:
1) System deployment (you are in small room with a wedge... this is not ideal).
2) Overall volume (competing with a cranked 2x12 is not setting you up for success).

---

How you rehearse sets the stage for how you will perform. And for most groups (yes not all) having a super cranked 2x12 is not ideal; even in a 3,000 seat arena the wash from a cranked 2x12 can cause issues, and I am thinking you are wanting to play smaller venues than that.

I would highly suggest looking into ways to minimize amp volume or to get rid of it all together (as suggested by others Two Notes Torpedo, IsoCab, Kemper Etc). When you are working on your own is the best time to experiment and to cultivate your ability; before having to have a difficult discussion with band mates, or having a show be a flop.

Note that there are ton of crappy amp replacement options that are dreadful (avoid those), but these days there are quite few great ones to choose from.

Most professional guitarists that I currently work with have made the switch, as tone is the same, and it is less equipment to lug around; not to mention less wear on that custom boutique amp.

If you have not, I would highly recommend checking out an IEM solution for yourself. For the amount you are spending on your wedge(s) you could probably get a pair of custom molded IEM's and a basic digital mixer, and have things sound drastically better.

Some benefits for you of IEM's:
You could choose a mic that works well for voice, rather than one for its pickup patter.
You could be EQing it to sound its best rather than EQing to feedback points out (making it sound awful).
You can hear your actual mic technique (a good set of ears will tell you exactly where you are on a vocal mic).
You can have your guitar tone, with killing anyone or your hearing.
You can have your own personal volume at whatever you want without pissing off band mates, or destroying the mix for the audience.
You can have your own custom mix.


Logged
Measure twice, and cut once; this is especially important if you are a mohel.

Art Welter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1947
Re: Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2021, 03:59:15 PM »

Okay, I will say first that I did not have a perfect sound from the monitor, then cranked the amp, and then got feedback issues; what I did is I tried to get as much volume as possible just with the vocals and through the wedge, ended up with weird EQ settings, and then played the guitar amp for comparison.
Why is 31 band EQ not suitable in a vocal chain?
Radoslaw,

The 31 band EQ can work just fine for notching out a few feedback points, and as a tone control.

You want to hear your vocal above a cranked 2x12", which may be putting out as much as 120 dB with little level change at your vocal mic.
If you don't sing at more than 120 dB, the guitar is amplified as much as your voice by the vocal mic.

Using a single 8" speaker (or an Lpad/ power soak) on the 2x12") could let you crank the amp and loose around 15 dB. The single 8" will give the speaker distortion that's half the sound of a cranked amp.
That gives your vocal a fighting chance to get over the level, as it's hard to hear yourself without around 10dB of difference (sounds about twice as loud) between vocal and instrument level (noise..) at the mic.

You have -15db ear plugs in, which generally mostly cut the highs, which you have turned all the way down on the EQ, so now your ears hear -30dB in the range you need. That's basically like turning the high frequency horn in your monitor off. The single 12" ain't going to compete well against the 2x12".

Your lips are probably right on the mic, so you have a proximity effect boost of around 6-10 dB in the "mud" range of 100-200 Hz. 8 foot ceilings common in small rooms also tend to emphasize this range even more.
So you hear the equivalent of a vocal channel with the bass wide open, and the highs cut completely.

Try the opposite EQ/tone approach, cut everything below 100 Hz, then "ramp up " to around 1000 Hz, bring up level  with your mouth in position till your first feedback squeak (probably around 6 or 8kHz) bring only that frequency down 3-6 dB.
Increase level again, whack the next frequency out, repeat. Three frequencies pulled above 1kHz is near the limit with 1/3 octave EQ if you still want decent sound.
If more than two adjacent bands are hacked, you have probably gone to far, and have reached the limits of gain before feedback.

Try your the other mics with the same routine, each will have their own distinctive gain before feedback pattern. Write down the EQ for each so you can do some comparisons.

Have fun, protect your hearing!

Art
 




Logged

Dave Garoutte

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2654
  • San Rafael, CA
Re: Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2021, 04:04:53 PM »

Have you considered in-ear monitors?
NO feedback.
You can run them hard-wired (not wireless) along the guitar cable.
Doubles as earplugs for the guitar.
Or headphones for that matter, can work in a studio.
Logged
Nothing can be made idiot-proof; only idiot resistant.

Events.  Stage, PA, Lighting and Backline rentals.
Chauvet dealer.  Home of the Angler.
Inventor.  And now, Streaming Video!

Radoslaw Andruszkiewicz

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 11
Re: Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2021, 05:43:01 PM »

@Art, I haven't of that strategy, cutting all the lows, thanks! I do turn on any low filter there is, but I haven't thought going that drastic about it.

My ear plugs are custom moulded from KIND, company known in Europe for hearing aids; so these are not off-the-shelf plugs that muffle the sound. They do cut off the very highs and very lows, but otherwise I can hear everything clearly as it is, just quieter.

I have thought hard about IEMs, very specifically Westone AM Pro series, as they only partially insulate the sound and attenuate ca. -12db (around the level of my ear plugs, if equally flat not sure though), so (hopefully) I could use them for vocals only, and get the rest of the mix from other sources. What scares me though is that if feedback occurs it goes right in your ears, plugs protect perfectly from that as well, no matter how much the speaker wails it doesn't hurt a bit. I was almost ready to make the jump, but then I stumbled on an article where various sound technicians were saying their opinions on in ear system, and what made me hesitate again was them mentioning that although it solves a lot of technical problems, some of them thought performers being isolated from the crowd and other band members tended to give less engaging shows. That's when I thought that I'd hate to go in that direction, and figured I'd try to make wedges work after all.
Logged

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Need help with setting up vocal monitor in rehearsal space
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2021, 05:43:01 PM »


Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Up
 



Site Hosted By Ashdown Technologies, Inc.

Page created in 0.108 seconds with 22 queries.