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Live Sound

jmarussichjmarussich Posts: 6Pro

Hi All,

 

I'm new to Ken's program, I purchased the How To Sing Bundle yesterday.  I went through all of Volume 1 so far.  Looking forward to it.  I have a band called Doghouse www.facebook.com/doghouse.page.  We are a 3 piece band and we play rock covers (maybe some originals in the future...).  I think we have a decent set up for live sound for the small/mid size venues we play at.  People complement our sound and clarity fairly often, but when I listen to the recordings (I record most of our shows), I feel like the vocal sound could be improved.  I'm sure much of that can be done by me singing better...  :-)  Although we played at a multi-band show where the sound system was already there and we just needed to plug in.  I thought the vocals sounded much fuller and just "better" in that recording.  I think they recorded off the "board" with everything mic'ed and also a room mic, while I record through a ZOOM Q3HD with the built in mic's, noit sure if that was the main difference.  With that said, I'm thinking there might be ways to improve our live vocal sound from an equipment or set-up perspective.  I'm the main singer, guitar player and sound guy for our band... Many hats... We have QSC K12 mains and QSC K8 monitors.  Yamaha MG124CX Mixer, DBX DriveRack PX, and Audix OM2 Mics.  Any experienced advice on live sound equipment and setup would be much appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

- Jim

Comments

  • 10 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,639Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    @jmarussich

    Hi, Jim!

     

    I'm in a 3-piece band doing covers, too.

    I'm the drummer, one of the singers, and run the sound board, too.

    I'm using QSC K-12's for the Mains, too, and a Mackie 24 input board.

    We get lots of compliments on our sound quality as well as our vocals.

    I'm not doing a lot of live recording lately, but over the years have done a ton of recording.

     

    You are correct that recording off of a line output would be preferable to using the mics on your recorder, especially for vocals.  While the QSC's are fantastic, compact high-fidelity sound, you are still getting a recording of the speakers from across the room with your Zoom recorder's built-in mics.

    Taking a direct out from the mixer will give you the direct sound of all of the mics.

    Your mixer is a little bit limited for options to send to the line in on your Zoom recorder.  One way would be to use your Aux Output on the Yamaha board to do a recording mix out.  That way, you could put on some sound-isolating headphones and set up a mix especially for the recording on your Aux bus.  Ideally you would have the bass, the guitar, and the drums miked or fed into the board from direct line outputs on their amps.  Even if they were not mixed into the house mix, you could mix them into the overall mix in your Aux Output on your mixer.  That would feed into the line input of your recorder.

    Unfortunately, you are probably using that Aux Out to do your monitor mix, so my suggestion won't work.  You could use signal splitters and split the send to your monitors and the recorder, but then you would not be able to dedicate the mix to the recording, or your bandmates might not be able to hear themselves in the monitor mix. 

    You could also come out of one or both of the Main Outputs and go to the line input of your recorder.  That would mean that the mix in your recording would be the same thing going to the Mains.  It might be deficient in drums, bass, and guitar for that reason.

    You could possibly come out of a set of outputs on the driverack, as well, if it contained a mix of all of the instruments you want to be in the recording.  That would give you the ability to utilize some of the E.Q. and other features of the drive rack.  

    I don't know enough about the Zoom recorder to know if it has any means to use the built-in mics in addition to the line input and how you would balance that with a line input if you could do so.  It looks like there is only one line input, but maybe it's a stereo jack?  If so, an adapter cord might give you some options.

    You are going to want some way to mix direct feeds from the instruments into your recorder as well as to mix the direct mic signals in, and that mix will need to be set up with someone listening through headphones in order to make sure you can hear everything in the right proportions, and to ensure that nothing is going into distortion.  Once it's set up, hopefully you can set it and forget it.  Getting the levels set right is crucial in recording.  Any digital overshoots will trash your sound.  Too quiet and it will sound thin or distant.

    Hopefully I haven't bored you to tears with this response. 

    Good luck with your recordings, improving your voice, and Welcome to KTVA!!!

     

    Bob

     

     

    What I like about the Mackie Mixer I am using is that each input channel has 6 aux busses.  I use two for effects, Post Fader: one is for echo/slapback, and the other is for reverb.  That leaves me four more busses (Pre-Fader) that serve as three independent monitor mixes, so each guy gets to have his monitor mixed with what he wants to hear.  That leaves one unused aux bus that can be used for a recording mix out.

    Everybody is plugged into the board in my band, including the drums.  I have electronic triggers in my acoustic drums, and the Drum sound module outputs feed into the board.  My personal monitor mix has a lot of drums in it.   

    The reason you get compliments on your sound is because you are using quality equipment, and perhaps also you are using it well. 

     

     

  • Bob,

     

    Wow!  Thanks for all the great info.  Much appreciated!  We don't put everything through the board at this point, just the vocals and guitar.  I put my acoustic (Taylor 714), and I also put my electric (Les Paul 68F/Fender Supersonic/BossGT10) through it at low volume through a Radial JDX, I think it adds some fullness to the guitar sound and helps us fill the space as a 3-piece.

    When we play outdoors, sometimes I think we should mic the drums .  I notice that they seem to get lost a little when I listen to the recordings outdoors.  Indoors they seem pretty loud, but sometimes I think we might want to at least boost the bass drum indoors to get some more "thump".  We don't have any subs, so I'm not sure if it would help much to add the bass guitar (or the bass drum) to the mains.  Our bass player gets good volume from his amp.

    My thoughts on adding the drums and bass to the mix/mains are: Generally we are asked to turn down rather than turn up the volume.  Our set-up now is fairly simple and easy to put together and take down. I'm not as concerned with a great recording when we are playing out, I really just want to have the best live sound possible. 

    I view the recordings as something we can use to keep improving our playing and singing, and it's fun to listen back to the shows separately or as a band together.  We also post them up so people can hear what we sound like.  I record video/audio for the whole show (breaks, mistakes, and all) and then just post it up on Google drive, and post a link to facebook for those who want to listen.  It would be nice to get super high-quality recordings also, but I also don't want to make our set-up too complicated.

    Interesting thoughts on the individual monitor mixes.  I've heard people talk about that before.  I just use the left channel in the mixer/DriveRack for the mains and the right channel for the monitors.  I use L/R to control monitor/main balance.  The monitors have the same mix, which seems to work fine for us. I use the DriveRack to notch out for feedback / "ring out" and some basic EQ.

     

    In terms of improving the live vocal sound, which is what I was really getting at in my question, any recommendations on adding equipment to the signal chain, Sonic Maximizer, preamp, compression (I use light compression built into the Yamaha mixer), effects (I use a little reverb built into our mixer),  eq (I leave the eq on the mixer "straight up" for the vocals), different mics. etc?

    Thanks!

     

    - Jim

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,639Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited May 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down

    Since you are using a main output for the monitors, You could still use the Aux out for your "Recording Mix" if you wanted to.  You could aux out some of your existing guitar feed into the recording.  Then you would just need a line out from the bass player, which could be a direct box (inexpensive) and you could run that into your mixer but keep the P.A. fader off and use the pre-fader aux out to send to the recorder.

    Now all you would be lacking would be some drums.  I have a small Alto ZMX122FX mixer that I only paid $110.00 for that would be perfect for doing a recording mix for a few drum mics (like kick, snare, overhead...). That could also go to a fader-down channel on your Yamaha board and go out to your recorder via the aux out mix.  Better Yet, a small mixer like that an Alto could serve as the dedicated Recorder Mixer, and run the vocal mix from your mains or aux out on the Yamaha to a line in on the Recorder Mixer, and also feed in the bass, guitar, and voila! Nothing additional is going to your QSC's, for volume's sake. You have the entire band sound (all off the LINE) feeding directly into your recorder via this inexpensive mixer. You could even be playing at very low volume and still get a very full-sounding recording with it's own E.Q. and reverb from the mini-mixer. 

    Yes, this is an extra step you would have to worry about during set-up and tear-down. You can also experiment with different placements of the Zoom recorder and see if you like the sound better in different parts of the room.

    It's cool that you are posting your gigs online!

     All the Best!

     

    Bob

     

  • Hi jmarussich ! Check this out: http://www.tc-helicon.com/products/voicetone-correct-xt/
    A great mic is the Shure Beta 58A. It's loud, bright and handles feedback extremely well. Every little bit counts! Hope this helps.
  • I got the Seinheiser e935. Wow, what a difference! That was what I needed. The OM2 sounds like there's a blanket over the mic compared to it. It's absolutely night and day. Love the new mic. I'm really happy with it.

    I have the tc helicon G-XT. I use it for backup harmonies on only 2 songs we play out just for an interesting effect. To me it sounds too processed. The pitch correction is cool to practice with, but I don't like it to play out. Again too processed. The tone button they tout does not seem to do much except make the mic feedback more easily (probably compression) and to my ears there doesn't seem to be much difference at all in the sound.

    What do you like about the Voicetone Correct XT?


    Also working on stage 2 now of Ken's training. I really like it. It's truely increasing my range, control, and ease of singing.
  • jmarussichjmarussich Posts: 6Pro
    edited June 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Anyone in NJ? My band is playing out on Saturday! I plan to record the show and post it on our facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/doghouse.page as usual. This will be the first full show with the new mic and after I started Ken's program... :-)
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,639Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    Cool stuff.  I've been using the Sennheiser e835 for several years now and have liked it a lot.  Now, I'm jealous!!!

    The 935 has great specs on the high end, must sound really sweet!  That's why I quit using my Shure's for vocal, because the Sennheiser was cleaner on the high end.

    I've actually got my eye on the Neumann KMS 104 or 105 performance mics, someday over the rainbow.  Those are even spendier, around seven hundred USD.

    It pays to shop around.  You can spend too much and not get what you want.

    Enjoy gigging with your new mic!

     

     

    Bob

  • jmarussich: well, it smooths out the voice and gives a lot of presence. Can save the day with almost no effort. Of course, it depends on the sound you like. Check the audio samples in the web page, those shows what the pedal does very well. Now, nothing beats a great mic (you alredy have one!) a great preamp and a pair of in ear monitors to "adjust" your tone and intention at will. To me, my in ear monitor is the best "processor" of them all !
    yafal.
  • I think the show went very well on Saturday.  I could hear the difference with the new mic and the vocal training has definitely made a difference.  I posted up a link to the full video/audio from the show on our fb page www.facebook.com/doghouse.page 
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,639Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited June 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down

    @Cinema

    It all depends on the mic.  The Shure 57's and 58's have been workhorses for many years and taken a beating in the process. They are rugged. 

    Recent developments in microphone technology have begun to emulate the expensive German studio microphones of the 1960's studio-quality sound.

    Condenser mics used to be something of a rarity.  Now you can buy knock-off condensers for about a hundred bucks that sound really good for that kind of money.  There are also some really good dynamic mics like the Sennheiser 935 that are approaching the frequency response characteristics of a good condenser mic.

    Good condensers have a response of about 20 to 20,000 cycles per second.  That's quite good, from very low to very high.  All 20 to 20K responses are not equal, but that's a good start.  Ken has a favorite Neumann mic that he always uses for his recording, and it's a vintage oldie.  It has a mellow, beautiful tone in the mids.

    Sennheiser 421 and 441 mics were commonly used in good studios back in the 60's, and still have very good response.  I've been surrounded by them on my drumset from time to time. 

    When the wireless mics first came out, the quality and reception wasn't that good, but great strides have been made on them recently, as well as wireless guitar transmitters.  They are quite reliable now.  The freedom and showmanship that was ushered in with the wireless technology was a big innovation for live music.  They are taken for granted these days.  Your mic may well have been one of the good ones that came along.  Good ones were not inexpensive.

    So Shure vs Sennheiser would depend on the model of each.  Certainly a Sennheiser 935 would beat out a Shure Beta 58, but that's an unfair comparison.  I know that some of the sound technicians I know that can afford to buy whatever they want are buying the hand-held Neumanns.  The seven hundred dollar ones, with a 20-20khz frequency response.  They are also very careful about who they let use them.  It's a big deal to lose one of those.

    You should be able to hear the difference very well in an A/B comparison of mics when using your in-ear monitors, especially if they are very good ones.  You are listening for sparkling clarity, clean highs and clear lows, zero distortion, even at extremely high decibel levels. The voice should be so clear as to make the voice sit in the mix as if the music were transparent.  The mids should be pleasant and natural. 

    Go to a big music or sound equipment store, put in your in-ears or a set of headphones, and have yourself a mic shootout.  Fall in love with your most favorite-sounding mic.  Then be sure to repeat the same tests in the Sound System Room with the mics cranked up hot!  Give it a belt or two and then see how it responds to something sensitive.

    Trust your ears.

    Bob

     

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