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THANK U - & 1st. "Live Show" Advice Needed...

Hi everyone! :smiley: Hope I´m doing this right, since it´s my first time here as a registered member. Before I reach out my hand to all you great people here & ask for help & guidance, I just feel like saying THANK YOU to both Ken Tamplin himself (and his "crew") for being so amazing & dedicated to help us all sing better & beyond, but also a great big THANK YOU to everyone in this forum (both the ones who read this & the ones who don´t) - I find it so wonderful to know there´s a place like this, where all us music-lovers, singers, performers, artists, dreamers & whoever else is passionate about all the music magic can connect with one another; it feels like a safe place compared to so many other sites & forums, where musicians are anything but friendly or serious or honest. So super cool all these good people have each other, kinda like "one big happy music family club". :smiley:

Well, having said that, I wonder if anyone can tell me something about the sound that comes out of a stage monitor, in contrast to regular speakers. The reason I ask, is because I´ve never had the privilege of being on stage with professional equipment yet, but in one month from now I will be in front of such, performing a few of my own songs for the first time with a sound engineer, too, and all the rest that´s needed (since I don´t have a band, the music will be a backing track from my laptop). I have no idea what brands I´ll have as to all the equipment, nor do I know if the sound engineer is a good/professional one. I´m afraid I don´t know very much about all the technology/equipment/settings, but I´ve pre-asked the renting company to make sure I can have a professional live sound (I really like a vocal effect like a bit of reverb/echo/delay or something, a bit like when you record your vocals in a recording studio, but don´t know if he´ll understand). There may even be communication problems, since this will be in a different country where English isn´t something everyone masters perfectly, if at all. It´s a bit of a risk on a personal level, this coming "performance" of mine, since it´s a private one for my best friend for 20 years, who´s throwing a birthday party at a restaurant; she has no idea what I´m planning and I´ve also written a song for her, so if my nerves take over on the day, it´s bad enough, but if the equipment & sound engineer fail to deliver a good sound, oh my, I´ll embarrass my best friend, her family, her friends, the restaurant & all other guests... In other words, that just can´t happen, it´s GOT TO be a positive experience for everyone - me, included. I´m practicing on a daily basis for several hours, using a microphone, laptop & regular speakers & mixer with a bit of reverb, plus of course also doing my "Tamplin homework", but I can´t practice with proper equipment until a few hours before the "show" on the day of the party.

Any advice on monitors/live sound/vocal settings with reverb or echo or delay/soundcheck - and/or any other piece of advice for someone who´s mighty nervous for not being good enough, but wants to do anything to succeed in surprising her friend in a positive way?

Answers

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 12,986Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    So it's a good thing that you are practicing with a mixer that can give you some reverb and echo, and you know what all of that is already. If you have a headphone output on your setup, that may be a way for you to be able to practice more without disturbing others, but still get the sound and feel of working with a microphone and effects.

    I don't know what kind of speakers you're using to do this practicing with, but just as information, monitor speakers will feed back (the bad shrieking sound of a mic pointed at speaker) worse with echo and reverb.

    Many sound engineers will refuse to give you any effects in your monitors for that reason, and tell you that "dry vocals" are the only way to go. I personally am in love with good reverb and some slapback echo, or even long delay on some songs, and in my band, the reverb for the whole venue is coming from my monitor. So you CAN get some reverb in there without feedback. Don't let them fool you. It just takes a little bit of skill to get it to where it sounds good to YOU, AND doesn't feed back. You do need a monitor so that you can hear your own voice.

    You should practice with your voice coming through speakers so that you will become accustomed to doing that, but the headphones are a good option if there are times that you want to practice and you want to avoid disrupting life in your home or practice place as much as speakers might.

    This is a MUST: No matter how well prepared you are, if, on the day of your performance, the sound is not set up RIGHT, you will have obstacles in your way. Get there early. Have the sound guy do a SOUND CHECK and get everything set the way you want it BEFORE the big event. Once you start your song, you don't want to realize that you can't hear yourself or you can't hear the backing track, or you are feeding back, or your monitor sounds great but the house speakers sound awful, or the microphone battery is dying, or there is too much echo or no reverb or it sounds bassy or tinny, etc. Get all of that taken care of prior to the guests arriving. Practice where you are going to move around. Make sure the cords work, or that the wireless units work. In-ear monitors would be nice, but that might not be possible in a rental situation.

    My band played a gig yesterday. We had done another engagement at another venue the previous night, and we just arrived, plugged everything in, and started playing. We were short on time (daylight savings time change, and an afternoon gig after a late niter). We started the first song without a sound check, and the guitarist had just revved-up his volume, getting some bugs out of his guitar rig. We played a loud rocker song (Born to be Wild) and people were motioning about the sound. Long story short, we couldn't understand what they were saying until the song ended because we were all busy getting through the song. They said my vocals were being drowned out by the guitar. I was making adjustments, and it got better, because I thought that's what they were saying. Fast-forward, it was solved by the guitarist turning his guitar back down to normal.

    You won't have a chance to do-over. You want the magic of the moment to be the focus, not technical issues. You need to have everything set just right so that people aren't motioning and you have no way to fix it, or the sound guy just can't figure it out. Do all of that BEFORE the performance. Then ENJOY the MOMENT!

    Bob
  • DreamerDreamer Posts: 4Member, 2.0 PRO
    Hi Bob! :) Thank you so much for your great response, I really appreciate that! I fully understand what you mean about getting there as early as possible to do soundchecks & to rehearse and indeed, that is the plan - at least in accordance with the schedule. The restaurant has agreed to open for the renting company at 9 a.m. and I have someone to take me there, so that I´ll get there at 10 (if everything goes well), I´ve requested that all equipment is set up & ready for me by 10, but I won´t know if it´ll actually happen until I´m there at 10. Then I´m given till 1 p.m., so 3 hours, to do soundcheck & rehearse (the party starts at 2 p.m.), but you actually mention all the things that I´m fearing the most: that the sound engineer won´t have the experience I need to have everything work for both audience & me & that the equipment won´t live up to proper stuff. I´ve tried once in my life to have stage monitors in front of me to do 1 song, but I don´t consider this an actual "pro equipment experience", as the sound guy there completely failed and I had no voice in the monitors, so it really didn´t go well. If something similar will happen in a month, oh dear, it´ll be a humiliating experience for all and a complete waste of money. Biggest problem is, I won´t know anything till 3 hours before - even so, it´ll be too late to refuse to pay & too late to skip the performance.

    Regarding in-ears, that´s been a dream of mine to get such for many years, but 3 weeks ago I actually ordered some customised UEs and if I´m lucky I may get them soon. I´ve never in my life worn such - again, I know nothing about technology & music equipment, aside from what I´ve learnt to use - but apparently these UEs can work with all equipment, which is a great thought. IF I manage to figure out how to connect everything and get used to wearing/using them prior to my trip & performance (I´ve heard it does take a bit of getting used to), then I´ll bring them with me & let the renting company know I won´t be needing their stage monitors. I´m used to planning things well, never do anything halfway and I guess I´m a bit of a perfectionist, wanting everything to be as good as possible, but I definitely feel the stress about not knowing or being able to try the important stuff.

    As to my speakers, they´re called FLUID AUDIO GSR12, my mixer is a YAMAHA MG10XU and my microphone is a SHURE BETA 58A. I connect my laptop with my backing tracks through the headphones plug in, but thankfully I don´t need to worry about disturbing anyone or being noisy, as I´m living in the countryside. :)

    Thanks so much again for caring and for taking the time to give me some great feedback - of the "good, non squeaky kind"! :wink:
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 895Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    That is some very decent gear!

    One of the things I recently did to take back the reigns of power was to invest in a TC Helicon VoiceLive Play. (Think stompbox with world class vocal processing). The sound guy just has to run you dry, and cut the gain down so you can control it at your device.
    I actually run mine in stereo for a huge 3D sound, because I'm cool like that :wink:

    But I think the best you can do is show up early and get the settings dialed in beforehand. It also helps to know your way around a mixer so that you can assist.

    One last thing, is it you have a recorder, place it in the main audience section so you can hear the room mix without relying on someone else's opinion.

    Cheers,

    Phillip
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 12,986Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    With the amount of time you have, you should be able to see what it sounds like fairly quickly. If it's not working to your satisfaction, you should be able to convey that to the sound person in a way that they will be open and understanding and try to give you what you ask for.

    A lot of sound engineers try to be aloof and tell you that something just won't work, but you don't have to accept that. That is often just an indication that they are uncooperative or lazy. And they can play dumb and make you sound awful, intentionally. But usually if you let them know that you know what it is that you want (good sound, clear, strong monitors, enough effects to make it shine, etc..) they will snap-to and come out of their delirium and give you what you are paying for, and kindly asking for.

    But if you don't ask for it, you might not get it. So get the gear all fired-up and make an assessment. Be objective, and then clearly state the difference in what you are hearing and what you want to hear. Don't take "yeah, buts" for an answer. Be nice, but tell them what you would like, if it's not what you're hearing.

    More backing tracks. My voice sounds a little muddy. Can you put some highs on the playback? Just a little more, please? That's it!! Thank you. Now, can I run through it a couple more times? Just a touch more reverb? A little more volume on the mic?

    Ask. Evaluate. Adjust. Improve. Make it happen.
  • DreamerDreamer Posts: 4Member, 2.0 PRO
    Hi Phillip & Bob,

    Thank you so much, guys, for wanting to help me, it´s greatly appreciated. :D I didn´t realise I´d received more feedback, I thought my regular e-mail would note me for replies, but I guess not. No harm done, though, I´ll just check back whenever I can. I´ve come down with a sore throat now all of a sudden, really bad timing, as I really feel the need to rehearse daily, but that´s just a no-go, alas. :(

    Yaeh, I prefer getting along with everyone and treating people the way I wish to be treated, myself, so being friendly and saying things in a nice way is indeed my preference. :) I´m "communicating" with the music rental company through my friend´s brother (my friend can´t know anything about all of this, as it´s a surprise, as stated) over e-mail and I´ve sent at least 3-5 mails asking him to tell them, what I need and how important it is to me. It sounds like I´ll get what I need and that the sound engineer should be a pro, so I´ve now "surrendered" and choose to believe in that. But thanks, Bob, I´ll keep in mind that it´s indeed okay for me to be "politely demanding". o:)

    Funny that you, Phillip, mention the TC Helicon, yesterday I checked it out on Google and it looks pretty cool. I may be able to invest in such if I can find the money and when it´s time for me to get onto that stage more regularly. And thanks for telling me I´ve got gear that´s quite alright! Cool to know. B)

    It´s really nice not to feel all alone here, thank you. XXX
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 895Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    If you hunt places like kijiji, you can often find used units for a fraction of the cost of a new one... I did :smiley:

    Crappy about the cold, nurse it well. (Search singing while sick on the forum)

    It should send you notifications to the email address you signed up with. If not, check your spam or Junk bin. Then right-click on it and ID as legitmate email.

    Get well soon!

    Cheers,

    Phillip
  • DreamerDreamer Posts: 4Member, 2.0 PRO
    Hi there! :)

    Yeah, still no voice, unfortunately, but I keep hoping every day... Thank you for your sweet words - and I´ll have a look at the "singing while sick" forum. :) Up till now, I´ve been drinking 2 litres of water daily (that´s no news, though), herbal teas, eating ginger, garlic, chili, lemon etc., etc. But it´s clear I have an inflammation going on here.

    As to notifications, no, I don´t get anything, not in spam as far as I can see, either, but it´s okay. I´ll just check whenever I can.

    Hope you guys are doing well? Any of you get to play/perform/sing anywhere? I hope so. :) Man, what should we all do without music `n´ singing, huh..?! I know I couldn´t live without it, even for a day - but I suppose we all feel that way in this great forum! :)

    Take good care for now, everybody, & sing on my behalf these days, too! ;)

    HugZ!
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