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Female Vocal Comp

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Female Vocal Comp

Postby Nathy » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:55 pm

Hello

Im about to engineer for a folk band, quiet on stage which is always useful but with a female singer of which I always seem to have problems with EQ and compression.

Im not a massive fan of compression anyway, but its got to be done I guess. I am wondering what sort settings are used to get that "studio pop music" esque vocal.

Thanks
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Re: Female Vocal Comp

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:07 am

Nathy wrote:Im not a massive fan of compression anyway, but its got to be done I guess.

Not at all - just use it if you need it. I would rarely use compression on a folk vocals unless there's a specific reason why I'd need to use it.

Nathy wrote:I am wondering what sort settings are used to get that "studio pop music" esque vocal.

Is that what they want?

It might be that you need a different mic to match the voice, which I prefer to using lots of EQ.

Can you describe the voice some more?

Bob
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Re: Female Vocal Comp

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:35 am

As is so often the case Mr Bickerton and I are of one mind...

Most of my work is folk/acoustic and I very, very rarely use any compression. Most good folkies have good voices and know how to use a mic. If I'm having problems with vocal clarity my first thought is always to change the mic - just like Bob says. Of course, if you're not able to have a soundcheck you just have to wing it... But try to invest in a range of different vocal mics and get to know their characteristics. (Hint: I find that an SM58 rarely brings out the best in a female folk vocalist.) That way you can often choose the 'right' mic even before the singer has sung a note.

HTH
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Re: Female Vocal Comp

Postby Nathy » Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:46 pm

Sorry guys! Just noticed your replies..!

The main reason for compression is because the vocalist is very quiet and, the studio pop sound was just something I wanted to find out how to achieve anyway with other gigs.

Unfortunately I only have 3 types of vocal mics. - D5, SM58 and a DAP copy of 58.

Thanks.
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Re: Female Vocal Comp

Postby Sheriton » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:15 pm

If the singer is very quiet, compression won't make her louder, it'll just reduce your headroom before feedback. Compression just makes the louder bits quieter; the makeup gain than makes those bits, along with the quieter bits, louder again. In the studio, feedback isn't an issue so a quiet, breathy vocal can be compressed to sound very intimate and close. Live, that's a bit trickier.
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Re: Female Vocal Comp

Postby turtles » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:59 pm

Just a thought... do you have anything else in your mic box that you hadn't considered trying as a vocal mic?

If you have time to try it, and your singer is relatively static on stage, an appropriately pop-shielded cheap SDC of the stick-it-on-an-instrument-or-overheads variety, can give surprisingly sweet results with a quiet female vocal on a live stage.

Feedback can be a fiddle but overcome with a couple of notches on the monitor EQ.

Failing that, in the el cheapo dynamic budget range, a second-hand Sennheiser 835 is around £40- I'd have an 800 series over an SM58 for a female vocal any day.
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Re: Female Vocal Comp

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:24 pm

If I understand you correctly...

The only way I can think the compressor would be useful is if you've got her vocal turned right up and the compressor is keeping any unexpected shrieks under control. In this case I'd be looking at soft knee (less obvious), fairly high ratio but also high(ish) threshold so the comp is usually not doing anything, only kicking in when problems arise.

It can be useful but decent mic technique, even for a quiet voice is much better.

What kind of venues?
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