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Help with mic bleed

Discussion in 'Recording' started by fugitive, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. fugitive

    fugitive Active Member

    ok before I even mention my problem let me start by saying I have tweaked knobs until my fingers bleed, read everything I can find on the net, and pulled out my last remaing hair! I am recording and live reinforcement engineer for a group who plays one room only. the problem I have exists in recording and live app. the drummers vocal pics up more drums than vocal. He is currently using a sure wireless headset mic, we have screened the drums and he is in a corner (Impossible to move him) the way I have him set now you can hear his vocal but should he mute his mic his snare and cymbals dis-appear. how can I separate his drums from his vocal? also may help to know he uses in-ear mons so no floor mon behind his screen.
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Gate his mic. That way anything below the threshold of a vocal will not be present.
  3. fugitive

    fugitive Active Member

    this is what I was thinking, however in the recording realm my exp with gates is that when it opens it lets everything through and causes a slamming door effect when it closes, that said, I can set the gate so that it never closes completely thus the chatter is not as bad but will it still cut some of the drum bleed? ( keeping in mind that the drums are actually louder in the vocal mic than the vocal) and thanx for the reply davedog
  4. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Will the drums in the vocal mic not come blasting in/out as the gate opens/closes?
    I don't do a lot of live sound, but this effect is why I don't like gates.
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    All the above and a better headset. See DPA or switch to a dynamic on an overhead
  6. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Yes, get a dynamic. Maybe not necessarily overhead, but coming in from over/behind the drummer.
    Position it so the null (back of the mic, typically) is directed at the parts of the kit you want to reduce most.
    Have the drummer eat the mic and sing loudly (w/ confidence).

    It's not a gate, but you're increasing your signal (vocal) and reducing your noise (drums).

    This will reduce the drum noise in the vocal mic.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Like an overhead that will reach the drummer where he will sit comfortably singing. get it to reach over to him in the sweet spot. It will be a learning curve for him but its an obvious thing he must resolve if you are going to improve the mix.
  8. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    That surprizes me cause we do that here every saturday night.
    One room 22x24 and i use a shure tqg 30 headset mic. The one im wearing in my avatar.

    I mostly play guitar but i also play drums and sing and its not a big issue.It does pick up the drums a bit but nothing i can't gate on playback when i mix it.(sometimes there's a bit comming through but you don't notice unless you solo it).

    I just make sure my mic is right in front of my lips.Pretty much touching my mouth and i have a fairly strong voice so i need very little gain.
    Is he doing that or is the mic to the side of his face a bit? If he gets it to curl around right in front of his mouth, he won't need much gain,that should do it.
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    you could also invest in some sort of backdrop (acoustic curtains, thick material ) to absorb the high reflections and more. 18 years on the road, once I figured out acoustic importance, I never set-up once without using a full backdrop for both absorbing and appearance. It makes a huge difference in sound and on stage enjoyment. Everyone benefits.

    This is top on my list before I pack the bus.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Can you take a picture of the band (stage ) setup? Is there really hard surfaces behind the stage and what does the back walls look like facing the band? I'm betting your room has really terrible acoustics?
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    Most important:

    The better the room acoustics, the louder you can play on stage. The more room reflections and poorer acoustics, the softer you must ALL play on stage. This is the difference between you suck and you rock.
    So many bands play way too loud on stage. Drummer are the ones whom usually kill the mix and force everyone else to compete.
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    This is why I play with a drummer who has control of the volume at ALL times!! Gates are something that you should know about. There are good gates and bad gates. There are very well versed users of both. Lowering the critical volume in your plastic shield will go a long ways to dealing with the bleed. Deadening the area will help. A headset mic with a built-in gate/limit will help. Most of the good ones do this automatically. Unless they dont..... You can certainly have a gate that has a great release slope to it and use this as a pad of sorts allowing a certain amount of bleed through but eliminating a hard-knee type of trigger in the processing.
  13. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Quieter drummer, better acoustics, better microphone in about that order.
  14. fugitive

    fugitive Active Member

    that would definately be something to consider... Painted paneling behind us and a ceiling fan over us(not good I know but it is overwhelmingly hot on stage) the ceileing is acoustic tile the floor is hardwood, exept the stage is carpeted (lownap like indoor outdoor) and raised 2.5-3 foot. the building itself is L shaped and we are in the corner of the L. I can take a pic this weekend if you need the visual. I have not asked the owner about hanging fabric or possibly installing studio sound tile but I bet we could since he is in the band. As for set up we are a five piece band on a three piece stage crammed in like sardines and no room to expand, I know we all complain of this all the time but literally I cannot swing the neck of my guitar without nailing the guy next to me and so on down the line and two of our members use barstools on stage, they are positioned directly against the drum screen and still not far enough away from their floor mons to hear them properly. That said, I do most of the lead vocals and am the farthest away from the dummer. Also, I mentioned in the first post that I was responsible for livesound as well as recording, I also play lead and rythm guitar, keayboards and front the band. My attention is strained to say the least and I rely on recordings as a loose check point for the live sound. Everything is working quite well but the drummers vocal mic.
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    That explains it all.

    Tell the club owner he/she will make more money if this room sounds better. People are able to talk if the band sounds better. You must have confidence and understand why this is so important when engaging club owners about this sort of thing though...

    If you are the house band, its in all your best interest to get it better.

    I've used Ethan Winers RealTraps for treating low end drones by placing them around the band area.

    Bottom line here.... Your problem is space and the room. When you are that crammed you all need to work closer and turn down so you are all able to hear each other talk on stage. Seriously!
    The drummer is going to hate the gig, but... ( drummers are the source to make or break it) he will get used to it (if he is cool and doesn't let his ego get in the way) and become motivated once he, and all of you see how much better the crowd responds when your sound comes together.

    People don't enjoy drums that over power the mix. Its a fast death.

    If you can't improve the acoustics, you still need to turn way down.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    A great test for how you are doing in an L shaped room. If the majority of the people are around the corner, you know why. Its usually not how bad you are, its because you are too loud and something is out of mix. Bring people close to you with well mixed sound. Its a beautiful discovery once you become a master at it.


    Good luck
  17. fugitive

    fugitive Active Member

    This is a concept I am familiar with. I have heard that most of the "mud" in live sound is caused by monitors and backline amps bouncing sound off the back wall and throwing it out front.the drummer and myself use ear monitors for this reason plus my rig is all direct. I have tried desparately to get the other three members to do this- alas they are old school and can't survive without amps and monitors. The drummer is definately a tapper with great control which is why we put him in a headset mic, thinking that if it were closer to his mouth he would not need as much gain to achieve the same volume, thus lowering the drum noise but it has had no effect
  18. fugitive

    fugitive Active Member

    Thank you audiokid for all of your help, you have given me much to consider and work on and once completed our band will sound much better over all. You reminded me that sound, although relevant to the ear it hits is still percieved as "loud" when not mixed properly and inversely, once mixed properly you can actually obtain a higher overall db without hitting the "It's too loud" threshold. customers in our club typically sit close to the band, however the way the room is set up they don't have much choice! We don't have anyone complain that it is too loud, but we don't have enough people tell us we sound awsome, so there is always room for improvement. thanks again for all the advice... Onward and Upward!!
  19. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    A gate won't work if there isn't enough difference in level between the voice and the bleed, or if the bleed is louder. Even if it does work then you often just get intermittent bleed, which can be more distracting than constant bleed.

    The first thing I'd look at is the mic's pattern. If it's omni replace it with a cardioid or tighter pattern mic. Consider a stand mounted mic like an EV PL80 if the drummer can cope without a headset mic. I normally put the stand on the drummer's left, raise it high and bring the boom down over his left shoulder. Find the polar plots for whatever mic you're using and use that to your advantage by placing the worst bleed sources in its null. A cardioid will have a null 180° off axis and supercardioids have a conical null usually about 120° off axis.

    The second thing I'd look at is how close the mic is to his lips. Every doubling of distance is a 6dB reduction in his vocal level while the bleed stays the essentially the same. If you cut the distance in half you can lower the channel gain, and the bleed with it, 6dB. Get him to put the mic right up to his lips.

    A backdrop certainly wouldn't hurt, but be sure to use fire retardant material. Turning don is the obvious solution, but I know how that goes.

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