Skip to main content

Recommendations for mic / comp for live

Hi, need help deciding on mic and comp for live performance.

At the mo my wife uses 58 beta into PreSonus live desk ( below unity gain ) .
She has a big dynamic range . We do some jazzy stuff with not much pressure
to blues where she belts it out .
She uses mic technique,but at times pulling off the mic can make the voice thin.
It would be nice to negate this . When pushing hard ( unless warmed right up ) she
can get a spike 900 - 1.2k .

Is there a compressor/ or channel strip /pre that is roadworthy and can pinpoint a specific freq range to tame ?

As for microphone, something that is very transparent may be the ticket .

Thanks in advance

Comments

bouldersound Sun, 01/21/2018 - 12:18

As a live sound mixer I appreciate singers who can work a mic properly, but it does raise the issue of proximity effect, the change in tone with distance. The EV Variable-D mics (RE20 etc.) are designed to minimize proximity effect, but most of them are kind of big for live use. If that's not going to work due to size, have her be a little less aggressive with backing off and let the compressor do more of the work. There are two reasons to be careful with compression (voice strain and feedback), but it can work. I tend to set the threshold high enough that it's not compressing most of the time, then use a moderately high ratio to make it behave like a soft limiter.

Wait, no inserts on the desk? That's a problem.

Smashh Mon, 01/22/2018 - 10:06

We tried the EV Re 20 a few years back and it good, but too big as you mentioned Bouldersound, .

Dave , Ive been using the fat channel on the desk ,but Im not sure that it does a good job .
Although I go little conservative setting the threshold because there is no one to man the desk
in our smallish set up. I would hope that the DBX 286 has a different vibe to the studio live desk
which will be handy at home for recording things also .

It just occurred to me whilst writing this that maybe I could be aggressive with the comp in fat
channel ,and then use EQ( fat channel ) to re invigorate the sound . Any thoughts on this idea? .
Is that a good way to think of using the comp for live? I've always thought it was a case of just
taking a little off the peaks only.

I like the look of that dbx 286 Marco , problem is Sweetwater docent post to Australia.
Found one here although its 300 bucks , I think Ill bite the bullet and buy this

dvdhawk Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:57

Before you pop for the outboard preamp / compressor, have you weighed that against the cost of just stepping up to a better, more capable, mixer? (PreSonus, or otherwise) Will you have to buy a rack for the dbx, or do you already have a rack for it? Things like extra racks and cables are hidden costs that are easy to miss.

Smashh Mon, 01/22/2018 - 18:48

It would be nice to have a new desk but thats a couple of Gs vs 300ish dollars.
I will have to buy a rack , but a small plastic one will suffice for this .
The costs are never ending .
It would be nice to have a money tree out the back , but I figure that this journey
is more interesting in a lot of ways , can't be too easy here on earth ....lol.

I figure an upgrade of computer will precede any new desk and go to 96 K .

audiokid Mon, 01/22/2018 - 20:45

Save your pennies for a better mixer. All a comp will do is reduce her dynamics and mess her voice up trying to do what she does so well. Your preamps are topping out and you are looking for a way to help them cope. Works slightly better in a studio but will kill her live. I've been in the same position as you and the best solution is:

Better mixer makes the best sense to me.

dvdhawk Mon, 01/22/2018 - 20:58

I completely understand. It’s always one expense after another. I’d try really hard to get the Fat Channel dialed in first.

I still own several live consoles, but for most gigs I’ve ditched them in favor of controlling everything with an iPad.
It makes it nice when we don’t have anyone to man the controls as well. My old system was a fairly efficient set up, but this newer rig really cut down on bulk and set up time, and greatly increased the amount of control I had. Everything I need (mixer, 3x amps, and 2x power conditioners) fits in a rolling 12-space rack with room to spare. Something to consider when the time comes to update your desk. That’s another one of those things too, more money out of pocket if you don’t already own some sort of tablet. (possibly a router, and on and on....)

Smashh Tue, 01/23/2018 - 05:53

Damn , thats not what I was wanting to hear Chris , as Ive just bought the channel strip . :)
I ll give it a good go and see how it works out . Im figuring that if she doesn't have to back off
as much , even a few inches it could keep a fatter ,more consistent tone .
I guess the proof is in the pudding . Im thinking of having the desk gain on near zero .

These digital desks still are bit scary . We live in a tropical climate
6 months of the year ,with high humidity .
Ive held on to the ol sound craft desk just in case the live plays up . So far its been really good after 2 years ( knock on wood )

What makes sense needs lots of dollars:whistle:

What would be a good upgrade for a desk ,in 2018 ,that doubles as interface 16 channels ?
At a reasonable price if its possible

pcrecord Tue, 01/23/2018 - 07:13

I've done outdoor shows with Yamaha M7CL and LS9 and TF5 mixers and I've seen rain many times. Enough to see body surf on the grass at some point.
I never had problems with those mixers. How more affordable ones would cope, I don't know. But the trick is to never shut them down, same with amps. You plug them and put them to off only when the gig is finished.
I love being able to save my mix and I can only recall main and monitor EQ settings when returning to a venue...
Plus having 32 compressors on a 32 ch mixer is nice to have...

Something like this ? https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SL1602USB
I take links to sweetwater only as a reference...

audiokid Tue, 01/23/2018 - 08:48

Smashh, post: 455401, member: 45856 wrote: Damn , thats not what I was wanting to hear Chris , as Ive just bought the channel strip . :)
I ll give it a good go and see how it works out . Im figuring that if she doesn't have to back off
as much , even a few inches it could keep a fatter ,more consistent tone .
I guess the proof is in the pudding . Im thinking of having the desk gain on near zero .

What makes sense needs lots of dollars:whistle:

What would be a good upgrade for a desk ,in 2018 ,that doubles as interface 16 channels ?
At a reasonable price if its possible

I know she has a big voice and from years of experience myself, I've had to use weak consoles over the years. Every time the venue packed up and songs were at the most dynamic, I could feel the mixer couldn't handle my vocals. I could feel it in the throat and it wasn't fun. The preamps felt like there was compression when there wasn't. Curious, is she feeling that?

I don't give up easily so... to compensate, I spend endless hours messing with EQ's and PA adjustment to try and squeeze headroom out. I used out board comps and all they did was increase that feeling in our throats. If you dial down the music and your PA can compensate for less gain on the mixer, it will marginally help but I suspect you will feel like the music isn't gluing as well then. It becomes a trade off between vocals and music all the time. Which is why you are hoping an outboard processor will help, correct?

Low end preamps and weak power supplies simply suck on all counts. My guess, if the Fat Channel processing isn't doing it for her, its because your console doesn't have enough headroom for her level of talent.

Dave > dvdhawk has a ton of experience with SL consoles, I suspect his advice gets no better.

Hope it helps and I look forward to hearing how it goes!

Smashh Wed, 01/24/2018 - 04:44

Thanks for the feedback guys ,

Yes Marco, that is the desk we have (firewire version )

Every night is different ,as you all know, and even with very similar PA settings . The feeling J gets that bugs her is
a thinning of tone when she goes off the mic in powerful phrases . We don't use a monitor most of the time
and the FOH speakers are a little behind and to the side of us . When her tone gets thin, it sounds metallic in her
ears . Because she is on the drums, the mic technique gets more complicated and lots going on .
There are many occasions where , with the same set up , there is no problem .

I will let you know how it goes with the dbx286s on the way in . I plan on having a hotter signal into the
S L desk as a starter place .

dvdhawk Wed, 01/24/2018 - 11:30

As bouldersound mentioned early on, a lot of what's happening is the bass boosting proximity effect when she's close to the capsule, and losing that bass boost when she backs off. So the tone suffers for the sake of good mic technique. Compressors tend to push things to the bassier side as well, you will need to find a happy compromise. There are also other vocal mics that exhibit lets proximity effect than a Beta58, but that will be more bad news for your bank account.

pcrecord Thu, 01/25/2018 - 04:56

Playing drums, following a click, singing and mixing FOH was my role for a while. I would sometime play the back beat with one hand and adjust faders with the other.
When a lady came to ask to speedup the song while playing and signing (we used a sequencer) it started to be too much.. Having a conversation with a headset in the middle of a song isn't very glamourous.
But it was funny when we discussed having to go to the can between songs!! :ROFLMAO:

Smashh Thu, 01/25/2018 - 05:47

It is a full on task singing and playing drums , sometimes one gets left behind .
This was a couple of weeks back , it was Js birthday so we went out for a few and a jam too.
Sorry bout my fat head in the way ...lol

Yep , terrible how some people come and request in the middle of a song , There are times when
we just stop the song mid stream and ask them what they wanted over the mic . Only the
real asses get that treatment , and they soon see the err in their ways ...lol

x