Vocal mic signal chain question.

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by billlee, Mar 27, 2002.

  1. billlee

    billlee Guest

    I am having trouble recording vocals, and I have some questions that somebody on this forum may be able to answer. I would appreciate any help.
    Here is what I've been trying.
    I have an AKG3000b to my preamp inserted thru my compressor(after the preamp), to my DAW.
    With this setup I am really having a hard time getting a good level to disk. If I turn the gain up too high, I overload the input on the comp and I sounds distorted. If I bring the gain down, the signal to disk is very weak even if I crank the output of my comp. After trying this setup for a while, I took the mic signal right into the compressor, then out to my preamp and this worked out much better, but is still lacking a bit.
    Which setup is best and do I just need to tweak a little more? Does anybody have any advice?
  2. Masternfool

    Masternfool Active Member

    Dec 3, 2001
    you didn't really specify what type of equip. you're using? sounds like youre mixing -10 and +4 gear? more info needed.
  3. billlee

    billlee Guest

    Hi Harry
    Thanks for responding. Sorry for not filling in the details. I am going into my Aardvark Q10 soundcard preamp and inserting thru my Behringer Composer the Q10 is set up at +4(although I've tried both settings on the soundcard and on the compressor). When I run straight into the Q10 set at +4 I get great levels, but I would like to able to use the compressor to control dynamics a bit. I have had great results with this particular compressor with a bass guitar. Maybe this piece of gear is not going to work on vocals. I was hoping I could get some advise/opinions before I dropped any cash on a different preamp/compressor. The sound I am getting right now is not unusable it's just that I have always been able to get the best sound possible out of using the gear at hand, this time I think I am not. Thanks.
  4. OTRjkl

    OTRjkl Guest

    Please tell us what settings you are using on the comp. (attack/rel, ratio, etc.).

    Unless you are needing to stabilize the dynamics of your vocals going into the DAW, try not even using the comp. until after its recorded (in the mix). If that doesn't work, try using the comp. just as a soft limiter to control the peaks going in.
  5. billlee

    billlee Guest

    Hi Jeff
    Thanks for replying. I have the compressor setup as you describe as a soft limiter. Ratio @ 2:1 threshold @ -5(I've tried different settings for this.) I have tried using the attack and release in auto mode and have also manually set it. I've tried both the hard knee and soft knee settings(this unit has a kind of soft to hard interactve component). When I monitor the feed from my preamp and adjust the output level to the compressor to where I'm not hearing any distortion, I just can't seem to get the out put hot enough to have a nice strong signal to disk. I really like the idea of using a touch of compression going in, but maybe I just need to worry less about the compressor and worry more about getting a good level going directly into my DAW. Is there anybody that uses a compressor in the way I'm trying to? And if you do, which one and what are your settings like? Thanks.
  6. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    If you are getting appropriate levels without the compressor, there must be something wrong with how the compressor is set-up or connected - as there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to use it in the chain.

    I'm not familiar with the composer, but you might want to check with Behringer. On some compressors there are internal jumpers for switching from +4 to -10 (Aphex Compeller, for instance). Also, if there is a hard/brickwall limiting pot (like on some dBX compressors) make sure that it is not engaged.
  7. billlee

    billlee Guest

    Thanks littledog,
    I have settings for +4 and -10 on both my soundcard and the comp. I have changed both. As for the limiting, the unit does have a peak limiter which I have set to off(in this instance). I'm going to mess with it more when get home. Thanks all!!!!
  8. Jon Atack

    Jon Atack Active Member

    May 29, 2001
    If the only outboard comp available is a Behringer, I would track vocals without it and use a plug-in comp instead. Even the best plug-in compressors aren't great for vocals, but they are much better than a Behringer compressor.

    One option that might be worth your time and that would fit well into your current context is the $200 FMR RNC (Really Nice Compressor). It is probably the best-sounding vocal comp in the inexpensive compressor category.

    Good luck.

    Capitol Studios Paris
  9. billlee

    billlee Guest

    Thanks Jon.
  10. Masternfool

    Masternfool Active Member

    Dec 3, 2001
    I agree with the RNC, but did you try different cable set ups, If I'm not mistaken the composer has 1/4 inch and xlr I/O, are you running the mic into the xlr or is it 1/4 inch setup, just trying to narrow the problem down. The 1/4 inch is probably a hotter input? Best
  11. billlee

    billlee Guest

    When I tried the compressor as an insert, it was patched thru my bay all with 1/4 cables. With the mic direct I went mic/phantom/compressor/preamp.
    Maybe my patch cables are bad. Can anybody suggest a brand/type. Right now I'm using Hosa patch cables.
  12. dwcook

    dwcook Guest

    for cables: try http://www.markertek.com

    they have a wide selection, reasonable prices, and better quality than you usually get at your local music store.
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