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More PA noise and feedback from 1/4 vs XLR?
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foul_owl
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13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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More PA noise and feedback from 1/4 vs XLR?

Hi folks,

Apologies if this is in the wrong subforum.

I do vocals for a band, and for some songs I use a tap delay. I have only managed to find one tap delay that was halfway decent, the T-Rex Tap Delay. (And even this pedal isn't that great)

My current setup is:
Shure SM58 => Passive XLR to 1/4 converter => T Rex Tap Delay => Straight into PA via 1/4"

At shows, depending on what the sound guy has, sometimes I'll do:
Shure SM58 => Passive XLR to 1/4 converter => T Rex Tap Delay => Direct box (1/4" to XLR conversion) => PA via XLR

Unsure if my XLR to 1/4" has a low z to high z transformer built into it or not.

With the first configuration, it sounds like my vocals are way quieter than they should be, the PA channel I am using has to cranked way higher.

I also noticed that there is way more noise and feedback using this method.

Questions:
1. Is this a real phenomenon, or just my imagination? If it's a real thing, what is going on here? Some kind of impedance mismatch issues?

2. Should I try and find a tap delay that has XLR in and out? My requirements for the pedal are as follows:
* Somewhat durable (metal enclosure preferred)
* True bypass
* Feedback control
* Mix control (amount of delay)

3. Is the second method (using a direct box to convert back to XLR) going to work just as well as using a pedal that has XLR connectors built in? I actually might prefer this method, because I am considering getting a reverb pedal as well and running that after the delay, and any reverb pedal I can find will probably be 1/4" as well.

Thanks for the help!
#2
13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foul_owl View Post
Hi folks,

Apologies if this is in the wrong subforum.

I do vocals for a band, and for some songs I use a tap delay. I have only managed to find one tap delay that was halfway decent, the T-Rex Tap Delay. (And even this pedal isn't that great)

My current setup is:
Shure SM58 => Passive XLR to 1/4 converter => T Rex Tap Delay => Straight into PA via 1/4"

At shows, depending on what the sound guy has, sometimes I'll do:
Shure SM58 => Passive XLR to 1/4 converter => T Rex Tap Delay => Direct box (1/4" to XLR conversion) => PA via XLR

Unsure if my XLR to 1/4" has a low z to high z transformer built into it or not.

With the first configuration, it sounds like my vocals are way quieter than they should be, the PA channel I am using has to cranked way higher.

I also noticed that there is way more noise and feedback using this method.

Questions:
1. Is this a real phenomenon, or just my imagination? If it's a real thing, what is going on here? Some kind of impedance mismatch issues?

2. Should I try and find a tap delay that has XLR in and out? My requirements for the pedal are as follows:
* Somewhat durable (metal enclosure preferred)
* True bypass
* Feedback control
* Mix control (amount of delay)

3. Is the second method (using a direct box to convert back to XLR) going to work just as well as using a pedal that has XLR connectors built in? I actually might prefer this method, because I am considering getting a reverb pedal as well and running that after the delay, and any reverb pedal I can find will probably be 1/4" as well.

Thanks for the help!
Get an effects unit designed for a vocal mic. TC Helicon, for example, makes them in several shapes and sizes. Here's one that's just a dedicated delay unit:

TC-Helicon | VoiceTone E1 - Echo & Tap Delay

Other manufacturers make them, too. Right tool for the job.

L.
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13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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Where to begin...definitely an impedance mismatch as well as other factors including the pedal not having a mic preamplifier.

If you are just wanting to use a simple delay, then plug the mic directly into the mixer as normal and run an "aux" out to the delay and back into the mixer. This will give you what you are wanting.

Mic's straight into pedals are never great unless the user has a firm grasp of gain structure. I have seen so many situations where performers use these badly that they are more trouble than they are worth. Outboard FX run from aux's and run by an experienced engineer give a far better result.
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foul_owl
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13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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Originally Posted by lschwart View Post
Get an effects unit designed for a vocal mic. TC Helicon, for example, makes them in several shapes and sizes. Here's one that's just a dedicated delay unit:

TC-Helicon | VoiceTone E1 - Echo & Tap Delay

Other manufacturers make them, too. Right tool for the job.

L.
That pedal is intriguing for sure, but I can't understand why they designed it with only one button. Obviously that button is for setting the delay rate via tapping, but how do you turn the effect on and off? I suppose I could always just build a box that acts as a true bypass, as I need to be able to engage the effect instantly.

Thanks!
foul_owl
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13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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Originally Posted by Aisle 6 View Post
Where to begin...definitely an impedance mismatch as well as other factors including the pedal not having a mic preamplifier.

If you are just wanting to use a simple delay, then plug the mic directly into the mixer as normal and run an "aux" out to the delay and back into the mixer. This will give you what you are wanting.

Mic's straight into pedals are never great unless the user has a firm grasp of gain structure. I have seen so many situations where performers use these badly that they are more trouble than they are worth. Outboard FX run from aux's and run by an experienced engineer give a far better result.
Indeed, it can certainly be more trouble than it's worth. When it's working well though...it sounds pretty kick ass!

So you are saying that the sound guy can basically put my delay pedal into the fx loop of the PA? That's a good idea, I haven't considered that. I use the fx loop on my guitar amp for delay already!

Here's my only question with that: Will I generally be able to plug into the stage snake for that? Do stage snakes have 1/4" inputs on em?
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13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foul_owl View Post
That pedal is intriguing for sure, but I can't understand why they designed it with only one button. Obviously that button is for setting the delay rate via tapping, but how do you turn the effect on and off? I suppose I could always just build a box that acts as a true bypass, as I need to be able to engage the effect instantly.

Thanks!
The manual explains all of that. The button has more than once function. And there are other pedals in the line worth looking at with programable functions and etc. If you need to be able to switch the effect on and off at will, and you don't have someone who can work effects for you at the board, this is the sort of thing you want.

L.
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13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foul_owl View Post
Indeed, it can certainly be more trouble than it's worth. When it's working well though...it sounds pretty kick ass!

So you are saying that the sound guy can basically put my delay pedal into the fx loop of the PA? That's a good idea, I haven't considered that. I use the fx loop on my guitar amp for delay already!

Here's my only question with that: Will I generally be able to plug into the stage snake for that? Do stage snakes have 1/4" inputs on em?
Yes you could, but you would most likely need a few adapters to carry around with you for different mixers. Also, you would be assuming that there is a few spare lines in each multicore for your delay.
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13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
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.....where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by foul_owl View Post
My current setup is:
Shure SM58 => Passive XLR to 1/4 converter => T Rex Tap Delay => Straight into PA via 1/4"
stop doing this, that is an input for line level +4dBu such as a keyboards with associated impedance. forget 1/4" we're not in guitar world now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by foul_owl View Post
At shows, depending on what the sound guy has, sometimes I'll do:
Shure SM58 => Passive XLR to 1/4 converter => T Rex Tap Delay => Direct box (1/4" to XLR conversion) => PA via XLR
This is better, however a DI box is more than a (1/4" to XLR conversion) tool, it changes the signal to circa -50dBu aka microphone level with the appropriate impedance for a mic pre amp. they get used because stage boxes are xlr and venues have them hard wired into the mic channels on the desk, its a different markup every night so DI box converts to mic level.

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Originally Posted by foul_owl View Post
Unsure if my XLR to 1/4" has a low z to high z transformer built into it or not.
obviously not because if it did it would be shouting about it and would have cost and weigh more. you should buy a microphone impedance to guitar impedance matcher, those metal barrel things to put before the pedal. then get a Di box so your professional and not causing no problems. also get an xlr 'Y' split to send a dry signal of your vocals incase the effect is inappropriately wet for the room, not your fault but without any control it will suck loud and there'll be nothing to stop it.
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13th October 2013
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So many things wrong here...

I stopped reading after XLR to 1/4 converter.

Do it right the first time by getting an FX processor with XLR i/o.

Some examples: TC Helicon E1, Digitech Live FX, etc.
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foul_owl
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19th October 2013
Old 19th October 2013
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Originally Posted by Electrolytic View Post
.....where to start



stop doing this, that is an input for line level +4dBu such as a keyboards with associated impedance. forget 1/4" we're not in guitar world now.



This is better, however a DI box is more than a (1/4" to XLR conversion) tool, it changes the signal to circa -50dBu aka microphone level with the appropriate impedance for a mic pre amp. they get used because stage boxes are xlr and venues have them hard wired into the mic channels on the desk, its a different markup every night so DI box converts to mic level.


obviously not because if it did it would be shouting about it and would have cost and weigh more. you should buy a microphone impedance to guitar impedance matcher, those metal barrel things to put before the pedal. then get a Di box so your professional and not causing no problems. also get an xlr 'Y' split to send a dry signal of your vocals incase the effect is inappropriately wet for the room, not your fault but without any control it will suck loud and there'll be nothing to stop it.
Yeah...I kinda figured I was doing things the wrong way haha.

I think it makes the most sense to convert from mic level to line level and then back again, as I basically like the tap delay I currently have.
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19th October 2013
Old 19th October 2013
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One must ask why your sound man is not supplying you with the efxs you want? This is how it's done in 99% of sound set ups.

If they are not capable then the next most popular method seems to be the TC Helicon pedals which get rave reviews from many. I was even thinking of one for myself instead of always fiddling with my mixers controls which are very limiting.
The TC can have all sorts of pre sets and then the TAP TIME is good for live bands etc.
There are a bunch of models to choose from, start reading.
The system your using is 100% funkyville. Ditch it.
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19th October 2013
Old 19th October 2013
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Originally Posted by johnnyv View Post
One must ask why your sound man is not supplying you with the efxs you want? This is how it's done in 99% of sound set ups.
Obviously he doesn't have a sound guy. Believe it or not, most bands don't - and that's why there are house engineers (for better or for worse!).

I'm being facetious, but that comment/question wasn't necessary.

As an audio engineer myself, I know I wouldn't trust 99% of the fader-jockies out there with my sound, even if it was just the fx. Unfortunately, most people don't have any option but to let whoever is at the sound board mix them - having control of your fx can be a valuable tool in these situations, and can add a polish to the sound that would never be there with everything left in the hands of the house guy.

That being said, as an engineer I can't tell you how many vocalists ruin their vocal sound with setups like these. Not only do they often build a wash of unintelligible fx that engulfs the whole band (because the mic doesn't just pick up the pretty voice), they also tend to compromise overall sound potential with things like impedance mismatching and terrible gain staging. This makes getting a solid signal out front hard-to-impossible, and kills your chances of having good monitors.

In a few cases, artists have run fx from stage just fine, but in these cases, the applications were intelligent and minimal. A few key delays here and there, maybe a big reverb part, nothing crazy or constant. This left me the room to build a space for the vocal myself out front, but the artist was still able to add the necessary parts for the arrangement. Win-win.
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19th October 2013
Old 19th October 2013
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hence:

'get an xlr 'Y' split to send a dry signal of your vocals incase the effect is inappropriately wet for the room, not your fault but without any control it will suck loud and there'll be nothing to stop it.'
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19th October 2013
Old 19th October 2013
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I think you need to have your own sound man who knows your material and can do the effects so you can focus on singing. He/she should spend some time with you at rehearsals and be at every show, he/she needs to have some idea about how to properly run a system as well as the effects for your song's/cue's.
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21st October 2013
Old 21st October 2013
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First option is to get an analog system with reverb or delay with XLR ins/outs, and use a midi controller to adjust parameters. You're also going to need a mic pre, eq, compression etc./ whatever else to make it sound good, and running reverb and delay as a send signal is always better so you have both a dry and wet mix that are controllable and separate. You're going to want to compress/eq the sound before it goes into the delay pedal before it hits the main soundboard otherwise your engineer is going to compress your dry/wet mix and it will likely sound really muddy. I also highly suggest being able to eq your wet signal as well, most the time removing a lot of the low end and high end (8khz + region), but it completely depends on the mix. This is probably the most expensive option.

Another option is using a laptop with a DAW and an audio interface. I prefer ableton, and you can use 3rd party vsts and easily control it with any midi device. You will need to run the buffer rate at 64 otherwise there will be too much latency, but then you could use a lot of great plugins like Lexicon Reverbs, compression, eq, etc. that will be pretty high quality. You can virtually do anything you want, with as many vocal channels as you want, but its of course not the same as an analog system.. but most people won't be able to tell the difference at all. Just make sure you have a good audio interface with nice mic pres to get the most quality, and something that doesn't have much background noise or humming in the background is especially important. If your having problems with noise before any effects unit, your going to get a lot of feedback. This is probably the cheapest option.

A third option is getting some sort of external hardware specifically for vocals which is digital as far as I know, I don't know too much about these devices, but I would say price wise its probably a few hundred dollars more than going with a computer, and thousands of dollars less than going analog. The quality is likely not going to be that much better than just going through your computer with high quality VSTs (hint: which you can find everywhere on the internet).
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21st October 2013
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or keep it simple, use foot for on & off.
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4th November 2013
Old 4th November 2013
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Just wanted to report back, I got the lowz to highz converter and the direct box, and it works great now!!

Thanks for the help folks!!
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