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"Live" sounding mix for dancer artist Dynamic Microphones
Old 19th December 2010
Here for the gear

"Live" sounding mix for dancer artist

Hello I fairly new to the forum so forgive me if i've posted in the wrong category.

Im wondering if anyone has any tips they can provide on how to make a "live sounding" mix for an artist who dances full out during live performances (think Britney, Janet Jackson). I always notice that these artists dont just perform to the same vocals recorded for their albums but have a special live sounding recording that they use. Im actually the artistic director for the artist and would like to have info to share with the producer who is mixing the songs on the best way to make the vocals sound live. The artist does not have a band and will be performing primarily in clubs (dance music) so the music itself would be the same as the record but i hate when dance artist lip-sync to perfectly tuned studio vocals with no audible breaths etc... My artist will be bouncing all over the stage so i dont want the vocal to be "perfect" sounding, it should sound like the artist is moving and dancing a bit. Has anyone done this that might have some tips to share? For instance should we record a performance take in the studio with a cheap mic while the artist mimics the choreography? should I request that the vocals be eq'd a certain way so it doesnt blend into the music so well? is there a plug-in for this? Im sure i will get "ethics" responses.. this artist can def sing but for this particular round of shows its the overall visual aspect of the performance that we really want to showcase. Since the artist is performing in clubs i think it can be especially cheesy sounding to use the actual album recordings. It seems like the Britneys of the would must have a standard way they ask for the vocal to be mixed for these "live" recordings. Ive heard some people say to dry out the lead and mix it alot louder than the music but because its a new artist its important that the audience can hear the music well, plus because the music is dance pop the audience really needs to be able to groove with the music so I dont want the music to sound "quiet" I feel like i see that alot on TV where the music sounds very low and the lip sync vocal is loud in the mix. to me this only works if the song is already popular and the listener "assumes" the music because they already know it. any advice?
(please no ethic comments... this is what we need to do for this particular artist and its industry standard for this genre)

thanks in advance to anyone who can help!
Old 19th December 2010
Lives for gear
Tarkovsky's Avatar

Hey there. I'm not hugely qualified to answer this... I've not had to do this directly before, however I've engineered dance acts in small clubs so I roughly know the differences.
My advice would be to use less compression, and record it with an sm58...
You should also add some extra ambiance to the vocal. What might really help is also having a switchable 58 on stage, for talking between the tracks to help further the illusion.

IMO one of the best things you could do is have all the parts, and sum them live out of a sequencer. This way you get a different live mix too.
Typically when engineering a band in a small space you have to notch out certain freqs to prevent feedback. Get the engineering to do a bit of this either live or on the recording.
Also save off the limiting/compression on the whole track.
Hope that helps.
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