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Whisper singers performing live
Old 23rd August 2019
  #1
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Whisper singers performing live

I’m thinking of performers like Iron And Wine or Alexi Murdoch. How do sound guys get enough volume out of whisper quiet singers during their live shows?
Old 23rd August 2019
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdjansen View Post
I’m thinking of performers like Iron And Wine or Alexi Murdoch. How do sound guys get enough volume out of whisper quiet singers during their live shows?
Can we assume they are using in ear monitors?
Old 23rd August 2019
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenNeedle View Post
Can we assume they are using in ear monitors?
Can we also assume the audience keeps quiet?
Old 24th August 2019
  #4
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Eliminate hot back lines for starters!
Hugh
Old 24th August 2019
  #5
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Maybe they drink a lot before the show to boost their confidence?
Old 24th August 2019
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
Eliminate hot back lines for starters!
...and/or use backing tracks for all vocals!
Old 24th August 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdjansen View Post
I’m thinking of performers like Iron And Wine or Alexi Murdoch. How do sound guys get enough volume out of whisper quiet singers during their live shows?
When I saw Iron and Wine, he sang in a regular volume. I hadnt thought about it before the show. It was still pretty low key, but more like any folk act.
Old 25th August 2019
  #8
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Check out act of the moment, Billie Eilish. Delivers her thing effectively to *big* festival audiences, who aren't keeping quiet.

Drums behind a screen, in-ears, right on the mic.
Old 27th August 2019
  #9
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I get good results from multing whisper vocals so I can process the airy portion separately, but ymmv
Old 27th August 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Valentine View Post
I get good results from multing whisper vocals so I can process the airy portion separately, but ymmv
I agree. Parallel distortion and fast release compression are your friends.
Old 27th August 2019
  #11
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Quiet stage, quiet audience and he sings right into the mic, no IEM...The mix is very straight forward without a lot of tweaking or a lot of compression would just bring up the the noise level and create problems.

On a big festival stage you can get a lot of level without problems because you won't get a lot of reflections and the PA is not usually close enough to cause problems...all of this, and probably judicious use of an expander is why Billie Elish (and these guys) can do what they do.



Same here:



Slightly different situation here, probably mic with tighter pattern and a downward expander...but the stage is very quiet.

Old 27th August 2019
  #12
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Watching the Iron and Wine sample above he doesn't seem to be whispering into the mic. Like Sinner mentioned above, he seems to be singing like any other folk singer.

So you guys are suggesting that it's a technique to make these vocals sound like they are whispered? By processing the airy part separately, parallel distortion and fast release compression?
Old 27th August 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdjansen View Post
Watching the Iron and Wine sample above he doesn't seem to be whispering into the mic. Like Sinner mentioned above, he seems to be singing like any other folk singer.

So you guys are suggesting that it's a technique to make these vocals sound like they are whispered? By processing the airy part separately, parallel distortion and fast release compression?
No, what i meant was that by using varying amounts of distortion and/or compression in parallel, you can add to the articulation of a singer, which can help a quiet singer especially.
As Sam pointed out, compression can cause problems on a noisy stage, that is where having the singer eat the mic is extremely helpful, you are gonna need some compression though to get the effect you seem to be looking for, probably an abi 1176 thing or a Distressor can do it to, but do it in parallel for control reasons, as an alternative the right type of parallel distortion can get you into a similar zone.
Unless a whisperer does eat the mic you really don’t stand much of a chance on a noisy stage.
Old 28th August 2019
  #14
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I don't think you can tell a singer at a festival to eat the mic.

I do not see any issue at all getting the gain you need with an acoustic guitar and a vocal.

As Sam said with large systems gain before feedback is pretty much not a problem.
Old 28th August 2019
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdjansen View Post
Watching the Iron and Wine sample above he doesn't seem to be whispering into the mic. Like Sinner mentioned above, he seems to be singing like any other folk singer.

So you guys are suggesting that it's a technique to make these vocals sound like they are whispered? By processing the airy part separately, parallel distortion and fast release compression?
You're right none of these performers are actually whispering, they are however not louder than normal conversation at any time. The sound you hear on all the examples above is more about the way each singer is using their voice and microphone than about the use of processing. The common things in all these performances are that the stage is always quiet, and the singers eat the mic every time they sing, so much so that you hear the sound coming from their throat.

I know for a fact that in at least one of these performances there was no compression or effect being used...it was just the singer and how the mic was used. You will not get THIS sound without the explicit and specific performance of the singer.

In the case of Billie Elish, the stage was really quiet with some noise coming from the audience, which isn't really that loud on stage actually, but I suspect an expander was probably in use the few times I've seen her in festivals this year.
Old 28th August 2019
  #16
Gear Head
 

As Sam says, first principle with this is the sound *has* to be at the source to begin.
Old 2nd September 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pro Sound Guy View Post
As Sam said with large systems gain before feedback is pretty much not a problem.
It certainly is in clubs. And the performers at that level are generally way less experienced.
Old 2nd September 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
It certainly is in clubs. And the performers at that level are generally way less experienced.
Yes it is in clubs, especially in clubs with bad acoustics, but if you're not fighting stage noise or a the FOH and the singer swallows the mic when s/he sings it is very doable...just look at the firs two videos, the formula is very simple.

People would have to be complicating things or going off the reservation to screw this up.
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