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Live Vocal chain Dynamic Microphones
Old 13th May 2003
  #1
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Live Vocal chain

I'm looking for some good suggestions for a live vocal chain that will get within a 'couple miles' of the studio sound. I don't want to leave the lead vocal to a cheap club quality FOH mixer pre. My idea is that the lead vocal will have it's dynamic/fx processors on stage that I would control, and the out would be balanced to the house for regular mixing up front.

Pre quality, compression and FX are the most important to me, I think. Being the performer, other features I'd find nice would be the ability to foot switch effects (like a tap delay, etc).

It's on a budget, so I was thinking maybe a used focusrite voicemaster (original) for the pres/compressor/gate/etc, and then I could use some suggestions on the FX.
Or on both. Or if I need more, etc. The budget is around a grand and I have the right mic, I think...(beta58)

Any tips for pulling off great vocal sound (besides the singer quality) and effects live would be greatly appreciated. Obvioulsy I'm rusty on my live!!


Old 13th May 2003
  #2
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On the topic of mics, you might want to try the beta 87a (or c). I had a wireless for awhile (and still have a wired one) and found it to be a bit more focused and articulate than the b58. It doesn't have quite as much balls, but that's easily rectified on the mixer.. Better feedback rejection too. YMMV.

I remember the first show I played with my wireless b87a - three or four big fans (were at every show, pre mic) were like "Wow, that is the first time I could ever actually understand what you were saying." I was used to constantly getting compliments on my singing ability/style - but constantly hearing complaints about my articulation. I thought it had something to do with my dynamics at first, but I paid attention and realized my mic handling was fluid as could be expected. I'll never use another house-provided, beat to **** sm58 (or god-forbid, 48).

The Pre/Comp/FX chain seems like a step up even higher...I would have killed for that. Good luck.
Old 13th May 2003
  #3
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I think you'll get the most milage by getting a better quality microphone... If the Beta 58 works for your voice, fine, but in most cases I can find things that work better.

My favorites are the Neumann KSM 105, AKG C535, Beyer M88 (or even the M500 if you have your own preamp), and the Audix OM7 (I think that was the number)... They are all completely different sounds, but you may find one of those suits you better. As for a preamp/comp, you'll probably do ok with the Focusrite...

The problem with bringing too much of your own stuff is knowing how it will fit into the final mix coming out of the PA. I wouldn't bring effects unless you have a specific need for them... If you add too much or too little from stage where you can't hear well, your whole mix will be screwed. You can get by with compression, but just make sure that whoever is mixing doesn't squash you more.

--Ben
Old 13th May 2003
  #4
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jho's Avatar
 

Point taken. I'll pick up some new mics to try...
Old 23rd May 2003
  #5
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bjornson's Avatar
 

I've been using the avalon 737sp as a "voice channel" for live work. really pleased with it.
Old 24th May 2003
  #6
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I find its a toss up based on individual voice between the akg 535 (good all arounder) the earthworks vocal mic (tops in clarity) and the om7 (which has low gain but really suits some voices well, its got a high mid boost that some people really shine with). The Neumann is my favorite but is a lot more expensive and sometimes has a plosive problem with some singers.
Frost
Old 14th June 2003
  #7
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I use a beta 87A wireless U2 system with a avalon 737 on a female artist. The EQ on it is quite amazing and the PRE/EQ really makes a big difference even when your on a world class (or standard) live sound console in which I'm on (heritage's, ml5000, mh4, pm3500, etc. It's not too expensive of a full channel strip. I actually find the compressor is very fair in live sound. I wouldn't rave about it in the studio.
I am a real big fan of the beta87A or C. They just bring the presence to the table and are fairly forgiving and aren't too dark and they work every day. I'm curious to try the ksm105's out. I may pick up a couple hard wired ones.
Old 14th June 2003
  #8
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Cool. I ended up getting a Senn e865 mic. Also got an Audio Toys Pro6 module - it's a channel strip off of the Paragon console, this thing is amazing...
Old 14th June 2003
  #9
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Remoteness's Avatar
Yeah man,

I too like my ATI PRO6s. The mic pres sound phat, EQs are sweet and the dynamics work well. It's a great all in one box. It even has an aux send, Hi & Lo pass filters, inserts, all in a one rack space unit...

IMO, Eight isn't enough
Old 14th June 2003
  #10
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jho's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Remoteness
Yeah man,

I too like my ATI PRO6s. The mic pres sound phat, EQs are sweet and the dynamics work well. It's a great all in one box. It even has an aux send, Hi & Lo pass filters, inserts, all in a one rack space unit...

IMO, Eight isn't enough
Steve you are so right. And in the studio I'm using as an insert in PT on the lead vox. The EQ is very musical and has a nice air to it. The compressor rocks. Used in a session for fretless bass recording and we had sustain for days. I am shocked ATI doesn't keep making this, they stopped in '99 according to the factory. I wonder why?
Old 16th June 2003
  #11
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Just a SM58 or 87 (ksm105 only on quiet music) for leadvocals at a rockconcert(recording), into a good mic-pre can sound awesome (in the mix!). A lot of mikes may sound great when everybody else is quiet, but are a drag to mix with all the spill!!

Personally I HATE the Shure Beta's for leadvocals! The Beta's are giving more problems than they solve... (Same thumb down for the Senheisser E-series vocal mics)

In my opinion Live-recordings are all about how you handle the spill... Or in my case: how to use spill, cause there aint no dumpin'it

[I'm only talkin'about concert-recordings! FOH can be a different piece of cake]
Old 16th June 2003
  #12
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Heterodox's Avatar
 

Gie, please expand on your reasons for dislike of the Beta series.

Thanks.
Old 16th June 2003
  #13
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jho's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Gie-Sound
Just a SM58 or 87 (ksm105 only on quiet music) for leadvocals at a rockconcert(recording), into a good mic-pre can sound awesome (in the mix!). A lot of mikes may sound great when everybody else is quiet, but are a drag to mix with all the spill!!

Personally I HATE the Shure Beta's for leadvocals! The Beta's are giving more problems than they solve... (Same thumb down for the Senheisser E-series vocal mics)

In my opinion Live-recordings are all about how you handle the spill... Or in my case: how to use spill, cause there aint no dumpin'it

[I'm only talkin'about concert-recordings! FOH can be a different piece of cake]
I ended up with the e865 Sting Signature Series. It's the mic he uses, and since we have a similar range/tone it has thus far worked out great! Huge difference!

But like anything I think different mics for different pipes.
Old 17th June 2003
  #14
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Arrow

Quote:
Originally posted by Heterodox
Gie, please expand on your reasons for dislike of the Beta series.
Thanks.
Well.... humn, where to start?! It's difficult to catch this in words.
Let's see... "It's get phasy" would be a way to try and desribe this. Especially when you have a singer who walks around on the stage with his mike.
And when you have a singer who is glued to his stand (because he also plays guitar), you get this strange sounding voice whenever he's not right on spot (so a bit off angle because he's also looking at his fingers/guitar). Where a normal 58 would be more forgiving: you could just raise the volume a bit (if necesary) in mixing, and you would get away with it. A Beta would definitley [email protected]€k up the sound in this example. (Also: when you don't just ride the faders, but compress the hell out of a vocal the Beta will sound worse in my opinion)
I wouldn't care so much for a BV, but for lead....

But hey, that's just my experience/taste...
Old 17th June 2003
  #15
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Arrow

Quote:
Originally posted by jho
I ended up with the e865 Sting Signature Series. It's the mic he uses, and since we have a similar range/tone it has thus far worked out great! Huge difference!
But like anything I think different mics for different pipes.
If it works for you... who am I to say it's not OK???

The dislike I have with the Signature series is that they seem to have a peak at 6K... wich in loud concerts (that I'm dealing with) give me more cymbal problems than I would have with some other mics.

But like I said before: just my opinion....
Old 17th June 2003
  #16
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Just another differing opinion here of course, but my experiences when singing through a Beta 87 were always much better than with the standard 58s (at the same venue with the same engineer). I found it had alot tighter of a mid/high range and a bit sweeter of a proximity effect (balls without overwhelming boom). I also perceived myself as louder since I was much more clear and defined in the mix...which made it easier to sing. It was also a wireless mic, and I was moving everywhere on stage and even off stage and into the street outside to scream at the passing Saturday night crowds. Never felt any noticeable problems, and in fact had nothing but compliments when I started using the Beta 87.

Of course none of my experience was from an FOH position, which is a completely different ballgame...
Though I did venture over to the console for a few seconds (with mic) during soundcheck to test how bad feedback would be when running around the building.

Just my 2 cents.
Old 18th June 2003
  #17
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I've actually had pretty good luck with 58s through the onboard pres in the Allen and Heath GL2200. The beyer M69 is pretty good, too. I'd love to have an OM5 or two...or three or four!

But remember, that's for rock 'n roll, in which people are often screaming their vocals. Sometimes they cup their hands around the mic, which makes it sound like crappola no matter what mic is used. I never understood the "cupping" thing...

-GRW
Old 19th June 2003
  #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by gregrw
Sometimes they cup their hands around the mic, which makes it sound like crappola no matter what mic is used. I never understood the "cupping" thing...
-GRW
Heterodox knows.... see his avatar!heh
Old 19th June 2003
  #19
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gregrw's Avatar
 

Hey, I didn't notice Heterodox's avatar. But actually, what I usually encounter is both hands over the mic, with but a small hole for the mouth...which emits loud screams. Silly.

Once I had someone cupping AND singing through his thumb. Seriously, he had his thumb over the mic. WTF?

And they all whine about the monitors, which feed back pretty easily.

Foolishness!

-GRW
Old 19th June 2003
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
Heterodox's Avatar
 

I'm not specifically cupping in that picture (taken like 3 years ago!), just holding up a bit higher on the mic.

Two handed cupping is like any other mic skill. If a singer has proper dynamics and knows what they are doing it can add a ton of natural distortion and balls. Unfortunately, as with most things in life, few know what they're doing. =\

Not to mention that an already ****ty singer/screamer + cupping will mostly like just = ****tier singing/screaming.
Old 14th June 2010
  #21
Gear Head
 
Sean Walker's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jho View Post
I'm looking for some good suggestions for a live vocal chain that will get within a 'couple miles' of the studio sound. I don't want to leave the lead vocal to a cheap club quality FOH mixer pre. My idea is that the lead vocal will have it's dynamic/fx processors on stage that I would control, and the out would be balanced to the house for regular mixing up front.

Pre quality, compression and FX are the most important to me, I think. Being the performer, other features I'd find nice would be the ability to foot switch effects (like a tap delay, etc).

It's on a budget, so I was thinking maybe a used focusrite voicemaster (original) for the pres/compressor/gate/etc, and then I could use some suggestions on the FX.
Or on both. Or if I need more, etc. The budget is around a grand and I have the right mic, I think...(beta58)

Any tips for pulling off great vocal sound (besides the singer quality) and effects live would be greatly appreciated. Obvioulsy I'm rusty on my live!!




Currently I'm using the Heil PR35 and WOW what a difference over the SM and Beta58 Capsules I have. My FOH Engineer Likes it for the articulation and clarity, but on smaller stages it can have a little more cymbal bleed than the SM58.

I use an ATI Pro6 along with a TC Helicon Voice double and M2000 for my "Signal Chain" and it works great! (I front a Hard Rock Band Sean Walker on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos)

An ATI Pro6, with a PR35 (or an RC35 if your wireless) and a TC Electronic M2000 will go a long way!

Last edited by Sean Walker; 9th July 2010 at 09:41 AM.. Reason: Got different Gear! woot!
Old 26th December 2011
  #22
jjs
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Thanks, some good info in this thread.
Old 27th December 2011
  #23
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surflounge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jho View Post
Being the performer, other features I'd find nice would be the ability to foot switch effects (like a tap delay, etc).
this maybe TC Helicon voicelive2
Old 28th December 2011
  #24
Dz7
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by surflounge View Post
If the OP hasn't found something in eight years, well, I'm speechless.

That being said, beta87C is fantastic and I use it all the time!
Old 29th December 2011
  #25
Old threads contain some of the best information in the whole forum.
+1 on 87s, beta and original and the Beyers.
WalterT
Old 29th December 2011
  #26
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That's what I'm talking about...

Old threads are today's new news;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by audibell View Post
Old threads contain some of the best information in the whole forum... <snip>
Old 29th December 2011
  #27
pan
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If only ATIpro6s were available today...
Old 30th December 2011
  #28
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pan View Post
If only ATIpro6s were available today...
+1000!!!!! I think that Remoteness agree... But not Larry Droppa apparently..unfortunately..

Keep hoping,

Cheu
Old 2nd January 2012
  #29
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Yes, I do wish the Pro6 channel strip was available today and I believe Larry Droppa feels the same way...

ATI (now API) stopped manufacturing the Pro6 due to the fact that they don't have any original parts available.

The problem is the original Paragon P40 (which the Pro6 was based on) is not a Paragon PII and parts for the P40 are long gone I'm afraid.

IMHO, this is the only reason why they stopped manufacturing the Pro6.

Perhaps a redesign of the Pro6 is in order, but I don't think it's even on the back burner.

In any event, it is indeed unfortunate!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
+1000!!!!! I think that Remoteness agree... But not Larry Droppa apparently..unfortunately..

Keep hoping,

Cheu
Old 2nd January 2012
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post

Perhaps a redesign of the Pro6 is in order, but I don't think it's even on the back burner.

In any event, it is indeed unfortunate!
Yes, my thoughts exactly (and of course better explained!)

Let's keep hoping..
I guess there's not a lot more we could do..it's evident that there some money and interest waiting for a new version (hopefully a redesign with NO corner cutted,and if it's possible a redesign made by the same people) of the ATI Pro6.. Maybe this will help a bit..

Thanks for the clarification Steve!



Cheu
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