How to Get a Great Live Vocal Sound, On Stage and Off
A reader wrote in with a question about getting a good live vocal sound:
My vocalist has a very soft voice, and we are trying to mic her for live performances. We are getting tons of bleed from other stage sounds like drums and guitar amp. We also are right on the edge of feedback, just to bring her up for monitoring.
This is a common problem, especially for small gigs.
Use the Right Mic for the Job
You shouldn’t be getting that much bleed from other instruments into your microphone, unless you’re NOT using a dynamic mic? A cardioid,
A cardioid, dynamic live vocal microphone should not pick up so much from the other instruments. Especially if the singer is standing in front of it and blocking the rest of the sounds. I might be wrong, but it sounds like they’re using a condenser microphone for her vocals, which I would not recommend.
Yes, they might make her voice sound a little fuller, but the effect is negligible in live situations such as these. Using a sturdy dynamic microphone should solve your bleed problem.
Another problem for vocalists is getting a good monitor sound for them without their microphone feeding back. Here are two simple ways to fix this:
- Placement – Make sure the microphone is not pointing at the monitors. EVER. If you crank the gain of the mic up and send a bunch of it to the monitor, it will immediately if the sound keeps going in circles, again and again, it will start screeching with feedback. That’s why you have to point the microphone away from the monitor, so that it can’t actually hear its own sound.
- Monitor Mix – Before you start adding more of her vocals in the monitor, first ask if you can take something else out. There is only so much you can add to the monitor mix. Less is more, so decreasing the guitars might sound better than adding more voice. If you’re feeding every instrument into her monitor she won’t hear herself at all because all the other instruments are screaming for her attention.
In fact, one of the bonuses I’ve added to our new course, Live Sound Basics, tackles these common problems.
From knowing how to EQ any instrument on stage, as well as the P.A. itself, to dealing with echo-y venues and stage miking, the Quick Solutions to Common Live Sound Problems helps you fix a lot of the same problems you all are having.
That’s in addition to what you learn from the core course itself:
In the two-part video series, Live Sound Basics and Live Sound Amped Up, you’ll learn:
Video #1 – Live Sound Basics
- How To Understand the Components of What Makes a Sound System Work
- Why Your Cables are So Important For Success (and Why Using the Right Cable is Critical)
- How To Use Microphones in a Live Sound Situation
- How To Know When and Why to Use “Phantom Power”
- How to Use the Most Important Knob on Your Mixing Console
- Easy EQ Tricks and What NOT to Do When EQ’ing a Live Band
- How To Make a Good Monitor Mix So End Up With a Happy Band and a Fun Show
- How To Soundcheck and Set Up Your Mix for Maximum Clarity
Video #2 – Live Sound Amped Up
- Introduction to Live Sound Acoustics and How to Make Your Room Work With You, Not Against You
- How to Place Your Speakers So You Get the Best Sound Possible in Your Venue
- How Audio Frequencies Interacts With Your Room and How to Get a Great Frequency Balance
- Common Issues With Live Sound Installations That Can Negatively Affects Your Mix
- How To Find the Optimal Crossover Band For Your Loudspeakers
- How to Use Audio Delay Effectively for Your Show
- How to Mix for Mono, Stereo and Left-Center-Right Sound Systems
- Unique Sound Design Ideas and Tips For Greater Live Sound
Here are some other things you’ll learn from Live Sound Survival, my special eBook bonus:
- The unusual way you can work your way into the live sound industry.
- The biggest – and maybe most common – sound-tech mistake you DON’T want to make.
- Why it’s so important to use a graphic equalizer for your monitor mix, and how to get it as loud as possible.
- 7 live mixing tips you can use at your next gig.
In addition to the additional bonuses, the Feedback Killer Battle Plan and the Sound Tech’s Guide to Soldering, you’ll get a comprehensive package to get you up and running live sound in no time.
Click the link to get started
Live Sound Tips