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Insights Learned From Doing Monitor Sound For True Singers
Working for that breed of performing artist who sings quite well and requires a refined approach in order to do their best on stage
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Welcome to doing monitor sound for a singer.

There are many kinds of professional entertainers, songwriters and celebrities, but now you’re working for that breed of performing artist who sings quite well and requires a refined approach in order to do their best on stage.

The Microphone
If she is just starting out, microphone selection is something you could explore, but having used one particular microphone for vocals for her entire career, it’s simply a comfortable pair of shoes, its balance and weight feel familiar, much less its frequency response.

The microphone must be used with pad and high-pass engaged, as the proximity effect is too much, and she’ll blow up the capsule on the big notes.

If her microphone doesn’t seem that loud when you speak into it, that’s because she produces a lot of level that most performers can’t put out.

Please store the actual show microphone safely away until she arrives on stage. When you need to talk into her channel, use another microphone so that you’re not blowing germs into hers.

And I probably don’t need to tell you that there’s no smoking anywhere near the stage while she’s in the venue.

We’ve always used an XL-42 mic-pre and EQ for the “money channel.” There are a couple of peaks in this microphone’s response up high that we cut with narrow parametric filters so we don’t kill the “sparkle”.

Originally we tried just using a graphic EQ, but most problems don’t fall right on ISO centers, so parametric EQ is really helpful.

We started using a VariCurve, but switched to a Compact OmniDrive Plus, using the extra inputs and outputs for equalizing a reverb send, the band’s vocal send, and stereo side-fill inserts.

When forced to go back to simply using graphic EQ, I’m reminded of how clumsy most are for monitors.

I have a long menu of EQ filters that help, each for a specific characteristic of voice, microphone or room, but you can try some basics by inserting a graphic EQ into the vocal channel.

A model with minimal filter interaction and a high-pass that sweeps to 250 Hz helps the most. First, sweep that high-pass up all the way – it seems radical, but you’re hearing lots of lows from the mains already.

Source: Live Sound International

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