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Country Vocals Lessons: Singing Live - Part 2 - On Stage Systems

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Let's talk about singing live
on stage with a whole sound system.
It can be one of the most stressful and
chaotic places on the planet.
Especially, if you've got a lot of
musicians and you've got a bunch of
speakers on the stage, for monitors for
everybody to hear what they want to hear.
All the different players,
and you as the singer.
And then there's a different sound
system that's going out to the house,
to the audience.
It's just a lot going on and
a lot of potential for chaos.
So you,
as the singer, just a handful of things
that you want to be very conscious of and
in control of and just know that this is
your business that you're taking care of.
And as long as you take
care of your business
everybody else can deal with theirs and
hopefully you can minimize the chaos.
So when you're live on stage,
the most important thing for
you as a singer is to hear,
remember that feedback loop that we talked
about, your instrument includes your ears.
You can't hear inside your own head,
inside your own instrument,
you can't really hear what
your instrument sounds like.
So you're very dependent on
what you're hearing back,
the reproduction of your sound, the sound
of your instrument that comes back
to your ears, the feedback that you get.
And when you're singing live on stage that
feedback comes from your monitors, so
you might have a floor wedge, or a speaker
that's in front of you on the floor.
That's your monitor and
that is what you get to listen to.
That's the feedback.
Hopefully it's not
feedback in the squealing,
make you deaf sense term.But it's
the feedback of just hearing back what you
need to hear, what your ears need to hear,
in order for you to make the adjustments
that you need to in your instrument.
So, sometimes you'll have a floor wedge.
A lot of singers these days are using
in-ear monitors which actually sit,
they're little teeny-tiny speakers,
like ear buds, that sit inside your ears.
And that's giving you the mix that you're
hearing that has your voice in it and
whatever other instruments you wanna hear.
Those work great for a lot of people.
I personally prefer floor monitors
because I like to hear the audience.
And unless there are microphones in the
audience that are being sent to your in
ear mix, you won't hear the audience
feedback, and I'm really, really dependent
on the feedback that I'm getting from
the audience, the sound of the audience.
I like to hear them.
It's has a lot to do with my
energy level as a performer.
So, you wanna make sure that you
are hearing what you need to hear
in your monitors.
And it's your job, your business,
to work with the sound engineer to get
your monitors set the way you want.
So we'll hear my voice is coming through,
I love this
Bose Stick Tower System because it
minimizes the bad kind of feedback,
the squeally, I'm deaf.
I love this Bose Stick Tower System.
It's a great live stage system.
It acts not only the speakers for
the audience but also the monitors for
you, the performer.
And it's brilliantly designed
to minimize the bad squealing,
make you deaf noise feedback and give you
the kind of information that you need.
Which is how is my voice sounding?
How is my voice balanced in
relation to the other instruments?
So you wanna work with
your monitor engineer or
with whoever is controlling
what you're hearing.
And make sure that you're hearing your
voice the way you expect to hear it.
Does it sound like your voice?
Does it have the frequency content that
you expect to hear from your voice?
Is it really especially dark?
Are you too close to the microphone?
Remember that proximity effect.
If you get too close to the microphone,
it might be more dark,
more low frequencies than you want.
You might wanna back off
the microphone a little bit.
If you can hear that in your monitors,
you will be able to respond to it.
You might like that warm sound, or
you might wanna use it on particular tune.
But you have to be able to hear it in
order to know If you wanna work with it or
how you want to respond to it.
You might be working with a microphone
that's especially bright has a lot of high
frequency content.
If you get to hear that in your monitors
mention it to your monitor mixer,
to the engineer that's
controlling what you hear.
Ask if they have the ability to
take some of the high end out of
your vocal microphone so
that it doesn't sound so bright to you.
It's great for you to know enough
about what you want to hear
that you can communicate it to the person
who's controlling what you're hearing in
your monitors and let them know what
you need, so that you can do your job.
And you can use your instrument
to your best ability.
Working on stage live,
it's especially important to work the mic.
I know you've heard people talk
about working the microphone.
And that involves knowing
where the pickup pattern is,
remember talked about the pickup pattern.
If it's an cardioid unidirectional
microphone it's only gonna pick up
right in front of the diaphragm.
If you get off axis like this,
you won't be heard because your
microphone is not gonna pick it up.
So it's great if you want to yell at
the guitar player to turn down your amp.
You can do that off mic,
and it won't get picked up.
But if you're going to sing, you make sure
that you're right on the microphone and
that you don't get off axis.
You stay in that unidirectional
spot where you're gonna be heard.
Good cardioid pattern microphones,
unidirectional microphones
help eliminate feedback.
The squeally bad kind of feedback by
eliminating sounds from
any other direction.
So they're only picking up
what's coming right at them,
which is hopefully only your voice.
That's why if you point, with most sound
systems, if you point your microphone
anywhere in the direction, the one
direction that your microphone picks up,
if you point it toward the sound source,
the monitor, or the speaker or
you point it to the guitar players amp,
that is going to cause problems.
That's what causes
the squeally kind of feedback.
Is when you're, what you're producing goes
into the microphone but the microphone is
also hearing, picking up what's coming out
of the monitors, or out of the speakers.
It's feeding back into the microphone.
What you're putting into the microphone is
feeding back into the microphone again.
And that's what causes that squeally
loop of sound that makes you go deaf and
makes your eyes bleed.
You'll wanna think about and
play with whether you're more comfortable
with a handheld microphone like this or
whether you want the microphone
to be on the stand.
And it may depend on the song.
If you're an instrumentalist and
you're playing guitar,
of course you're gonna
want it on the stand.
But if you have the freedom to
not be behind an instrument,
you might wanna take the microphone off
halfway through the song, take it off
in between songs, so you can talk and
get a little closer to the audience.
But you're gonna want to
work your microphone,
you wanna get very familiar with it.
So it's like an extension of your body,
it's really a part of your instrument.
Your microphone will become like
a part of your instrument because
that's where the sound is
delivered to your audience.
So you want to think about
where you are on the microphone
and how close you are and the color of
the sound that you're delivering and
respond to what you're hearing.
Make sure that you have your monitors,
so that you can hear yourself enough
in relation to the other instruments,
other music that's happening.
And, hear the color and
the tone of your voice, and
work with your engineer to get
the sound of your voice as
close to true, and
what you expect to hear as possible.