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Harsh nasty sounding highs in vocals
Old 30th January 2013
  #1
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6 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Harsh nasty sounding highs in vocals

I've occasionally been doing sound at a bar and I've noticed that the vocals are always sounding very nasty in the high end, like someones is stabbing you in the ears. So I'm always forced to to drastic eq cuts above 10K and at about 2-3k which doesnt sound bad but reduces some definition in the vocal.

The place is somewhat small has alot of wood (walls, tables, ceiling, etc)

I'm also using a Midas Venice 240 for my board w/ a couple of dbx comps.


I mainly do studio work so im a bit new to the live sound world. Any suggestions?
Old 30th January 2013
  #2
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🎧 5 years
Curious what kind of vocal mics are you using typically there?
Old 31st January 2013
  #3
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Cover'd's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Vocals will sound harsh in the 4k-6k region. If the mic or speakers are 'peaky' around there, then you might need a tad more EQ cut to ease it
Old 31st January 2013
  #4
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Andy Hamm's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
When you say you have a Midas Venice 240 for my board w/ a couple of dbx comps, do you mean you don't have a FOH EQ?
Old 31st January 2013
  #5
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🎧 10 years
More information will be helpful to others to diagnose your issue:

- Speakers in the bar - brand, how they're set up (on stage, on stands, hanging from ceiling)
- What processing/EQ is available between the Midas and speakers
- Size of bar - when you say small, it's hard to guess what is small in different parts of the country. What you may consider small may be cavernous compared to the venues we've played.
- Kind of music
- How much of the band is going through the PA (just vocals, full band, etc).
Old 31st January 2013
  #6
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jetboatguy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cover'd ➑️
Vocals will sound harsh in the 4k-6k region. If the mic or speakers are 'peaky' around there, then you might need a tad more EQ cut to ease it
I second this.. typically this is the range for harsh sibilant vocals to cut

and a graphic EQ inserted on the mains can certainly help
Old 31st January 2013
  #7
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6 Reviews written
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I'm using SM58s as my vocal mics. I mic the guitar amps, DI bass, kick and occasionally snare depending on the band/drummer. The size of the place is hard to describe since i suck with guessing square footage but the ceilings are low and the stage is about 15 ft wide and 10 feet long.

I have two 31 band EQs, one for the mains and the other for monitors. The speakers are hung from the ceiling a few feet in front of the stage facing me and the bar (not sure of the brand they seem old though).

But really the only thing that ever sounds harsh is the vocals. The instruments always sound great.

The bands I've done sound for are usually rock/indie/punk.
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart ➑️
I'm using SM58s as my vocal mics.
..Usually all the vocalist's i work with sound like muddy crap on 58's. You clearly have achieved something great
Old 31st January 2013
  #9
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🎧 10 years
An SM58 isn't inherently muddy - it works fine. there may be other mics, but if you can't get bar bands to sound reasonably good on an SM58, there may be other issues in the signal chain. Haven been using them since 1986 without issues.
Old 31st January 2013
  #10
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Andy Hamm's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If your 58's sound muddy, try soaking your balls in listerine
Old 31st January 2013 | Show parent
  #11
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Cover'd's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Hamm ➑️
If your 58's sound muddy, try soaking your balls in listerine
It may not help, but it'll sure feel good!



If everything else sounds good through the same system, then EQ the vocal channel(s) - cut 4k-6k region as previously mentioned
Old 31st January 2013
  #12
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6 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Thanks guys, Ill try the 4-6k cuts.

I'd like to tweak the comp settings too, but the main sound guy might flip, i dont think he like those changed.
Old 1st February 2013 | Show parent
  #13
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Hamm ➑️
If your 58's sound muddy, try soaking your balls in listerine
i'll be sure to try that
Old 6th February 2013
  #14
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🎧 5 years
I bet you're compressing rather hard, 6+dB gain reduction. What happens is while the compressor reacts to the vocal fundamentals, the screechy overtones aren't enough signal to trip the comp but are plenty loud to the ear. For each octave higher sound requires half the power to achieve the same volume. So for instance 3.2kHz requires 1/8 the power of 400Hz and 1/16 the power of 200Hz. Add to that the Fletcher-Munson curve and the 2-6kHz range is definitely not necessarily going to be addressed well by a standard broadband compressor.

One tool that can help is a de-esser, a limiter focused on a limited frequency range, usually 6-9kHz to stop hard sibillants. Try one you can set lower to the offending range and it will keep the screeching down without losing the subtleties. I run them pre-compressor generally, just what I'm used to.
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