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Vocal reverb in the cans. Wanted dead or alive?
Old 14th February 2003
  #1
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Vocal reverb in the cans. Wanted dead or alive?

Is it better in the long run for singers to get used to going "dry"
instead of adding reverb in the headphone mix, generally speaking?
(or singing)

Just wondered if there's a value to learning how to better stay in tune
with a dry headphone mix over a wet one?

Thanks
Chris
Old 14th February 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
pounce's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
since being in "cans" removes all the actual ambience of the space the singer is in, i don't see any reason why adding some room ambience or out and out huge cathedral verb would be bad. it seems like it shouldn't be a detrimental thing.

i would sure hope a singer didn't go out of tune because of this. it does seem to make some vocalists more comfortable, ya know makes things sound more like the finished project. i can't believe there is a universal answer to this. bad singers can suck with reverb, but maybe perfectly good singers also like to have a little bit of verb. i think it's a taste issue. but if you have to be brutal with a singer who is really off, playing it back in the control room without verb would set em straight.

is the main problem of singers being out of tune that they can't hear themselves for all the reverb in their cans, or is it just that bad singers blame reverb for their lack of talent...after which we just throw on some reverb and or autotune over thier ****ty singing and get em the hell out of the vocal booth.
Old 14th February 2003
  #3
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I hardly ever put it there without asking them first. And yes, too much verb can cover up the pitch. Usually I'll have it dry in the control room with a little splash if any in the cans.
Old 14th February 2003
  #4
Lives for gear
 
pounce's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
I hardly ever put it there without asking them first. And yes, too much verb can cover up the pitch. Usually I'll have it dry in the control room with a little splash if any in the cans.
sure, i never do things like add effects to the headphone mix without being asked/discussing it. and the less the better. but i've had some folks who want a lot of verb, and i give that to them.

i can't correlate pitch ability with whether or not they want some none or lots of reverb in thier cans. i hope good singers will need the least help from me that way, but maybe this is a little along the lines of the thread about whether bands should have a drink in the studio. maybe a little reverb allows some performers to kind of relax a little? i dunno. as time goes on, i work better earlier and with coffee, but i used to think working late and with a drink was a "uhhm creative" headspace situation. therefore, my personal taste is dry, sober, and on time

i'd think singers hearing a fairly dry mix is best, but i'd never poo poo requests for some ambience in the cans. that's how i should have phrased it. if you use some sense, add only moderate verb per their request, it shouldn' t adversely effect their ability to sing on pitch.

but lots of reverb shouldn't make up for lack of singing talent either ,so there you go
Old 14th February 2003
  #5
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
chess, as you are a singer, can you tell us what purpose reverb in the cans serves for you? is it just to feel comfortable or does it really help you with pitch?
Old 14th February 2003
  #6
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes I'm a singer who loves acapella singing and good 'ol rock and roll.
My present skill level is that of an intermediate acapella singer, although there's
a possibility the neccesary training may be completed to qualify for the world
championship in Men's barbershop singing AKA the "International" by being in
a "final 20" quartet.

Relatively, I have much more experience singing without a microphone than with,
let alone with effects, although apparently a bit of reverb seems to make me feel
more comfortable performing with headphones on.

Chris
Old 14th February 2003
  #7
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A long reverb in the phones can really help a singer with pitch.

Unfortunately I learned the hard way that some digital reverbs (I'm thinking of the high-end Lexicons) introduce enough pitch shift that they will send the singer's pitch totally off into left field. I would test it using a strobe tuner before using any reverb in the cans.
Old 14th February 2003
  #8
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Re: Vocal reverb in the cans. Wanted dead or alive?

Quote:
Originally posted by chessparov
Is it better in the long run for singers to get used to going "dry"
instead of adding reverb in the headphone mix, generally speaking?
(or singing)

Just wondered if there's a value to learning how to better stay in tune
with a dry headphone mix over a wet one?

Thanks
Chris
My rule of thumb is do what ever it takes to get the best performance.

When tracking vocals I always setup a "headphone mix" fresh with effects,compression and EQ. Whatever it takes to inspire the singer. At times I might send a mono mix to the cans(so when they take one ear off they can still get a solid picture of the song).
Also whatever headphones I am using for the singer(usually Sony's) I keep a pair in the control room so I can check what they are hearing.

I wouldn't worry as much about using reverb on headphones. This is done live all the time on in ear monitors.
Old 14th February 2003
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Nutmeg II.'s Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Reverb is fine to get rid of the isolation feeling with cans.
I usually have good results with very short delays (sides crossed) on the mix they here. That will give them back a little bit of the natural crosstalk of reallife.
Old 14th February 2003
  #10
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks everyone for the helpful responses..
Will have to do some research on "strobe tuners", must profess
ignorance about those. I had a Lexicon MPX200 and on the vocal
plate settings the pitch did seem somewhat shifted.
(have a Roland SRV-3030 now)

Probably will experiment more with "dry" mixes until I'm used to them.

Chris
Old 15th February 2003
  #11
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
many muso's like their cans wet.
I like to keep them happy.
Old 15th February 2003
  #12
Gear Head
 
Jason A's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Another singer speaks out

Just one opinion from another singer...

I prefer to have a low to moderate amount of verb in the headphone mix. I don't really have a pitch problem per say but I have my moments. What I find is that without it, I tend to worry too much about pitch and not as much about performance. I can usually punch in pretty easy in the few areas that need some pitch help.

I don't know about everyone else, but it helps me.

Jason A.
Old 17th February 2003
  #13
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks again!

Chris
Old 17th February 2003
  #14
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
BOB OLHSSON wrote: A long reverb in the phones can really help a singer with pitch.
_________________
Holy ****! I almost did a spit take when reading this...coming from Bob. Then...I read on. Whew!

When people say 'reverb' today they are usually referring to what we called 'echo'. Like a plate or a live chamber. Either one of those can be very pleasing in a headphone mix. But, the digital reverbs of today have so many, often, bizarre characteristics involved:pitch shifting, early reflections, etc., all done digitally. Now 'ambience'...that's another thing altogether. No problem. But 'reverb', as in something long and pretty, that you might (several years ago, anyway) put on a vocal in a mix, can be really distracting in the phones while singing. At least that has been my experience without exception. A little ambience and a short slap (120 to 170ms) usually gets the singer jumpin'.

Before I hit send I was suddenly reminiscing about the giant plate that was at 'Media Sound', and the killer live chambers at the old 'Power Station'. AAHHH!!! We asked for more of that **** on *everything*.
Old 17th February 2003
  #15
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Benjy King

When people say 'reverb' today they are usually referring to what we called 'echo'. Like a plate or a live chamber.... I was suddenly reminiscing about the giant plate that was at 'Media Sound', and the killer live chambers at the old 'Power Station'. AAHHH!!! We asked for more of that **** on *everything*.
I hate how the computer jockies and MI manufacturers have redefined all of our termonology such as "echo" and "slap." I finally set that Lex to zero pre-delay and used a 70 mS DDL with it but my poor singer had already just about had a nervous breakdown.

Cal Harris used to rave about the chamber at Gold Star. He said anytime a producer started giving you sh!t you could just goose the send on the kick drum and there'd be no more questions about the sound.
Old 18th February 2003
  #16
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
On the Lexicon I just sold, it was easier for me to stay in tune with the "ambience" settings, rather than the "vocal plate".

Would it be advisable to roll off some high frequencies, generally speaking, to make a digital reverb sound more natural?

Chris
Old 18th February 2003
  #17
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Yes!

Our ears acclimate SO quickly. My old analogy was always: put a High-Bias cassette in a deck set for Normal and hit play. After 5 seconds switch it to High-Bias...it will sound like you put a bag over it. BUT...that's the right setting. It's just that your ears adjusted to that extra high end almost instantly. With that in mind: as soon as we hear any setting in most digital reverbs we accept that sound. But, if you've ever had the opportunity to A/B a digital plate with a real plate, often the real one will seem a little darker, more dense, etc. But, again, that's *right* so to speak. I bought a Roland TD-7 drum kit years ago. It was very useful, by the way. Bass drum, for example: You listen to a couple of the bass drums and say to yourself, "Yeah, that sounds like a Maple kick drum". If you have a real kick drum on tape to compare it to I guarantee the real drum will seem very, very dull and thick and NOT snappy compared to the sample. But, again....it's actually right!

Just my thoughts.
Old 18th February 2003
  #18
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hmm...
One more reason to work with REAL reverb and plates.
Then I could figure out how to roll it off!
("Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing Baby")
Guessing around 5 kHz might be a starting point.

Odd thing was that I checked out the Phil Spector
compilation "Back To Mono" to listen to the 'ol
Gold Star 'verb-right before the murder.

But then again, this is how you guys earn the "big bucks".

Chris
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