Author Topic: Voice issues singing outdoors  (Read 5027 times)

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Offline Hollywood

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Voice issues singing outdoors
« on: August 03, 2015, 04:34:27 pm »
I couldn't find the vocal thread to post on, so I hope this is okay.

The last 2 gigs I've had have both been outdoors - with fairly poor sound, being a farmers market.  But both times, I've had issues with my voice.  When I sing inside, I can go easily 1.5 - 2 hours before I start even getting tired.  Outside, literally 3 or 4 songs and my voice starts feeling bad.  My low notes in particular start dropping off.  If I can normally sing comfortably down to a D3, for example, I might not be able to hit lower than a G3.  (I've never figured it out, but it's a pretty significant jump.) 

So if I'm playing an hour long gig, I can get 15 or 20 minutes in and then I start losing my range, my voice feels strained, and it's harder to sing on pitch.  I'm not sure if it's because I strain trying to compensate for the extra noise and lack of echo?  Is it because I'm not singing properly at gigs?

I thought about emailing my voice coach, but she's not real happy to help me unless I pay for a lesson.  Anyone have any ideas on what the issue might be, or where I might look for an answer?  I might have another gig in 2 weeks - but it's outdoor.  Doing gigs is not going to do me any good if I'm not good enough vocally.  Not the way to build a fan base...
Frontwoman of alt-rock band Lighting Matches - debut album "Against The Flame"
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Offline 12-string_Doug

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2015, 05:16:46 pm »
Anyone have any ideas on what the issue might be, or where I might look for an answer?
The issue might be at least partly with the PA you're using. That's one they provide, right? I dunno how that might be improved, except maybe with the addition of a couple more speakers. (Or maybe a better sound guy.)

I think I sent you the link for VoiceCouncil Magazine, but in case I forgot, here are some odds and ends I came up with by searching the site with the word "strain." http://voicecouncil.com/?s=strain I didn't find anything useful with "outdoors" as a keyword.
Hope that helps.

BTW, I think you might have mentioned what you have for an amp, but I forgot. Just wondering if you have one with XLR (mic) input, and if it could be mic'd or otherwise connected with the PA board for additional output. Bringing your own amp to a place that has a PA might be a Good Thing in some circumstances.

Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2015, 07:03:20 pm »
I just took a quick look at the videos from your second gig.. I don't see a stage monitor?
Also; those small vinyl tents can create terrible standing waves.
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Offline Hollywood

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2015, 07:58:41 pm »
I'm not entirely sure what a stage monitor is but the only equipment they had at that gig was a PA mixer thing, 2 speakers, and 2 mics.  I used my own.

I'm confirmed to play at the Kent County Fair, and something tells me they probably don't have much better equipment than that. 
Frontwoman of alt-rock band Lighting Matches - debut album "Against The Flame"
www.LightingMatchesMusic.com
www.Facebook.com/LightingMatchesMusic

Debut solo EP "Destination Sunday" (Rachel White)

Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2015, 08:14:15 pm »
I'm not entirely sure what a stage monitor is but the only equipment they had at that gig was a PA mixer thing, 2 speakers, and 2 mics.  I used my own.

I'm confirmed to play at the Kent County Fair, and something tells me they probably don't have much better equipment than that.

When you're using a PA, you should also have a stage monitor. It's a monitor that sits directly in front of you and allows you to hear yourself clearly. Sound travels at 1,130 feet per second (at room temperature sea level) so there will be a delay between you and the main speakers. You'll also only be hearing the backs of the main speakers - so you'll just be getting the lower omnidirectional frequencies (below around 500Hz) Also; if you're trying to rely on hearing yourself from the PA speakers, you'll be hearing whatever effects the Front of House sound person is putting on your vocal. Also; a stage monitor system will allow you to adjust the balance between your vocal, and acoustic guitar in the monitor. I suspect that what's happening is that you're straining because you aren't able to hear yourself as well as you would if you had a proper stage monitor.
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Offline 12-string_Doug

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2015, 09:45:50 pm »
Scooter knows way more about that stuff than I do, but I know enough about it to throw in a link or two. You've probably seen monitors on the front of the stage when someone's playing live. They're basically just a kinda wedge-shaped box angled up from the floor, projecting back towards the singer(s)/player(s).

The Galaxy Audio HS7 Hot Spot is a small one (about 5 lbs.). I'm used to seeing monitor cabinets that are much bigger, so the photo of an HS7 on  a mic stand surprised me. It got pretty good reviews on Amazon and Sweetwater, with the main complaint being that the volume control just has "click" settings; it's not continuously variable. Dunno if that could be replaced with a "normal" volume pot. http://www.galaxyaudio.com/HS7.php

There are a couple of used ones on eBay now.

Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2015, 09:53:13 pm »
Any decent PA system should include the stage monitors. If you're going to be doing gigs at venues that don't include them, you might consider the Fishman Loudbox amp that I mentioned in an earlier thread. They sound really good on acoustic guitar, and have an XLR input on a separate channel that can be used for a mic - so the amp can double as a stage monitor. They also have direct outs - so you could send your guitar and vocal to the FOH mixer post-effects. And they also have an aux input that you can use for track.

This is the more affordable "Loudbox Mini" There's also a "Loudbox Artist" that has additional features.





An advantage to using this setup would be that you'd be able to get all your settings dialed in at home and would always have the same monitor mix on every gig. (unless you get on a bigger stage with a full band where you'll need more volume from the monitors.)
I dream of a better tomorrow where chickens can cross roads without their motives being questioned.

Offline Hollywood

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2015, 09:59:54 pm »
Ah, okay.  Yeah, definitely no monitor. 

I'll have to add that to my make-sure-venue-has list...  or buy one.


So I should be able to hear myself well?  That's good to know - at least it's not just me.  Though I could use more voice lessons, for sure...
Frontwoman of alt-rock band Lighting Matches - debut album "Against The Flame"
www.LightingMatchesMusic.com
www.Facebook.com/LightingMatchesMusic

Debut solo EP "Destination Sunday" (Rachel White)

Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2015, 10:14:14 pm »
So I should be able to hear myself well? 

Absolutely!

A good monitor system can just about shave your face. During sound checks on large touring shows, a lot of effort goes into Eq'ing and balancing the monitor mixes.
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Offline 12-string_Doug

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2015, 07:36:52 pm »
  Scooter, can I PM you with some "technical questions"? I tried posting on another forum that I think you're a member of (name starts with 'g' and ends with 'z'), but I couldn't seem to post even though it said I was registered. It's a "monitor question," but I don't want to hijack Rachel's thread.

  And Rachel, I might have a small monitor you can borrow. I don't think it'll work for what I need, so you'd probably get way more "mileage" out of it than I would.

Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 09:54:23 pm »
  Scooter, can I PM you with some "technical questions"?

sure, no problem.
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Offline 12-string_Doug

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2015, 07:07:02 pm »
Hollywood, do you have any more live shows lined up? Did you get a monitor?


Offline Hollywood

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2015, 12:28:13 am »
I haven't bought anything except guitar strings... which were actually free.  :P

Yeah, I've got one this Saturday.  The guy claims the sound setup is "professional" so I'm hoping it'll have a monitor.  But it's not a terribly huge deal if he doesn't because it's only an hour gig (which probably means 45 minutes, taking out setup time.)
Frontwoman of alt-rock band Lighting Matches - debut album "Against The Flame"
www.LightingMatchesMusic.com
www.Facebook.com/LightingMatchesMusic

Debut solo EP "Destination Sunday" (Rachel White)

Offline 12-string_Doug

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2015, 03:20:46 am »
I haven't bought anything except guitar strings... which were actually free.  :P
  Those are my favorite kind of strings.  :D

Quote
Yeah, I've got one this Saturday.  The guy claims the sound setup is "professional" so I'm hoping it'll have a monitor.  But it's not a terribly huge deal if he doesn't because it's only an hour gig (which probably means 45 minutes, taking out setup time.)
  Good stuff.  8)
  Good luck with it. Let us know how it goes.

  Saturday afternoon, I'm supposed to be in a local talent show. That'd be my first time be playing in front of people I don't know since 1993 or before. :eek:
  I think it's probably not going to be more than maybe two songs.

Offline justinguitar

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Re: Voice issues singing outdoors
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2015, 10:34:24 am »
Almost certain this is a monitoring problem.

Either get yourself a great monitor or in ear monitors - both expensive but worth it for your voice if you can afford it.

I use an AER brand monitor mostly... it's always a drama trying to get your monitors pumping but with no feedback...
"You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room." Dr. Seuss

 

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