Author Topic: Reproducing Home Studio sound live  (Read 1751 times)

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Offline DavidP

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Reproducing Home Studio sound live
« on: January 26, 2020, 07:34:04 am »
Hi there,

Now that I am playing at the Open Mic evening on a regular basis and beginning to dream about maybe oneday reaching a level at which I might get invited to play at the Music Club's "Big Stage" events (an evening when 4-5 acts get to perform for a longer set than the Open Mic, with a much bigger audience on a stage), I have started to think about how I can reproduce the sound quality I get in my Home Studio live. And dare I say it, there is a quiet little coffee shop/restaurant up the road with a garden and I dream a little of playing there on a Sat afternoon.

I am thinking about the video recordings I share that are a single take, no edits, playing and singing at the same time.  For those videos, the guitar is recorded DI on one track and the voice onto a second track.  The guitar is EQed and compressed and then sent to a second track which has some simple Fx applied (chorus, delay, reverb using Waves GTR pedals).  The Fx is kept light and the second track is blended with the first. A similar approach is applied to the vocal, using Waves CLA Vocals on the Fx track. The final master gets a little final compression and saturation using GW MixCentric.  The intention is to just polish the natural recording without it sounding heavily processed...drenched as Richard might say  ;D

I have begun to do some research as to what gear (yup, GAS pressure is building) I could add into my live setup that could achieve a similar result.

Firstly, I am assuming that I will be able to do this and that the benefits would be noticeable.  That it is just a matter of finding the right gear, balancing the cost to achieve a decent/acceptable result and we shan't enter into discussing with this is justifiable given my current perform-grade and frequancy of performance. And of course, I acknowledge that the biggest impact on my performance would be to improve my own play and sing-grade, especially singing, which receives no more attention than actually singing. 

To cut a long story short, I have arrived at the following point:

1) Better for me to opt for combo devices rather than individual devices.  In all liklihood, buying individual would deliver a better result, particularly for the guitar, more flexibility, ability to upgrade etc but would be considerably more expensive.

2) Looking at combo boxes, two stand out: TC Helicon Play Acoustic and Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer. These devices address both guitar and voice in a single box. An option I haven't explored wuld be two combo boxes, one for guitar and one for voice. That would be more expensive but maybe there are significantly better options that are dedicated.  My gut says no since since options I mentioned seem to bring the quality that would be in dedicated options into a combination that makes sense for somebody who is playing and singing, rather than a guitarist or vocalist.

I'm interested in your thoughts and suggestions. 

Am I going down a rabbit hole where the benefit in doing this is insignifcant, irrespective of whether the investment is justifiable?

Any other options, either approach or products, assuming that it is worthwhile?

Thanks all.

Offline CT

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Re: Reproducing Home Studio sound live
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2020, 03:56:17 pm »
I can only speak for myself here, so take everything as free advice that can be freely ignored. I think the most important thing is to work on writing/finding better songs, and playing & singing them better. If that's not the focus then no amount of rigging will push you or me over the top. Recreating your in-studio sound on stage is probably not a great idea in my opinion -- at least not without a decent sound guy at the venue.

That said, the venue will dictate the gear. When I play out at Bar 20 there is a sound guy and he handles the mix. There isn't much for me to do here but control volume and tone on my guitar. For everything else (for now limited to backyard shenanigans) I have a compact PA system with a mixer and handle my own mix. It's still important to handle things at the point of the attack, the volume and tone knobs on the guitar. I wouldn't futz around with reverb and such as the venue will have its unique built in 'verb and you may muddy things up trying to shape the tone too much. 

Offline DavidP

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Re: Reproducing Home Studio sound live
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2020, 04:33:38 pm »
I can only speak for myself here, so take everything as free advice that can be freely ignored. I think the most important thing is to work on writing/finding better songs, and playing & singing them better. If that's not the focus then no amount of rigging will push you or me over the top. Recreating your in-studio sound on stage is probably not a great idea in my opinion -- at least not without a decent sound guy at the venue.

That said, the venue will dictate the gear. When I play out at Bar 20 there is a sound guy and he handles the mix. There isn't much for me to do here but control volume and tone on my guitar. For everything else (for now limited to backyard shenanigans) I have a compact PA system with a mixer and handle my own mix. It's still important to handle things at the point of the attack, the volume and tone knobs on the guitar. I wouldn't futz around with reverb and such as the venue will have its unique built in 'verb and you may muddy things up trying to shape the tone too much.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Clint, that is appreciated.  No doubt improving one's performance is key and serious shortcomings in performance shan't be rescued using gear.  For me, vol and tone on my acoustic's preamp don't seem to make a huge difference. You make a good point that using such gear may make things worse in a particular venue.

Offline CT

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Re: Reproducing Home Studio sound live
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2020, 05:23:43 pm »
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Clint, that is appreciated.  No doubt improving one's performance is key and serious shortcomings in performance shan't be rescued using gear.  For me, vol and tone on my acoustic's preamp don't seem to make a huge difference. You make a good point that using such gear may make things worse in a particular venue.
I think that's especially true with reverb and some forms of modulation. Every room/venue has it's own "space", so reverb is almost unnecessary outside of the studio. Volume and tone controls may have more bearing depending on the venue and the pickups in your guitar. My Epiphone jumbo has two pickups, a piezo and a neck pickup, that I can blend or single out and each has their own EQ. Some piezo pickups can get quaky and unnatural sounding to my ears. 



I would lean more toward analog delay to fatten up guitar tone and give the illusion of space. Analog delay, in slapback mode at the very least, is much more useful regardless of the room (to my ears) than reverb. You don't need to break the bank for a decent analog delay pedal. Try it, you'll like it.

Another consideration is if you get too crazy with tone shaping (pedals, reverb, etc) on an acoustic in some venues you may introduce noise/hum or feedback. Less is going to be more in my opinion.

As for vocals, I've got nothing outside of a good mic, proximity to the mic and vocal technique. Practicing with your own portable PA system is an idea worth exploring as well.       

Offline DavidP

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Re: Reproducing Home Studio sound live
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2020, 06:37:46 am »
I think that's especially true with reverb and some forms of modulation. Every room/venue has it's own "space", so reverb is almost unnecessary outside of the studio. Volume and tone controls may have more bearing depending on the venue and the pickups in your guitar. My Epiphone jumbo has two pickups, a piezo and a neck pickup, that I can blend or single out and each has their own EQ. Some piezo pickups can get quaky and unnatural sounding to my ears. 



I would lean more toward analog delay to fatten up guitar tone and give the illusion of space. Analog delay, in slapback mode at the very least, is much more useful regardless of the room (to my ears) than reverb. You don't need to break the bank for a decent analog delay pedal. Try it, you'll like it.

Another consideration is if you get too crazy with tone shaping (pedals, reverb, etc) on an acoustic in some venues you may introduce noise/hum or feedback. Less is going to be more in my opinion.

As for vocals, I've got nothing outside of a good mic, proximity to the mic and vocal technique. Practicing with your own portable PA system is an idea worth exploring as well.       

Appreciate you sharing more, Clint.

My guitar has a piezo and I think does need a little "help" to get a quality of sound that is more like it sounds acoustically when I play it at home.

I like the idea of a PA into the future but longer-term.  For now the live performances are in a situation where the organisers provide the PA. 

Offline Rossco01

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Re: Reproducing Home Studio sound live
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2020, 10:12:49 am »
Agree with most of CT comments here.

I like Helicon stuff but have not invested in their bigger boxes which are pretty expensive. You might want to look at their pure vocal pedals which are somewhat cheaper (second hand probably better). I have a Harmony G-Xt and Harmony Singer 2 I think is their latest acoustic pedal. I do like the dess, compression etc. Not so sure about the harmonies but they do sound good on some things.

In terms of PA etc. I've got a Laney Alfresco which has two channels, chorus/reverb built in, battery powered if you want it to be. It'll also sit on a speaker pole. Packs a nice punch and I got it for just over £100. It's not a PA but is easy to cart around, set-up etc. I've used it conjunction with Guitar Amp for Vocals when we've got no PA to practice with.
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Offline DavidP

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Re: Reproducing Home Studio sound live
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2020, 02:07:20 pm »
Agree with most of CT comments here.

I like Helicon stuff but have not invested in their bigger boxes which are pretty expensive. You might want to look at their pure vocal pedals which are somewhat cheaper (second hand probably better). I have a Harmony G-Xt and Harmony Singer 2 I think is their latest acoustic pedal. I do like the dess, compression etc. Not so sure about the harmonies but they do sound good on some things.

In terms of PA etc. I've got a Laney Alfresco which has two channels, chorus/reverb built in, battery powered if you want it to be. It'll also sit on a speaker pole. Packs a nice punch and I got it for just over £100. It's not a PA but is easy to cart around, set-up etc. I've used it conjunction with Guitar Amp for Vocals when we've got no PA to practice with.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rossco.

 

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