Author Topic: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances  (Read 3707 times)

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Offline close2u

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What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« on: December 12, 2021, 06:13:45 pm »
It seems, ludicrously, that performing at virtual Open Mics may continue in to my future.
I know that I'm not a natural singer at all.
I am quite happy to cheat if it improves the 'sound' of me singing.
I'm wondering which route to take.
I don't think I need much.
I'm unsure between

1] Buying a small desktop mixer that I can send my mic to and add in some simple fx - reverb mostly, perhaps compression.
2] Buying a dedicated multi-purpose pedal such as the VoiceLive Play Acoustic.

In recent OMs I have sent my guitar DI to a Zoom G3 and added some small effects (reverb, chorus, eq) then on to my Focusrite Solo audio interface. (Nte - the Solo has 2 inputs, but only one takes XLR, the other is only for 1/4" jacks.

I have used a dynamic mic for vocals just going direct to the AI.

With option 1] could I send both the guitar (from the Zoom G3) and the mic's XLR to a mixer that would then connect to the AI? And would mixer to AI need just one XLR? I ask that as I due to the limitation of the Solo's inputs.

With option 2] could I take my Zoom out of the picture and run everything through the VoiceLive to add both vocal fx and guitar fx? Would that then go direct to the AI? No need for a mixer?

Is there an option 3] I could consider?

Budget - for the right thing I note the VoiceLive is a shade over £200 and most mixers that fit the purpose I have in mind are under that.

Offline tobyjenner

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2021, 07:57:51 pm »
I'd be tempted to go the PlayAcoustic route. I don't know enough about the VoiceLive to comment but the PA would definitely fit the bill but they are roughly similar pricewise (Thomann anyway). David may have a better idea.

Vocal I think the main thing is reverb or subtle doubling or delay to fatten this up and to add ambience. Although I ran through Reaper this time and used a Wave vocal plugin, past OMs I used the Zoom mulistomp pedal with just reverb. Playacoustic will give that an more. Not used mine in anger but mean to in the near future. The gtr fx are good but subtle or moderately in your face nothing extreme, again David was using them in the past but I think you should be able use the multifx and feed that into the PAs gtr input, can't see how it would not work and gives you more options. But there are XLR 2 outputs (gtr and vox) but you would just need xlr to xlr and xlr to TS / TRS 1/4inch. I had a play around with the vox FX a few months back and there are a vast array of effects, including great multi singer choruses should you have an urge to go choir mode.
https://youtu.be/bSoC2ivmmv8 good in depth review and how to.
https://youtu.be/-82gQjNIxuE  watchable

If you go the mixer route the solo would be redundant as the mixer should function as an AI, certainly the Behringer Xenyx do and they have a single "mixed" stereo output via USB which I assume you'd want. Some will have internal FX or the option of an FX loop.   
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Offline batwoman

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2021, 09:21:03 pm »
Something that will cost you nothing, Mr Close2U ..... sit up, breathe deep, open your mouth. I'm in a bit of a rush right now, so no time to type more. As well as these obvious things, I see and hear tension that's working against you big time. If you wish I'll elaborate.

Loved your Harvest Moon, it was good to see how you used the quick glance at the fret thing as you swooped back and forth. Inspired me to git and polish this song. I learned it 12 months ago.

Offline close2u

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2021, 09:36:05 pm »
Something that will cost you nothing, Mr Close2U .....

Everyone likes free.
:)

Quote
... sit up, breathe deep, open your mouth. I'm in a bit of a rush right now, so no time to type more. As well as these obvious things, I see and hear tension that's working against you big time. If you wish I'll elaborate.
Yes please. I would love to know your take and advice Maggie.
Not here perhaps as it would go off topic.
Elsewhere in the forum or via pm. :)


Quote
... Loved your Harvest Moon, it was good to see how you used the quick glance at the fret thing as you swooped back and forth. Inspired me to git and polish this song. I learned it 12 months ago.

It's a gorgeous song. I knew it pretty well to play as I had done it for Mrs C a fair bit a couple of years ago. I brushed it up with two quick play-throughs, one unplugged to 'test' if I could maybe sing it and then one plugged in to sound check just before the show. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was literally chosen just before the OM so I really wasn't sure what justice I could do to the vocal.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2021, 07:09:14 am by close2u »

Offline Majik

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2021, 10:05:04 pm »
With option 2] could I take my Zoom out of the picture and run everything through the VoiceLive to add both vocal fx and guitar fx? Would that then go direct to the AI? No need for a mixer?

I believe the VoiceLive IS an AI. You can plug it in via USB and have that going straight into the PC.

Cheers,

Keith

Offline close2u

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2021, 11:17:16 pm »
Thanks Keith.

If the VoiceLive is an interface in its own right, meaning the Scarlett Solo can also come out of the set up then that is good.

@DavidP - you have a VoiceLive - do you go straight from it to your computer?

Offline tobyjenner

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2021, 11:33:15 pm »
Richard

I think David has the standard PlayAcoustic like me, not the VoiceLive

the PA has USB output but I have yet to use it - I just plumbed it into the AI as my PC has limited USB ports (well too much other carp connected!) not sure if DP uses USB or cables.

From the manual :

USB connector
Connect to your computer with the included ca
-
ble. Use the VoiceSupport software to manage
presets and update the product’s internal soft
-
ware (firmware).
You can download VoiceSupport here:
tc-helicon.com/products/voicesupport
/
Stereo audio input and output via USB is also
supported at 16 bit resolution with 44.1 or 48 kHz
sample rate.
Incoming USB audio signals are NOT passed to
the USB output, allowing you to sing/play along
with tracks from your DAW while recording back
“just the vocals and guitar”.
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Offline CT

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2021, 02:20:15 am »
Take this from a player and singer who unapologetically just sings and plays. Richard, your playing is a cut above. Incredible! Know that there's not a thing in the world wrong with your singing. I'm going to throw in with Maggie on this one. The secret to singing better is to learn how to sing better, same thing that applies to playing guitar. Don't let that stop you. Keep singing. You are inspiring people! Reverb and EQ can only take us so far.

Offline DavidP

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2021, 04:36:35 am »
My 2cs worth, Richard.

I do hope you continue to join the OMs, doing what you do. You play wonderfully and your singing is more than adequate. Your performances are most enjoyable.

I improved my singing just by singing more to make AVOYP recordings. The big improvement came when I took the course. I would also consider myself not a natural singer or guitar player, but with time and practice, it all gets better.

From a device perspective, I have the Play Acoustic. I have a Focusrite 2i2. I plug 2 XLRs from the PA to the 2i2. But the PA also has the option to use a single XLR output, so would work with your Solo. I've not tried the USB option to connect direct to the PC.

I am still working with the PA to get the right blend of fx on voice and guitar ... perhaps a little heavy in the last OM.

And as Toby has shared, we could also help you get set to use Reaper (as I recall you have it) and OBS to  provide the audio into Zoom. I used that chain in the last OM and it seemed to work OK for my performance (though still baffled by the reverb/delay on my speaking voice after my slot, when I had turned off the PA fx, at least I think I had them off, maybe I didn't). Then you could add some simple fx to your vocal in Reaper, without needing to buy anything.
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Offline Rossco01

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2021, 07:19:33 am »
Richard, If you went the small mixer route I'd go for one which has a USB AI built into it (there are lots out there). Then you just plug your output from your G3 and you mic into it. At the cheaper end there are the Behringer Xenyx ones and at the more expensive end something like the A&H ZED series (which I have). My setup is almost exactly that. I plug my PodGO into an input on the A&H and then I plug my Harmony G-XT into another one. I only use the reverb on the Harmony G-XT but just the general processing really cleans up the vocal.
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Offline close2u

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2021, 07:25:32 am »
@batwoman and @CT

I hear you and thank you.

I know that I should not need any artificial crutches.
But I'm wondering if I want them.

@Rossco01 I do wonder if the mixer is the more open, versatile and flexible setup and the VoiceLive / PlayAcoustic type tool is more limited in scope and functionality overall, even if its functions are excellent.


Offline batwoman

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2021, 07:35:54 am »
I know that I should not need any artificial crutches.

Not crutches Richard. They are essential tools there to help you express yourself in the best possible way. You have a good voice, I'd love to see you make the most of it with a combo of good gear and some good singing technique. Add to that your mastery of the guitar, what a winning combo.

Offline DavidP

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2021, 08:06:48 am »
Richard,

I think the key in making the choice is to think of the immediate and potential use cases. That would inform the trade-off between the flexibility of the mixer with the functionality of something like the Play Acoustic.

As well as factoring in what gear you already have, like the solo.
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Offline DavidP

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2021, 08:10:04 am »
Not crutches Richard. They are essential tools there to help you express yourself in the best possible way. You have a good voice, I'd love to see you make the most of it with a combo of good gear and some good singing technique. Add to that your mastery of the guitar, what a winning combo.

Plus one on everything Maggie said
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Offline brianlarsen

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2021, 11:27:49 am »
There are many good reasons for buying 'gear'.
I'm not sure our OM is one of them.
We have a broad range of approaches to decanting our sound into Zoomland- from my minimalist 'shout at the webcam' to Toby's highly elaborate blockchain-command protocol, and everything in between.
My gut feeling is that a blinded outsider would find it difficult to pick out who's using decent vs. poor recording systems, as it's all salamied down the digital highway.
I think many of us are very good at taking in a performance and letting our brains process it the way we know it should sound (much like much of my youth listening to great songs on a static-ridden plastic mono-earpiece)
The 'gear' comes into its own for the pleasure it gives you at home, and of course if you do real-life performances like David and Jason. You would fit well into that category, Richard.
Get Santa on the job  ;)

Offline DavidP

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Re: What gizmo to buy for improving Vocal tone at OM performances
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2021, 12:10:47 pm »
LOL Brian, in my case it was absolute indulgence as I am yet to do a live performance of such nature where I'd use the gear (for OM with the fast turnaround, it is just plugin the guitar and let rip). But when I am invited to be on the card for the Big Stage concert, with a 30 minute slot (performing for many more strangers), then I will show up with my pedal  ;D
Began the adventure Dec 2016 expecting little, achieved more than I imagined, and now I'm a happy advancing beginner
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