Outboard vocal efx

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Outboard vocal efx

Postby 1960strat » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:47 am

I have decided to build an outboard vocal effects rig to go with my PA. People have said get the following:

1) an EQ
2) compression
3) reverb
4) delay

What units would one recommend for these? Also, what do i need to consider in building a rack. I have never done so and would like to know what the ins and outs are.. i.e. what is a power conditioner and is it needed...

Thanks
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Postby strumminsix » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:19 am

You don't want to build a rack, buy one. It's relatively simple in concept but when you consider the weight and expense of all the items in it I'd recommend something professionally constructed, reinforced, etc.

Okay FX... First thing you need to decide is if you want to use them on the dry mix of all channels or to control each channel individually or if can run vocals thru one bus and instruments thru another maybe do FX on vocals only.

If you chose to control over each channel you need either more units for each effect or multi channel FX.

System questions:
What model/brand mixer are you using?
What model/brand mics are you using?
What model/brand cables are you using?
What model/brand mains and monitors

EQ question - What are you looking to fix from an sound?

Comp questions:
Are you vocalists struggling to sing at constant levels?
Are harmonies struggling with level balances?
Are you prepared to lose some vocal dynamics?

What are you looking to accomplish with reverb?

What are you looking to accomplish with delay?

Do you have the funds to carry out this effort fully?
Do you have the man power to move it?
Do you have a vehicle to transport it?

Do you need something this elaborate for where you'll be playing live?

These are all good questions to ask yourself as you consider the build of this project. It's gonna be expensive and time consuming and heavy to more around.

I've watched people go hog wild with PAs before and for some it's the best investment they make and for others it turns into a costly nightmare and it never leaves the rehearsal room and is almost sickening in cost.

Just stuff to think about. When purchasing the PA for my band I went very economical knowing that many places we play have a PA and realizing the simpler the system the easier it is to control from the stage.

Conversely my amigo has a completely tricked out system of a dozen FX and amps and mains and monitors and a super sweet board. We played a gig with it and I have never sounded better vocally in my life (in terms of amplified)! To this day I think of that show as the best my vocals sounded to an audience ever! And I've been fortunate enough to play some nicer rooms with good gear.
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Postby 1960strat » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:46 am

I use the following equip:

PA and Speakers: Yamaha EMX 860 Stereo Powered Mixer, 8 channels, 600 watts of audio power, 2-200 watts stereo for mains and 200 watts for monitors, bridgeable main channels for mono 600 watts, Separate 7 band EQ for both. Effects send and return, AUX in/out, Tape in/Record out. 2 Yamaha SM121V-600 watt cabinets used from monitors or mains 1-12 and horn in each.

Mic is an audio technica pro-3L.

Cables are pretty generic.

When i go direct with my acoustic i use a LR Baggs DI Box.

The PA has simple high/mid/low controls on each channel and a 7 band EQ. I found that the sound was very bassy/boomy sounding. I am by all means no expert on soundchecking. Also, at this point i am not using monitors. I really just use this now as a one man set up to sing through, but there may be more applications with multiple vocalists and instruments in the future.

I think i want the fx on the vocals only. If i am running guitars into the PA by mic'ing the amps then i want the amp reverb and nothing layered on top i think. For my acoustic with DI, I havent really put any verb on that, do most people???

As you can see i have more questions than answers. Who would have thought building a guitar rig would be easier than this.
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Postby myoung6923 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:02 pm

for compression usually you want 2 separate units - one just for drums and one just for vocals. Although on your board you may not be able to run it like this - to do this usually you would run drums in one bus and vocals into another. Then you could run separate effects for each bus. So - maybe one overall would be best for your needs.

Also, typically 2 different eq's are used - one for the monitors - and one for the mains. If you are running your system in mono, then you could get a dual stereo eq and and run each side independantly for the mains and the monitors.
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Postby strumminsix » Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:08 pm

I've used that powered mixer many time live before without problems.

Help me to better understand your situation.

The amp has an EQ & reverb - why not use them??

If you cannot dial out a boomy low end with these an outboard won't do it either. Just being direct not trying to sound mean or anything.

IMO you should begin by upgrading your mics and cables. Then spend some time learning how to dial out things on the EQ and use it to carve at first and avoid boosting. Plus it seems like you could probably benefit by getting to know how to run a mixer better? I needed lessons from my friend when I got ours. So far after about 6 rehearsals with it am I starting to get comfortable and still learning.
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