Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Chat about Equipment Info
 #51191  by High Peaks
 Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:51 am
Hey all,

My band is having trouble with our vocal mix. It sounds like we are singing from the bottom of a well lately. We played with the EQ- mixed in and out of effects, it just never has the crystal clear sound i want. Anybody have any advice. We are running through a Mackie 16 channel( i think) board through to 2 2 x 15" Madison PA cabinets. Is it the speakers maybe? Thanks.

 #51193  by Emoto
 Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:35 am
Forgive me if I tell you things you already know...

Need more info. Has your vocal mix ever sounded good? How does it sound with no instruments or drums playing? Is the bad mix specific to the room you play in - does it sound better in other rooms? How does the mix sound if you play outdoors? How does the mix sound in closed (over the ears that block out external sound) headphones?

I am not a pro sound man by any means, but I have run a bunch of PAs over the years; I am sure others here are more knowledgeable, but I'll toss in my $.02 anyway...

The room you play in has a huge effect on what you sound like. That's why I asked about other rooms, outdoors, and the sound through headphones. Eliminating the room as the cause of the problem by playing somewhere else or outside or listening to the PA only through cans is something to try. The room I play in got better sounding after I built some baffles. See my Rehearsal Space thread, for more info. May not be the right answer for you, but couldn't hurt.

I like to start off playing "dry", that is no eq or effects on the voices. I only add reverb or echo after I have done any eq, because those effects make it too confusing otherwise.

I haven't tried this, but a friend of mine swears by the Behringer DEQ2496 EQ. It has an "auto eq" feature that runs tone through your speakers and eq's the room correctly. Found a couple of links: ... ve2496.htm

If I had a difficult room, I might try something like this. Under $300.

Sometimes, just not playing as loud in a room can help the sound.

 #51194  by causebass
 Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:59 am
are you asking about the mains or monitors?

 #51195  by deadguise
 Sat Oct 11, 2008 10:02 am
Do you have enough headroom in the power amp? Are the speakers elevated? Is the band too loud?

 #51217  by strumminsix
 Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:22 pm
I think a vocal mix is alot like a guitar mix. What sounds good solo or during sound check is not always good in the mix.

Try this:
no eq
no reverb
set the mid to flat
set the highs to +2
set the bass to -2

Other things depending on your board:
engage the <80 hrtz kill
set the parametric mid eq to 500 and -2

Just some thoughts...

 #51222  by Crazy 9.5 Fingers
 Sat Oct 11, 2008 7:17 pm
Let's start from the front of signal chain.

What kind of mics are you using?

As far as the FX go, what FX are you using and how are they run into the board?

I have always had better luck running time based effects into its own channels and using the fader for the level.

I went to SAE in NYC for a while, and I paid attention at least half of the time. Also have a 1604VLZ so I know the Mackie board pretty well.