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kickingtone

Singing in a dry space for practice...

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I know all about that "let the mic (and the sound engineer :facepalm:) do the work" stuff, but it is cool to pick a dry environment and try to sing out yourself and get a response. At first, there is a natural instinct to push too hard, but it is easy to overcome. Then it helps with projection, cos it makes you work. My mic is useless anyway (driver problem), so it tends to capture the sound but not amplify well, which is actually useful for practice, too. It is the low frequencies that are hardest to generate in a dry environment. They seem to rely heavily on the walls and ceiling for amplification. So, I have to sing away from the mic, which doubles the driver problem. Also, I find myself using a more rounded embouchure. So, I begin to appreciate better why that is necessary in classical singing.

 

Facing away from the mic...generating some low frequencies...

 

 

Couldn't resist changing a few words, there. :D

 

Then I tried a comparison...

 

Singing at mic...clearer but killing the lows...

 

 

Away from mic...less clear, but better lows...

 

 

A mic that works may be able to do both, I think.

 

As always, IGNORE ALL TROLLS, FOLKS! :thu:

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Had another go at a clip I did earlier, in the other thread.

 

I wanted to sing it more assertively (less of the ballad sound in the original), but without sounding so pushed. It's sort of getting to where I want it to be. I am singing in a really dry space, so I'm still having to push, but I am starting to get more reverb out of the space.

 

 

Of course, the ideal thing would be to pick an appropriate environment, or add the required reverb in post recording.

 

The next one is proving to be a challenge. It definitely wants to be sung in a bigger space, I sense. But it's proving to be good practice, trying to drive a dry space.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
The next one is proving to be a challenge. It definitely wants to be sung in a bigger space, I sense. But it's proving to be good practice, trying to drive a dry space.

 

 

After a bit of practice...Improvement!

 

 

i'm using a really dry environment, but I'm starting to get a much better response, more like a normal environment. I'm having to push a bit, but that will go away as it gets easier...

 

 

Same thing with a towel over my head, and over the mic, and no straight airway between mouth and mic...

 

 

Kinda muffled a bit, but it does indicate how much reverb I was getting from the previous clip.

Edited by kickingtone

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The best type of acoustic environment to practice singing in is actually a dry sounding room. In order to build a solid foundation for the voice, a singer needs to rely on body sensations rather than auditory feedback. If a singer's vocal production relies too much on how it sounds in a room then it will be difficult to adjust to singing in different room settings. Especially when switching to a dry room, there might be a tendency to force the voice to try to hear yourself. If you find difficulty singing in a dry space then it might be helpful to monitor yourself with headphones along with a little bit of reverb in the headphone mix.

 

 

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For this exercise, it is not really an issue of trying to hear myself (in fact, record playthrough is off and I don't bother to take off my headphones to record -- so I am actually wearing earmuffs!).

 

What I'm trying to do with this exercise is get as much reverb as I can out of an environment that doesn't want to give it up! It helps to highlight things that may go unnoticed in a more helpful environment. It forces you to make better choices and be more accurate because of the extra effort you are having to use. In time, the accuracy improves and the extra effort sounds natural. Sub-optimal things can work in forgiving environments, so why not explore a challenging one to find optimality?

 

There is a lot to this, and I have heard contemporary and classical singers give exactly the opposite advice from one another. I don't think that there is any right or wrong. I'd simply make sure that I practise in various environments so that I feel comfortable in all of them.

 

I've heard the thing before about relying on body sensations more than auditory feedback. I wonder where it originated from. It must be very difficult to separate the two (by feeling or even definition). Both are always present. I have heard people say that they cannot hear themselves, even when the environment can hardly be called noisy, so I don't really know what they mean by it. I suspect that they are being distracted from the auditory cues by other things. But focus can be practised. One exercise I use is to listen to one song, while singing another song. It really improves your ability to track your own voice.

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Also I think a lot of good voice teachers will recommend against using too much internal hearing to navigate the voice. Singers who do so can create a lot of extraneous tension in the voice simply because they're doing too much to manipulate their sound. But in reality, the best vocal sounds tend to sound very ugly internally. So in general, try not to rely too much on the sound. The way the sound can translate is very deceptive, which is why it is very invaluable for singers to record themselves. Another thing, some singers don't hear much sound internally in certain parts of their range, for example some tenors can barely hear any sound when singing around their upper passaggio.

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Depends on the technique used, but the standard approach is using covering on the E4/F4 area and as you approach the end of the tessitura, you remove covering and open again. Covered singing has stronger resonance sensations (sensations of vibration/pressure) and internal hearing compared to open, even though the later will be louder and be more "resonant" (the physical meaning, instead of feelings).

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But there are no excusses to replace good singing tequneeks with good quality PA equipment, unless you want to FYS (SLM)

 

Talking of which how's it going , did you make your video yet ?

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Hay CD' date=' I got these pair of speakers, which one would you use to adjust the overall volume? The LED screen marked with Level 00dB, or the 1 and 2 knobs marked with -00, line, 0, mic, max[/quote']

 

OK firstly you seem to have them too high up on the stand. They are probably not going to be that safe, you can lower them..probably if you have the bottom of the speaker level with your music stand that will will be fine and much safer.

 

So ideally you want to practice good gain structure which generally means everything is set so it doesn't have to be turned to the max to get it as loud as you want. This avoids clipping and distortion etc. Having things at between 50 - 75% of their max is a good rule of thumb.

 

You want your mixer output so it's stays in the green mostly, then adjust the input knobs on the back of the PA speakers so you get a good clean level. Turn them all the way down and play your backing track and gradually increase it - I don't know if there is any kind of metering to show you what's going on. If you can get up to halfway without any clipping then I would try it there.

 

Once those are set you should use the main output level to achieve the desired volume overall. On all the gear I used the amp was separate to the speakers so it went instruments - mixer - amp - speaker..plus we had monitor wedges and stuff. Things have changed a bit since my day :cool:

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Posted (edited)

Yes they do wobble about at that height. But I was told that the horn needs to be higher then the audience, otherwise the higher frequencies will be lost trough the crowd.. When the poles are fully extended the speakers are 6 feet off of the ground

 

Yes HF absorption can be an issue but it's generally with larger crowds of people, I don't think it will matter for pub gig - I have don'e everything from 40 people in a pub to 2000 people in a field and I think you will be better off lowering them for now.

 

I get of the whistling tone coming from the speakers, if I increase the volume the whistling get worse so to compensate I turn down the high EQ knob.

 

Yes that sounds like feedback or howl round as we call it. so the sound from the speakers goes back into the mic, get amplified again ..back out the speakers..etc. it's a feedback loop.

 

Common fixes are to make sure you are well behind the speakers at the gig so the sound coming from them doesn't get back into your mic

 

In a small practice space this may be unavoidable so you just have to turn it down or pull back the hi EQ as this is where it happens the most

 

You can get units that kill the feedback electronically but it's not worth it for pub gigs you should be able to manage it

 

You can also get mics that have a hypercardoid pickup pattern so they pick up less of the sound from around the room and only what is closer to the mic which can help, I used to have the AKC C1000 which has one of those and sometimes I had to use it for the singer. Most of the time we could use the 58 though.

 

Also my laptop that was playing the mp4 backing tracks on the VCL media player program, keeps freezing up for a brief second. The sound coming from it would pause and the screen would go into what I can only describe as a checkered flag.

 

I would try to use a dedicated music player then if it is causing problems instead of a PC which can often go wrong at inconvenient moments.

 

The laptop could be overheating, I can't really think what else it would be

 

Edited by CosmicDolphin

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What kind of distance did you have in mind?

 

Depends on the venue really..if you can get them 6ft in front of you that's usually more than enough but you don't always have that luxury

 

Watch this

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Fo best resalts do you think it is best singing into the mic top dead centre?

 

Somewhere around there yeah, but you also have to 'work' the mic so the best singers will move the mic around a little ..so if it's a note you need to belt out they might draw the mic away from their mouth so it doesn't distort with the extra volume.

 

This is the pickup pattern for the SM58 - https://www.shure.eu/musicians/discover/educational/polar-patterns

 

Perhaps we should make a microphone especially for use in dry spaces..call it the SLM-58

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