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Vocals



 
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2023 9:36 am    Post subject: Vocals Reply with quote

Our vocalist has a soft voice, her sound system is lousy, and the trumpet parts frequently go above the staff. As a result, despite our efforts we often drown her out.

As you know, it’s hard to play softly above the staff. What’s the solution? Playing down? Playing into the stand? Laying out on the high stuff? Mutes?
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2023 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My options would be - in this order:

* Rescore the background so that it enhances, not covers or interferes with, the vocal.

* Get a new sound system for the vocalist. (Whatever constraints might exist, it can be done).

* Put the trumpet down in a lower register and reinforce the high harmonics with the keyboard.

* Get a new vocalist.
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2023 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good advice, thanks!
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2021 Martinus Geelan Custom
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RandyTX
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2023 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few things come to mind, mostly since you don't specify the details on this problem.

1. Is there a P/A system involved? With or without a dedicated sound person for adjustments during the gig, if the singer isn't mic'd, and there are trumpets involved (discounting pro settings where this isn't as much of an issue), she's going to get buried, no matter how strong her voice might be.

2. It's the rare big band or 'horn band' ensemble that doesn't have a baseline volume of "way too darn loud" right out the box. And getting them to play 'behind the vocals' (i.e. a couple dynamic levels lower than the piece calls for) is just about impossible with a lot of horn players.

I know of one particular tenor sax player that usually does his level best to bury the trumpets, and sometimes succeeds. If someone is trying to sing at the same time, the vocals are either mic'd, or totally unheard. No amount of asking him to play softer, or pointing out how there is a dynamic marking music that says mp, or p, will get him to play even one note at anything less than maybe a marching band forte. Truly a nightmare, and I think he's literally not capable of playing softer. He will either play that loud, or give up and stop playing entirely if people keep asking him to get softer.

Trumpets can often be louder than even an extreme case woodwind player like that, but...

3. Have the horns play into stand, away from any mics if present, or put in a bucket mute. Perfect excuse to use one without really changing the tone color all that much, but bringing the volume way down.

In general, most groups performing bar gigs, parties, etc. tend to think they're opening for The Who and play about 3x louder than they need to, or should. People want to enjoy themselves, talk to friends, be able to hear something other than that amazing double C the lead player has been barking out all night, or... heaven forbid, even the singer, on occasion.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2023 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim - what is the instrumentation?
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Man Of Constant Sorrow
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2023 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fishman or JBL PA/sound-system, line-array speakers, with minimum 200-watts.

As much as I loathe dreaded "sound guys" (they usually work for the venue owner-mgr, and are instructed to "keep it down") ... in this case, I suggest employing the person to get the right balance.
Drummers with big sticks wailing on the snare drum are usually the worse culprits for drowning out everyone else.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2023 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The long-term solution is to learn to play high without playing loud. The short-term solution would be to take things down or use mutes when needed.
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2023 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the band isn't getting complaints about being too loud when playing instrumentals, I'd make this the singer's problem -- she needs to get a better sound system.
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Craig Swartz
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2023 10:15 am    Post subject: Re: Vocals Reply with quote

jhatpro wrote:
Our vocalist has a soft voice, her sound system is lousy...we often drown her out.

...What’s the solution?...


Maybe find a new vocalist with a better sound system...
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