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JBBG featuring Patti Austin Print E-mail
May 05, 2004 at 08:47 PM
...or the art of getting a voice through the mix

 Well let's say I thought I would be easier ;-) We arrived very early in the opera house on monday to assure everything on stage and FOH would be ready when the band arrives. The PA company was not ready yet, so we had luck watching Thomas Schroettner measuring and equalizing the PA system. After his work was done, the main system (Nexo) sounded really great. I was not so happy with the nearfields (small Turbosounds) aligned at the stage front border, but it was better than nothing.

After we lost even more time with debugging the "interpretation of my routing advisory" of some confused stage technicians, the band soundcheck went pretty well. We had very good microphones (I never had so many Neumann TLMs and KMs on stage before that day), so it was more balancing the sound that came from stage. Making the monitor sound was also very easy, although I just made some minor adjustments on suspicious frequencies. So after we finished the sound check with the band, we were still on schedule, but there was not much time left for preparing the voice processing. Thomas brought a TL Audio Ivory EQ / LA Audio Classic Compressor combination with him, that I wanted to try on the voice, but (we couldn't figure out why) the noise floor that came from this combi was somehow not acceptable. I decided to go back to my good old symetrix 528 for processing the voice. Unfortunately, there were only minutes left, and splitting the mic signal for the monitor channel did not work at once. Again I had to think of something fool safe, so we took the consoles preamp and built in EQ and I put the processing chain into a subgroup. Sad but true :|

Hehe, I should have spent some more time with this, as during the soundcheck I realized that the band had way too much dynamic in comparison to her, and that after compressing every single trumpet, the whole brass section (group sum) and the reed section (group sum)!
It took some time during the first set to "steal" enough spectral energy from the band to keep her always above them, but after bypassing any compression on her voice and playing "flying faders" with the group, that was no problem any more. But, to be honest, from time to time I wondered what the arranger must have had in mind writing fortissimo trumpets layering the voice.

So, again I learned a lot, especially - ALWAYS use a very slight tube compression (dbx 566) on the overhead mics of a drumset, it sounds so good :)

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