By Jeannie Deva
Just as a change of room size and acoustics can make it more difficult to sing (see Part 1), so can electronic equipment that is used to amplify your voice.
An alteration of your vocal sound can occur when the stage or studio mic is not properly matched to the tonal qualities or personality of your voice. Just as each voice has an audio persona so do mics have a “personality” by reason of their design. Proper mic to voice matching avoids unwanted alteration of your voice.
PAs and Monitors
Problems can also occur if you’re singing through speakers that do not have a wide enough frequency range to properly reflect all the tonal qualities and nuances of your voice. You’ll understand what I’m saying here if you have ever tried to sing through a guitar or bass amp. Electronically designed to reproduce guitars – not voices – these amps will often dramatically alter the sound of your voice, causing you to subconsciously tighten your throat and push for notes.
The same can occur with monitors if they are not equalized for your particular voice or are incorrectly positioned. Equalized or “EQ’ed” means adjusting the relative presence of the treble, midrange and bass frequencies. Even when you are singing well and sound great to the audience, if the monitors alter your perception of your voice, you may unwittingly change how you are singing and begin straining. Position and adjust monitors until there is a good balance of bass, midrange and treble and you’re comfortable with what you hear.
Note on Recording
Even the direction which you face in a particular room may influence how you hear your voice and consequently how you sing. This is particularly important in a recording studio and it is something to check if you are having difficulty after you make sure that your microphone is a good match for you and the headset mix is good.
If you still have trouble singing well in a vocal booth, try turning around in different directions to see if you can find a “sweet spot” for your voice.
Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid the pitfalls of room acoustics and electronic equipment so you can sing passionately and confidently. Good luck.
on March 2, 2018 at 3:04 AM said:I have always done my live video recordings through bass amp (the ones with mic, anyway) ! So what kind of 'speakers' would be suitable ?
on March 2, 2018 at 4:07 AM said:Just a bit more on that, which may be relevant. As always pre-amp with Zoom RFX-1000 on 'Boost' Setting. I assume that this should adequately compensate [?] Since feel fine, Myself (tho have had recent opinion to the contrary).
on March 4, 2018 at 10:43 PM said:For video recording on a budget, a lapel mic direct into the camera usually gives the best sound.
on July 31, 2018 at 4:12 AM said:Problems can also occur if you’re singing through speakers that do not have a wide enough frequency range to properly reflect all the tonal qualities and nuances of your voice.
on August 1, 2018 at 11:44 AM said:Thanks for your post, Amy. That is true.
on October 5, 2018 at 5:52 PM said:Which speakers do you recommend for vocals ? (Was just doing a search, but so much choice).
on October 7, 2018 at 10:29 PM said:To hear yourself through a monitor type speaker we recommend the TC Helicon Solo series. They can be mounted on the microphone stand. For a speaker to project to the audience (PA speakers), there are many fine choices. It is best to go to a music store and test several for the ones you like the best.
on October 8, 2018 at 3:02 PM said:I was thinking more in terms of online purchase (music shops being quite few & far-between in UK). Found quite a few on 'Gear4music' website, via search [before my previous comment]: but weren't loading-up on the website. But from what I understand, speakers for vocals & speakers for keyboard; would be the same thing [ie, can use same speakers for either] ? Also, frequency range for voice being 20Hz to 20KHz (I'm Not sure range for speaker on my bass amp, as doesn't say. But quite big and has a graphic eq, as well as treble & bass knobs).
on October 8, 2018 at 7:13 PM said:You want PA speakers. Usually, they come with a horn or tweeter (small speaker) in addition to the larger speaker. This helps to project the high notes of the voice and yes a piano too. We don't recommend using a guitar or bass amp for vocals.
on October 10, 2018 at 2:38 AM said:Did a search last night, and the ones I looked at all had frequency response of 20KHz at the high end; but low end averaged at around 60Hz. I assume this will be adequate ? (Have also got Summer Performance this year already filmed [Not yet edited]; using the bass amp. Which has 9-band graphic eq, with highest band being 10k). But note that whenever I studio mix audio, the highest bands I use are around 4k / 8k. Even tho studio equalizer goes up to 16k: I don't really use much on that for vocals. Also noticed that recordings with the most distorted audio have been recorded on my mobile phone [then dubbed-over moving-picture video: as in the case of any retakes. Or with end-2017 Performance: the main six songs in that were originally intended as audio-only; but then filmed some video-picture, to go with the pre-recorded audio]. So maybe recording equipment could also have a lot to do with it. Have also only recently started mixing certain audio effects [eg: adjusting highs & lows, Parametric eq, Resonator effect]; according to frequency of the song key.
on October 11, 2018 at 9:11 PM said:Got link of the playlist mentioned: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8c3n7y91tIrgcw_sFyKugxkZkD_bOl3I First six of the Greek-language songs [those with Greek chr$ in the title]; ie, items 7 - 12: were the ones with audio recorded on mobile phone. (This is also the case with item 16; ie: 3rd from last). With all the rest, audio was recorded at same time as the video [using analogue camcorder].