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Should i have a vocals board?

Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:42 am
by jorri
...or any self-contained multi fx that could do the following-

Looper (saved non vocal samples maybe?) Some rate change and reverse maybe?
Reverb
Delay

Thats about it really.

But another question is how can i really loop vocals without looping the whole band too? A gate/expander? Different mic?

And should i perhaps just use my EHX hazarai and finally substitute its thirteen-year regime on my guitar board?

Re: Should i have a vocals board?

Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:15 am
by mbene085
I got a TC Helicon VoiceLive 3 Extreme pedal (yes, lame name, I know) a few years back that did all that and more. You can run a guitar into it and choose whether you loop the vocal, the guitar, or both. Reverb, delay, harmonizer - super useful stuff depending on the genre and singer.

It synchronizes via MIDI clock and has programmable song templates, so you're free to use any combination of drum machines, loopers, click tracks, etc for the rest of the band. You can even load backing tracks and set up effects automation, so if you have prerecorded samples that you want to incorporate, and want to have effects switch on/off automatically for different parts of the song, you can even do that. Saves you doing some tapdancing if you're busy with other things (like switching guitar effects or controlling the looper).

They have a bunch of different models with different feature sets that are worth checking out.

Re: Should i have a vocals board?

Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 2:38 pm
by Unicorn Warrior
Yeah, I think the multis are the best. Wife has one of the boss ones. It’s great

Re: Should i have a vocals board?

Posted: Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:24 am
by jorri
How do you find the verbs? Ime i wouldnt dial in the same 'shoegaze verb' as i would guitar, and assume different qualities are needed.

I think my approach may be more like- verb high as possible before feedback, looper, might be fun to play with slap delay, long delay (like loops), and some distortion. Im almost equally tempted to buy a bunch of mosky/donner/mooer things, with a spare rat or bass overdrive i have and use an 'insert' but theres always the posssibility of turning up to a gig and the soundguy shrugs and says desk has no inserts.

Almost something like "Lysergic emotions module" delay/verb i saw recently. Tempted to use my microcosm pedal or hazarai, but they are in use for guitar its tempting.

So id need some inline mic-pre and into unbalanced line i guess.

Re: Should i have a vocals board?

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:12 pm
by Unicorn Warrior
jorri wrote:
Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:24 am
How do you find the verbs? Ime i wouldnt dial in the same 'shoegaze verb' as i would guitar, and assume different qualities are needed.

I think my approach may be more like- verb high as possible before feedback, looper, might be fun to play with slap delay, long delay (like loops), and some distortion. Im almost equally tempted to buy a bunch of mosky/donner/mooer things, with a spare rat or bass overdrive i have and use an 'insert' but theres always the posssibility of turning up to a gig and the soundguy shrugs and says desk has no inserts.

Almost something like "Lysergic emotions module" delay/verb i saw recently. Tempted to use my microcosm pedal or hazarai, but they are in use for guitar its tempting.

So id need some inline mic-pre and into unbalanced line i guess.
Yeah, it’s like anything else. You just have to adjust parameters until you find what you’re looking for. I was tempted to go the route you were talking about, but in the end decided lugging around a bunch of pedals for vocals and also having the line problem didn’t make it worth it.

I also want to mention, which you probably already know, is much of shoegaze vocals is due to singing style rather than effect. Also the recorded stuff is heavily layered. Beyond delays and reverbs it can be tricky to emulate some of the effects.

I love reverb more than anyone I know. Literally. But I’ve come to find out that sometimes you just gotta get on stage and sing and accept our human limitations. You’ll feel more in tune with the earth if you don’t worry so much about sounding like seven angels chorusing out of celestial bodies. Not saying to sing dry, I’m just saying to simply sing with whatever vocal setup works and gets you close. You’ll make better music in the long run and have more fun doing it.

Re: Should i have a vocals board?

Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2021 6:23 pm
by mbene085
I find the reverbs in the VoiceLive pedal pretty good. Realistically, I don't scrutinize reverb tone much in a live setting. The wide variation between venues and natural room sound themselves render the difference between "the perfect reverb" and "a good reverb" completely moot in my experience.

It can certainly do a whole lot of doubling/pitch shifting/delay/reverb/looping fuckery, so if your goal is to have a wall of sound that barely resembles a human voice, it's certainly capable of that.

Like Unicorn Warrior, I find an all-in-one pedal just so much easier to manage.

Plus, the Voicelive's FX automation is pretty fantastic once you set it up, as long as your music has defined structure and isn't purely improvisational. You could have automation turning your effects on and off, and, say, turn down the verb or doubling as you're building up loops, so you're only "faking" it briefly.

Lots of really cool possibilities from one little(ish) box. I had big plans for it before live music stopped being a thing.

Depending on how deep you want to get into looping, effects, and backing tracks, don't forget that you can set up any old MIDI pedalboard to control a laptop running Ableton or Bitwig. At that point, the effects and looping possibilities become infinite. A hardware pedal is less capable but more reliable, though plenty of people run live shows off of macbooks running Ableton. A compact Thunderbolt audio interface with onboard DSP like a UA Apollo or Antelope Zen Tour/Zen Go will have no more latency than a hardware pedal, but then we're moving far away from the simplicity of plunking down a single pedal and being ready to go.

Re: Should i have a vocals board?

Posted: Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:32 pm
by jorri
Unicorn Warrior wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 5:12 pm
jorri wrote:
Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:24 am
How do you find the verbs? Ime i wouldnt dial in the same 'shoegaze verb' as i would guitar, and assume different qualities are needed.

I think my approach may be more like- verb high as possible before feedback, looper, might be fun to play with slap delay, long delay (like loops), and some distortion. Im almost equally tempted to buy a bunch of mosky/donner/mooer things, with a spare rat or bass overdrive i have and use an 'insert' but theres always the posssibility of turning up to a gig and the soundguy shrugs and says desk has no inserts.

Almost something like "Lysergic emotions module" delay/verb i saw recently. Tempted to use my microcosm pedal or hazarai, but they are in use for guitar its tempting.

So id need some inline mic-pre and into unbalanced line i guess.

I love reverb more than anyone I know. Literally. But I’ve come to find out that sometimes you just gotta get on stage and sing and accept our human limitations. You’ll feel more in tune with the earth if you don’t worry so much about sounding like seven angels chorusing out of celestial bodies. Not saying to sing dry, I’m just saying to simply sing with whatever vocal setup works and gets you close. You’ll make better music in the long run and have more fun doing it.
I agree with this part mostly. The multis seem expensive. Alesis midviverbs and mixing consoles sound good. Thats whats at the local venues usually - things like that of which there is no problem. Perhaps its just ensuring the soundguy gets it (lots of verb, yes actually lots and lower in volume, but no, not feedback, well yes there is limitation).
There is a spare ditto looper of my bassists. Maybe its worth a try but still worried the advantages would be outweighed by my already pedal-heavy guitar footdance, and finding i get loops of snare and unwanted mess (ive had that even enough from a cello pickup letalone a mic).

On the other hand another bandmember to harmonise with will likely produce more density of which i actually audible in substandard venues (well in terms of big sound squished into small room). (Plus they may actually know how to sing and write lyrics properly ;)(
My only other conundrum is whether t bi-amp my guitar, via looper wet into amp-sim into PA (saves on chiropractors later in life) as i loop THAT and that could make more clarity or depth if it stays a 'power-trio'