need help with vocoder levels

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namahshaman
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need help with vocoder levels

Post by namahshaman » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:45 pm

I'm running my mic through an EHX V256 vocoder pedal, then through a Boss VE-20 for effects. I'm having a hard time getting the levels high enough to blend with the rest of the band. If I turn the gain up on the mixer too much I start to get feedback. Do I need a mic/preamp or something, would that solve the issue? Any other ideas, tricks, advice?

Thanks in advance.

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thealien666
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Re: need help with vocoder levels

Post by thealien666 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:56 pm

namahshaman wrote:I'm running my mic through an EHX V256 vocoder pedal, then through a Boss VE-20 for effects. I'm having a hard time getting the levels high enough to blend with the rest of the band. If I turn the gain up on the mixer too much I start to get feedback. Do I need a mic/preamp or something, would that solve the issue? Any other ideas, tricks, advice?

Thanks in advance.
What mic do you use ? I suggest trying a supercardioid type (one that you need to be really close to, in order to get a signal). Usually, artists that use vocoders in live situations will have some type of headphone mic close to their mouth.
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namahshaman
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Re: need help with vocoder levels

Post by namahshaman » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:15 pm

thealien666 wrote:
namahshaman wrote:I'm running my mic through an EHX V256 vocoder pedal, then through a Boss VE-20 for effects. I'm having a hard time getting the levels high enough to blend with the rest of the band. If I turn the gain up on the mixer too much I start to get feedback. Do I need a mic/preamp or something, would that solve the issue? Any other ideas, tricks, advice?

Thanks in advance.
What mic do you use ? I suggest trying a supercardioid type (one that you need to be really close to, in order to get a signal). Usually, artists that use vocoders in live situations will have some type of headphone mic close to their mouth.
I use a hypercardiod mic, an Audix Om3. Is that no good for vocoding? So, preamp would not help, what about compression?

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thealien666
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Re: need help with vocoder levels

Post by thealien666 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:28 pm

I assume you're using the XLR mic input on the V256 and not the 1/4" "inst." input ?
I suppose also that the mic gain switch on the V256 is already in the "hi" position ?

It's not a question of impedance mismatch, as the Audix Om3 has 250 ohms, and the V256 input is 10K ohms... Signal loss is minimal, at -0.2 dB, and that is more than enough to drive the input.

Having myself used a Vocoder many times, you must also realize that it is very difficult for the "singer" that passes his voice thru such a device to hear the actual result of the "vocoded" signal. Your own voice will always be louder in your ears, than what comes out of the PA system, given the proximity of your vocal cords to your ears. That's why singers, nowadays, use in-ear quality monitors, that will directly send the mixer output from the PA to their ears while cutting some 30dB (and more) from the outside, to better hear themselves sing as it really comes out. The same thing applies for a Vocoder.

That could be a solution, maybe ? Then you would not have to drive the mic level as high, and it could prevent feedback.

Do the other members of the band hear your vocoder loud enough for them, maybe ?
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jeepo
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Re: need help with vocoder levels

Post by jeepo » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:33 am

I would try adding some compression, it may help (or make it worse). Also, I've read that a Bode frequency shifter can be used to offset a signal by 1 Hz, which is an inaudible difference, but also enough of a difference to stop feedback. You don't happen to have a frequency shifter, do you?
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namahshaman
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Re: need help with vocoder levels

Post by namahshaman » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:51 am

Ok, I'm definitely using the XLR input on the V256, but I do not have it on the "hi" setting. I guess I should try switching it to hi and turning the gain way down on the mixer . . .

As for the levels, the vocals just sit lower in the overall mix. The rest of the band can barely hear them. We also record all of our rehearsals, and the vocals just aren't loud enough in a live setting. This goes beyond just the vocoder, even if I'm just using the mic with effects from the two pedals, I just can't seem to get the vocals high enough without feedback.

I guess I can try compression, although I don't own a compressor at the moment. I also do not have a frequency shifter to try out. :(

I'm currently on the road, so I won't be able to try any of this until I get home. Just wanted to get the ball rolling on some solutions from the collective mind here.

I guess I should also point out that my band is fairly loud :mrgreen:

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Re: need help with vocoder levels

Post by jeepo » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:00 pm

It's not ideal, but you could try turning the vocals up to the point of feedback, then eq-ing it to stop the feedback. Also part of your problem may be caused by the rest of the band getting picked up by the vocal mic. (for live I generally cut all the bass from mics, then turn down the treble if it feedsback.)
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thealien666
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Re: need help with vocoder levels

Post by thealien666 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:38 pm

Good suggestions by Jeepo.

If you have a delay effect pedal, you could set it to minimum time delay (with only one repeat) and use only the delayed signal before going into the V256. A DMM would be ideal since, because it's analog, it already compresses and equalizes (low pass filtering) the incoming signal...

That would greatly reduce the potential for audio feedback from the PA.
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jeepo
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Re: need help with vocoder levels

Post by jeepo » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:31 pm

I really like thealien666's short delay idea.
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