Compression in Monitors?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by agreatheight, Oct 20, 2013.


  1. agreatheight

    agreatheight

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    Dec 23, 2005
    Location:
    Portland Area, ME
    What are your thoughts on compressing vocals before sending them to the monitors? Had an interesting conversation last night regarding that topic at a show and wondered what your thoughts were.
  2. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    In small to medium clubs--- we couldn't get enough volume out of the monitors once the compressor kicked in.

    We were running 1 mix, 4 monitors in parallel, driven with a Crown amp, 1000 watts at 2ohms. No problems once we put the compression on FOH only. Also the drum sub group was compressed, but drums were never in the monitors.
  3. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye

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    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    St. Louis
    I think it's a great way to trash your lead singer's voice.
  4. Lo-E

    Lo-E

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    Dec 19, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    It's not a bad idea to use vocal compression in a monitor mix to keep transients under control. ...in moderation, of course.

    The comfort of the vocalist plays into it, too. They have to be okay with how it sounds or it will probably affect their performance.

    Where I've found it most useful was for showcase-type shows and festivals where you have a lot of artists playing short sets and not a lot of time for any sound checks. In those cases, you don't know what the abilities of each vocalist are and compression is cheap insurance against a train-wreck. That's true both on monitors and mains.

    When you're more familiar with a singer and his or her abilities, you can taylor the compression (or lack thereof) to the singer and the venue.

    I hate to generalize, but there are a lot of singers out there who don't know how to control their dynamics (essentially, they don't know how to control their own instrument) and compression is very helpful when working with them.
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  6. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye

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    Sorry. I disagree. It's a horrible idea, especially with singers who really don't know what they're doing.
  7. agreatheight

    agreatheight

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    Dec 23, 2005
    Location:
    Portland Area, ME
    Why do you say that?
  8. agreatheight

    agreatheight

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    Dec 23, 2005
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    Portland Area, ME
    Was there no make up gain on your comp?
  9. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye

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    Feb 21, 2010
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    St. Louis
    Your singer will subconciously sing louder to make up for the volume and can easily blow out his voice. Many, many threads about it in the Live Sound forum. Guys like Walter W. and Modulusman advise against it for this reason. A little compression on vocals FOH is good, in the monitors is bad. Also no FX in the monitors.
  10. agreatheight

    agreatheight

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    Dec 23, 2005
    Location:
    Portland Area, ME
    Interesting. I find it a bit easier to sing with a comp, but I can see the logic what you are saying.

    Does anyone find feedback issues with comps in monitors? That has traditionally been my concern...
  11. georgestrings

    georgestrings Supporting Member

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    Nov 5, 2005
    +1...


    - georgestrings
  12. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    +1
    The singer will have to push to crap out to gain a little dynamic.
    Or stay below 2.5:1

    Same problem happens when you play bass with monitoring. (your bass monitor or the wedge)

    One solution is to split the signal to have both FOH and monitor channel on the same preamp ,set one pre , one post.
    That way you can compress , say , 4:1 on the FOH , and Limit @ higher threashold on the monitor channel.And you will have a different EQ for monitoring wich is good. the problematic frequencies are never the same between FOH and monitors.
    Über easy on a digital board.
    On an analogic board , you can use a direct out to another channel/compressor.

    That really depends on the style and level of the stage really.
  13. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

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    New Zealand
    At the other end of the vocalist competency scale, when they have no mic control and are screaming into it anyway, on goes the compressor.
  14. john m

    john m Supporting Member

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    Jan 15, 2006
    If this is the same as Output gain--- we had that, but the open mics were too hot before the comp. kicked in--
    hence the feedback.
  15. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye

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    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    St. Louis

    True, but in my experience FX and compression are just feedback magnets in stage monitors. Granted my monitors aren't top of the line or anything, but using them the way I do ( no FX or compression) I never have any feedback and everyone can hear themselves.
  16. Humbled

    Humbled Supporting Member

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    This. It's always a bad idea.
  17. ggunn

    ggunn

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    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I agree with keeping FX out of the monitors. On most stages I have been on it's hard enough to hear them without smearing the sound with reverb and/or delay and/or chorus.
  18. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

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    The singers almost never complain about the monitors.... except if I leave the reverb out. Then they complain it is too dry.
  19. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye

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    My singer would like reverb in the monitors too. He long ago got used to not having it.
  20. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

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    Burlington, Vt.
    Compression begets feedback in monitors. FX does not have the same issue, so it's a matter of taste and clarity. I would never send them to the monitor mix personally, but a number of singers I've done sound for insist on it. It's their vocal...
  21. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye

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    Feb 21, 2010
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Too much reverb or delay does cause the monitors to feedback.

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