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Compression in Monitors?

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

  1. 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

    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 Banned

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


    Dec 19, 2009
    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.
  5. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Sorry. I disagree. It's a horrible idea, especially with singers who really don't know what they're doing.
  6. Why do you say that?
  7. Was there no make up gain on your comp?
  8. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    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.
  9. 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...
  10. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    - georgestrings
  11. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    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.
  12. 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.
  13. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    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.
  14. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    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.
  15. This. It's always a bad idea.
  16. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    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.
  17. seanm

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

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    The singers almost never complain about the monitors.... except if I leave the reverb out. Then they complain it is too dry.
  18. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    My singer would like reverb in the monitors too. He long ago got used to not having it.
  19. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    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...
  20. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

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

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