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Vocals mics in close proximity to the drum kit - how to reduce bleed

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Frankjohnson, May 5, 2015.

  1. I do sound sometimes for a pop-rock dance band. Usually not over loud, but .....
    I am finding that sometimes it GETS loud, and I can't control vocals, especially those in the vocal mics, which feed to the monitors, which leads to singer saying he can't hear, which leads to turning him up in monitor, which makes drums louder in his monitor, which makes it hard for him to hear.....which leads to blown tweeter(S).

    The problem mostly occurs mostly where some of the rooms don't' allow for more distance between singer/mic/monitor and drummer. I am working with the drummer to dampen cymbals, drums, but was trying to figure out what else to do to fix this issue, primarily in short front (not very deep) settings.

    I also spoke with singer about NOT setting up directly in front of drummer, but he really wants to stay "central". I finally explained that it directly impacts what not only I, but the Mic/monitor am capable of giving - and at some point - that is all there is.

    Now - I say this, keeping in mind that they are all willing to work with me on this, and no one is being unreasonable. Singer will move off center if needed, drummer will dampen kit. NO SLAMMING PLEASE

    That all said, what else can I do from my perspective - within reason. This is usually good for 3-5 gigs a month and they have been good to me.
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I'm about to try one of these for our lead singer: VoiceTone T1 | TC-Helicon

    Because I've found that effective EQ for vocals can go a long way for 'hearing in the monitor' plus in small setups out front. The compression may also help what you're looking for. While I oon't know what you can do to stop drum bleed without using some barriers I think that helping the singer hear their own voice better would stop the cycle of turning up.
  3. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Use a microphone with better rejection. If you are using SM58's you're getting exactly what you deserve ;) . OTOH I've had singers used to "working" a SM58 have problems with "better" microphones so YMMV.
    trevtdogg likes this.
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    A mic with a close pattern would certainly be a benefit.
    trevtdogg likes this.
  5. I honestly think the nature of loud brass and hard hit toms and snares, 4-5 feet away from a vocal mic is just asking for it to be foremost in that mix. Another thought I had was to take more room than we are given, because it is needed to do a good job. If dampening, monitor mix etc. doesn't handle the issue, that might be the next step.

    I had a double bill Thursday night -
    in a pretty lively room, the silverfaced Deluxe reverb was too much, I knew it - they knew it. They set it up side stage, but didn't even try to turn it down. Bass with a 100 watt Bassman ( i believe) and 6-10 Ampeg HLF (A LOT of rig for this room), and a HARD hitting drummer - with no dampening. 50 feet out, 96-98 db and couldn't discern some of the vocals. Had kick in the mix, no guitar, no bass, no drums, except for what bled. 7 times to ask bass to turn down - finally told him - YOU are washing out YOUR bandleaders vocals, I have NOTHING left. He turned down "some" I let it run its course.

    Second act - needed to mic in guitar a little to fatten the mix, added some bass (2-10 cab) and drummer had tape to dampen on ALL symbols, and snare, some tom. I mic's floor and mounted toms, snare/hat, kick and cymbals were good. I could have added more, but this was right.

    Some peoples get it - some don't. I hope that these guys do - the drummer is a hard hitter, but also understands that he needs to start being in control of his setup. Singer is a typical "more me" guy - but I have satisfied his ego in the past. any other ideas?
  6. I have been using AKG D5's with good results, except in these 2-3 rooms, where front to back space is limited. I really like these mics for most settings.
  7. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    You need something like an Audix OM7 or EV N/D967 . These have a very short distance between the grill and element, they require the singer to keep their lips on the grill to be heard.
    frnjplayer and Barisaxman like this.
  8. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs Commercial User

    May 3, 2011
    Madison, WI
    Use a drum shield. Either a proper one from Clearsonic, a cheaper one from Gibraltar or make your own. A Super-Cardiod Mic will help as well. Is it just room noise in the monitor? or do you have those drums mic'd?
    fokof and seamonkey like this.
  9. Session1969


    Dec 2, 2010
    Now that I have a better idea of what's going on I suggest talking with the band and get a confirmation that they want the best sound for the audience as possible. Explain that having their amps louder than the pa absolutely destroys the front of house sound. Sounds like playing loud is more important to them at this point, though. If the singer can't hear, it's over before it started.
  10. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Is the singer up close enough to the mic?

    Drum shields work wonder, especially if your mic'ing the drums
    Or Drummer could switch to edrums. There are some darn good edrums out there now.
  11. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Plausible solutions depend on what you can persuade the band to do. The vocalist would get more out of stage wedges if he were using a mic w/ a tighter pattern (as suggested by RoadRanger and BurningSkies). OTOH, your vocalist needs good mic technique to make something like an Audix OM7 work.

    Similarly, it would help if the singer were willing to trade the stage wedge(s) for in-ears. Or if the drummer would consider setting up fully stage left or right.
    trevtdogg likes this.
  12. Of all of this - I think Derrico1 might be most on with a great idea.
    As I had mentioned, singer is pretty good with mic, and the problem is more in 2-3 maybe 4 rooms we play where the mics can't be too far out from the drums, amps. The amps are seldom if ever a problem, in fact the guitar is hard to get in the mx because he is so low.
    Drum cage Is not likely in these rooms, and as I mentioned - we have not been dampening his kit at all, but will be on the next show. He is very good with this.
    Perhaps moving him more to one side is part of the answer.

    I am not in a position to buy several mics, in ears, wedges, shields etc right now. I think starting simple might not be a bad way to start. gig in a couple of weeks, time to talk first - lets see.........
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    +1, but even if the singer just did that with the regular 58 so you could back it off a little, it would help the s/n ratio of the vocals.

    be sure to take the lows out of that mic, both because the drum lows might be getting in there and because if the singer does get right up on it that creates a big bass boost. rolling the low end way off fixes both issues.

    now is the drummer good loud or bad loud? good loud is creating a big low end rock sound with strong, well-tuned kick and toms; bad loud is constantly bashing the cymbals and snare like a wind-up mechanical monkey, creating a high end sizzly wash that just wrecks everything.

    if he's good loud, get better monitors and maybe ask him to ease up in the smaller rooms; if he's bad loud, fire him!
  14. Keep in mind - I am sound guy (on all the gigs I am available - they book a date - I book the date), as a "part of the band", but not a playing member. I don't' feel it appropriate that I start talking "Firing". that isn't my capacity, and I am glad. I run on of those, and thats enough.

    Drummer is in my opinion, TOO hard a hitter, but CAN dial it back. You have to constantly stay on that though. I had a drummer like him and in small rooms, he just didn't work, wouldn't work, and you couldn't make him. This one will at least listen.
    (might not remember - but listens). so - yeah - he gets bad loud, when he isn't tended to. Dampening would be a realistic effort, shields aren't realistic and depending on him playing light....well, that just won't work. In bigger rooms with more room for the band (front to back), it isn't an issue.

    I already roll lows, and like I said, its only in a couple of rooms where it is either too tight front to back or very reflective off of back wall, and the combination.

    walterw - exactly what you mentioned about the wash is exactly what I think the problem is - and it just keeps getting regurgitated through the monitors.

    FWIW - I am doing sound for Chris Duarte next week. I NEVER have an issue with him, his band, etc. Yes, he plays a little loud - but he works with me to fit the room, and his drummer is an absolute pleasure to work with. Bass ? Yeah - makes it easy.......fills the room, backs off before demolition level is reached and lets me get a piece of it for the mix/monitor.

    of course this is a very different room than the ones I am trying to address.
  15. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    ugh; this means instead of being a band member who's doing the best he can and is allowed to yell at the drummer to ease the f$%k up, you are the soundman and everything wrong with the band's stage sound is still your fault :banghead:
    s0c9 and Geri O like this.
  16. trevtdogg


    Mar 28, 2015
    melbourne, australia
    i play in the melbourne grunge rock band charm: www.charm.bandcamp.com
    +1 to tighter pattern mic, and also IEM.

    suggest the vocalist is as close to the mic as they can get, all the time. sloppy mic technique makes mixing 100x harder than it needs to be, especially if you don't have a tight pattern mic.
    suggest them to singing strongly, and not sing soft unless it is required in the music, eg. not just cause they are a bit tired, etc.

    another small suggestion (but every bit will potentially help) try and aim the vocal mic towards the roof more, to reduce bleed from the drums.

    if the singer voice suits, try and mix the lower mids up in the mix a lot to bring out the vocal range, and really (even drastically) drop off the high and low end. try and find a gap in between the kick and the cymbals, where you mostly only have the snare and high toms to compete with (a bit more manageable). maybe look at a better eq to help with this too - what equipment are you running?
    BurningSkies likes this.
  17. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I play in a 6 piece 2 drummer 4 vocal Mic band. The answer is very simple. Mic Mites. They work perfectly to cut the bleed into the vocal mics. Manyccompanies make them. ProCo has a couple like the cough drop or a couple others. I have a brilliantly minded brother who kind of copied the Mic mute and it was about $15 in parts.

    Attached Files:

  18. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Oh, my band uses the panic button because it has 2 channels so we can run a separate in ear mix that the foh does not get. We use it as a talk back system
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I am one of them. It's the entire reason I use a 58. Not changing, either. Threatened to once when I used a Heil PR35, but the 58 makes it easier to have less than stellar mic technique.

    As for bleed, I think the need to eliminate it is greatly overrated. True, you don't want too much, but my band has tons of live mics onstage and it's impossible to get rid of the bleed, but we still sound quite good in most FOH's I listen to. You could put a glass shield around the drummer, but I've done it before and I find it very disconcerting. Same with IEM's, but in this situation, IEM's might be the thing for the singer.

    But even more disconcerting is a singer singing off to the side ;) Don't do that.
  20. I spent some time talking with the drummer the other day - and he is very open to helping with this issue. we talked about ways to dampen the kit, minimize it in these rooms, etc. He is all for the end result being a good mix -- both on stage and out front.
    It was a good discussion - I am looking forward to seeing what he is able to do. If it isn't enough - I have gorilla tape.

    I agree - reducing the mic bleed is good - eliminating it is not only hard, but I still want some of it.

    Drum shields, not happening, new mics, extra equipment - not likely.

    Never said poor singer/mic technique - but can see where that might have been considered.

    again - this issue is primarily in rooms where the singer is set right in front of the drums, and there isn't any ability to move further out.

    I appreciate the feedback on this. I will let you know how dampening his kit (tape, gels, rings, whatever works) affects the outcome.
    Last edited: May 10, 2015

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