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Anybody using a Gate on live vocal mics?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by HoboMan, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    I haven't been but thinking about doing it.
    Ran sound for a band on Saturday night and lead singer's mic seem to be picking up sound from the drummer's cymbals.

    Also, seems like it would help with monitor feedback when a singer is moving around with the mic in their hand?

    I'm using an XR18 mixer.
     
  2. Madguitrst

    Madguitrst Member

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    A gate and a downward expander are similar but the gate has a high ratio and is more abrupt; you can chop off the end of vocals/instruments, etc.

    A downward expander is better for your use, IMO, as it has a has a lower ratio and is more "gentle", so to speak, depending on settings.
    Very basically basically it can slope off instead of being abrupt.

    I have had, and still use, a Behringer Denoiser since the ADAT days.
    There are various versions and they all work well, depending on your needs/desires.
    They are cheap used on the various selling sights.

    For Behringer, there is the Denoiser SNR 202, SNR 1000, SNR 2000 and the much more versatile Intellagate XR-2000 (I might have forgotten others).

    If you want simple, which I would want for live, I would say the 202 or 1000.
    They are similar but the 202 has two settings for ratio via a button and the 1000 has a variable knob.
    I think the old 202 feels better built (the knobs feel more robust).
    Their controls are: Threshold, Attack, Release, and Ratio.

    The Intellagate XR 2000 has more controls, including frequency, etc., which you might want if you only wanted to, say, cut out the cymbals.

    An SNR-1000 just sold on Reverb for $29.00 + shipping.
    But there are the people trying to get stupid prices too (like around $200).
    I'd say $50 is fair for either the 202 or 1000.

    Before DAWs, it was an indispensable piece of gear for me; I still use it, mostly in my guitar rack.
    Even though Behringer was the pariah of music gear, I didn't give a phluck, it worked for me.

    Whatever the brand, a downward expander is what you want.

    Good luck, whatever you decide.
     
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  3. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    OK, that makes sense. Now I'm wondering if my XR18 has a Downward Expander built-in. I'll have to look into this.

    Thanks
     
  4. Madguitrst

    Madguitrst Member

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    Well, I see that it has a gate, so you might as well try that.

    If it has any control at all, and one of the parameters is Release, just set to so that it doesn't clamp down right away.
    Don't make it too long either.

    If you want, let me know what parameters it might have.
    It would be so simple to do this via software.

    Also, you can try EQing down/out the offending frequency(s) of cymbals (but one thing at a time).

    Peace,
    -MadG
     
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  5. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks.

    I was just informed that the XR18 has some built-in preset "vocal" gates. I'm going to look at them this weekend.
     
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  6. Madguitrst

    Madguitrst Member

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  7. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks.

    Looks like there is an adjustable release time on the gate which make it a gradual drop off. Really need to get in an play with it.
     
  8. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    Most likely I think you'll find the gate doesn't open fast enough, and the attack of the initial word will be choppy.
     
  9. Giga

    Giga Member

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    For backing vox I usually use an Optogate and no gate on the board. For leadsingesr this is not really an option because of the bulkiness of the Optogate and normally holding the mic opens the gate.

    For leadsingers it really depends on the artists volume. For someone with low singingvolume it won’t do much simply because the stagevolume will open the gate even before the singing starts. For loud singers it can work. Be cautious to warn them to also speak loud in between songs or be ready to switch the gate of or half the jibber jabber won’t be heard. I usually let the gate attenuate the signal by 20 dB to prevent switchnoises. Edit: I’m using a Qu-SB so I’m not sure it the same “recipe” works on the Behringer

    Tip: practice in a virtual soundcheck environment to get a feeling for it...

    Good luck !

    Giga
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
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  10. ToneDeVille

    ToneDeVille Member

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    I saw the Doobie Bros in a small venue a couple of years ago and the sound was amazing. They had Optogates on each vocal mic. The sound guy said in the smaller venues they used them to keep the drums & cymbals from leaking into the vocal mics.
    For the $150 or so those units cost it is money well spent if you need a gate on your mic.
     
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  11. Giga

    Giga Member

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    Yeah, they are awesome once you learn how to use them or have properly teached the singers on which you use them. Just keep an eye out for the little red light and you’re golden !

    Giga
     
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  12. griggsterr

    griggsterr Member

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    Personally I would try a different mic.
    An Audix OM-7 would likely fix it.
    it is a low sensitivity mic. It has a very close working range. You are either on top of the mic or you don't get much out of it.
    Gates on vocal mics can be a tricky process.
    As far as some of the other comments about expanders and such. for me not so much. Always better to fix things in the physical domain first if possible. Then resort to electronic fixes if no physical solution is available.
     
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  13. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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    for a guy who owns a PA hire company you've got some learning to do . . . Gates on vocals are a pretty basic tool. I use them all the time on small stages. Trick is to set them subtle, to only knock off 6 db of gain or so and a nice long release. If the gate is too hard, the band will hate you.
     
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  14. Papanate

    Papanate Gold Supporting Member

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    No Downward Expander - but you do have a Gate and Compression
    on each channel. You should set the Threshold to just touch the
    audio - IOWs so the ambient noise (Like cymbal bleed) won't open the gate
    and so the singer does open the gate even when they are barely
    speaker. Also Play with the attack and release times to help your
    gate not clip the vocals.

    However as @griggsterr just mentioned - a hyper cardiod microphone
    would be a better fix for your situation. He mentioned the Audio OM-7
    which is okay IMO - I currently favor the Sennheiser e845 if I have to go
    wired. Both will make things better.
     
  15. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    I've been looking at OM5 mics on ebay recently. Would an OM7 be better for this. I'm currently using SM58s.
     
  16. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    I know I have a lot to learn. The sound company thing fell into my lap after I bought a PA to use with a band I was playing with. Instead of having it sit unused when my band wasn't playing I figured I'd make some money with it. Didn't realize how fast it would take off and I hate turning down a good paying gig. I had to turn down about 12 during the summer because I was playing with a band those nights making almost no money.
    This is turning into quite a profitable little side business!

    I'm going to start playing with the vocal gate settings this weekend on my XR18.
     
  17. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm now looking for a used OM7 or e845. Definitely worth trying and I would like to have some different vocal mics on hand along the sm58s I currently have.
     
  18. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    as far as i can tell they've gone to the extremes of inventing gadgets like the proximity-sensor optigate or those sensing mats the grateful dead used to stand on because using regular gates on vocals was usually just not viable.

    either the beginnings of words get chopped off or the gate opens on background noise anyway, rendering it moot.

    if you get a consistent screamer then yeah you can gate him, but at point the GBF is so high you don't need to bother.

    i suppose if you really wanted to try it than +1 to the idea of only attenuating by like 6dB or even 3dB, indeed like a downward expander rather than a gate.
     
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  19. griggsterr

    griggsterr Member

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    Your inbox is full, message me if you feel you need some more help.
    There is some good information here and some really inaccurate info here too.
     
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  20. gigsup

    gigsup Supporting Member

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    Nothing sounds as good as riding the fader, that's the work.
    But if you want the night off between load in and strike, the Waves vocal rider comes close.
     
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