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Live Acoustic Setup

bean231

Member
Messages
4
I am a live performance noob and I'm finally starting to get comfortable enough with being on stage to start worrying about my setup. I mainly play acoustic/classical guitar and sing. Up to this point, I have been running my guitars and mics through my MacBook and have been using Main Stage to add a little bit of reverb to both the guitar and the vocals.

Main Stage works ok, but it is a pain in the butt to tweek settings and adjust settings on the fly. I am wondering if there is a better way to give my guitars a little delay/chorus and my vocals a little bit of delay/reverb? I was looking into pedals and now I am just more confused and conflicted than ever :(.

I just bought a Taylor 912CE and I don't want to drown out the awesome sounds of it with excessive effects, but the dry sound just isn't enough.

Also on a somewhat related note, but not really... Should I be adding compression to my vocals during live sets?

Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 

Cgfarm

Member
Messages
92
I'm not really familiar with mainstage or the setup you described. Are you running your guitars/vocals through your computer and then you computer into a PA system?
 

Cgfarm

Member
Messages
92
also, what are you using to connect your inputs to your computer? somekind of mixer interface?
 

bean231

Member
Messages
4
I'm running both my guitar and mic through a Mackie 802-vlz3 mixer and then sending the mains of the mixer out to my Macbook via an Appogie Duette I/O. Once I add the effects from MainStage, I send the outputs of my Macbook (via my Duette I/O outputs) out to my PAs (one Fishman solo amp and one QSC K12).
 

Cgfarm

Member
Messages
92
it sounds like a pretty solid setup for a solo acoustic act, if you're unhappy with your guitar sound i would suggest trying the fishman aura DI pedal. you could run it into your mixer and still use mainstage for your vocal effects.

I have found that a live sound in the context youre talking about is subjective, there is no "right" answer unfortunately. trust what you hear and adjust accordingly. I prefer a pretty fair amount of reverb on my vocals but some people like vocals dry...just my preference.

as for compression, it really depends on your voice/singing style/musical style/etc...compression at its most basic function is to reduce/tame the dynamic range (meaning: there isn't as much difference in volume between the loudest parts and the quitest parts). for vocals in the context you're talking about, i wouldn't say that its a "must have"....but if you like the way it sounds, then go with with. If you get feedback from audience members/friends to the contrary then be flexible and willing to try different settings until you find what sounds best.

hope that helps.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,483
if you're gonna use your laptop as an effects processor, do it properly; don't push the entire signal through the computer!

use the aux out from the board to go to the computer, set the effects in the computer to 100% effect and no dry signal, and send the sound from the computer back to the board into the aux returns or even an extra channel in.

now you can use the aux out knob of each channel to add reverb to the sound without compromising the dry sound. the reverb gets "mixed in" to the original sound like it should be, and if the computer dies the show keeps going.

this is how pros use effects with mixing boards.
 

Seegs

Member
Messages
10,170
Been toying with this for many years and basically I've summed it up to this...you can go direct into the PA if there is one in which case you need some sort of a mixer and effects unit which can be on the floor or in a powered mixer etc...if there isn't a PA provided then you either have to bring one which can come in many active or passive configurations...or get yourself a dedicated multi channel acoustic amp which can be used stand alone for guitar and vocals and most have a DI into the house PA if there is one...so it can be your floor monitor in that case...

Most of the acoustic amps have at least two channels...one for guitar and one for a mic and have on board effects such as reverb...delay and or chorus...I've used AER in the past and am now looking at a SR Technologies Jam 150 as I find the lower wattage/powered amps don't reproduce enough bottom end for my tastes...

The other option which may sound better to my ears is to get an Active PA speaker but then you have more to schlep as you'll need effects maybe a preamp etc. etc. etc.

Chow,
Seegs
I am a live performance noob and I'm finally starting to get comfortable enough with being on stage to start worrying about my setup. I mainly play acoustic/classical guitar and sing. Up to this point, I have been running my guitars and mics through my MacBook and have been using Main Stage to add a little bit of reverb to both the guitar and the vocals.

Main Stage works ok, but it is a pain in the butt to tweek settings and adjust settings on the fly. I am wondering if there is a better way to give my guitars a little delay/chorus and my vocals a little bit of delay/reverb? I was looking into pedals and now I am just more confused and conflicted than ever :(.

I just bought a Taylor 912CE and I don't want to drown out the awesome sounds of it with excessive effects, but the dry sound just isn't enough.

Also on a somewhat related note, but not really... Should I be adding compression to my vocals during live sets?

Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 

DRS

Member
Messages
11,884
You say the Taylor sounds awesome but the dry sounds aren't enough. I'd go easy on how wet you make the FOH sound. You can't tell what the audience hears and most rooms add enough natural reverb to make a good acoustic sound perfect.
 

hunter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,172
I'd leave the mac at home, get a servicable, relatively inexpensive, good sounding compact mixer with usable on-board effects (A&H Zed10FX or Soundcraft EFX8 come to mind or even a Soundcraft 124FX if you can still find one), run through the mixer and send the effected output to your PA stuff.

I have used both of the Soundcraft products and if small size is paramount the 124 does the job. The EFX has better sound and better effects but is bigger. Given you are already hauling a laptop and peripherals, using the EFX probably won't increase your carry.

Simpler to set up, simple to dial in, pretty easy to load, the EFX has plenty of headroom and sounds good given its cost.

I am somewhat prejudiced about the computer thing. I occasionally work with a keyboard player that uses his computer for sounds (using the same software I think). Every gig he screws around with that thing for an hour or more to get it just like he wants it or to get it to work at all. And then it doesn't sound noticably different from his on-board sounds.

hunter
 

lschwart

Member
Messages
667
I'm running both my guitar and mic through a Mackie 802-vlz3 mixer and then sending the mains of the mixer out to my Macbook via an Appogie Duette I/O. Once I add the effects from MainStage, I send the outputs of my Macbook (via my Duette I/O outputs) out to my PAs (one Fishman solo amp and one QSC K12).
If you have a Fishman SoloAmp, have you tried just plugging your guitar into channel 1 and your vocal mic into channel 2 and just using the amp's on-board reverb? It's pretty good.

That unit is made for solo guitar and vocal performing in small venues. It's a simple, well-designed, self-contained small performance set up. Going though a computer sounds like overkill and over complication for a solo guitar/vocal performance. So does compression. If you want to experiment with delay and chorus, you can put them into the SoloAmp's effects loops.

Keep it simple, and concentrate on performing.

Louis
 

garcarstive

Member
Messages
4
It is very important for everyone to set Acoustic properly for having a perfect acoustic act. An ideal acoustic setup plays a vital role in solo guitar and vocal performing. Thanks to all for peroviding such useful details about Acoustic setup.
 

buddaman71

Student of Life
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,881
I absolutely love my very compact, affordable Zoom A2. I've tried MUCH more expensive units more than once, and always come back to it. VERY high quality AD converters and the compression and FX quality, reverb in particular, are exceptional. For only a bit more money, the A2.1 gives a volume pedal and a built in XLR out, eliminating the need for a DI box. (I'm planning on upgrading to it, just haven't done it yet) I highly recommend giving it a try.

I typically just go from it DI to the PA, but occasionally come out of the 1/4" out to my compact Genz-Benz Acoustic amp when I'm playing with a drummer, but the FOH tone is always just the Zoom. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/A2 http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/A21U/

PS: here's a couple live vids if you want to hear it. I literally bought this guitar on the way to this gig, and it wasn't perfectly set up and had a couple buzzes, but I love the A2 and have been using it for years.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeNXXAsrk6o&feature=g-upl
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICAhxWa55OA&feature=g-upl
 

dk123123dk

Member
Messages
3,892
I have a Digitech Vocal Harmony pedal, that has a mini mixer and some FX for guitar and vocals. Works great, and the harmonies are cool if used sparingly.


dk
 

bean231

Member
Messages
4
Awesome! Thank you all for the input... I'm excited to try out all these different options and see which one sounds the best.

Thank you for your posts!

As far as the Zoom goes, I was looking at that, but was scared away because of the price... It doesn't seem like it is expensive enough to be good... Then I was looking at the Fishman Aura pedals and was taken back because they looked like they were too expensive for what you got... I may look into the Zoom a little more. I really liked those videos, because there weren't very many videos of that Zoom pedal on youtube. How hard is it to tweak the settings on that pedal?
 

buddaman71

Student of Life
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,881
That little Zoom is super easy to use and the sound quality rivals units I've owned that cost 10x the price. Just get one a MF or Sweetwater and you can return it if you don't like it, but I think you will be STUNNED at the quality for the price...it's a pretty durable metal case too, not the ultra cheap plastic like some of the older electric guitar units...

seriously, if you have the $, buy the A2.1 (only $79 more) as it has the volume pedal and the built in lo-Z XLR out.
 

GibEpi89

Member
Messages
570
What ever happened to plugging a microphone into the PA... and also the guitar... and then playing....
 

seratone

Member
Messages
182
I've tried a bunch of things getting a really simple Acoustic Vocal system working. Being a keyboard player I own a Traynor K4 300 watt Keyboard amp that can be used as a PA system. I've tried Zoom's, Pods, little Behringer (they die) mixers with effects in them. I also tried a T.C. Helicon Voice Live Play GTX with the acoustic going through an L.R. Bagg's 'Review' - finally steeled on taking these pedals from my guitar pedal board when I do acoustic things:

Takamine > Boss TU-2 Tuner > Fishman Aura Dreadnought > Line 6 Verbzilla
Voice > Mic > T.Telicon Mic Mechanic

these two channels can either go into the keyboard amp or the club PA.
 

weshunter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,254
I use a baggs para di with a zoom g3 in the effects loop for guitar and a tc voicelive play for voice.i run all that into a fishman soloamp. It is simple to carry around and setup and sounds great.
 

farella1

Member
Messages
26
this past Saturday we used the club EV's 10 passive speakers with our Soundcraft non pwd EFX board...an ALTO poweramp..(Musicians Friend Stupid Deal of the day for 99.00)....two Taylors and two SM58's ....sounded so good that i ordered 2 EV's (12s) and plan on using them this coming Tuesdy at a place called Big Daddys in Massapequa...i am anticipating a killer sound.....
 

AudioEcstasy

Member
Messages
1,532
First of all, ditch the Mac right away! You need to be going through a PA or amplifier of some kind. I would recommend a few select pedals for whatever your guitar needs, the PA should handle the vocals.

A sound guy doesn't hurt either! :aok
 




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