We tried our new L1 at a bar gig. Singer with his microphone, electric piano, and drum machine, singing maybe ten feet away to the side of the unit is getting feedback, therefore unable to turn up the system to fill the room. Mid-sized room, a bit noisy, but I thought that the L1 was made to suppress feedback? If we can't turn the system to without getting feedback, this is of no use to us.

Original Post

Our band just started using the L1 a month ago and struggled big time with the same problem.  Very frustrating to say the least.   Through this forum and a very informative sales guy at GC we have solved the problem.  You will surely get more professional advice from others, however turn the trim way down. Most of our trim settings are now approximately at the 10 o’clock position.  In addition when getting feedback mute the effects on each channel to see if it eliminates the feedback.  If it does make some effects changes.   We are very happy with the sound.  Good luck.

 

Mic choice is essential. You’re going to need one with at least a supercardioid polar pattern. My partner and I use the Audix OM2 and OM5 with pretty good success. 

I have his mic much hotter than mine, so I’ve had to eq the heck out of it. A parametric eq is your friend. 

Good luck. 

Hi Funkifized,

Welcome to the Bose Portable PA Community.

Funkifized posted:

We tried our new L1 at a bar gig.

Congratulations on getting your new L1.



Singer with his microphone, electric piano, and drum machine, singing maybe ten feet away to the side of the unit is getting feedback, therefore unable to turn up the system to fill the room. Mid-sized room, a bit noisy, but I thought that the L1 was made to suppress feedback? If we can't turn the system to without getting feedback, this is of no use to us.

I'm sorry you're having a problem with feedback. Thanks for all the background information.

We have comprehensive article about dealing with feedback.

Please see Microphone Feedback

Does that help?
ST

We use a pair of Compacts for our 4-person acoustic band, and we position them behind and outside of the left- and right-most members (we line up L-R). We have a cardioid Sennheiser e835 for my wife on lead, then a cardioid EV RE-15 for daughter's fiance, a hypercarioid Audix OM2 for my daughter (sitting on a Cajon) and an SM58 for me. The only one we have the occasional high pitched ring from is my wife's Sennheiser if it's pointing up more towards the speaker section. It helps if we angle it down more, which makes sense pattern-wise. We had the same issue with my daughter's original SM58 mic as it's on a low mic stand pointing up, so we swapped it out for the tighter patterned Audix and adjusted the mic angle less "upward" a bit and that helped as well.

As mentioned, make sure your gain structure for your mixer is set up properly before it even gets to the Compacts. We use an analog Soundcraft Signature12 MTX mixer into our Compacts and, whether rehearsing or live, we set our channel levels up so the output meters is generally bouncing into the yellow range (+3 to +10) and averaging around the 0dB mark. Then we just set the Compact volumes as needed for practice or venue use (typically 10-12 o'clock). If your mixer output meter is consistently running below -12 dB, you'll be pushing the Compacts more than needed which can push you closer to feedback.

Note: if you're using a digital mixer with meters that top out at 0dBFS, i.e. 0dB "Full Scale", instead of going from negative through 0dB to positive, remember that 0dBu analog is actually equivalent to -18dBFS digital. Typically both analog and digital green/yellow/red colored meter areas will track for ease of use so if you're unsure: Green=Good, Yellow=Okay But Be Careful, Red=Bad

Hope this helps,

Jeff

Ok, have 4 Bose L1 mode11, for about 3 years. You must put everything in perspective. 

Our band has no problems, and the sound is awesome. Constant compliments on the quality of the Bose L1s and the blending. And yes, we are a dance band. E drums, Bass, Guitar, Keys, 2 front vocalist, plus 2 additional mics for guitarist and keyboardist. All genres, from all decades.

Best microphones to use: 

Audix OM5, OM7, Electro-Voice ND86, or ND96., these work the best for feedback in our situation. May not be your favorites mic, but they flow and sound awesome for most voices.

Some recommended mics not to use are Shure SM 58, Beta 87. 

Yes, put the towers behind you, use as monitors and mains, the audience hears what you hear, just like Bose has always advertised.

Do not let the mics point toward the towers, be at least 2 to 3 feet to the left or right. Obviously, the smaller the set up area, the more challenging it can get. Who ever is setting up the pa, monitor all members of your group on this. Be mindful, if they don't cooperate.

Of course if you really kick the volume up like crazy, you'll cook yourselves and be a disaster. Very important: over emphasis again, common sense with all this.

E drums works the best. Obviously you can control the volume. There is some incredible new technology for E drums on the market today. However, many drummers despise them, especially in a live situation. Blending all instruments, including E drums is a beautiful thing, but doesn't flow with many musicians.  If you have patience, cooperation from all members in your group, there is nothing like it. I do have 4 decades of experience with bands and running sound. Good luck!

 

 

Feedback is when the source sound emanating from the speakers is picked up by the source generator (usually microphones) and fed back into the system in sufficient quantity to create an ever louder loop of sound -- feeding-back.

So the signal path: trimmers, channel faders (and EQ - boost is amplification) and master volume controls on mixer and PA are not the CAUSE of feedback -- it's the SUM of those settings that matters...  Trimmer+fader+(EQ)+Master+PA Gain.

As some have indicated, some microphones are better at rejecting the frequency ranges that cause the most problems with Bose systems than other microphones are.  Supercardioid patterns are best, omnidirectional worst, etc.  And of course the more microphones, the more potential for feedback.

Location, location, location: of the speakers and microphones is critical.  And sometimes, there really is a limit as to how loud you can be in any particular room with any particular band.  One advantage with Bose is that you can shoot for a reasonable volume and they will cut through most noise without blasting those nearest the system.

One of my rules of thumb is that if the feedback can't be controlled by mic positioning and EQ CUTS in the offending frequencies, either lower the master volume or move the system further away from the band.

Read the excellent article ST posted the link for and good luck.

PS: Also don't forget microphones installed in instruments.

Our biggest feedback problems are not usually our 3 vocal + 1 conga microphones but the microphones installed in our 2 acoustic guitars!

We play one enclosed, smaller space once a week where since I'm closest to the Bose L1S, I have to be very careful about where my guitar is pointing.

I think the AKG c 535 EB may have been the problem. After better setting of gain, we can get up to about 8 without feedback (and this is in a smaller apartment). 

However, there is however a ferocious Buzz when turned up. Maybe a cable? Or maybe the fact that we've got two mics each into their own vocal processor, keyboard, and drum machine going into the Mackie mixer, into L1?

Hi Funkifized,

Thanks for coming back to tell us how you've managed to improve the feedback problem.

The AKG C535 EB is a beautiful microphone. It's one of my favourites. However, the polar pattern is cardioid and it can be difficult to manage on a live stage.  I replaced it with the Neumann KMS 105 (another great microphone), that is much easier to manage in a live setting because it has a tighter supercardioid polar pattern.  I kept the AKG for lower volume applications and other singers.

Ferocious buzz

Please check out these articles:

Ground Loop

Audio System Noise

ST

It's not just the polar pattern.  The SM58 is a supercardioid microphone but has an unfortunate frequency response curve that is more prone to feedback than other microphones we can use.

I also use a KMS105 and it's much less likely to feedback than an SM58.  In fact, my issue is more with the omnidirectional microphone mounted in my guitar than my vocal mic. 

Yes, regarding the Shure SM58, it was never the best for rejecting feedback on even the old time systems from 40 to 50 years ago, and especially now the Bose systems with columns behind the musicians. I know it's an old standard, used since the 60's. Not trying to mock this mic. Just doesn't fly with Bose L1's, especially if you need to crank some volume, in a full band situation. Chet was correct explaining in detail about this mic.

Thanks for the correction, gerardsound.  :-)

SM58 has a less desirable cardioid pattern along with the frequency response characteristics already mentioned.

The KMS105 and another old favorite of mine the AKG C1000s have supercardioid -- more directional patterns...

I'm not having as much of a problem with the 58 as the lead singer is with his AKG C535 EB, mainly because he's more concerned with resonance and having enough volume to back off of the mic("good mic technique" don't you know). I'm more concerned as to whether or not the audience can hear me. 

As far as I can tell, the AKG C535 EB just picks up more ambient sound, more outside sounds, and tends toward feeding back, whereas I'm used to singing right up against the microphone to get the best tone with the 58. I'm playing guitar and singing, so I'm not as focused on backing off the mic for "good mic technique."

Are the KMS105 and AKG C1000 good for close-up singing? What's a good mic for someone like me who's used to the SM58/eat-the-mic type of singing, but can handle feedback better?

BTW, the singer had been running tests and has found that his AKG C535 EB is causing the bulk of the problems.

This is getting to be a very interesting thread.  Our band is using 2 shure 58 mics, a EV N/D 767A and a Amicv-2R. 

we are basically a garage band with limited gigs.  We have had feedback issues and we may want to go to different mics if we can find one that is reasonable priced.  

Any suggestions appreciated

Takefive

Wow, there is a lot going on in this thread. Funkifized, I don't think I ever determined which L1 you are using, but If I understand, you are using a Mackie mixer with at least two mics that have been pre-processed by auxiliary devices. The  chances for unwanted consequences are many.

For those who mention keeping the trim low to avoid feedback let me add these thoughts.

Each mic has a sensitivity value as well as a sound pressure level that can be tolerated without distortion. If you are using a modern vocal mic, It's not necessary that we know what those values are, what is necessary is to know that the input trim and the associated flickering light is designed to optimize your mic, and the sound source in front of that mic, to the input. You should follow Bose guidelines with the faith that you will get the best end result. 

Feedback doesn't care where you get your gain. There is a point where too much volume will leak back into an open mic, or susceptible instrument, and feedback will occur. So low trim and high master volume still produces feedback at the same over all volume level as high trim and low volume. (Everything else being equal, which it never is.) Sometime our perception tells us a different story, but I think it is related to how we internally process and confuse tone and volume.

Tone does care where you get your gain. By optimizing the input trim level to your mic and vocal strength, you set up the following gain stages to work with the best signal to noise ratio and you will most likely require less drastic EQ adjustments to get good sound.

I am not an engineer so you will notice I don't talk in real technical terms, but EQ is not linear. You will EQ differently for a low level signal than you will for an optimized signal level. You want the signal strength to be good and strong when it hits that EQ stage. Take advantage of what your mic has to offer. There can be 20 or more dB of gain in those two inches directly in front of the wind screen, use it.

There are many mics that will work well with L1 systems. As mentioned, those with Super or Hyper cardioid polar patterns work best when monitoring from the side or behind. I have had very good results with an Audix OM5, the now discontinued EV N/D 767a, and my current favorite the EV ND96. Even though I perform solo, all three of those mics will be in my gig bag. My voice and feelings are not always the same.

There is always room for artistic interpretation. How we achieve our sound can be a very personal process. Overcoming problems requires recognizing what and where the problems are. Our goal as artists should be to find that happy place where technical knowledge and artistic values meet in a good performance.

O..

We can all learn something about mic technique by watching and listening to this man

Hi Takefive,

I have Audix OM2, OM3, and have used the OM5. 

I also have several EV N/D 767A mics.

All of the above have worked well for me in live music settings with my L1 systems. 

It's crucial to sing on-axis (as though you are singing through the microphone) and use the close-mic technique.  Then it's easy to get excellent gain-before-feedback.

ST

I would like to echo those who stressed microphone technique.  That's the MAJOR factor that can fight feedback along with strengthening your voice and working on vocal dynamics.

The previous responses made me think about my technique and yes, with the KMS105 and C1000S, my lips touch or nearly touch the foam spit filter (often mislabeled windscreen he-he) nearly all of the time when I'm singing. 

I have a very strong voice (louder than most) but have learned to lower the volume of my voice overall (very useful for 3-5 hour gigs) and/or "add air" when singing harmony in order to get softer instead of backing away from the mic.  So I can run it at lower gain levels and still get heard.

The "microphone feedback" link ST posted also has a good discussion of microphone technique.

 

Funkifized posted:

I'm not having as much of a problem with the 58 as the lead singer is with his AKG C535 EB, mainly because he's more concerned with resonance and having enough volume to back off of the mic("good mic technique" don't you know). 

As far as I can tell, the AKG C535 EB just picks up more ambient sound, more outside sounds, and tends toward feeding back, whereas I'm used to singing right up against the microphone to get the best tone with the 58. 

So, I *am* a sound technician (not Engineer, as I don't have an Engineering Degree ), and I will say the reason the AKG is picking up more ambient sound is, as a condenser mic, it puts out a much hotter signal than your dynamic SM58. If your SM58 gain was turned up to match the output of the AKG, you'd pick up just as much ambient sound. This tells me odds are he has his gain cranked up way too much and is likely a large part of the problem. If his trim level is set at the same level as your SM58, odds are even better.

Yes, mic technique is good. But, mic technique means normal singing is within 1-2" of the mic and pulling back when belting. If he's normally singing 6-8" back from the mic, that's wayyyy to far away. Additionally, if the mic is very sensitive to the Proximity Effect (bass tones become less pronounced the further away from the mic you are), then absolutely singing more up on the mic can result in the best tone, as you've noticed with the SM58.

Have him practice mic technique while LISTENING to the results, rather than trying some formula that may or may not work out for all. I have one singer who pulls his mic away (handheld) whenever he belts and pulls it closer when he sings regular levels, which on paper sounds exactly right. Problem is, he tightens his voice up when he belts and actually gets *quieter*, so I have to constantly remind him to do the opposite (I know, crazy, right?). So there's ALWAYS an exception to the rule.

 

Hope this helps,

Jeff

Oldghm posted:

Wow, there is a lot going on in this thread. Funkifized, I don't think I ever determined which L1 you are using, but If I understand, you are using a Mackie mixer with at least two mics that have been pre-processed by auxiliary devices. The  chances for unwanted consequences are many.

For those who mention keeping the trim low to avoid feedback let me add these thoughts.

Each mic has a sensitivity value as well as a sound pressure level that can be tolerated without distortion. If you are using a modern vocal mic, It's not necessary that we know what those values are, what is necessary is to know that the input trim and the associated flickering light is designed to optimize your mic, and the sound source in front of that mic, to the input. You should follow Bose guidelines with the faith that you will get the best end result. 

Feedback doesn't care where you get your gain. There is a point where too much volume will leak back into an open mic, or susceptible instrument, and feedback will occur. So low trim and high master volume still produces feedback at the same over all volume level as high trim and low volume. (Everything else being equal, which it never is.) Sometime our perception tells us a different story, but I think it is related to how we internally process and confuse tone and volume.

Tone does care where you get your gain. By optimizing the input trim level to your mic and vocal strength, you set up the following gain stages to work with the best signal to noise ratio and you will most likely require less drastic EQ adjustments to get good sound.

I am not an engineer so you will notice I don't talk in real technical terms, but EQ is not linear. You will EQ differently for a low level signal than you will for an optimized signal level. You want the signal strength to be good and strong when it hits that EQ stage. Take advantage of what your mic has to offer. There can be 20 or more dB of gain in those two inches directly in front of the wind screen, use it.

There are many mics that will work well with L1 systems. As mentioned, those with Super or Hyper cardioid polar patterns work best when monitoring from the side or behind. I have had very good results with an Audix OM5, the now discontinued EV N/D 767a, and my current favorite the EV ND96. Even though I perform solo, all three of those mics will be in my gig bag. My voice and feelings are not always the same.

There is always room for artistic interpretation. How we achieve our sound can be a very personal process. Overcoming problems requires recognizing what and where the problems are. Our goal as artists should be to find that happy place where technical knowledge and artistic values meet in a good performance.

O..

We can all learn something about mic technique by watching and listening to this man

We're using the L1 Model II, I'd that's any help. 

What Bose guidelines are you referring to?

The AKG C535 EB has a four position switch which will allow the user (hopefully) to set frequency response and sensitivity to suit their recording or live needs. It is a cardioid polar pattern mic so when set to a sensitivity level similar to the SM 58 it should respond in a similar manner as far as ambient noise is concerned. The user has a choice of using the input trim, and/or the mic switch to get the level right. This is not to suggest that trim knobs will be set to the same number or position on the dial for both mics. When trim is set correctly the signal level leaving this input stage should be similar for each mic.

This is a PDF manual for the mic, you may have to scroll down for the English version.

I am not sure what the Mackie mixer has in the way of indicators for advising the user when they have the channel trim set to an optimum level for the device at the input. I would suggest the same to a Mackie user as I would a Bose user, follow the Mackie guidelines for setting trim. And, ......................... only use EQ on one device. If the vocal processor is being EQed, then set the mixer channel controls flat.

As I alluded to in my earlier post, there is room for artistic interpretation, but we still have to understand the technical limits of our equipment and adjust our style to best take advantage of the features and limitations of that equipment.

O..

 

Funkifized said,

"We're using the L1 Model II, I'd that's any help. 

What Bose guidelines are you referring to?"

I guess we were posting at the same time. The Bose guidelines I am referring to pertain to those using a Bose mixer. If I am keeping up, I think you are using a Mackie, and you should follow the Mackie guidelines for setting trim. 

There is a lot to digest in this thread, not all of it applies to everybody participating because there have been different questions asked. I hope you can pick out what applies to you and take advantage of and make use of it.

Your setup, having separate vocal processors, multiple vocal mics and instruments into a single L1 does present problems, especially when trying to utilize the L1 as main and monitor. The L1 has minimal issues with feedback when used as originally designed, one per performer. Each additional mic and  instrument adds to the potential for feedback.

We've wandered around quite a bit here, please don't let us take this thread away from your original request for help. If you have unanswered questions ask again.

O..

Oldghm posted:

 

We can all learn something about mic technique by watching and listening to this man

Yeah, but that's just a guy with great resonance in the baritone register singng close to an SM58. I have always been that guy, too(although I'm more of higher tenor). However, singers like the singer I'm working with in this situation always learn from vocal teachers to use "good mic technique", which is to use a mic which can pick up good resonance from back a few inches. I've never done that myself, always control dynamics with my own voice rather than backing off of the mic. I've been told that bass tones dissipate when on is away from the mic. 

Honestly, whenever a female singer who has gotten a little training from a voice teacher, they're taught to back off when they belt, and almost all of them fade off to nothing when the hit higher, belt notes. I'm not convinced about the backing off thing, at least as far off as these "trained" singers do.

Honestly, I think if the singer I'm working with just learned to sing closer to his mic, he could back the volume off and avoid the feedback. The mic he's using just has a lot of gain compared to my SM58. 

ST posted:

Hi Takefive,

I have Audix OM2, OM3, and have used the OM5. 

I also have several EV N/D 767A mics.

All of the above have worked well for me in live music settings with my L1 systems. 

It's crucial to sing on-axis (as though you are singing through the microphone) and use the close-mic technique.  Then it's easy to get excellent gain-before-feedback.

ST

Which of these mics responds well to close-singing like the SM58 that I'm used to? I may switch if I don't have to change my mic technique too much. I'm a guitar player, so I'd prefer to not have to worry too much about how close/far I'm positioned to the mic. Eat the mic and control volume with my voice. 

If you really listen to Tony Joe White in any of the "live Concert" video's, you will notice not only the deep voice but the air and breath of his voice as well. Even whispers come through. In the video I posted it looks like a SM 58 but can't tell for sure. 

Mic technique is not just about a particular distance from the mic, when and how we move, it's about taking advantage of the mics characteristics. Know where the sweet spot is in relation to the way we have set the trim, then work closely around that sweet spot. When singing close we have the best opportunity to get the best response in signal strength and accurate reproduction of our vocal sound. Yes, close up will accent the lower tones with proximity effect, but we can pull that out with EQ to get a natural sound if we desire. Those two inches directly in front of the mic are enough for all but the very loudest passages that the vast majority of singers might belt out.

There are exceptions to close mic technique. So for all of you that are singing in quiet recital halls or concert venues with strict audience banter control, this may not apply to you.

In the now almost 15 years I have been using the various L1 systems, I have changed my technique to make better use of these systems. It required some change to get the most from the L1. Without doubt, I can be heard and understood better now than ever before, so change was a good thing.

Voices are different and some lack strength in frequencies that will shine in a mix. A singer has to learn to listen to their own voice and learn what it takes to accent their strengths and reinforce their weaknesses without undue color. In the 60 plus year I have been performing with sound equipment there have been many "sound guys" tell me I sounded good, when I couldn't recognize my own voice. When the singer feels good about how they sound, they will sound good, anything less and it's a struggle.

All the mics we have mentioned are proven to be good mics with frequency response curves designed for live vocals. They are not all identical and I feel confident I could take any one of the mics mentioned and put on a performance having never used it before. ........................... but I do have a favorite. It is not my Neumann KMS 105, and it's not my AKG C1000, and it's not my SM58, it's a EV ND 96. Before that it was an EV N/D 767a. The Audix OM 5 has never been a favorite but I have used it many times when stage space and volume needs demanded the most feedback resistant mic I had in the bag.

I think the current EV ND86 and EV ND96 represent two great values in mics with frequency response curves similar to the SM58 but with far superior feedback rejection qualities. Gain before feedback is considerably better than the SM58.

The Audix OM 6 and 7 might be better suited to larger sound systems than we are using, with the OM 2 and 3 better suited to the portable lines arrays and the OM 5 falling in the middle of the spectrum being suitable for either.

A good exercise for a singer is to take two or three different mics, set them up, all at the same time, with EQ flat and all other controls set to the same value and see which one pleases them the most. This will give an indication of how the mic colors the vocal, how the mic responds to input in direct comparison with other mics, which influences how we feel when we sing.

O..

The following videos are from Audix, and they are obviously selling mics, but the information is still valuable regardless of what mic you own or are shopping for.

Mic Technique video

Mic technique video 2

Mic technique video 3

Honestly, whenever a female singer who has gotten a little training from a voice teacher, they're taught to back off when they belt, and almost all of them fade off to nothing when the hit higher, belt notes. I'm not convinced about the backing off thing, at least as far off as these "trained" singers do.

Honestly, I think if the singer I'm working with just learned to sing closer to his mic, he could back the volume off and avoid the feedback. The mic he's using just has a lot of gain compared to my SM58. 

It doesn't sound like *you* have an issue so I wouldn't worry about you. Sounds like, as you said, the singer needs to learn better mic technique. You can get away with singing farther away from the mic in the studio, where often the sound of the room is used to effect. Live is a different story, you just never see people that far from the mic unless they have a very strong voice when belting and are pulling back. However, pulling back just for the sake of pulling back because it's what you see people on TV doing doesn't take individual vocal style into account.

Singers should be listening to themselves as they sing and adjusting their vocal volume (or distance from the mic) as appropriate. *Usually* backing off on the high notes is the right thing to do, but if your vocal volume falls away naturally as you sing higher then it's the wrong answer. An example is if a singer tends to go more into their falsetto / head voice as they sing higher rather than belting out their chest voice. Falsetto is usually (yes, there are exceptions) quieter than belting it out but, you still see folks pull back off the mic because they're thinking "I'm singing a higher note so I need to pull back", but they're not understanding the concept that it's the VOLUME they're supposed to be compensating for, not the vocal frequency.

Just be glad you only have to explain that to *your* singer...you don't want to be the guy trying to explain that to "the talent" that you're mixing sound for (who typically wear their feelings on their sleeves). They generally just don't understand that you're actually on their side and just trying to help them sound their best

Hope this helps,
Jeff

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