Oldghm posted:
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.

I wanted to piggy back on this and mention that most of the larger mic manufacturers have "demo packs" they can send you to try before you buy. When I was looking for a vocal mic for my wife for a vocal group she was singing with, Sennheiser sent us 4 different mics to try out in actual live situations, rather than saying "Check One, Two" in a Guitar Center. When we were done, we sent them back and bought the one we liked.



Sorry, a little late to this thread, but there's a lot of good info here.  I'd add that good mic technique isn't just about moving in and out from the mic.  It's also about using the mic correctly for the situation - adjusting how close you are based on the system you're singing through.  

An L1 won't won't be as forgiving of you going 8 inches away from the mic the same way a big traditional system with a lot of other gear will.  Additionally, many singers don't understand that just because there's a speaker there, it can amplify you no matter where you hold the mic.  Also, too many people are unwilling to try a new mic just because it's not something they know.  

Just tell the singer to start by cutting their mic adjustments in half and I'll bet you see a marked improvement.   When they actually hear the improvement, they'll likely be more willing to listen to what you're saying, too. 


Yeah, well, I'm not sure I'm going to explaining much of anything to anyone. Singers who studied with a vocal teacher apparently know *everything*. I'm not worried about me either, except potentially not being mixed loud enough. The SM58 not putting out quite as much power allows for amateur soundguys to keep me lower in the mix at times. Fercrissake, the last band I was in, bassist was running the board and couldn't understand why we weren't all mixed well, as had all the mics at the same fader level(!). I finally had to state clearly(obviously not through the ****ed up mixer) that I could no longer sing with this group unless the mic was mixed better. I was screaming literally as loud as I could to hear myself in the mix at all.

Good times...


Yes, unfortunately "trained" singers can often be the hardest to convince, especially if the instructor has no actual experience singing live, or doesn't sing the same kind of music or for the same type of audience / venue.

Sounds like the bassist doesn't understand what a trim control is for. There's no reason an SM58 can't be as loud as you need it, it's one of the most used live mics in the world, maybe not the "best" but still good and the "best known entity" for most sound techs/engineers.

There's a few different schools of thought on setting gain structure on a mixer, here's a popular website that does a pretty good overview of the three common ones:

I typically start off with Method 1, i.e. setting incoming trim/gain levels for a strong signal first, then bringing up the faders to build the mix. However, I also throw in a bit of Method 3 if some faders end up being too low in the adjustment range, where fine adjustments are harder. +10 to -10dB is the fine tune fader range as there's more physical distance required to change 10dB in that range as opposed to down by -20 to -30dB, where it's a fraction of the movement.

Hope this helps,


Well, being taught to sing doesn't make one adept at the technical side of sound, and being adept at the technical side doesn't mean one understands what is involved in singing. 

A guitarist doesn't let the singer set his amp or his effects board. 

Singers need to take it upon themselves to understand what it takes to make them comfortable on stage and if they are not mixing themselves, how to relay critical bits of info to the person who is mixing. 

Most any question related to singing, asked of your favorite search engine, will lead to information that is helpful in understanding what it takes to produce good sound. Or you can spend 40 years twisting knobs in the dark like us old guys did.


Another important consideration is comparative loudness...dynamics...

I never sing "full out" any more...I never sing at full volume. 

The loudest I sing is about 75% of what I can do.  I spend most of my time in the 30-60% range of loudness and often dip down below 20% to create the lower dynamic that "louder" dynamics rely upon to be effective.

It's not how loud one sings overall that creates the highest dynamic range it's the overall RANGE, the softer contrasted with the louder, that gets and keeps the attention of the audience.

And then there's phrasing...  ;-)

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