Singers, want to know how to sound great at your live gigs?Jan 20, 2022
Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen
You’ve spent years training your voice, working on your breathing, improving your technique, drinking throat coat and lemon water before gigs, and your voice reflects all the time and practice that you’ve put in.
But it doesn’t matter how incredible your voice is… if you aren't using proper microphone technique no one will know.
Great mic technique will make a HUGE difference in how good you sound when performing live.
The difference between good and bad mic technique is- the difference between a fantastic show where your vocal shines in the mix,
a show where your vocal is buried, the audience is complaining that they can’t hear you, a show plagued by feedback, where no one can hear how gifted of a singer you are.
Good mic technique is singing directly into the capsule, with it very close to your mouth. When the mic is too far away, your voice will sound thin and weak.
If you are cupping the mic, you’ll end up with a very unnatural sound that won’t let the depth of your voice shine through.
These are just two examples of bad mic technique.
Bad mic technique doesn’t only make you sound bad, it also makes it harder for you to hear yourself on stage.
The microphone is not just picking up your voice, it’s picking up all the other noise around you. This is very problematic in situations where you and your band are crowded together on a small stage.
When you're not right on the mic or singing too softly, you're letting all the other noise from the stage into your microphone. Noise from the drummer, guitar amps, etc. So, when the sound engineer is trying to turn up your vocal they are also turning up all the other noise with your vocal.
This makes it harder to get a good vocal sound and difficult to get your vocal on top of the mix.
Watch where you point the microphone.
If the sound system is set up too far upstage so that you are standing in front of the speakers, your microphone will be more prone to feedback. This happens a lot in small coffeehouses and jazz clubs. To prevent feedback, keep the mic out of the speakers and use good mic technique.
Good mic technique not only makes you sound great, it allows you to hear yourself better in your monitors and be more confident and comfortable on stage.
I need more of me in the monitors.
What do you do if you are using good mic technique but you still can't hear yourself in the stage monitors?
You've tried to tell the sound engineer what you need and he/she just looks at you blankly or does something completely different than what you asked for. You tell them it sounds bad, so they make it sound different... but still bad. It's terribly frustrating, why don't they just fix it? Are they intentionally trying to make your miserable?
The sound engineer is here to help you and wants you to have a great show. What's happening is a communication problem. Sound engineers are used to specific words and numbers (frequencies). Words like muddy, harsh, boomy, bright and frequencies like 315Hz, 250Hz, 5K, while that may all seem like greek to you, this is their language.
When you can clearly communicate using words or even better yet, the specific frequencies that you need adjusted in your mix, you'll be speaking the same language and end up with getting the monitor mix that you want much quicker.
When you can hear yourself clearly in the monitors you feel comfortable and confident on stage and you can get back to why you’re there in the first place, for the audience, to give them a great performance.
So, use good mic technique, the right words, and have a great show!
For more info on how to speak to the sound engineer check out Singer Speak
By: Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato