VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?
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Contributor - Level 2

VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?

So, my band made our live debut last night and we were fortunate enough to play low down on a bill at the Leamington Assembly which is a fantastic and rather spectacular live venue, if any of you have been you'll know what I'm talking about. So before I go any further I want to make it clear this is a proper 1,000 capacity live music venue and has a very very good and experienced sound engineer/mixer called Ian on FOH who has worked with some of the top artists from around the world. The other thing of note is that all the vocal effects I use on the VL3 are pretty subtle (some minimal echo, reverb, and doubling) with 1 or 2 exceptions for small parts in a couple of songs.

We turn up at the venue for soundcheck and as soon as I mention the VL3 his expression drops. "They are an absolute nightmare to work with and to mix". Didn't fill me with the greatest of confidence but as I'd been practicing for a long long time with this unit and had a lot of guitar effects as well as vocal effects stored for the show, we went ahead and got on stage ready to soundcheck.

First things first he suggested we run an XLR from both the DRY output and the normal output to the mixer incase of any problems feedback wise etc so he could either mix the two together or worst case eliminate the effected vocal altogether. I kind of expected that, although I've only ever used it with the main mono XLR out to the desk in practices and not experienced many problems at all feedback or otherwise. Now, I know this unit, I've had it for a long time and like to think I know my way around it, but straight away it was clear things weren't going well. Feedback from the mic. After many many run throughs of parts of tracks he still wasn't able to sort it and told me I must have it set up wrong because he was diming the mixer and had hardly any signal coming through, and when he pushed it any more was generating all kinds of feedback and nasty frequencies. He came up on stage and looked at the menus and made a couple of very minor adjustments (turned up the vocal input a bit and set the XLR output all the way to 0). It seemed to make a slight improvement but was still causing problems. To be fair to him he was really really trying to make it work and kept saying we'll sort it but by this time we'd ran over the door opening time by 10 minutes and the main band hadn't even soundchecked yet.

After some more tinkering it was obvious it wasn't going to work out so the only remaining option was to run the guitar through the unit only and my vocal went straight to the desk which everyone seemed very very glad about (except me because my whole routine throughout practice in the run up to the gig had been based around using this thing, now I was effectively being told I couldn't).

Needless to say it threw me off, I felt like something had been taken away from my performance and it confused the hell out of me because the Presets and Steps were set up with both vocal and guitar in mind obviously. It was a very very shaky performance with my confidence pretty much shot by the time we got onstage. I just wanted to get it done and go.

So here's one for you technical wizards out there. What the hell was going on with my VL3 and how can it cause so many problems to the point where I can't use it?

Oh and to add insult to injury, as soon as I started singing during the set I was getting constant electric shocks from the mic on my lips and had to endure it throughout the whole thing.

A night I'd rather forget, largely down to the VL3.
AndrewHolland Contributor - Level 2 2017-09-24

2017-09-24

VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?

So, my band made our live debut last night and we were fortunate enough to play low down on a bill at the Leamington Assembly which is a fantastic and rather spectacular live venue, if any of you have been you'll know what I'm talking about. So before I go any further I want to make it clear this is a proper 1,000 capacity live music venue and has a very very good and experienced sound engineer/mixer called Ian on FOH who has worked with some of the top artists from around the world. The other thing of note is that all the vocal effects I use on the VL3 are pretty subtle (some minimal echo, reverb, and doubling) with 1 or 2 exceptions for small parts in a couple of songs.

We turn up at the venue for soundcheck and as soon as I mention the VL3 his expression drops. "They are an absolute nightmare to work with and to mix". Didn't fill me with the greatest of confidence but as I'd been practicing for a long long time with this unit and had a lot of guitar effects as well as vocal effects stored for the show, we went ahead and got on stage ready to soundcheck.

First things first he suggested we run an XLR from both the DRY output and the normal output to the mixer incase of any problems feedback wise etc so he could either mix the two together or worst case eliminate the effected vocal altogether. I kind of expected that, although I've only ever used it with the main mono XLR out to the desk in practices and not experienced many problems at all feedback or otherwise. Now, I know this unit, I've had it for a long time and like to think I know my way around it, but straight away it was clear things weren't going well. Feedback from the mic. After many many run throughs of parts of tracks he still wasn't able to sort it and told me I must have it set up wrong because he was diming the mixer and had hardly any signal coming through, and when he pushed it any more was generating all kinds of feedback and nasty frequencies. He came up on stage and looked at the menus and made a couple of very minor adjustments (turned up the vocal input a bit and set the XLR output all the way to 0). It seemed to make a slight improvement but was still causing problems. To be fair to him he was really really trying to make it work and kept saying we'll sort it but by this time we'd ran over the door opening time by 10 minutes and the main band hadn't even soundchecked yet.

After some more tinkering it was obvious it wasn't going to work out so the only remaining option was to run the guitar through the unit only and my vocal went straight to the desk which everyone seemed very very glad about (except me because my whole routine throughout practice in the run up to the gig had been based around using this thing, now I was effectively being told I couldn't).

Needless to say it threw me off, I felt like something had been taken away from my performance and it confused the hell out of me because the Presets and Steps were set up with both vocal and guitar in mind obviously. It was a very very shaky performance with my confidence pretty much shot by the time we got onstage. I just wanted to get it done and go.

So here's one for you technical wizards out there. What the hell was going on with my VL3 and how can it cause so many problems to the point where I can't use it?

Oh and to add insult to injury, as soon as I started singing during the set I was getting constant electric shocks from the mic on my lips and had to endure it throughout the whole thing.

A night I'd rather forget, largely down to the VL3.

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Super Contributor - Level 1

Re: VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?

Sounds like a grounding problem with the mixing desk, or maybe just the channel used for your vocals. Trouble shooting takes time, so easier just to blame some equipment that the sound tech is too proud to admit he doesn't understand.

I have played professionally since the mid-80's, and for the last 15-20 years, I mostly do my own sound. It gets complicated when playing on larger stages and/or with larger bands. Then I have to accept whatever crummy sound tech I'm presented with. It doesn't matter how professional the venue and the tech seem to be, in 2 out of 3 cases, they are not. I hope I'm not offending too many people, but that is my experience...

I never have problems with feedback when I do my own sound. It is very easy to understand and control. If you have set the gain correctly on your VoiceLive, then it should not be a problem for the tech. If there is a problem with getting zapped from the mic, try a different channel on the mixer, try ground lift, try a different cable, remember no phantom power from the mixer.
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Contributor - Level 2

Re: VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?

Bent Stavanger;132224 wrote:
Sounds like a grounding problem with the mixing desk, or maybe just the channel used for your vocals. Trouble shooting takes time, so easier just to blame some equipment that the sound tech is too proud to admit he doesn't understand.

I have played professionally since the mid-80's, and for the last 15-20 years, I mostly do my own sound. It gets complicated when playing on larger stages and/or with larger bands. Then I have to accept whatever crummy sound tech I'm presented with. It doesn't matter how professional the venue and the tech seem to be, in 2 out of 3 cases, they are not. I hope I'm not offending too many people, but that is my experience...

I never have problems with feedback when I do my own sound. It is very easy to understand and control. If you have set the gain correctly on your VoiceLive, then it should not be a problem for the tech. If there is a problem with getting zapped from the mic, try a different channel on the mixer, try ground lift, try a different cable, remember no phantom power from the mixer.


Thanks Bent, I'll take that on board and into the next gig we play which will hopefully be very soon. The rest of the band are trying to tell me I should get rid of the VoiceLive but I'd rather persist with it if possible. Interestingly the electric shocks were not happening throughout the entire soundcheck, only when it actually came to our set. It's interesting because during the soundcheck my vocal was still running through the VL3 whilst he was trying to sort it out. It was only after the soundcheck that it was decided I'd go straight to the desk and the xlr's were unplugged from the VoiceLive but there wasn't time for me to get back on the mic. Makes me wonder what it was that made me start to get shocked. None of the other bands on the bill had the same problem as far as I'm aware.
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Re: VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?

Your guitar helped creating the grounding loop so anytime your hands were on the strings and you kissed the mic you completed the ground loop.

The cause could have been anything on the stage or even at the mixer. If I ever felt that I got some eletrical shock when touching the mic I would stop the show/soundcheck until it was fixed. My health is more important to me!

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/barbara-weldens-dead-french-singer-dies-e...

http://m.ranker.com/list/musicians-electrocuted-on-stage/jessica-defino
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Super Contributor - Level 2

Re: VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?

It does sound like a potentially lethal faul with someones wiring.

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=1942

Read that,then get a socket tester.

As for the soundman, "vl3's are a nightmare to mix" ? Volume up or down ?...so many decisions. Although your way works petfectly,we're going to change it to my way which isn't working. Then when that doesn't work and were out of time,have this mic and possibly be killed...
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Contributor - Level 2

Re: VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?

Pet Gerbil;132242 wrote:
It does sound like a potentially lethal faul with someones wiring.

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=1942

Read that,then get a socket tester.

As for the soundman, "vl3's are a nightmare to mix" ? Volume up or down ?...so many decisions. Although your way works petfectly,we're going to change it to my way which isn't working. Then when that doesn't work and were out of time,have this mic and possibly be killed...


To be fair I think the issue might be something to do with my setup as there were 3 other bands on the bill and as far as I know none of them experienced the same thing but we were all using the same mics, PA, mixer etc and as mentioned in my original post, it wasn't happening during the soundcheck, so no one had any reason to think it was going to happen during the set.

As for the VL3... Can someone explain how they successfully use it within a live set up at different kinds of venues? That'd be very helpful.
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Contributor - Level 2

Re: VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?

I always always always use a GFCI and surge suppressor in line with my AC power. They are always AFTER my own power cable, and right before my gear. So if I lose a ground (which sounds possible in your case, I also lose AC power, so I don't die.

It sounds like maybe you weren't provided with a connection to ground, or maybe something screwy like a neutral/ground miswire, or a hot/ground miswire, or a hot/neutral miswire, that sort of thing. Or else, your equipment or AC power cabling has a swap, or lifted ground.
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Super Contributor - Level 2

Re: VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?

Active EMG pickups are also handy for these situations cos they've not got the earth lead connecting you to the strings.
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Re: VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?

Not being at the venue it is very hard to conclude what might have been the problem(s).

If he had problems with low levels and then getting feedback problems doesn't make sense to me unless an expander/gate was inserted or a compressor tweaked in error or if the guitar and mic was somehow swapped so that the guitar caused that feedback problem...?

As a soundguy I’d probably want you to put that vl3 to the side and let me do my job Smiley Tongue. That being said, I use the vl3x as the lead singer in my band and have had no real issues with it. Like others, I tend to overdo the fx as I perceive them differently when performing vs. listening.
Robert Lofgren | Did you find my post helpful? Give kudos and/or mark it as a solution!
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Super Contributor - Level 1

Re: VL3 - FEEDBACK!! FEEDBACK EVERYWHERE! anybody else had this experience at a venue..?

Andrew Holland;132228 wrote:
The rest of the band are trying to tell me I should get rid of the VoiceLive but I'd rather persist with it if possible.


Persist! I have used several TC-Helicon products on stage (VoiceTone Correct, VoiceTone Double, VoiceLive 2, and now VoiceLive 3 Extreme) and never had any problems with feedback. I have tried several times getting "zapped" by the mic, this can happen if there is a grounding problem in some of the PA or the electrical wiring in the venue. It never had anything to do with the pedal itself.