Regular Contributor - Level 1

gate-expander on vocal mic

Hello all.

I am working in a contemporary worship setting on an M32.  Our KB is right beside the drum kit.  The KB player is backup vocal on many songs, and frequently is silent in parts of the song.

We are experimenting using a gate-expander to gain down her mic when she is not singing to reduce bleed through of the drum kit in her channel.  We tried a gate but found it chopped up her vocals too much.  We had more success with an expander.  Next we tried to use a key filter but honestly we couldn't figure out how it works.  The different filter types were confusing.

Can someone provide some quick tips for use of an expander in this type of situation?  Also, some explanation of the key filter types and where they may be used.  Finally, what the heck is 'key filter solo' and how should it be used?

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Dwayne A

DwayneAasberg Regular Contributor - Level 1 2019-09-06

2019-09-06

gate-expander on vocal mic

Hello all.

I am working in a contemporary worship setting on an M32.  Our KB is right beside the drum kit.  The KB player is backup vocal on many songs, and frequently is silent in parts of the song.

We are experimenting using a gate-expander to gain down her mic when she is not singing to reduce bleed through of the drum kit in her channel.  We tried a gate but found it chopped up her vocals too much.  We had more success with an expander.  Next we tried to use a key filter but honestly we couldn't figure out how it works.  The different filter types were confusing.

Can someone provide some quick tips for use of an expander in this type of situation?  Also, some explanation of the key filter types and where they may be used.  Finally, what the heck is 'key filter solo' and how should it be used?

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Dwayne A

  • 0 Kudos
  • 4 Replies
  • Reply

Accepted Solutions
Super Contributor - Level 2

Re: gate-expander on vocal mic

@DwayneAasberg 

To solidify my understanding, what passes the filter is what the key hears and acts on, right?

Exactly. 

 

Considering the wide spectrum of noise coming from the kit, I think it's the cymbals that cause us the most grief.  With your explanation of the key filter types, we will focus on those higher frequencies.

You could use a High-Cut side chain filter (HC12) in the vocal gate/expander so the cymbals don't open the gate. I would still be inclined to use a band-pass centred on the vocal range. This would filter out both the high end cymbals and low end kick/toms from the side chain. 

 

Super Contributor - Level 2

Re: gate-expander on vocal mic

@DwayneAasberg 

Hi Dwayne, the key filter types are these:

 

LC6 : Low Cut with 6dB/Otave slope - used to reduce influence of low frequencies.

LC12 : As LC6 but with steeper slope.

HC6 : High Cut with 6dB/Octave slope - used to reduce influence of high frequencies.

HC12 : As HC6 but with steeper slope.

1.0 : Bandpass filter with wide band (low Q) - like LC and HC in series - used to select a broad range of frequencies.

2.0 : As 1.0 but narrower band (higher Q).

3.0 : As 2.0 but narrower band (higher Q).

5.0 : As 3.0 but narrower band (higher Q).

10.0 : As 5.0 but very narrow band.

 

It is not easy to have a filter that will pass vocal frequencies but block sound from a drum set. Drums can produce sound energy over most of the spectrum. I would set the filter frequency to about 1kHz (approximately centre of vocal range) and try filter types 3.0, 5.0 and 10.0. You can use the filter's Solo button to route the filter output to the monitor bus so you can listen to it on headphones. This can help to tune the frequency and filter type (Q) to gve best discrimination between vocal and drum sounds.

 

 You should also consider trying a different type or position of mic for the KB player. A more directional mic may help. A head or ear-mounted mic could give more vocal level and less drum sound. 

Regular Contributor - Level 1

Re: gate-expander on vocal mic

Good morning @RexBeckett

Thank you for your explanation.  To solidify my understanding, what passes the filter is what the key hears and acts on, right?

Considering the wide spectrum of noise coming from the kit, I think it's the cymbals that cause us the most grief.  With your explanation of the key filter types, we will focus on those higher frequencies.

I definitely hear your advice on mic selection and placement.  We control that pararmeter as much as possible, too.

Thanks again and have a good weekend.
Dwayne A

Super Contributor - Level 2

Re: gate-expander on vocal mic

@DwayneAasberg 

To solidify my understanding, what passes the filter is what the key hears and acts on, right?

Exactly. 

 

Considering the wide spectrum of noise coming from the kit, I think it's the cymbals that cause us the most grief.  With your explanation of the key filter types, we will focus on those higher frequencies.

You could use a High-Cut side chain filter (HC12) in the vocal gate/expander so the cymbals don't open the gate. I would still be inclined to use a band-pass centred on the vocal range. This would filter out both the high end cymbals and low end kick/toms from the side chain. 

 

Highlighted
Regular Contributor - Level 1

Re: gate-expander on vocal mic

@RexBeckett 

Excellent. Thank you!