Take Control of Your Sound

Man singing passionately into mic
Do you wish you had the same control over your amplified effects as guitarists do? – asks Jamie Vendera

Why do many singers fail to take control of their own sound, expecting the soundman to create the perfect blend of effects such as delay and reverb?

Also: why do so many singers tend to use any generic mic provided for them?

I’m sorry, I’ve NEVER had this attitude; I’ve ALWAYS wanted to control my own sound.

Jealous of Guitarists

I've ALWAYS wanted to control my own sound In my teens, I was so jealous of all the pedals available for guitar players. I even went as far as buying pedals such as flangers, delay, etc. to create my own vocal chain.

Yes, it was a rudimentary set up (considering guitar pedals have no XLR input) but it put me in the right frame of mind as a singer.

From that point on, I knew I had to create my own sound. As well, I could never stand using another person’s mic, so I saved and bought my own. That way, I could keep it clean and not worry about anyone else’s spit.

What Do You Want?

Think about what YOU want from your soundSo, take a moment and think about what YOU want out of your sound.

Are you happy with what a soundman is providing you and what you’re getting out of the soundboard at rehearsal, or do you wish you had more control of your overall vocal sound?

There are now tons of pedals, processers, and microphones available for singers.

If your guitar player is continually upgrading his cabinets and effects, isn’t it safe to say that you should consider doing the same?

I’d say that’s a huge YES, considering all eyes (and ears) fall upon the lead singer.

The right microphone and right effects chain not only enhances a singer’s sound, it gives them tons of confidence when they hear that sweet blend enhancing your overall tone.

Practical Ways Forward

I suggest that you spend a day at your local music shop testing various mics and vocal effects boxes to find one of each that gets you excited.

A harmony pedal can help you and your band learn to sing better harmonyI personally get excited when I hear doubling (for that thick studio sound) as well as harmony. In fact, I’ve discovered that a harmony pedal can help you and your band learn to sing better harmony.

By accident, my guitarist learned to sing harmony simply by singing along to the harmonies I programmed through my vocal effects processor.

After rehearsing our originals dozens of times, each harmony became ingrained in his head, and now we’re a great harmonizing team. Bottom line, take control of your sound today!

My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids

Stevey Ertl Thumbnail Stevey Ertl – “Terrified” (Cover)

Steve, so cool you tackled a female pop song. Great voice and you had hints of Jeff Buckley vibrato at times ;) Great supported tone too, but remember to support just as much when in falsetto just to keep that vocal spark as high as when you’re in full voice;) Sounded great, but just want a teensy bit more energy ;) I think you should take your voice to the full band situation, aka Maroon 5 setting. A.

Cameron Matchen Thumbnail Cameron Matchen – “EDV Intro Unplugged”

Cameron, man, this video made me smile ear to ear. You were relaxed and had fun, which is what singing is about. At first, I was waiting for some “Unbelievable” by EMF to make a cameo, then you kicked in the blogging rap! Quick tip: your raps will be even tighter if you adjust your breathing. When you inhale, don’t make it audible like Darth Vader. Yawn slightly so that the inhale is quiet and the lungs fill quickly. Great job – I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Jaime Vendera Jaime Vendera is a Vocal Coach, world-renowned for his wineglass-shattering voice as seen on shows like MythBusters, Dr. Oz, and Super Human Showdown. Many of his books, including Raise Your Voice 1 & 2, The Ultimate Breathing Workout, and the Sing Out Loud series have been read by… READ MORE

  • Anonymous

    Right on! I think a majority of singers haven’t really sat down and listened to the end product or they would want more control over their own sound. Vocal effects can also be a bit intimidating at first but it’s well worth it.