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Compressor for vocal use


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Hi there, I'm a new member but have been reading the forum for some time.


I do the sound at a church and am looking at getting a compressor for two different purposes

  1. To use on vocal mics to make singers in a worship group more present in the
  2. To use on pulpit/lectern to bring quiet/loud speakers to the same sort of level.

I have been looking at units such as the Behringer MDX4600, and Samson S-com 4 as budget is limited and we need a lot of channels (min 4)


Does anyone have any experience of using these units for vocals/speech? Would they sound OK, or is there anything else you would recommend?




Thanks, James




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Are you aiming to set and forget your levels on the desk for the lecturn? I use compressors for people like auctioneers and vocal presenters all the time - especially ones with huge dynamic range whilst speaking, but that is primarily to stop them peaking when they get "excited". I would never use one to crunch well spoken, loud speakers to match with quiet and mice-like speakers. The solution for that really is someone sitting behind the desk with their fingers on the faders. Even then, you cannot amplify nothing.


As far as recommendations - DBX 1046 - hardly expensive, 4 channel compressor/limiter. Works well, no frills, built like a tank.

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On a budget the Behringer does the job, though it doesn't cost much more (possibly less on ebay) to get a pair of 2 channel Composers, which would give you a little more control.


As for what you want to do, like Mac says, riding the fader is the right way to sort out lecturn levels. In a church environment where you're dealing with quiet speakers with poor/little mic technique, feedback is your biggest enemy, and using a compressor is likely to increase your problems here way more than fixing the other problem.


As for the singers, again, watch out that it doesn't give you feedback issues with monitoring.


It's cool to have additional tools like this, but in many church environments they can be counter productive, especially if you have a number of low-skilled operators.

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Thanks for your advice guys-

I think it is fair to say we have a number of low-skilled opperators...



I guess training is the right way to sort out the lectern levels thing, I just wondered if a compressor would help a bit (?)


I think getting an ebay Composer is a good idea then I can experiment with vocal mic/lectern, and if it works well I can get another!





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Possibly the best results that you could get in your situation is to just sit through the sermon with your finger on the slider and ride it accordingly to what you'll need from each person at the podium, opposed to putting a compressor into the works. ;)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Keep in mind that a compressor inserted into a channel will effect that channel's feed to the monitors, which usually is not a good thing.


A compressor will not help you to make wimpy folks louder, only overly loud folks quieter. To get wimpy folks louder you need to turn them up, and you need to have enough gain-before-feedback, which will likely require a parametric EQ.

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