i have had 3 singers in the last month (females) that have left my ears numb with the harshness of their vocals. dont get me wrong, they have beautiful voices. my vocal chain is not bad either. i am using an akg 414 xls, through a focusrite octopre. this combo sounds great with most other singers i have been working with. therefore i set out to see if i could make this work. the singers had similar voices, so i invited one to let me experiment a bit with her voice. i descovered by introducing a couple db of pad on the mic, raising it up and tilting off axis (down toward the floor), and turning the gain up on the preamp i was able to smooth her vocal out tremendously. just thought i would share.