VIXX’s Vocal Analysis: Leo

Leo

Vocal Range

B2 – E6 (3 octaves, 2 notes and 1 semitone)

Supported Range

N/A

Voice Type

Light Lyric Tenor

Strengths/Achievements

  • Able to sing with a somewhat clean legato
  • Registers are somewhat equal in development
  • Able to “project” due to correct jaw position
  • Transitions into falsetto can be within the same key
  • Able to sing through songs with most of the pitch correct

Weaknesses

  • Support is absent from his voice entirely
  • Placement tends to cause issues with pitch outside of his mix
  • Never sings with a lifted soft palate
  • Singing is generally very throat based
  • The larynx is almost never neutral
  • Unable to mix without pushing the voice out with volume instead
  • Falsetto is generally airy and shows big contrast in volume compared to the rest of the voice
  • Chest voice is very airy and lacks projection
  • Every register is accompanied by shallowness and airiness in tone
  • Bad diction is present causing his throat to sound closed

Registers

  • Lower register: One of Leo’s least showcased registers. Even around F#3/G3 notes are usually unsupported, airy, and accompanied by a non-neutral larynx.
  • Mixed register: Leo’s most showcased register. Notes in this register are often throat based and placed in his nose the whole way up with his larynx starting to rise around E4.
  • Upper register: Debatably Leo’s least showcased register. A throat based, nasal, overly airy falsetto that is barely truly used.

Agility

Leo is no stranger to this aspect of his voice, often adding runs to songs. Despite this, Leo’s runs are never done with any precision or accuracy causing them to come out sloppy or done with no true thought for the melody. The result is thus vocal lines that become too soft and quiet in tone quality and volume, where the pitch is not defined and the runs sound more like slides. He is unable to sing runs with any sort of separation in pitch from note to note, instead opting to wander around the center of the pitch sliding from one note to the other without a direction, as heard in “Because Of You“, “그리워 그리워“, “I Miss You So Much” and “B.O.D.Y.”

Overall analysis

One of VIXX’s two main vocalists, Leo is often praised for his high notes and “strong, stable” voice. Gifted with a voice that’s got a lot of potential both in range and tone quality, he is able to handle singing very difficult vocal lines even prior to training. He’s always shown that his voice is naturally high and as a very light tenor, he’s able to continuously sing in a high range despite not having proper breath support. Regardless of that though, he’s been able to showcase a range of full 3 octaves which show how much potential his instrument naturally has.

Starting from his lower register, Leo has shown an extreme lack of development here with notes even as high for a male like him like F#3 and G3 lacking any actual support. Instead these notes are airy, placed in his nose, and a non-neutral larynx position all the way down to B2. Leo’s issues may be attributed to the fact that he seems to have a rather shy personality which comes off in both his speech and his singing. As such, he tends to whisper a lot when speaking instead of using his thyroarytenoid muscles in his vocal cords. This results in Leo lacking any presence of an actual chest voice, which causes his voice to be very soft and airy throughout the whole third octave from C3 to B3. This can be heard in the Eb3’s in “My Everything”, and “뒷모습“, C#3 in “차가운 밤에” and “I Don’t Want to be an Idol.” Adding onto this, he not only sings with a high larynx, but the airiness and soft tone he uses to speak also cause him to speak with a high larynx. This translates into his singing where he whispers a lot of his chest voice with a high larynx and then pushes it down in order to create tone due to the lack of development of his chest voice, as heard in the Eb3 and B2 in his musical performance of “Matahari.” The final product of this lack of development is a full of octave of his voice where there’s barely any true tone or color that can be heard.

Leo’s mix also shows a lack of true development: being throat based even before his first passagio with his larynx already shooting up even before E4. Throughout his mixed voice, due to lack of development of a chest voice, he tends to sing with a very bright tone and with a lot of lightness throughout. So in order to create more volume in his mixed voice, he compresses his throat around his larynx to force out more sound with unhealthy tension. As he ascends he begins to push and yell his notes, but due to singing with correct jaw positioning these notes are “projected” instead of being trapped in his throat and nose as seen in his A4’s in “Beautiful Liar“, “대준돼“, “To Heaven” and “I Don’t Want to be an Idol“, is Bb4’s in “Mirotic“, “Love Letter“, “Secret Night“, and “Outlaws Of Love“, his B4’s in “Please“, “Voodoo Doll (live radio)“, “청춘이 아파“, “마지막 승부“and “G.R.8.U.”  (and the live picnic version), his C5’s in “Eternity“, “Light Me Up” and “Error“, his C#5’s in “Mirotic” and “Love Letter“, his D5 in “Chained Up“, and his Eb5 in “Spider.” Another issue that he faces in this range is the use of a larynx vibrato that causes a tense, almost painful sound in his belts.

The issue of compression in his mixed voice isn’t present only in his higher notes, but can happen even in the lower part of his range. In order to compensate for the lack of volume, he’ll use a lot of throat tension to push his voice out and that causes him to not sound relaxed or in control of his voice. Instead he sounds shouty and his overall tone lacks roundness. His voice for the most part just sounds very constricted and tense, showing that there’s no real point in his mixed voice range where he’s able to sing without tension or by being relaxed. This can be heard in the Eb4 in “Please“, E4 in “Matahari“, F4 in “Words to Say“, F#4 in “G.R.8.U.“, and the G4’s in “이별공식.” Not only that, but even when singing in a lower range he tends to sing the most closed version of vowels, being unable to place his voice anywhere but his nose. He tends not to open his mouth much and use very closed throat shaping when singing softer which cause his voice to sound very muffled.

Leo’s falsetto is barely explored, when used it is usually nasal and throat based. Due to Leo’s unhealthy placement, he tends to often drift off the center of pitch and go flat even on basic phrasing as heard in “Snowflower.” On one hand, he is able to transition into his falsetto quite easily and most of the time his transitions stay within the original key center of songs, but due to the excessive airiness in his voice he’s unable to find the center of pitch when singing in his falsetto. This can be heard in “청춘이 아파“, “Secret Night“, “Love Letter” and “눈물이 뚝뚝 .” Since he does not connect his vocal cords properly, he’s been unable to develop the correct muscle coordination and strength to produce more volume and dynamics in his upper register. Thus he’s only able to sing with a falsetto and has never shown the ability to sing with a head voice. As he reaches his higher range further into the fifth octave and up to the sixth octave, his falsetto becomes a lot more strangled and squeezed, being very thin in tone as heard in the High Note Battle between VIXX, BtoB and MYNAME.

Throughout his whole range, musically speaking, Leo fails to deliver songs with any sort of true connection simply due to the fact that he is unable to sing with a good sense of dynamics. When he sings, most of the time even in the fourth octave, he tends to opt for an airy and raspy tone, which is very quiet and can cause his vocal cords to become irritated overtime. The one other volume he goes for is a very loud push of air that he’ll go for in his mixed voice, so in between these two volumes there’s nothing. He’s unable to sing with any other type of dynamics that aren’t fortissimo or piano. He has shown improvement in his pitch overtime which may be due to confidence or simply using more of his vocal cords when singing, where he’s now able to sing songs with a more centered pitch throughout than earlier in his career. However before he debuted, in 2008, it is possible to hear that Leo used to sing with a more neutral larynx than he does now.

Despite his weaknesses, Leo is a vocalist who’s full of potential. Not a lot of untrained tenors can sing as high as he can and that is impressive in itself. He’s always had a very wide range where he’s able to sing, however without fine tuning there’s a good chance he could end up damaging his voice and not being able to sing the way he’s been used to anymore. In order to protect his voice and keep his career as a vocalist, going back to the basics and learning to first breathe properly for singing and then addressing issues with the development of his vocal cords and his speech would help him develop his singing much further if he’s able to find the right instructor who can help him better his overall vocal technique.

Musicianship

Leo tends to not approach music with a sense of creativity, tending to sing without any changes in dynamics and usually only adds high belts to his covers of songs. Leo’s main vocal aspect is adding high notes to his vocal performances. He doesn’t rely much on runs, changes in tone quality, changes in melodic parts of songs or rhythmic changes, relying mostly on singing as loudly and as high he can to show off that side of his voice.

Rating

Weak Vocalist

Vocal Range Video(s)

Video by: Mariel Ang

Best Vocal Performance(s)

Analyzed by Haruko & Ahmin

Advertisements

About ahmin3

kitsunemale from YouTube, AhMin33 from Twitter and Ahmin from OneHallyu! https://www.youtube.com/user/KitsuneMale

184 thoughts on “VIXX’s Vocal Analysis: Leo

  1. Hi ^^ I want to ask if, in this video, Hongbin is not supporting and I feel he doesn’t have a good diction or he is kinda nasal, right?… I’m trying to understand those concepts and baritones are difficult to analyze for me (I thought BTS Taehyung and Hwanhee were nasal):

    And another question, how do you solve the throaty problem? ’cause I think my voice is a lot in my throat, sometimes is uncomfortable and others it dries my throat a lot.

    Like

    1. I mean it’s not a live video but he doesn’t really drop his jaw much when he sings. There’s no support, just improper throaty singing, nasality and no support. So you’re right but you thought V was nasal? He is, yes. Hwanhee is not usually nasal.

      Throatiness is a bad habit causes from using the throat muscles to help the vocal cords artificially by forcing them to come together and stretch with tension instead of naturally moving and stretching on their own without tension when they’re relaxed. So the way to fix that is to teach yourself to sing softly, with tone, no airiness, no pushing of air, no tension. To sing lightly, with connected tone and with no muscles being overworked. To know you’re doing it right or wrong, you need to hear someone doing it right and emulate them, as well as having them help you fix yourself by addressing minimal details.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much ^_^. I think I was pushing too much air so now I’m going to practice with your advices (I’ve already tried with them and it feels better, I was really tense in my throat and I unconsciously tried to use chest voice, bad habits are difficult to correct :D) and try to improve my head voice.

        As for the analysis on the video and the nasality, I need to practice more to identify those topics properly. Anyways, thank you very much for your answer, it REALLY helps me a lot. Have a good day 🙂 .

        Liked by 1 person

    1. G5 to C5, he has support there? If he can’t support Eb3 ~ Eb4, there’s absolutely no way he could somehow find support that high. He has no support, he is slightly better than Henry sure but that doesn’t mean he’s able to support.

      Like

  2. Hello! Thanks for the detailed analysis, really love this website. Excited for the upcoming analysis for Day6’s Sungjin. I’ve read the rules and I know you guys won’t be analysing rappers, but I wanted to know if you’d be doing analysis for any of the other members in the group? For instance, Young K and Jae rap but are also vocalists at the same time, and day6 has plenty of live, acoustic performances which could be used as really good material for analysis in my opinion. Interested to know how’d you rank and analyse their vocals because they all have very different styles/techniques in my opinion. Thank you!

    Like

    1. Hi there! ^ ^ Thank you for your compliment! Well you see, the rules aren’t restricted to rappers alone, we also make rules so that we don’t wast time analyzing vocalists who have a fairly similar amount of skill within the same group, so that would be another reason we may not analyze any other members of Day6. Actually as of now, the member of Day6 to be analyzed could very well change, everything could change. We are just waiting on more material, more information to appear as well. ^ ^ They do have somewhat different styles, but technique wise the average skill level is fairly similar from what I’ve noticed. But anything could change when we do get to 2015 debuts. ^ ^

      Like

    1. Not exactly. It’s possible, but being part of a musical could help him vocally ONLY if he receives actual vocal lessons. There’s a myth that if you do musicals, you’ll improve but if you’re not being taught to fix bad vocal habits, there’s absolutely no way to improve automatically like that. He would need an instructor.

      Like

      1. Idk if he’s improved any, but hopefully appearing on singing shows will encourage him to improve/get lessons or something –> tends to happen to other idols.

        How does he do here? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeghkvDxohw
        this is his first time on duet song festival, i think I see the same problems with Leo but he’s less breathier than normal at least?

        Like

      2. There’s no real change in the way he is singing, he may be using less airiness stylistically but he is still not supporting his voice at all.

        Like

      1. Ah well I mean on this site, considering he and Henry have the least technique haha. I find his voice pleasant enough as a singer tho. 😛
        And thank you for the answer!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi. This Hongbin’s cover of Save Room by John Legend. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Rul80YYX454 Do you hear any sense of support, shallow? How was his mixing here? It sounds bright and quite balance for me. What are his issues in this cover?

    Another question: How would you rank them techinically in their technique? Given that Ken is the strongest.

    Ken>>Leo>N>Hyuk>Hongbin?

    Like

    1. I hear no real support, it’s just off of his throat. He’s singing without support, it’s shallow. He barely mixed, I don’t know where you’re hearing that he’s balanced but he was only singing as high as Bb3, which for a baritone isn’t mixed yet. He mixed at the end with the Eb4 and C#4 I think, which was very chesty actually. I wouldn’t rank them amongst weak vocalist since I don’t know them well enough to separate them. Where did you think he mixed?

      Like

  4. Hi Ahmin! It’s me again. Hahaha. Simple question: if you would be generous enough. What would be Leo’s supported rAnge?? I guess its G#3 – Eb4?

    Like

  5. Hi! So to be completely honest I have no idea what I’m talking about or listening for regarding vocal technique (although I’m slowly learning through these analyses among other things), and I was wondering what you thought of Leo’s high note at 3:28 in this Beautiful Liar performance: https://youtu.be/UTB7HMYw2sU. It sounded much more open and clear than I can remember him ever singing live and certainly better than the rest of the song. Then again it could just be nothing, so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you!

    Like

    1. It’s very shouty. It sounds like the usual way where he approaches notes by singing with a high larynx and a lot of volume and overly opening his mouth so the sound comes out as loud as he can push it out.

      Like

    1. He is just able to drop his jaw enough so that he can project his voice, but his placement is rather shouty and from his throat.

      Like

  6. Hello! I enjoyed reading this, and while I absolutely agree with everything you mentioned (I often find myself praying he doesn’t sing out of pitch, or scream, or become too breathy / throaty whenever he performs live), as someone who absolutely loves Leo I can’t help but stay optimistic and hope that he would improve.

    He has done three musicals and is currently preparing for his fourth. Given all the practice he got doing those, during their Shangri-La live performance for Dingo Music would you say there was any significant change in his voice and/or technique?

    I’d love to know what you think. Thank you for all the hard work you put into making your analyses!

    Like

    1. No, unfortunately he seems to be singing with the same bad habits he’s gotten over the years. For him to change his vocal technique would require a conscious effort, knowing that the current way he sings is not healthy for his voice.

      Like

      1. Thank you for responding so quickly!

        I see what you mean, and I hope Leo would be aware of this in order to improve. You’ve mentioned in your analysis that Leo has great potential and I wish he’d be able to maximize that.

        Btw, I went and checked his vocal range video and in the description it says he has a supported range from D3/E3 to G4. Would you say it was an error on the part of the vocal range video or is it a matter of inconsistency with the technique Leo uses?

        Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions!

        Like

      2. As you know that vocal range video wasn’t made by me. Anything said by other people on Youtube like that just because they made a range video isn’t necessarily reliable. It’s not anything to do with inconsistencies, it’s just misinformation.

        Like

  7. Dear Ahmin,
    could I, please, have your analysis of Leo, Ken, Daehyun and Youngjae translated to Korean and include it as a part of fan letter to VIXX and to B.A.P? Of course, I am going to emphasize that the analysis wasn’t done by me and I would like to (besides giving all the credit to you) include a link to this website. Me and dozens of people from my country are really big fans of the mentioned groups and we really want the singers to improve their vocal technique. If we just write that it’s bad/not good, it would be in vain because none of us is a vocal coach (thus can’t provide with a proper vocal analysis). 😦 Your analyses would really help us in terms of having some impact and making the singers to reflect on them and maybe, finally stop destroying their vocal chords (especially in Leo’s and Daehyn’s case). Please.

    Like

    1. Hi dear! I would be honored if that was done! One of my happiest moments is when I can help them and if they can read the analyses, I’ll be really happy to help them. Now do you have someone who could translate the analyses accurately?

      Like

      1. Hi, thank you so much for your approval! I am so happy. xD I have a friend who can speak Korean fluently and even teaches it + her boyfriend is Korean so if there was some phrase or word she couldn’t translate, I am sure that he would help. 🙂 Once again, I’d like to sincerely thank you! Let’s hope that Leo, Ken, Daehyun and Youngjae will get better really soon. 🙂

        Like

      2. If there are specific terms she needs to know how to say in Korean, like musical terms, I can translate those. I could write the analyses in Korean myself but it wouldn’t be professional enough which is why I don’t do it. So if she has any questions of words she is not sure how to translate, like note names, I can translate. For an example C5 is 3옥타브 도 in Korean, which she may not know if she isn’t familiar with that terminology in both languages.

        Like

  8. Hi guys I don’t know if you are familiar with other vixx line N and hyuk
    http://aminoapps.com/page/vixx/5791164/vocal-analyses-n
    1In this website first paragraph about N voice they mentioned that hyuk is baritone is this true ??
    2 I know this stupid but I think n and hyuk sound better than Leo is there any chance to analyse one of them since you analysis half vocalist in group N is lead vocalist(leader+vocalist=lead vocalist hh)

    Like

    1. We won’t analyze any other members of VIXX cause even if they’re slightly less tense than Leo, they don’t support so you know what the end result will be unfortunately. I’m not sure if Hyuk is a baritone.

      Like

    1. It’s not that it’s any trouble, I just don’t know what “what can you say about this” means. It could mean anything, what are you asking exactly? ._.

      Like

      1. Well 1:43 ~ 1:50 ish he was REALLY flat, like completely off the notes he was supposed to hit. Hongbin is not a lead vocalist, he is a rapper. It’s not fair to judge his singing. He has a nice voice, he is a baritone, but he has no basis of technique.

        Like

      1. Perhaps I haven’t made myself clear. He can sing, everyone can sing. But if you look at Leo, their main vocalist, and you look at his rating based on his technique, wouldn’t it be safe to assume that a lead rapper wouldn’t have better technique than the main vocalist? As I said, he has a nice voice, he is a baritone, but he has NO basis of technique. He does not support his voice AT ALL. He sings almost entirely from his throat, he is never truly relaxed and he has very major pitch issues. He has potential of course, but it has to be honed and it has not been honed yet. It’s useless to really wonder or expect a lot out of rappers and sub-vocalists because they’re not trained to have the basics of singing. 99% of sub-vocalists in any group in K-pop have no support, even many main vocalists don’t have support so expecting so much out of a lead rapper is just not realistic. So perhaps I haven’t made the concept of support clear. Support is the first thing you need in singing, to be relaxed, sing with the right amount of air pressure and the vocal cords alone, no outside tension from the larynx, throat, jaw, tongue, etc. Leo doesn’t have support when he sings and neither do the other sub-vocalists and rappers of VIXX and 99% of K-pop groups.

        Like

  9. Hello ahmin3! I am so thankful for your analysis on Leo! Glad you are helping everybody in this community out! I have a question for you: For Leo’s best performance (the king of masked singer one; “To Heaven”), why was that his best performance? Was his vocal technique performed better than usual or was their a drastic change in his vocal technique? Thank you for being such a great moderator and replying to everybody as fast as you can!

    Like

    1. I think the biggest reason was that he was singing in a relatively lower and more comfortable range for a good amount of the song compared to others, so he had less chances to strain. Thank you btw! ❤

      Like

  10. I don’t think this is assessment is at all unfair, but I confess my heart is still a little broken. Ah well, I still love him. ❤

    Like

  11. Your analysis helped me to understand why moments of Leo’s singing which should be spectacular are only tantalising. IIUC what he needs is more vocal training and practice. I don’t know how much control idols have over their training and development, but I dislike the idea of Jelpi saying “Well, you’re good-looking and nine hundred feet tall, that’s all you need for this group”, or Leo himself settling for that – especially given the potential damage to his voice which again IIUC can result from poor technique. The companies never seem to protect their investments well.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi I really liked your analysis. I have a question, so if you have time, please answer it. If Leo has no support in his voice, does it affect the stability if his voice? Because I’ve heard him sing and I think his voice isn’t that stable and firm compared to Ken. So am I wrong here?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s