Bb2 ~ F#6 (3 octaves and 4 notes)
F3 ~ F4/F#4
- Strongest vocalist in VIXX
- Only member of VIXX with a consistent sense of breath support
- Support is present down to F3 with consistency
- Mixed voice is relaxed and sung with support up to F#4
- Improvement has been noticeable from debut until now
- Able to use a connected head voice
- Occasionally able to show moments of accurate musicianship
- Lower range is relatively unsupported and quiet
- Vocal runs are generally sloppy and pitchy
- Too much compression present in vocal cords causing tension
- Tends to sing with a high larynx above F#4
- Nasality can be present in his voice often
- Support in his head voice is rarely present
- Lower register: His chest voice is generally quite breathy and his most underdeveloped register. The voice maintains some support below F3, but the vocal cords lack strength and development as he’s unable to project below F3.
- Mixed register: Consistent support is present up to F#4, improvement has been noticeable recently in terms of openness within his supported range. Above F#4, he generally sounds tight and sings with a high larynx.
- Upper register: Able to use a connected head voice and transitions are often well done. Tends to lack support in his head voice and go back and forth between head voice and falsetto.
Ken’s not a vocalist who’s ever been shy to try and take risks vocally. One of such risks was always his bravery in attempting to add many vocal runs, even very early on before his debut as a member of VIXX. Unfortunately, back then his runs would be very messy and lack a purpose. They’d often come out somewhat randomly and lack a musical direction, as they’d out of place and the melodic idea behind them would never be delivered effectively. This was because he’d lack the full control of his vocal cords to be able to smoothly sing through a number of pitches within the same vowel sound and still being able to separate each note without falling off the key center of the song. This can be heard in “Only One For Me“, “Same Sad Song“, “Baby Baby“, “다시 사랑할 수 있을까“, “대.다.나.다.너” and “아파.” More recently, he’s shown improvement in this career and has been able to simplify many of his runs, instead of trying to add as many notes as he can to his runs, now he’s able to sing simpler trills and slower runs with much better accuracy, as heard in a live showcase of his higher range and in performances such as “Rolling in the Deep“, “Love Letter” and “사랑에 빠지고 싶다.”
Ken debuted as one of the two main vocalists of VIXX alongside Leo in 2012. He’s known for his high notes and his powerful sound output, which is thanks to his higher tenor voice that lies within the light lyric tenor fach. This combined with an extensive mixed voice allows him to often sing in a very demanding high range. His overall tone is bright, clear and at times sultry, as he sings lower in range. He’s been able to showcase his vocal ability throughout the years by participating in many vocally focused TV shows such as Immortal Song 2, King of Mask Singer, Perfect Singer, Go Until The End, and more recently Duet Song Festival.
The lower portion of his chest voice is by the least developed part of his voice. He’s always struggled to produce a full sound as he descended lower in range, where his voice would always sound quieter and airier the lower he’d sing, as heard in “아파“, “그리워 그리워” and “어둠 속을 밝혀줘.” This problem has been somewhat addressed, as more recently he’s been able to show improvement in the range around F3 ~ G3, where now he is able to produce fuller and more connected notes with proper breath support. His chest voice stays projected only above F3, as heard by the F3’s in “사랑에 빠지고 싶다“, “그것만이 내 세상“, “서울의 달” and F#3’s in “Never Ending Story.” Below F3 though, he is still unable to maintain his vocal cords connected and generally becomes very breathy and quiet, losing volume and projection. This can be heard heard by his E3’s in “차가운 밤에“, “Never Ending Story“, Eb3’s in “Listen“, “눈물이 뚝뚝“, D3’s “Anthem“, “아이돌하기싫어“, C#3’s in “하늘을 달리다“, B2’s in “Never Ending Story“, Bb2’s in “너의 모든 순간“, “Anthem” and “사랑에 빠지고 싶다.” At times he may also push his larynx down to project below his supported range, but this results in a muffled tone instead of a full one, as heard by the C#3 in “서울의 달.”
His mixed voice is another area where some improvement has been heard throughout the years. He’s always shown that he knew how to support his voice and had a basic understanding of breath support, at least up to E4. Above E4 he’d have the tendency to let go of support to a degree and begin to sound tighter, lacking openness and not being fully relaxed. This part of his mixed voice has shown improvement, whereas before he’d show support and tightness around the F4/F#4 range, as heard in “하늘을 달리다“, “차가운 밤에“, “그것만이 내 세상” and “태어나줘서 고마워“, now he’s able to produce cleaner and more opened notes without as much tightness, as heard by the F4’s in “야생화“, “미친 존재감“, “행복하지 말아요“, “사랑에 빠지고 싶다” and F#4’s in “너의 모든 순간“, “그것만이 내 세상” and “Never Ending Story.” However, above that he still is unable to open his throat and remain relaxed. As a result, whenever he sings in the range above F#4, he tends to strain his voice, tighten his throat muscles and squeeze his voice out.
The range in which Ken sings the most unfortunately happens to be the range in which he has no support. Most of the time, Ken is known for his high belting and when singing solo or as a member of VIXX, he tends to favor songs that have him belting way outside his comfort zone. As a result, he’s often heard singing in a range where he strains his voice and shows a lot of tension mixing. The tension is caused by his throat muscles closing around his larynx when singing higher and his tendency to push a lot of air through his vocal cords and compressing his vocal cords tightly together, this causes him to sound pushed and shouty above F#4. Not only that, but he also sings with a high larynx above F#4, therefore being unable to support and remain relaxed in that range. This can be heard by the G4’s in “말하자면“, “잠시만 안녕“, G#4’s in “Error“, A4’s in “사랑이라는 이름으로“, “다칠준비가 돼있어“, “Anthem“, “태어나줘서 고마워“, “차가운 밤에“, Bb4’s in “불행했음 좋겠다“, “마지막 승부“, B4’s in “Rolling in the Deep“, C5’s in “청춘이 아파“, “My Everything“, “서울의 달“, “빗속에서“, C#5’s in “Love Letter“, Eb5’s in “서울의 달“, “사랑에 빠지고 싶다“, E5’s in “그것만이 내 세상” and F5’s in “행복하지 말아요.”
His upper register often consists of a mix between a falsetto and a head voice. At times he’ll be able to use a connected head voice where his muscles are functioning properly and at other times, he’ll use an airy falsetto instead. Regardless of what he uses, he mostly is able to stay within the key center of a song and switch without too many issues but he’s never been able to showcase support in his head voice, even though he’s able to connect it. This causes him to sound shallow and somewhat tight, especially as he sings higher above E5. This can be heard by the Bb4’s in “불행했음 좋겠다“, C5’s in “Love Letter“, D5’s in “I Miss You So Much“, his G#5’s in “사랑에 빠지고 싶다“, and throughout the range from Bb5 to F#6 in the high note battle between him and fellow VIXX member Hyuk, where he tends to add a big push of air with a high larynx to vocalize in a range where he can’t bring proper breath support.
Contrary to popular belief, Ken does not possess a whistle register. Commonly referred to as a whistle tone or “dolphin sounds” in Korean, Ken does not vocalize properly to create a true whistle register. Instead of exhaling air and allowing his vocal cords to flip up into the whistle register, Ken inhales air and causes his sound to be more of a creak that makes his vocal cords vibrate at a faster speed but is not musically usable in songs and does not count as part of his vocal range. Vocally Ken possesses enough control of his breath to manipulate his airflow in order to sing with more or less volume output within his supported range. Outside his supported range he tends to sound shouty and only be able to sing loudly in his mix. Nonetheless he possesses the basic understanding of musicality to convey emotions properly through the use of dynamics.
Ken vocally has a lot of potential shown by how extensive his overall vocal range is. However an extensive vocal range is meaningless if the vocalist doesn’t know how to control his instrument with skill and in a healthy manner. Ken is young and as such he can take vocal abuse and not show signs of permanent vocal damage yet, allowing him to sing in a higher range without support for now. As a result it is possible that he may damage his instrument in the long run if he doesn’t take care of his vocal technique. He’s shown some minor improvements lately and it’s advisable for him to work on easing up tension and not singing in such a high range as often as he does. For the future it is important that he takes care of his voice to have a long lasting career. He’s a talented young vocalist and shows potential as a vocalist, musician and as a member of VIXX, so his potential should be nurtured and developed.
Harmonically, Ken is able to blend and pull back the volume of his voice to be able to match it with whoever is singing with him. This helps him not overpower his duet partners and shows more control of his voice, as heard in “Missing You.” Musically, he often tries to add his own musical ideas, runs and adlibs to songs. This are met with mixed results, as at times he is able to sing more basic adlibs that actually fall within the key center of a song, and at other times he can become somewhat pitchy and sound off key, as heard in “Baby Baby“, “Rolling in the Deep” and “I Believe I Can Fly.”
Vocal Range Video(s)
Video by: kpoparina
Video by: Mariel Ang
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)