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-   -   EQing vocals? (http://www.gearslutz.com/board/newbie-audio-engineering-production-question-zone/784588-eqing-vocals.html)

OolalavSuperfukk 13th November 2012 12:45 AM

EQing vocals?
 
So my biggest weakness is recording and mixing vocals. Pretty much I have no clue what I'm doing. At least that's my assumption since I hate every vocal recording I do. It's not that my singing is bad, I'm guessing part of it could be mic positioning, even though I've tried many positions and simply just not knowing how to EQ. There's also the slight chance my mic just doesn't suite my voice, who knows... it's impossible to really know when you suck at doing vocals. I've gotten a lot better recently at making my backing tracks nice and clear with a big sound; however, my vocals still sound as shitty and lofi when I first started to record. It seems like every time I fix an issue with my vocals, a new one pops up. I recently figured out how to tame my sibilance; however, vowel sounds (especially the eeee sound) is incredibly harsh and brittle and digital sounding. I've mainly recorded vocals with my Shure PG27 but have also tested out my SM58 which didn't really work either.

Here's a little snippet of a cover I'm working on to show you the issue I'm talking about.... http://soundcloud.com/oolalavsuperfu...-for-gearslutz

In a way it sounds like my vocals are getting some distortion, but that shouldn't be the case cos when I look at my DAW, POD Farm, and my audio interface it doesn't show any sign of clipping. All I can say is that I'm very confused and frustrated. I just want my vocals to finally match the quality of my backing tracks. Not that my backing tracks are so great or anything, they're still lofi; however, they're at a different end of the lofi spectrum :P I hope someone can give me some advice. Perhaps I'm being to vague or maybe it's hard for you to help since I don't even know what I'm doing.... I hope that's not the case though. Thanks peachh

One_Of_them_2 13th November 2012 04:24 AM

Use a suitable refrence track when dealing with anything your unsure of.

OolalavSuperfukk 13th November 2012 05:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by One_Of_them_2 (Post 8440787)
Use a suitable refrence track when dealing with anything your unsure of.

That's what I often due, but I still struggle... This is the actual song I'm trying to cover Panda Bear -- Comfy in Nautica - YouTube

His vocals sound so much smoother and don't have a harsh sound like mine. It has nothing to do with my voice, because my voice doesn't actually sound harsh at all. It's through the recording and mixing that I get this issue. The main problem is probably in the recording phase though, cos I usually still have a bit of an issue when I listen to the vocals dry; however, one I mix them into the backing track and add compressing, EQ, reverb etc. it tends to make the unwanted sounds more prominent. Panda Bear definitely has better gear than me and had is songs mastered by professionals; however, he still records his albums from his home on his own and doesn't use a crazy amount of gear. He's still considered a lo-fi artist. So if I'm not mistaken, I don't think it's like trying to get myself to sound super professional and reach the level of a U47 running through a nice preamp. I don't think he had anything to special, in fact I think he just used a SM58 Beta for his vocals. Dunno what he used for a preamp though. You'd think I'd be able to come close. I've managed to make more vocal more clear and get rid of unwanted sibilance, but I still struggle with the harsh brittle sound. I should also add that I don't have any EQ when tracking. I just track completely dry and I still have a bit of a harsh sound.

OolalavSuperfukk 14th November 2012 03:16 AM

No one else has any suggestions? There must be something I can do to fix this issue... I'm sure there's some good recording engineers with better trained ears out there that could tell me what I might be doing wrong...

NYCruiser 14th November 2012 03:35 AM

I'd like to hear the raw vocal track you recorded. Could be the settings you are using on that Pod Farm.

5down1up 14th November 2012 03:57 AM

all i hear is reverb ... very hard to say that way !

One_Of_them_2 14th November 2012 04:50 AM

I can hear what you mean by the "Distortion" bit. It is very faint but its definitely there.

Have you tried standing a little further back from the mic and being slightly off axis?
I also think you may be hitting levels too hard. Whilst your not clipping, it sounds like 'something' is just struggling.

I had a UX1 interface once. I think it had a similar problem..
Or maybe I'm just talking s%5t.

Its 05:04am here.
I'm going to bed.

OolalavSuperfukk 14th November 2012 04:58 AM

I'll try to find another song that has the same issue, cos unfortunately the file for that song got corrupted and I can no longer access it to post the dry vocals.

5down1up 14th November 2012 05:01 AM

set up your mic as ur used to, small singing snippet is all it takes.

OolalavSuperfukk 14th November 2012 05:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5down1up (Post 8444032)
set up your mic as ur used to, small singing snippet is all it takes.

OK. I'll post a brand new vocal snippet tomorrow to show you my issue. I can't record right now because my younger brother just went to bed. If I find something I've already recorded, I'll post it tonight

Yetti 14th November 2012 05:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OolalavSuperfukk (Post 8444028)
I'll try to find another song that has the same issue, cos unfortunately the file for that song got corrupted and I can no longer access it to post the dry vocals.

Many great live vocals recorded with the Sm58...just make sure it is a "real" 58 and not a fake, the market is flooded with fakes thru ebay sellers.

You shouldn't need to eq the vocal much, but I think what you are hearing is just a crappy reverb. It is making the high's crispy and sharp, and bringing down the sound quality in a sea of muck.
I like reverb too, but try listning back and make the dry vocal sound as good as you can, and that may mean no eq at all.
Maybe try getting a decent reverb, or at least eq the reverb itself to roll off some of the high frequencies.

Hope that helps a little bit.

OolalavSuperfukk 14th November 2012 05:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by One_Of_them_2 (Post 8444015)
I can hear what you mean by the "Distortion" bit. It is very faint but its definitely there.

Have you tried standing a little further back from the mic and being slightly off axis?
I also think you may be hitting levels too hard. Whilst your not clipping, it sounds like 'something' is just struggling.

I had a UX1 interface once. I think it had a similar problem..
Or maybe I'm just talking s%5t.

Yeah, I've tried standing further and changing the mic angle, I've tested out different vocal presets on Pod Farm, I've also tried recording straight to my DAW without Pod Farm, I've tested different mics i.e. Shure PG27 condenser, Shure SM58 and a Shure SM48. The issue is there even on dry recordings, but it becomes much more prominent with when adding effects and trying to get it to sit in the mix.

What do you mean by hitting levels to hard? I'm a little confused seeing as there's absolutely no clipping, also what is this "something" that you hear struggling? Not sure if you're insinuating that I'm simply just pushing my voice to reach notes that are out of my range. If so, that's definitely not that case. I admit, I'm not that great of a singer, but this song is definitely in my range and I don't feel like I'm struggling. I could definitely see how someone may thing that from that recording due to the dreadful harsh digital distortion sound, but it's not that case, if that's what you were suggesting. I don't know if it's my UX2 that's just crapping out or not. I mean, my early recordings didn't have this issue at all, and I honestly haven't a clue what I'm doing different... I mean, I'm quite sure I'm doing the exact same thing when tracking as I used to and it's the tracking that's definitely the issue. I don't know if some settings were switched somehow or not.

OolalavSuperfukk 14th November 2012 05:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yetti (Post 8444048)
Many great live vocals recorded with the Sm58...just make sure it is a "real" 58 and not a fake, the market is flooded with fakes thru ebay sellers.

You shouldn't need to eq the vocal much, but I think what you are hearing is just a crappy reverb. It is making the high's crispy and sharp, and bringing down the sound quality in a sea of muck.
I like reverb too, but try listning back and make the dry vocal sound as good as you can, and that may mean no eq at all.
Maybe try getting a decent reverb, or at least eq the reverb itself to roll off some of the high frequencies.

Hope that helps a little bit.

Yeah, that's why I think I'm doing something wrong. I mean, I know an SM58 isn't traditionally recorded with in a studio situation; however, it certainly has been done. I know Bjork has used an SM58 for her vocals on just about everything she's recorded. It's not the reverb though. I'm not sure what the quality of my reverb is though. All I know is that it's an IR reverb that's in my DAW (Presonus Studio One Pro). I think I was using some sort of chamber reverb on that recording, not sure though. But I notice the issue even after tracking, but once I add compression, reverb EQ etc. It really brings out the nastiness from tracking. All my mics are real. I've seen comparisons of real and fake ones on youtube, not to mention the fact that all my mics were ordered from Musicians Friend. I can't decide whether or not there's an issue with my settings in Pod Farm, and issue with settings in my DAW or just an issue with my UX2 interface. I've noticed that when I don't use Pod Farm, the signal is extremely weak and when I look at the audio recorded, the waves are either none existent but still make noise or they look distorted.

Lala Land 14th November 2012 06:09 AM

I can hear distortion all over that vocal track ... jeez... to me its either something in your chain such as a bad pre or mic input on the interface, or its something to do with a rogue plugin. Your going to have to be methodical and get to the bottom of it, swap pre amps, swap mic cables, disable plugins till you find he culprit... id start with listening to the dry signal loudly and ruling out hardware issues.

OolalavSuperfukk 14th November 2012 06:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lala Land (Post 8444144)
I can hear distortion all over that vocal track ... jeez... to me its either something in your chain such as a bad pre or mic input on the interface, or its something to do with a rogue plugin. Your going to have to be methodical and get to the bottom of it, swap pre amps, swap mic cables, disable plugins till you find he culprit... id start with listening to the dry signal loudly and ruling out hardware issues.

Yeah I agree, I hear it all over the vocals. I guess some people only hear it in certain spots, so that's why I pointed out the vowels especially the "E" cos those were the most noticeable. My interface is technically a preamp as well, so I'm not using any other preamp. I'm not entirely sure I want to completely blame the UX2. I mean, there is the chance that something has now gone wrong with it and that's my main issue; however, I'm still entertaining the idea that I'm doing something wrong or there's some settings that somehow were changed. Having said that I haven't tested different mic cables yet. I've disabled all my plugins, so I know the issue is there on a dry take as well. Unfortunately I don't have another preamp to test out. Once I have the money though, I have been planning to buy a UAD Apollo, but that won't be for a while and I'd like to fix this issue asap if it's not hardware issues.

OolalavSuperfukk 14th November 2012 12:26 PM

Hey, one thing I was wondering... lets say hypothetically that it is my UX2 that's just messed up, is there some way I could use a PA system as a preamp into my computer? Or do I still need an audio interface. I'm just wondering, cos I do also own a PA system

chk23 14th November 2012 01:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OolalavSuperfukk (Post 8444737)
Hey, one thing I was wondering... lets say hypothetically that it is my UX2 that's just messed up, is there some way I could use a PA system as a preamp into my computer? Or do I still need an audio interface. I'm just wondering, cos I do also own a PA system

To rule out the preamps of the UX2 you could plug the PA system into the line inputs of the UX2 (the ones at the back of the interface, not the mic or instrument inputs at the front!), this will bypass the interface preamps.

OolalavSuperfukk 14th November 2012 01:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chk23 (Post 8444825)
To rule out the preamps of the UX2 you could plug the PA system into the line inputs of the UX2 (not the mic inputs!), this will bypass the interface preamps.

OK. Thanks for the tip. I'll have to try that out tomorrow

5down1up 14th November 2012 01:26 PM

nothing unusual that things get worse during processing & mixing, because your working on making sounds, that probably didnt show any " problems " in the first place, more audible.

of course with vocals thats harsh sounds, esses, sibliance & pops.

most know the issue from doing that mistakes more than once and spending hours of hours fixing automating etc.

but try to sort out the problem and dont make it to complicated !!!

your voice sounds as it sounds, maybe you have a different immagination in your head compared to how it finally is when its recorded.

--> thats just the big thing standing over everything.

even if you cant see any " overs " doesnt mean that theres no distortion in your sound. if the leveling is the problem, just plugin your mic and use the lowest amount of gain the preamp offers and listen if its still there.

i heard " great " singers distort like hell and it was not them sounding that way it was the equipment !

you should " rent or borrow " some things so you can swap your gear.

go and try to get the same mic and another cable from your dealer, friend etc and see if its all the same.

this way you know " mic or cable ".

if its the same, change the audio interface. 3 things you need to do to finally get the answer your looking for.

i wouldnt try to implement something else till you havent fixed that issue.

if theres a problem it can be solved.

carlosj 14th November 2012 07:01 PM

2much reverb
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 5down1up (Post 8443912)
all i hear is reverb ... very hard to say that way !

It has a lot of reverb indeed, or you are recording ata a very long distance from the mic.

Upload the raw track to see what is going on

Bjorg 58...

...Dont you get fooled by this things, surely they used that microphone.. but sure also they went into a very good mic pre and a good console and compressor gear like a 1176.. or any good thing for vocals.

Don't over use fx or processing, it is not the way to go, because there are a lot of plugins at people's disposal..it doesn't mean you have to use them so, it sounds over processed.

The trick for vocals is to make them sound natural and close so the listener gets involved, and so feels touched by someone, in this case the singer.




OolalavSuperfukk 14th November 2012 09:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carlosj (Post 8445788)
It has a lot of reverb indeed, or you are recording ata a very long distance from the mic.

Upload the raw track to see what is going on

Don't over use fx or processing, it is not the way to go, because there are a lot of plugins at people's disposal..it doesn't mean you have to use them so, it sounds over processed.

The trick for vocals is to make them sound natural and close so the listener gets involved, and so feels touched by someone, in this case the singer.



e-mixmaster.com

The reverb is from an IR reverb built into my DAW. I don't really use a whole lot of effects. All I did was double track my voice, used a lot of reverb, some compression and EQ. I don't like to use a lot of effects cos I like things to sound natural as well; however, heavy reverb is something I always do, seeing as I'm very influenced by Sigur Ros, Panda Bear, Tame Impala and The Beach Boys. Sure The Beach Boys did have their reverb nearly as wet, but you get the idea. Anyways, I'm getting this sound just from tracking dry, so I'm not going to blame the plugins, seeing as the problem is there before hand, and I'm not using many plugins to begin with.

NYCruiser 14th November 2012 10:50 PM

If you put up a dry track the problem would probably become obvious to more experienced ears.

OolalavSuperfukk 15th November 2012 01:16 AM

Ok, here are some dry vocals I just took. I just did an acapella and didn't listen to a backing track. I put each one of them down in one take, so they're a little sketchy :P I put the details on the track so you know what mic I'm using for each take. These are also completely dry vocals, absolutely no compression or EQ added. dry vocal snippet (gearslutz) by Banana Daiquiri on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

NYCruiser 15th November 2012 01:32 AM

Out of those three takes I prefer the SM58. I'm not hearing any distortion on these takes, although perhaps some questionable mic technique. I would say the distortion is being added in your processing. Possibly not taking compression well.

OolalavSuperfukk 15th November 2012 01:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NYCruiser (Post 8447032)
Out of those three takes I prefer the SM58. I'm not hearing any distortion on these takes, although perhaps some questionable mic technique. I would say the distortion is being added in your processing. Possibly not taking compression well.

Yeah, I think I got lucky this time around when it comes to distortion. I still find that my PG27 picks up too much high frequencies which is unfortunate cos it's definitely the most clear sound. Yeah, I'm not positive if I'm using the best mic technique for my voice; however, I have tested numerous distances and angling the mic. Now that you've heard the dry version of those, is there any point in my now adding effects to see what I might be doing wrong in with my plugins? Or maybe that's too difficult? I normally don't add too much. I usually just double or triple track my vocals, add a little compression and EQ and add a fair bit of reverb and sometimes a subtle touch of a quick delay without any feedback.

OolalavSuperfukk 15th November 2012 02:19 AM

Dunno if anyone knows anything about this mixer or not http://www.zikinf.com/_gfx/matos/dyn...a-emx512sc.jpg

I'm thinking about testing it out. That mixer costs a fair bit more than my UX2, so I was thinking that it may have a better preamp in it. Then again I think it's more designed for live performances, but I could be wrong. Anyone one have any opinions? Should I be recording vocals straight through my UX2 or my EMX512SC ?

Yetti 15th November 2012 02:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OolalavSuperfukk (Post 8447155)
Dunno if anyone knows anything about this mixer or not http://www.zikinf.com/_gfx/matos/dyn...a-emx512sc.jpg

I'm thinking about testing it out. That mixer costs a fair bit more than my UX2, so I was thinking that it may have a better preamp in it. Then again I think it's more designed for live performances, but I could be wrong. Anyone one have any opinions? Should I be recording vocals straight through my UX2 or my EMX512SC ?

Is there a reason why you need a mixing board?
Maybe you would get better quality of sound from a better interface with better preamps, or a better interface that allowed you to use an external mic preamp?

OolalavSuperfukk 15th November 2012 03:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yetti (Post 8447221)
Is there a reason why you need a mixing board?
Maybe you would get better quality of sound from a better interface with better preamps, or a better interface that allowed you to use an external mic preamp?

Well my assumption was that this mixer would work as an external mic preamp. I mean, it must be the case, cos I just tested it out and my vocals already sound a lot warmer and the high frequencies aren't too crisp or getting distorted.

Yetti 15th November 2012 04:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OolalavSuperfukk (Post 8447248)
Well my assumption was that this mixer would work as an external mic preamp. I mean, it must be the case, cos I just tested it out and my vocals already sound a lot warmer and the high frequencies aren't too crisp or getting distorted.

Well that's good news....at least you know the mic pre you were using was keeping you from getting the good results.
I'm sure that Yamaha mixer has channels that work as a pre amp, but if you are just trying it out and have not commited to it, I would suggest testing a dedicated mic preamp. With the mixer, you might be getting lesser quality preamp sound quality than if you spent the same money on a single, or dual channel mic preamp.
Unless you need the mixer, I would at least borrow a outboard pre and do a test. Many good budget preamp threads...I personally have a couple BLA Auteur mic preamps....2 channels for about $500 and sounds really good.

Good luck Brotha!

OolalavSuperfukk 15th November 2012 04:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yetti (Post 8447352)
Well that's good news....at least you know the mic pre you were using was keeping you from getting the good results.
I'm sure that Yamaha mixer has channels that work as a pre amp, but if you are just trying it out and have not commited to it, I would suggest testing a dedicated mic preamp. With the mixer, you might be getting lesser quality preamp sound quality than if you spent the same money on a single, or dual channel mic preamp.
Unless you need the mixer, I would at least borrow a outboard pre and do a test. Many good budget preamp threads...I personally have a couple BLA Auteur mic preamps....2 channels for about $500 and sounds really good.

Good luck Brotha!

Oh yeah, I'll definitely invest in a proper mic preamp in the near future. It seems like that is even smarter than buying a new mic. I never realized how much a preamp affected the sound. I mean, the preamp in Yamaha mixer is certainly better sounding than in the UX2, probably not a whole lot better; however, if I got a much nicer preamp I could probably get much closer to the sound I'm looking for. I'll have to start looking at mic preamps now. I'll be sure to check out your suggestion. Thanks



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