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Review and advice on recording?
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Jasonmalarkey
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#1
6th January 2013
Old 6th January 2013
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Review and advice on recording?

Hi

Thank you in advance for any help. I'm new to recording and really looking to achieve studio quality. I have attached a WAV vocal and i'm not happy with how it sounds. My question is whether this can be processed to sound great of whether i'm not getting a good enough recording yet?

There's no processing, just recorded straight in to the DAW via a condensor mic with standard pre amp that came with the mic and then in to Motu Hybrid Ultralite.

I've played around with mic position and room and still not getting the close, warm sound i'm after so i'm wondering if I need to do anything to improve the recording? Better pre amp etc or whether I can get what i want from processing, eq etc?

Any help much appreciated.

J
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File Type: mp3 Trial vocal.mp3 (650.0 KB, 71 views)
#2
6th January 2013
Old 6th January 2013
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Got a lot room ambience added in the recording. that will probably force you to match that room with the other instruments. If you can record the vocal more dry, it'll make life easier later, as you can add whatever will be needed during the mix stage.
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6th January 2013
Old 6th January 2013
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Yes, way too much of room in there, almost sounds like bathroom recording - to get a more warm and intimate sound, you have to get rid of these reflections. Search the forum for room treatment, you will find a lot of hints and tricks to improve your recording space. Or try recording in another room that is less reflective. Condensers tend to pick up much more of the room than dynamic mics, maybe you should try out a nice dynamic if you can't change your room situation right now.

Also there's some serious clipping going on, you should record at a lower level, not only to avoid clipping but also to leave some headroom.
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6th January 2013
Old 6th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chk23 View Post
Yes, a lot of room in there, and there's some serious clipping at some points, you should record at a lower level, not only to avoid clipping but also to leave some headroom.
Agreed.
Make sure that any instruments you record are at lower levels, so that when it is time to record the vocals you do not feel like you are forced to push the input so loud to hear yourself over the music where you are flirting with clipping.
That aside, I think the mic itself sounds decent, and has potential to get you a much better result.
Try a few simple acoustic treatments to reduce the room effect that you are getting.
Hang some moving blankets, sleeping bags from the ceiling, or draped over mic stands, chairs;.. whatever you can do to get some sound absorbing materials around you. Even pillows on the floor, can alll be effectivly utilized to reduce the inherit "room echo" that is being printed with your vocal.
You can't process that out, it has to be addressed.

Best of luck!
Hope you can post a new and improved recording sample.
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Jasonmalarkey
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6th January 2013
Old 6th January 2013
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Thanks

Thank you, feedback is much appreciated. I was thinking the lack of 'closeness' was due to a sub standard pre amp and so was looking at mic pre's to purchase so you've save me money!

Would a reflexion filter make much difference in the same room?

I'll do room treatment and see how that impacts and post the results. I'll also bring the level down to prevent clipping.

Big old learning curve this recording malarkey!

thanks

J
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6th January 2013
Old 6th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonmalarkey View Post
Thank you, feedback is much appreciated. I was thinking the lack of 'closeness' was due to a sub standard pre amp and so was looking at mic pre's to purchase so you've save me money!

Would a reflexion filter make much difference in the same room?
A Reflexion filter can help, but it principally cuts down room reflections coming from the rear and sides of the mic (if used properly). If you're using a cardioid pattern microphone, it's less sensitive round the sides and back anyway (well, more or less). You'll still have the room reflections hitting the mic from the front (coming over your shoulder, so to speak). The best way to deal with those is to have some kind of damping behind you. As others have said, this could be as simple as a duvet hanging over a mic stand or facing your back into a corner of the room with some kind of trapping or damping in the corner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonmalarkey View Post
I'll do room treatment and see how that impacts and post the results. I'll also bring the level down to prevent clipping.

Big old learning curve this recording malarkey!

thanks

J
Definitely get the level down and get rid of the clipping. If you're getting that slightly warbly, choppy sound, you're running too hot. And certainly do something about the room treatment if you want to get the best results. How much treatment and what type is up to you, although for recording vocals, you really need to think about something that will remove (or, at least, reduce) those room reflections getting into your recordings.

Big old learning curve indeed. But a fun one - just remember to keep enjoying it!
Jasonmalarkey
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6th January 2013
Old 6th January 2013
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Thanks

Great thanks.

I'll do as suggested and see how I get on. Will definitely keep enjoying it...great to find somewhere with helpful feedback, saves getting constantly stuck with no idea what to do.

Cheers
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6th January 2013
Old 6th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonmalarkey View Post
Thank you, feedback is much appreciated. I was thinking the lack of 'closeness' was due to a sub standard pre amp and so was looking at mic pre's to purchase so you've save me money!
Yes, it's a very common reflex for people on gearslutz to blame it on the gear if they're not satisfied with their results - but in 99.9% of the cases its just lack of experience - so, glad we could help, and glad you took it the right way and are willing to learn. I never used the MOTU you're recording with, but from what I see, it seems to be a decent interface. No need to upgrade for now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonmalarkey View Post
Would a reflexion filter make much difference in the same room?
It helps a bit reducing direct reflections from the wall you're facing, but you will still catch reflections from the other walls, the floor and the ceiling, especially with a sensitive condenser. I used one of those filter screens when I started recording, mainly to keep unwanted background noise from behind the mic out of the recording, but it was only a makeshift. Basic room treatment helped much more to improve my recordings. Placing some carpets/heavy drapes around your recording space could do much more for reducing early reflections and would also be less expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonmalarkey View Post
I'll do room treatment and see how that impacts and post the results. I'll also bring the level down to prevent clipping.

Big old learning curve this recording malarkey!

thanks

J
You're welcome - we've all been there - and are still learning, I'm doing this for some years now but it's still a long road for me to walk to get near the level of the real pro slutz here.
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6th January 2013
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I didn't realize those refection filters were $300...geez.
I'm sure it helps, but I would only try it if it's in your budget, and most important if the music store would let you return it if the improvment was minimal.
It looks much nicer than a pillow...although a $300 pillow may look pretty good too. lol
If you are planning on setting up a recording room for tracking and mixing, and you would like to make the space sound and look nice and professional, than I would recommend looking into products from places like Auralex, or Real Traps.
Auralex Acoustics - World-Class acoustic foam sound control products at real-world prices!
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Jasonmalarkey
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11th January 2013
Old 11th January 2013
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thanks

Thankyou. I re-recorded with a duvet and the results were really fantastic. Learnt a lot just in the past week so it's really exciting.

I'll build the song and hopefully you'll be able to offer some constructive feedback.

thanks again

J
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12th January 2013
Old 12th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonmalarkey View Post
Thankyou. I re-recorded with a duvet and the results were really fantastic. Learnt a lot just in the past week so it's really exciting.

I'll build the song and hopefully you'll be able to offer some constructive feedback.

thanks again

J
I would like to hear it.
Jasonmalarkey
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13th January 2013
Old 13th January 2013
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Here you go Yetti. No doubt you'll spot what I could have done better so always appreciate some pointers.

J
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File Type: mp3 Test vocal.mp3 (660.6 KB, 34 views)
#13
13th January 2013
Old 13th January 2013
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0oo0 nice! big diff.
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13th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonmalarkey View Post
Here you go Yetti. No doubt you'll spot what I could have done better so always appreciate some pointers.

J
Alright!
It sounds really good Jason...the difference in recording quality between this and the original post is night and day.
It sounds like a cool tune...kind of like Crash Test Dummies and Iggy Pop kinda vibe...

Now that you have the "room echo" out of the take, when it comes time for mixing, you should be able to experiment with using some vocal track compression.
Without going too into it, try to set your compressor to where it is not doing anything during the softer passes, and only begins to become active to reduce the "hot spots" of the louder phrases of the vocal.
Less is more...a little compression goes a long way, but too much will kill the emotion and the natural performance vibe.

Is this with a reflection filter, or just the duvet covers for sound treatment?
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13th January 2013
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Excellent thanks Yetti. I'll give the compression a go. I think I've tended to over use the effects when playing around. I've got another song that I've been working on. Would really appreciate some feedback. The bits I'm having a problem with is the percussion and getting it to 'gel'.

I didn't use a reflexion filter, just the duvet :-)

J
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14th January 2013
Old 14th January 2013
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Jason what mic do you use for that recording?

What is the standard pre?

Is it possible for me to acheive similar results with an Mbox 2 interface? I have a Rhode Nt1-A in a untreated bedroom. Can you give me advice? :D
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14th January 2013
Old 14th January 2013
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Hey Grace

I'm not the best person to ask as I'm a newbie but I recorded the same vocal line with same gear and the only difference being one was in an untreated room and the other was under a duvet. The duvet one was considerably better.

I use an Opal condenser mic with standard Pre amp through a Motu hybrid. I would assume you could get similar results, just get under the duvet :-) and don't push the levels too high.

Good luck!
#18
14th January 2013
Old 14th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grace26 View Post
Jason what mic do you use for that recording?

What is the standard pre?

Is it possible for me to acheive similar results with an Mbox 2 interface? I have a Rhode Nt1-A in a untreated bedroom. Can you give me advice? :D
There is an important lesson in this thread and, with all deference to the name of the forum, it's not that you need a new pre.
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14th January 2013
Old 14th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRobb View Post
There is an important lesson in this thread and, with all deference to the name of the forum, it's not that you need a new pre.
Yes, the second take was way better than the first one. Excellent example for "treat your room first, work on your technique, then think about upgrading your gear".
#20
14th January 2013
Old 14th January 2013
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Oh thank you. I'll definitely have to treat my room then. Plus, I'm also getting new equipment so that's a plus.
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