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Radio Quality Vocals / Bedroom
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Osciller
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#1
30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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Radio Quality Vocals / Bedroom

Hey there.

I've been stumped lately about my vocals, here's a bit of background information.

I'm a Producer / Songwriter. I produce all of my own instrumental, I've been doing this for a few years.
I also write all of my own lyrics, which are actually pretty good (In my opinion, at least).

Basically, I'm wondering if it's possible to get studio / radio quality vocals in an apartment bedroom?

Currently my gear is: KRK RP5's, SM57, AT2020, FOCUSRITE 2i2, K240 Headphones, and my laptop of course.

I've been experimenting with this set up for a while, and I've gotten some so so results, even a few results that I'm slightly satisfied with, but when compared with other music, it's just not there.

I do understand that the commercial music I am hearing has been mixed and mastered by professionals who do this as a living, but it can't be impossible for someone in my situation to create something listenable? I can't quite afford the High-end stuff, per say.

For instance, it's said that Mike Posner (One of my biggest influences) Recorded the single "Cooler than me" In his dorm room on a cheap Microphone. In that situation, would it have also been mixed by him as well, or would he have sent it off to a mixing engineer, and a mastering engineer as well? I've always wondered about that, does the average person who produces and records their own material, have it sent off to someone else to do the mixing?

It's just hard for me, because I have to for one, get the instrumental sounding nice. Then I have to take said instrumental and lay my vocals on top of that and try to get it to sit well, but there are all of these different things that need to be done correctly, to make the whole thing work together.

So we're talking Production, Recording, Mixing, Mastering (Or amateur level boosting, if you will, haha).

So my dilemma is, after countless hours of reading and experimenting, I'm just not satisfied with my vocals. I'm not sure if it's my voice that I'm not liking (Which I believe I am over that at this point) Or if it's my equipment, or just my skill.

I'm really at a frustrating point right now, whereas I have all of the ideas and material, but just can't put it together like I hear it in my mind.. This has been a long time..

I can post examples if necessary. But please let me know if this is just too far of reach.. Do I just keep pushing forward?


TL;DR:

I have all low-end equipment, an untreated room, no real funds to invest into this right now (I've invested all that I can so far) And have experimented for countless hours (And am willing to experiment for countless hours more) .. But I just need some sort of guidance as to where to go next.. I've read the threads, and practiced the techniques, I'm just not getting what I want.. Do I need assistance / pay someone to do the rest?

Not really a TL;DR.. But whatever.


This is basically what I'm clinging on to:




:/
#2
30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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To truly get an understanding of your situation I recommend
1) Record and mix a track at home.

2) Record at home, then send to engineer.

3) Record at decent studio and have engineer mix it.

4) Take files from the "studio" session home and mix yourself.

All of them the same song and instrumental. Seems very redundant but it will quickly clear up issyes and misconceptions you may have. It will cost a little bit but give you great insight.
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30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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Hi,

I'm pretty sure Mike Posner recorded the track with a Manley Ref c microphone, and I'm 100% sure he didn't mix nor mastered the track. Artists on big labels almost never do, and they probably don't even produce the songs either (depends which artist of course)
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30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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Solidwon is offline
The recording engineer is foolhardy to master the same project although I've been guilty of this as cats are on a budget. It's easy to lose sight of the impact that proper acoustics have on your vocals. If you are on a budget and ain't got a knot to blow on mics, I would try different mic positions, perhaps even using unorthodox mic placement to see if they agree with your voice. I would also recommend extending the mileage of the mic by utilizing mic simulators if available. You won't make Radio Shack sound like a Neumann but maybe one of the eq curves will agree with you and your clientele.
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30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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Truth is, I just recorded vocals with an sm58 for demo purposes, and I could very use it for the album, but I'll retrack them eventually. Who you record is very important... And having a Burl B2 AD converter doesn't hurt either
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30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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Indeed. The sm58 is a fine mic and you are fortunate that it captures you with such virtuosity.

Fact is, radio-like vocals is a combination of elements. Nothing you can do about the standing waves that distort your mixing and color your recordings without remodeling your area. I've found that proper speaker placement and listening to a project that's been given the million dollar treatment in your lab will kill two birds.... You will acclimate your ears and be able to mix off a reference point.
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30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solidwon View Post
Indeed. The sm58 is a fine mic and you are fortunate that it captures you with such virtuosity.

Fact is, radio-like vocals is a combination of elements. Nothing you can do about the standing waves that distort your mixing and color your recordings without remodeling your area. I've found that proper speaker placement and listening to a project that's been given the million dollar treatment in your lab will kill two birds.... You will acclimate your ears and be able to mix off a reference point.
I was actually going for a lo-fi type of sound

But it really is bullshit, since I'm recording through a 5k vocal chain + sm58, so it doesn't really count.
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30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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I once heard that Moby uses an sm57. I also heard Mf Doom uses one. Since I don't know either of these gentlemen it's probably conjecture but I do know that I have been blown away by the results that I have experienced in my travels by cats with limited resources and unlimited drive to succeed.
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30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solidwon View Post
I once heard that Moby uses an sm57. I also heard Mf Doom uses one. Since I don't know either of these gentlemen it's probably conjecture but I do know that I have been blown away by the results that I have experienced in my travels by cats with limited resources and unlimited drive to succeed.
It really depends what kind of sound you're sound. My c800g is really clean sounding, really commercial, and my sm57 is really dirty sounding, really indie. And I had to had flanger to make my voice sound less in tune.

MF Doom definitely sounds like he uses a sm57.
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30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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Your biggest obstacles are going to be your room and your skill set (not meant as a dig in any way). I can't tell you how many artists will bring in demo vocals they cut at home and as we are loading them up tell me that they think they sound good and might be useable. We pull them up and they are 100% unusable due to distortion and massive room issues and every time they say "Damn! They sounded good at my place. I didn't hear any of that!".

On the other hand, with treatment and some good gear you can cut great vocals in a converted bedroom. I can think of multiple Platinum records done this way.
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30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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Quote:
I can think of multiple Platinum records done this way.
They sure can Alanis Morissette recorded her own vocals in her bedroom for her album that reached Platinum.

CJ
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