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Mic and pre/channel strip suggestions for harsh female pop vocal? Condenser Microphones
Old 6 days ago
  #1
Mic and pre/channel strip suggestions for harsh female pop vocal?

I'm having issues with ear piercing harsh vocals on a particular female pop vocal in the 1k to 5k area. Especially around 3k. The particular vocals was recorded with a U87AI into a LA610 MkII from about 20 cm distance in a dead room (all walls and ceiling covered with 10 cm rockfon plates). Settings on the LA610 was Gain: 0db, Mic : 2k, Level : 5, High : 0, Low : 70, -9, Peak reduction : 5, Gain : 5, Mode: Comp.

Putting the Soothe plugin on the vocals helped, but I would like to find a combo that deals with harshness while tracking.

I welcome suggestions on microphones and preamps / channel strips that are good for smoothing out this area in pop vocals.
She does sound harsh when singing louder in any room so I guess I'm looking for something flattering.
Old 6 days ago
  #2
First off get rid of the u87ai it is kind of harsh (atleast not smooth) and the 3k resonance isn't that nice especially on the ai. I'm sure the preamp isn't the bottle neck and i suggest you demo a couple of the mic's that is usually mentioned around here within your budget range.

If money isn't an issue the u67re is probably one of the best mics available currently in production. Other then that a c12/251 is always nice. If you can afford a vintage there is the usual suspects, u67, m49, 269c etc which is really spectacular mics.
Old 6 days ago
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by mappee View Post
What other mics do you have, or are you looking to buy something different?
Your preamp would be the next consideration.
In dead room it's pretty much down to mic/pre combination and obvious the singer.
Try recording her without headphones and see how that goes, move her closer to mic and use proximity to add fullness.
Share a sample vocal, compressed and uncompressed so we get an idea of the problem otherwise it hard to make a suggestion.
I also have AR51, M149, SM57. U87AI, AR51 and M149 are modded by Andreas Grosser.

U87AI (new FET transistor and adjustments to the bias and amplification
level, 6db more gain without distorition)

AR51 (new HAUFE output transformer and a HAUN CK12 capsule)

M149 (new tube and powersupply)


I'll se if I can upload a sample.
Old 6 days ago
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
First off get rid of the u87ai it is kind of harsh (atleast not smooth) and the 3k resonance isn't that nice especially on the ai.
I have always felt that the U87ai got harsh fast on that particular vocal when she is singing louder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
I'm sure the preamp isn't the bottle neck and i suggest you demo a couple of the mic's that is usually mentioned around here within your budget range.
Good to know. I really like the LA610 for guitar and bass and softer vocals, but it might be the U87AI that brings the harshness and not the LA610.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
If money isn't an issue the u67re is probably one of the best mics available currently in production. Other then that a c12/251 is always nice. If you can afford a vintage there is the usual suspects, u67, m49, 269c etc which is really spectacular mics.
A bit out of my price range at the moment but they will be on my radar.
Old 4 days ago
  #5
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not a substitute by any means but dynamic eq plugin is what i use to deal with this issue. I've had great results.

ej
Old 4 days ago
  #6
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I didn't read other replies so apologies if this is a repeat ...

the 610 is not a hi-fi circuit - it never was. - its cool though

the 87ai is not a mic to be used at 20 cm - try 30 + without the pad being used.

also, what gain settings are you using - it's all too easy to overcook both the 87ai and the 610??
Old 4 days ago
  #7
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edva's Avatar
Maybe it's time to consider adding a nice ribbon mic to your arsenal.
Or perhaps a "darker" sounding Neumann, e.g. U89 or TLM 193.
IMHO. Good luck.
Old 4 days ago
  #8
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chrischoir's Avatar
 

ai is harsh.

try a sm7. The preamp doesn't matter as long as it is quality
Old 4 days ago
  #9
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LAtoNash's Avatar
On a budget, the Oktava MK-319 with your tube pre would likely help tame those frequencies. If you remove the resonator discs and the inner mesh, it almost has a ribbon quality, but with more detail. Otherwise, if you can rent a U67, that should really do the trick.
Old 4 days ago
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyMac View Post
the 610 is not a hi-fi circuit - it never was. - its cool though
What do you mean with hi-fi? Clean and clear or colored?
Or that the circuit is not high end or especially good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyMac View Post
the 87ai is not a mic to be used at 20 cm - try 30 + without the pad being used.
Thank you for the tip. I will try futher away next time I track her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyMac View Post
also, what gain settings are you using - it's all too easy to overcook both the 87ai and the 610??
It was :
Gain: 0db, Mic : 2k, Level : 5, High : 0, Low : 70, -9, Peak reduction : 5, Gain : 5, Mode: Comp

In retrospect I should maby have set the Gain to -10db, Level to 7, Peak reduction to 2.5 and the comp Gain to 10 to get a cleaner less compressed signal. I also tracked with the low eq on 70hz -9db as a hfp. This probably made the signal to bright and harsh sounding. I will try to warm up the signal with low eq 70hz set to +3db and high eq set to -3db at 4.5k.
Old 4 days ago
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejsongs View Post
not a substitute by any means but dynamic eq plugin is what i use to deal with this issue. I've had great results.

ej
I finally managed to de-hash the vocals with Soothe.
Old 4 days ago
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by edva View Post
Maybe it's time to consider adding a nice ribbon mic to your arsenal.
Thanks. The AEA R84 is on my list.
Old 4 days ago
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
ai is harsh.

try a sm7. The preamp doesn't matter as long as it is quality
Thanks. Have had that befor but It felt flat and boring to me.
Maby it sounds better and comes more alive with a Cloudfliter.

Im a bit unshure if the cloudlifter will help much when I have a BAE 1073 and the LA610.
Old 4 days ago
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by LAtoNash View Post
On a budget, the Oktava MK-319 with your tube pre would likely help tame those frequencies. If you remove the resonator discs and the inner mesh, it almost has a ribbon quality, but with more detail. Otherwise, if you can rent a U67, that should really do the trick.
So the U67 is the best mic to tame harsh vocals in the 1k to 4k area?
Old 4 days ago
  #15
Gear Addict
 
nbrecording's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
I'm having issues with ear piercing harsh vocals on a particular female pop vocal in the 1k to 5k area. Especially around 3k. The particular vocals was recorded with a U87AI into a LA610 MkII from about 20 cm distance in a dead room (all walls and ceiling covered with 10 cm rockfon plates). Settings on the LA610 was Gain: 0db, Mic : 2k, Level : 5, High : 0, Low : 70, -9, Peak reduction : 5, Gain : 5, Mode: Comp.

Putting the Soothe plugin on the vocals helped, but I would like to find a combo that deals with harshness while tracking.

I welcome suggestions on microphones and preamps / channel strips that are good for smoothing out this area in pop vocals.
She does sound harsh when singing louder in any room so I guess I'm looking for something flattering.
I would try this retro fit for the U87A1, before changing anything else.

innerTube Audio: The Strong, Silent Type
Old 4 days ago
  #16
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
I also have AR51, M149, SM57. U87AI, AR51 and M149 are modded by Andreas Grosser.

U87AI (new FET transistor and adjustments to the bias and amplification
level, 6db more gain without distorition)

AR51 (new HAUFE output transformer and a HAUN CK12 capsule)

M149 (new tube and powersupply)


I'll se if I can upload a sample.
I'd give a try to a different positioning and maybe NOT boosting 5kHz on the eq.. or since you have it the m149 (one clic after the cardioid pattern).
Sometimes is really a matter of finding the right mic for that specific source..

generally speaking (but it is also taste and goals dependent) a nice ribbon mic helps a lot with harsh vocals, AEA R84 and Coles 4038 are really great on vocals in that case.

I hope this helps,



Cheu
Old 4 days ago
  #17
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studiostuff's Avatar
 

Neumann M49

Like buttah...

Last edited by studiostuff; 4 days ago at 03:38 PM.. Reason: damn spell check
Old 4 days ago
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
So the U67 is the best mic to tame harsh vocals in the 1k to 4k area?
It's really awesome. It's smooth like anything else and you practically get a desser build into the circuit.

I heard one of the tube mods for a vintage u87 and it really came to life. Worth a try since you already have a u87.

For an all-in you have m49, 269 and ofc 251/c12. There is nothing that is more fun when you only have to basically highpass and compress and you're done
Old 4 days ago
  #19
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studiostuff's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
I heard one of the tube mods for a vintage u87 and it really came to life. Worth a try since you already have a u87.
He does not have a U87... He has a U87ai.
Old 4 days ago
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by studiostuff View Post
He does not have a U87... He has a U87ai.
There are tube fits for the ai too i believe?
Old 4 days ago
  #21
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studiostuff's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
There are tube fits for the ai too i believe?
I was trying to make a joke because I prefer the original item compared to the new version. Tubes or no tubes...
Old 4 days ago
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by studiostuff View Post
I was trying to make a joke because I prefer the original item compared to the new version. Tubes or no tubes...
I do too I got two good vintage ones myself. Doesn't use them much though since i both got u67 and a 269c.
Old 3 days ago
  #23
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LAtoNash's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
So the U67 is the best mic to tame harsh vocals in the 1k to 4k area?
The U67 has a way of making overly bright voices sound much better. I rented one for my last album and loved how it sounded. It also takes EQ very well. If you can rent on of those, you will be way ahead of the game. Having Blackbird Audio Rentals here in Nashville is really nice. I hope to buy one someday. The new ones sound great too.

As I mentioned, try the Oktava with those easy mods. It makes it fairly dark and may help you to record her voice with a natural attenuation in those troubled areas. That capsule is sounds really good. I picked one up cheap on Ebay. It sounds really good on acoustic guitar, as well.
Old 3 days ago
  #24
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LAtoNash's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by crille_mannen View Post
I do too I got two good vintage ones myself. Doesn't use them much though since i both got u67 and a 269c.
Lucky you! If you have a Swedish Supermodel girlfriend, I am going to be pissed though...haha.
Old 3 days ago
  #25
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Considering how cheap they are, if I were you...
I'd definitely get an Oktava 319.

As a similar effect the the U67, the 319 helps minimize sibilance.
I have a very bright voice (works great for live!), so here's an example of the stock 319 taming my voice...
Attached Files

Song 60oldwaysdie319final.wav (1.57 MB, 230 views)

Old 3 days ago
  #26
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With all due respect to the mighty Neumann U67,
I actually prefer the slightly "darker" Bock 67 on my voice. IMHO also there seems to a minority percentage of U67 issues, that have capsule tuning issues/tube issues/etc, as per Klaus Heyne.
Chris
Old 3 days ago
  #27
Great thanks for all answers.

So will U67 help to smooth out the 1k to 4k in addition to the sibilance 9k to 13 k area?

I have tried 3 different neumann mic’s now (M149, U87ai and Tlm49) and they all sound harsh on my and her vocals. I’m beginning to wonder if they all have a hard/cold sound to them. Maby it’s just the Neumann sound? Even for the u67 and u47?

In comparison my AR51 does not sound harsh. It sounds pretty smooth in comparison to my Neumann mic’s.
Old 3 days ago
  #28
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This is why I love quality ribbon microphones.
Dreaming of an AEA 44 someday, although their new take on the BK-5 is super interesting!

Am also a Neumann U47 FET, and Bock iFET fan, for smoother vocals.
Chris
Old 3 days ago
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
This is why I love quality ribbon microphones.
Dreaming of an AEA 44 someday, although their new take on the BK-5 is super interesting!

Am also a Neumann U47 FET, and Bock iFET fan, for smoother vocals.
Chris
I have read people here say that the R84 is much more verastile and just as good sounding as the AEA 44?
Old 3 days ago
  #30
A 1073... not a scoop, yet adaptable with your microphony & appliant to this need.
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