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What do you use when the singer sucks?
Old 9th June 2007
  #1
Gear Head
 

What do you use when the singer sucks?

So I have this, erm .. friend ... yeah, and he's got a real lousy voice. Think Leonard Cohen doing a drunken duet with Rob Zombie. What would you put between him and the harddrive to make this abomination tolerable to an audience? Just your first instinct for a mic/pre/comp/eq chain. Got about a $5K budget. Not looking for miracles from any magic box, just to start with some good tools to try and polish this particular turd.
Old 9th June 2007
  #2
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octatonic's Avatar
Is it just pitch?

Melodyne is great.

If it is *other things* then you are going to be polishing that turd until it turns to chocolate sauce.
Send "him" to some vocal lessons.
Old 9th June 2007
  #3
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gsilbers's Avatar
 

do a demo session/ do a fast mix/bounce and give to him/her. let them rrealize they suck by themselves and that they need to practice.
Old 9th June 2007
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
CommunityMart's Avatar
 

Why don't YOU get some vocal lessons and tell him about your experiences? Teach him or her.

I read up here good microphones and good preamps are great for a good singer. He might need a bad microphone - to get results not like what your hearing.

How about pitch shifting the whole thing down 25 cents? Does that help?

Put a body bag of reverb on it and crank it up and give the "demo" to him.

He will want to re-track it. If he/she doesn't, there is nothing you can do, right?
Old 9th June 2007
  #5
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edvdr76's Avatar
I say get another singer......
Old 9th June 2007
  #6
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CommunityMart's Avatar
 

If you give me the track(s), I will try to convey the same emotion with My particular singing voice.

PM me. edvdr75 is right.
Old 9th June 2007
  #7
Gear Head
 

Ok, "fire him", "go practice", etc might be wise advice, but this is gearslutz.com so c'mon and ***** some hardware. I'm sure lots of you have been in this situation before ... What would you reach for if it was some spoiled punk kid with a rich father paying your bills?
Old 9th June 2007
  #8
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H-Rezz's Avatar
 

What do you use when the singer sucks?

Earplugsheh
Old 9th June 2007
  #9
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Benmrx's Avatar
 

Distortion can do wonders
Old 9th June 2007
  #10
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dlmorley's Avatar
If the pitch is ok, then roll with it!
I think Axl Rose sounds like a baby being sucked into a vacuum cleaner. Never hurt him...
Old 9th June 2007
  #11
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peeder's Avatar
 

OK if I were in your shoes i would probably go SM7, set flat, into a UA 610 cranked, into an LA-2A cranked. Comp enough takes for not only the one vocal track but also a doubling track, which you lowpass to remove annoying consonants and process differently and mix lower. Correct pitch, tasteful EQ/verb/delay, and bury in the mix by not making any space for the vocal. Consider doubling with another subliminal instrument like a synth pad or something to sweeten it if it's really awful.

BTW don't feel so bad about your voice if this is really for you.
Old 9th June 2007
  #12
Gear Nut
 

The "all buttons pressed" mode on an 1176 or Distressor can do wonders for a weak singer

jmp
Old 9th June 2007
  #13
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoMD View Post
What would you reach for if it was some spoiled punk kid with a rich father paying your bills?
Autotune, followed by compression set to "stun"

Followed by Massey THC

Followed by generous amounts of space echo

W/overdubbed pro chick singers on harmonies

All buried in a thick mix of orchestrated fuzz guitars/basses/blown-out drums.

I had a client like that once. It's a fun challenge. You'll be surprised what you can do with it.
Old 9th June 2007
  #14
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stevetgn's Avatar
I'm a pretty poor singer, guitar is my main instrument. I'll take my time though doing take after take and then when I get something acceptable tweek it with Auto Tune. My main trick though is a lot of layered harmonies. e.g. the hookline in a chorus I'll track the lead vocal again, then sing a harmony usually a third above or below and pan it hard right, sing the same harmony again and pan it half right, sing it yet again and pan it about 10.00. Then sing a parallel 5th, 4th or combination counter melody and pan it hard left, and again, again... you see where I'm going. I usually end up with 12 to 16 tracks of my voice, sometimes a lot more. If you blend them right it doesn't sound like that many voices but just your voice thicker, fuller with thick full powerful harmonies. Try It I then group all the harmonies through my tfpro P38 comp and a massive passive.

Mic pre-wise I use a focusrite ISA220 at the moment but should have my 10 slot API rack at the end of the month with a 512c in there I track with very little compression. A tiny amount for smoothing from a P38 on the slower LA2A setting and about 1dB'ish on a C2 catching any peaks.
Old 9th June 2007
  #15
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Bhang's Avatar
 

Some good comments so far.
I also say ditch him. A bad singer is a bad singer. If your music style is pretty heavy then try various layering with distortions, bit reduction, ringmods and the like and see if its too your taste, but in the end he either has or ... he sucks.


Old 9th June 2007
  #16
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roger's Avatar
 

why would anyone want to record a bad singer? a job is a job so you gotta swallow it and just go through the motions or if it breaks your spirit to record this character then you gotta pass the job up - pass him onto another 'friend' who would be more 'suitable' for his 'style'.......life is too short to dick around trying to make jokers sound passable.....he needs to wake up to himself - maybe you are the one to help him do that.
Old 9th June 2007
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoMD View Post
So I have this, erm .. friend ... yeah, and he's got a real lousy voice. Think Leonard Cohen doing a drunken duet with Rob Zombie. What would you put between him and the harddrive to make this abomination tolerable to an audience? Just your first instinct for a mic/pre/comp/eq chain. Got about a $5K budget. Not looking for miracles from any magic box, just to start with some good tools to try and polish this particular turd.
Are you saying you've got $5k to invest just for that purpose or am I misunderstanding you ?...

I wouldn't put 5 bucks in gear that could help a bad singer appear a tad less bad on a final mix... Acually I've become so very tired of spending hours editing bad drums and vocals that I'd now either refuse the job or record the band as it is (still with some reasonable editing work) and let the guys listen to how they really sound... Then they can take it or leave it, happy or not, but there's no way I'll get back to Hell anymore !... tutt

FWIW, Olivier...
Old 9th June 2007
  #18
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nlc201's Avatar
 

Tune and edit the crap out of the vocal and have the guy double it (just for posterity's sake, say). Then, hire a pro singer to come in and "double" the part as well (don't tell the original singer). Try and match the rhythm as close as possible. Use the pro singer's voice underneath the crappy singer to support it. Mix the two voices to taste and ride the crap out of them. See just how much of the pro singer's voice you can get away with without the other singer noticing. Long notes are a great opportunity to push the pro voice by the way. Do the same with background vocals if necessary. Ahhhhh....the deception.......the agony.....the fun.......
Old 9th June 2007
  #19
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

keep on with the session, and if he says, that sounds great what do you think ? i always go along with him and carry on. i do not want to tell him he sucks !!!! hell hes paying me and HE likes it. this only happens with older gospel artist at my place.
Old 9th June 2007
  #20
Gear Addict
 
RockDog's Avatar
 

a singing teacher, sorry couldn't help it he he he
Old 9th June 2007
  #21
Gear Addict
 

triple track all lead vocals and fluff around it. maybe synths. auto tune- stadium delays and other tricks. how about sans amp or distort the vocal. make sure the vocal volume is right on edge with the music. not burried but fighting for level. layer-layer-layer!
Old 9th June 2007
  #22
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidorange View Post
triple track all lead vocals and fluff around it. maybe synths. auto tune- stadium delays and other tricks. how about sans amp or distort the vocal. make sure the vocal volume is right on edge with the music. not burried but fighting for level. layer-layer-layer!

I thought i would throw this in as a thinking point, some of my artist that can sing well cannot doulbe track well usless they are use to it, my question is that if the singer sucks most likely any stacking is gonna suck to, you will only have 3 sucky voice tracks that way. You just cannot turn water into wine unless you are GOD !!!!
Old 9th June 2007
  #23
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoMD View Post
What do you use when the singer sucks?
sarcasm and the talkback button.

oh, and:

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoMD View Post
Think Leonard Cohen doing a drunken duet with Rob Zombie.
i'd pay for that album.
Old 9th June 2007
  #24
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drmmrboy's Avatar
 

Sucks how..??
Bad pitch? Unpleasent voice? No so easy on the eyes??

hello clarice..
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Old 9th June 2007
  #25
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stevetgn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drmmrboy View Post
Sucks how..??
Bad pitch? Unpleasent voice? No so easy on the eyes??

hello clarice..
LOL heh
Old 9th June 2007
  #26
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zaza View Post
I thought i would throw this in as a thinking point, some of my artist that can sing well cannot doulbe track well usless they are use to it, my question is that if the singer sucks most likely any stacking is gonna suck to, you will only have 3 sucky voice tracks that way. You just cannot turn water into wine unless you are GOD !!!!
you are correct!. if the singer sucks tone wise but can sing all the lines similar timing wise it produces a thick gooey haze that makes it more pleasant than listening to a single track. think 60-s. alot of famous stuff double tracked by less than stellar singers. ive found with 3 tracks you can edit at least a doubled lead vocal. on second thought just tell the singer they suck and buy them a drink!
Old 9th June 2007
  #27
Old 9th June 2007
  #28
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoMD View Post
Not looking for miracles from any magic box, just to start with some good tools to try and polish this particular turd.
Flanger. Lots and lots of Reverb. Maybe some sweeping filter effects that make the sound like they're underwater.
Old 9th June 2007
  #29
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DanGo's Avatar
 

An Avalon vt737 and a nice large diaphragm. Crank the input til it's just growing some fuzz and then slam it with an 1176. Trim unwanted crap with favored eq and slather on a good chorus'y delay. Sound Toys would be my choice...Echo Boy, especially.

==Dan
Old 9th June 2007
  #30
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barefoot's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
OK if I were in your shoes i would probably go SM7, set flat, into a UA 610 cranked, into an LA-2A cranked. Comp enough takes for not only the one vocal track but also a doubling track, which you lowpass to remove annoying consonants and process differently and mix lower. Correct pitch, tasteful EQ/verb/delay, and bury in the mix by not making any space for the vocal. Consider doubling with another subliminal instrument like a synth pad or something to sweeten it if it's really awful.
Yeah, I like this direction. It's more about production techniques rather than relying on particular gear to save the day. thumbsup
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