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I need ideas...stereo imaging for lead vocal
Old 15th April 2003
  #1
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Dynodawg's Avatar
 

I need ideas...stereo imaging for lead vocal

I've been racking up way too much time experimenting with a stereo image for a lead vocals and I'm getting nowhere. First, I like my vocals fairly dry, no verb and compressed hard with an 1176. I have tried stereo micing with several different setups (xy, mid-side, spaced pair, close mic-room mic) but never can get it to sound right in mono. I've flipped the phase, delayed one channel but it always sounds like crap in mono.

Lately, I tried the trick copying a single vocal track on my HDR24/96, panning one L, the other R and treating them slightly different with EQ and slight ambiance only to one side. It gives it a wider, more interesting image. Maybee I'm on the right track here?

Anyone have any other ideas? I've listened closely to material where the lead vocal has a great stereo image and when I hit mono, the vocal is perfectly clean, free of any phasing.

Sure could use some good suggestions...

Thanks,
Dyno
Old 15th April 2003
  #2
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ELI-173's Avatar
 

Stereo Imaging for lead vocal

I think you are definately on the right track by treating each side slightly differently. I find myself going with three tracks: one nice and raw up front and center with attention paid to the mid-hi frequency eq. The other two I drag around slightly, pan hard, set back a bit, and compress differently, eq differently, and I use slight chorusing. It's a total vibe thing. When it feels right, it feels right.

anyway,
just some thoughts!

stike stike
Old 15th April 2003
  #3
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Screws's Avatar
 

I've done a bunch of things in this area, some sounded good and some sucked bad.

Slight pitch up left - pitch down right.

Slight (10 - 20 ms.) delay left - different amount right. (Beware phase cancellation here)

Using two LDC mics on original vocal and panning slightly and eqing slightly different. (Beware stereo image shift here)

Play original track thru a monitor in a room and setup stereo mics as ambient sound. (Good bye dry, hello room reverb)

TC Electronic M3000 Doubling Effect. (some songs good - some puke)

Good luck on your hunt for a sound. Don't think for a minute that your experimentation time is wasted, it's more valuable than the actual result that you'll end up with.
Old 15th April 2003
  #4
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e-cue's Avatar
 

I'm not sure exactly what you are going for, but you could try this out:
Take your 2 channels that have the lead (or mult of lead on 2, or lead bus return,etc) and put graphic eq's (usually, the more bands - the better) on each insert. Boost on one band on the left channel, then cut on the same band on the right channel. Do this all the way down (usually around 3 db works for me, but each situation is different). The Altec and Sphere graphic's work pretty good for this. If you're happy with the way it sounds at this point, leave it. If you feel like you need more width/mono capability or it just sounds too quazi, bus your leads through your eq's so the lead's stay intact, boost and cut the channels as much as possible, then send this to an Edison or Desper Spatializer or you could also try just putting a 5ms delay on one side, but the edison or other spatializers usually work better. Add the processed channels in to taste and check it in mono. You'll loose some of it, but it should be at an acceptable rate to were it still sounds proportional to the rest of the song in mono.
Old 15th April 2003
  #5
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atticus's Avatar
I've gotten good results by using a mono mic as usual on the vocals and then putting a binaural mic further back in the room. Leave the mono mic dry, and put any efects on the binaural channels. Works really well for me.
Old 15th April 2003
  #6
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doug_hti's Avatar
 

couple things have worked for me and they sound natural IME

DELAY
REVERB
HARMONIZER

Stereo Delay - put on a quarter note or eigth note delay, the delay return is panned hard right/left. Feedback, anywhere from 13% to 20%. You can use a LPF if you like, maybe 10k. Sometimes I send the signal to a touch of the reverb as well, but you may not be into that. Put it up to where you hear it, then pull it back a touch to where you don't hear it. You may want to experiment with slightly changing the times of one side to the other. I think a dot is too long for voxes though.

REVERB - plate, 1.5-2.0 secondsish, predelay way up there 50ms or so, stereo return hard right and left. Put it down enough to where you don't hear it, but can tell when it's gone. If you don't use reverb, you may have a hard time of getting the vox to sound wide, as compression and delay on the vox will bring it straight out to your nose.

Harmonizer - I usually use +15ish on one side and usually -12 or so on the other. You can match them or whatever, I just have had better results mixing it up, but I usually like it up more than down, song dependent I guess. You can pan them hard right or left, but I usually do about 70% to each side, it seems to gel the lead to the harmonizer. I then send the harmonizer return signal to a touch of the reverb, you can send it to the delay as well.
Old 15th April 2003
  #7
Here for the gear
 

One thing I've tried that could work is this - take the mono vox and bus it out to 2 channels - add a VERY LIGHT chorus effect on both, but flip the phase on one of them. In mono, the effect disappears while in stereo you can tweak the imaging as you wish.
Old 16th April 2003
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Dynodawg's Avatar
 

Thanks for all the ideas so far.... very creative. I'll be trying some out tonight.

Dyno
Old 16th April 2003
  #9
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I don't think this is going to rock your world but try some real doubling, sing a second track but make sure it's real tight with the first one,and find the places where your voice thins out and sounds fuller with 2, not all the way through.
Sometimes its fun to sing like 10 tracks or more(whatever you've got time for) do each one and mute after each, you'll have alot of listening and sorting to do but its fun when you've recorded something that you can't figure out how you sang or played it!
Of course harmonies and then the pink floyd octave parts are fun if the song dictates that, have fun
daniel
Old 16th April 2003
  #10
Gear Nut
 
Dynodawg's Avatar
 

One cool thing I tried tonight was to cut a vocal with the monitors cranked in the live room, no headphones. I know this is an old trick, but I've never tried it. Scince I don't like to use any reverb or delay, this gives a totally natural and "live" feel. I do need to get real close to the Lawson though, 3-4" to avoid too much room. The track still has all the"in your faceness" and again, I'm getting that live, real vibe I've been looking for. All my other vocal tracks sound pretty sterile and lifeless compared to this. I know it aint stereo, but I'm going to try copying the track and do the L/R pan thing with some of the ideas mentioned above. I'll keep you guys posted.

Dyno
Old 16th April 2003
  #11
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Guitar pedals are always cool. Flangers, chorus, phasers etc. Bring them back in slightly to one side and under the lead vocal. If it has a stereo output use that on both sides but pan it wider. I'll also do the Stereo Vitalizer bit from time to time, I'll do it on my effects return though and push something like ping-pong delays waaayyy the fuck out of the sides of the speakers. Stereo? It's out there like Pluto.

In mono it gets thrown under the bus.
Old 16th April 2003
  #12
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Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 

Track it live in a room with stereo mics on an accompanying instrument or instruments, preferably at 15-20' distance for a nice delay on the bleed. The stereo bleed can interact with the vocal track in amazing ways.
Old 16th April 2003
  #13
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Dynodawg's Avatar
 

Ted,

Do you mean to track the whole mix in stereo in the live room thru monitors and feed it back hard L/R into the mix, or track the vocal in stereo like I did with the monitor bleed?

Dyno
Old 16th April 2003
  #14
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Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 

Ted,

Do you mean to track the whole mix in stereo in the live room thru monitors and feed it back hard L/R into the mix, or track the vocal in stereo like I did with the monitor bleed?
-----------
Let's see. Say you have a tune with an instrument that can be advantageously mic'ed in stereo- drums, leslie, piano, whatever.

Track the vocal and the other instrument simultaneously in the live room. Have a close mic on vocals, dialed to minimize bleed from the other instrument, and a stereo pair on the piano (or whatever), dialed to both get a nice piano sound and some bleed from the vocal. The vocalist will probably have to sing pretty loud to arrange this.

I think this way because I rarely use more than a few tracks.

An alternative would be to just put a stereo pair of room mics somewhere nice in a room where a vocal is being tracked by itself, into a close mic. Presto, stereo ambience, and if the stereo pair is far enough away, a nice delay on the ambience.
Old 17th April 2003
  #15
I'm not completely sure why you don't want to use reverb for this (with a bit of time and effort, it won't sound like reverb at all), but if you have access to a unit with separate control of early reflections, this should roughly simulate stereo micing, without those phase problems. Of course, you'd be surprised just how effective simply offsetting the vocal a couple of dB either way can be.
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