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Blending in doubled vocals
Old 20th April 2017
  #1
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Blending in doubled vocals

So I am recording and mixing a song for a band for a school assignment and I am just wondering what techniques people use to blend in a second layer of vocals so that it is as un-intrusive as possible while still working effectively as a doubled layer if that makes sense. I am having a play around ad my instinct is telling me to do fades on all the beginning and ends of the phrasing of the second layer so that its both precisely in time with the first take and also any consonants at the start of the phrase get pushed down in volume as the percussive elements of the voice tend to be more jarring when they are not perfectly in time. Am I on the right track with this approach? Is there anything else people do to keep the second layer in check? What about EQing tricks? Also if I send someone an MP3 would they listen to my work and give me some feedback (not sure if the band is ok with me posting publicly online but sending to a select few people for feedback is ok).
Old 20th April 2017
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Bunker View Post
So I am recording and mixing a song for a band for a school assignment and I am just wondering what techniques people use to blend in a second layer of vocals so that it is as un-intrusive as possible while still working effectively as a doubled layer if that makes sense. I am having a play around ad my instinct is telling me to do fades on all the beginning and ends of the phrasing of the second layer so that its both precisely in time with the first take and also any consonants at the start of the phrase get pushed down in volume as the percussive elements of the voice tend to be more jarring when they are not perfectly in time. Am I on the right track with this approach? Is there anything else people do to keep the second layer in check? What about EQing tricks? Also if I send someone an MP3 would they listen to my work and give me some feedback (not sure if the band is ok with me posting publicly online but sending to a select few people for feedback is ok).
Try taking away what the vocal is good at in the doubledd and emphasizing what is missing IE male vocal has a solid lower mid freq range cut the lows and push the higs then turn it all the way down so you can increase the level until you hear the difference. It should keep the raw natural sound but give it an edge. then turn it off and on to see if you really like the difference. the same can be done for reverb, volume, and compression. to give you that natural sound with studio efx processing gains....
Old 20th April 2017
  #3
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Originally Posted by phaceless View Post
Try taking away what the vocal is good at in the doubledd and emphasizing what is missing IE male vocal has a solid lower mid freq range cut the lows and push the higs then turn it all the way down so you can increase the level until you hear the difference. It should keep the raw natural sound but give it an edge. then turn it off and on to see if you really like the difference. the same can be done for reverb, volume, and compression. to give you that natural sound with studio efx processing gains....
Cool, we'll try this now... What do you also think of my idea of using fades to control slight phrasing discrepancies?
Old 20th April 2017
  #4
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Another thing I am finding myself doing is taking out all the breaths from the doubled part, as breaths seem to be the least in synch aspect of the performance I find and very distracting when they are obviously two different breath sounds.
Old 20th April 2017
  #5
High pass the double vocal, add reverb and tuck it in to bed.
Old 20th April 2017
  #6
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Originally Posted by DAS19 View Post
High pass the double vocal, add reverb and tuck it in to bed.
Roughly how high would you go with the highpass? We're talking male vocals here.
Old 20th April 2017
  #7
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You do want it to be tight, but you shouldn't need to do fade-ins, or ducking the consonants on the double. (Fade-ins, rather than fixing a timing issue, simply make the double track sound less human, which isn't really the goal.) At the start of phrases only, you may sometimes need to nudge the timing a little, if the double comes in noticeably early or late - in which case, you may need to cut the consonant, move it, and do a super short cross-fade with the rest of the word.

But doubling doesn't need to be millisecond perfect to work - not least because it's not like layering hits with a super-fast transient; they're vocals, after all. After all, if the double take was sample-level identical (obviously an impossibility), it wouldn't work as a double at all, it would just increase the loudness. Poor analogy, perhaps, but worth bearing in mind that for it to thicken the sound, you do actually want the natural variations that occur - absent a noticeably awry start to the word.

And, yes, for held notes, you want the tails to be ... close. Again, not millisecond perfect - but you don't want to have one take where a held note lasts, say, 1/16th note different than the double. On some held notes, at the end of phrase, I will often have to fade the double. Unless the double is shorter - in which case I'll usually scrabble around for another take of that same word from somewhere else!

I'd almost always remove breaths entirely from the double. Yes for the lead, and how loud depends on what you're going for. But there's no upside, I don't think, to having those double-tracked.
Old 20th April 2017
  #8
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Thanks Owen, that is a very thorough answer and explanation of your thought process. Appreciate your input. Would you mind listening to my edits and letting me know if you notice things such as fades in the context of the mix? I am trying to be subtle about it and don't really notice things sounding "less human" as you put it. But perhaps my ears are not as acutely tuned to such fine details as yours. I am pretty new to all this after all.
Old 21st April 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Bunker View Post
Thanks Owen, that is a very thorough answer and explanation of your thought process. Appreciate your input. Would you mind listening to my edits and letting me know if you notice things such as fades in the context of the mix? I am trying to be subtle about it and don't really notice things sounding "less human" as you put it. But perhaps my ears are not as acutely tuned to such fine details as yours. I am pretty new to all this after all.
Sure. Just post an example of the double-track and I'll listen next time I'm in the studio.

One way to look at it is this: very short fade-ins, very near the start of the vocal, are unlikely to be that noticeable - but, then again, that probably means the timing was tight enough that actually the original could probably have been left alone. I guess on open sounds, there's more lee-way; on consonant-led words, though, if the timing was off enough to need editing, then time correction rather than fading in is a more natural way to go.

I guess we'll see, though; if I can't detect any fade-ins, then perhaps it makes no difference. (A lot of things add up, though; so, although in a full mix no one could go "ah ha, I detect a fade-in on the double-tracked vocal", any more than anyone would notice whether the 6th rhythm guitar was using an amp sim or not, it still makes sense to use the best tool for the job, if not prohibitive to workflow.)
Old 21st April 2017
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Bunker View Post
... breaths seem to be the least in synch aspect of the performance...
Hard consonants, too. When tracking doubles (and further layers) it can help to have the singer(s) de-emphasize hard consonants or even leave them out altogether. But if that horse has left the barn, you can manually duck them or chop them out.

Late edit: is horse and duck in the same sentence a mixed metaphor if duck is a verb, not a bird?
Old 21st April 2017
  #11
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Look,

If your going to do doubles the pro way is:

1. Comp + how ever many dubs you want, there shouldn't be any discrepancies, make commit to his phrasing

2. Tune, do the lead and doubles at the same time, again, no discrepancies

3. Align, by hand or vocal align, lock em' up, again, no B.S

4, Cut all the breaths AND any sibilant nuances (esses, TUH!'s KCK! ect.) if your fade finger is itching you can scratch it here

Now you have doubles you can work with, but should you? I feel like a lot of people "Double" stuff because they think it's studio pixie dust that will shine their turds, and it just ends up being crap on crap

Dubs on a chorus? Always, during verses? Nah, that means you didn't record a good vocal,

I think the answer to your question is why are their phrasing discrepancies if you were doing doubles and why are you doing them in the first place?

Make this chump comes back in and tell him to sing it like he's got a pair, and charge him double for wasting your time, point out all his little F^%k ups

Break him!!!
Old 21st April 2017
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Bunker View Post
Cool, we'll try this now... What do you also think of my idea of using fades to control slight phrasing discrepancies?
I second what owen said doubling is only doubling because of the differences in takes. if they are so different it disturbs the flow do a retake or cut it out.
Old 21st April 2017
  #13
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Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
Break him!!!
Testy!

As for Tip #2 -- just my experience -- if the lead vocal and the double are tight and you tune them both, the double will at least semi-vanish, especially on held notes. Which only makes sense.
Old 21st April 2017
  #14
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Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
Look,

I
Now you have doubles you can work with, but should you? I feel like a lot of people "Double" stuff because they think it's studio pixie dust that will shine their turds, and it just ends up being crap on crap

Dubs on a chorus? Always, during verses? Nah, that means you didn't record a good vocal,

I think the answer to your question is why are their phrasing discrepancies if you were doing doubles and why are you doing them in the first place?

Make this chump comes back in and tell him to sing it like he's got a pair, and charge him double for wasting your time, point out all his little F^%k ups

Break him!!!
Yes I think that people confuse doubling for ad libs a lot of times.
What are reasons to double a whole verse...? To add more of a tone or feeling that on its own would not give a crisp vocal? What does that even mean ....?are you trying to whisper and shout at the same time, be angry and happy at the same time...? Uhhhh headscratch ok double it.... anything else mix it.
Old 21st April 2017
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Testy!

As for Tip #2 -- just my experience -- if the lead vocal and the double are tight and you tune them both, the double will at least semi-vanish, especially on held notes. Which only makes sense.
Yeah, it's like tuning a 12-string guitar--if you tune the top E and B pairs to a perfect unison, it stops sounding like a 12-string. You need a tiny pitch discrepancy to get the right sound.

One way to approach it with vocal layering would be to find the most pitch-accurate take, leave that alone, and tune the other(s).
Old 21st April 2017
  #16
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Originally Posted by nightchef View Post
Yeah, it's like tuning a 12-string guitar--if you tune the top E and B pairs to a perfect unison, it stops sounding like a 12-string.
With my degree of tuning precision, it always sounds like a 12-string. Actually, somewhere between a 12-string and an autoharp that's been thrown down the stairs.

I keep meaning to do a really good 12-string tuning, but I can never seem to set aside that extra month.
Old 21st April 2017
  #17
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Stepping beyond my own first-hand experience (not entirely unheard of here on the forums) I do know that some of the A-list producers will, for instance, auto-tune one set of 4 double-tracks, and leave the other 4 alone - or that kind of insanity.

But the A-list guys frequently have access to a whole bunch of stuff - equipment, singers, etc - that the rest of us do not, and we sometimes miss a trick. So, for instance, if you do a stack of vocals using the same singer and the same mic, in the same location in the same room, then you tend to get a build up of ... 's**t', I think is the technical term for it.

One thing you might want to think about (and try), if you're trying to find what works best for you - so a "let's see what this sounds like" way to spend 30 minutes, rather than "3 steps to a perfect mix" scenario - is to record your double-track using a different microphone. Like, if you use your best LDC for the lead vocal, try tracking the double-track through an SM58. Personally, I would never choose that as a vocal mic for anything I want to shine a light on, but since a lot of production stuff is about adding character, and since the good thing about an SM58 - specifically for this purpose - is that the singer can pretty much eat the mic (meaning much less room sound in the double), and it doesn't capture a lot of bass (which, generally, you don't want a lot of from your double-track, which you'll likely hi-pass more than the lead anyway), and since it has an organic low-fi-ness to the sound ... could make it an interesting, pre-EQ'd option for your double track.

That's the kind of thing where, if you find it works for you, you'll use it again and again - with confidence - and help you find a way towards building your own sound. (99 more tricks like that, that work for you, and you'll be well on your way.) And if you don't use it ... I guarantee you'll learn something as you try it out.

As a for instance, I've been playing (and recording) saxophone for 20-odd years. But it wasn't until a friend asked me to track something for him in my studio, in which I was having issues with sound/acoustics, that I thought: "okay, let's try out some stuff". And over the course of an hour or so, I just sent him a bunch of takes using different mics and different mouthpieces - which was when I discovered just how much of what I thought of as my default recorded sound was down to the small-diaphragm condensor mic I was used to working with, rather than an inherent part of my playing. That kind of open-minded experimentation is key towards a deeper understanding of how things work/sound - and, indirectly, towards getting a better mix.
Old 21st April 2017
  #18
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For a double you might also trying adding a mic further away and off center of the primary so it is the same take but different. unless you're in a well treated room will need a high pass on that but it does tend to add a fullness to the vocal.
Old 21st April 2017
  #19
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Some excellent suggestions made, especially manual alignment when needed.

There are also many free plugins you can use to get separation between the two. Most are time based effects which will place one in back of the other to create three dimensionality. The biggest problem you have with doubling vocals is masking. when you have two parts using the same frequencies from the same voice, and at relatively the same amplitude you'll have the words from one track being sung slightly louder during a line and it will hide the second voice in back of it. You wind up with a volume war of words with one track masking the other.

There are a couple of ways of minimizing that. One as someone mentioned is to EQ them differently. That can help a bit but because the original voices are so similar that only goes so far. You can use various reverbs. Keep one voice dry and the other wet. The wet one can have more midrange and it will sound like its in back of the first because sound passing through air removes bass and treble so you have the illusion of distance through EQ and reverb.

If you want to keep both vocals up front you can pan them left and right but you can wind up with a row boat effect. The ears drift to whatever side has the strongest vocals and its hard to stay focused on both or the center.

Autotune can make the problem with mono center and masking even worse because it removes the human element which allows people to har the differences between the two. Slight timing and pitch variations are what make the two sound fat together. Of course extreme variations aren't much good for anything. If you have to autotune, only do it to one vocal or whatever words/phrases are really bad.

Something that works great for keeping separation between two tight vocal parts is chorus. It will add depth because it uses a delay/reverb. it will provide pitch variance because of the LFO running inn the background bending the pitch of the notes. You don't need much in most cases. You want to create a shadow, not a washing machine sound.

There are two plugins I recommend you try. One is an old freebee called Classic Chorus. The stock presets are very good and is you minimize the speed way down to a slow sweep, and mix just a little in, you'll have instant three dimensionality. With my vocals I need all the help I can get and this one works miracles.

The second one is a stereo chorus. I'd put this one in an aux buss, then feed the two tracks to it with some stereo separation. Its even better when you have three tracks, a left, right and center. This plugin is called Duet Harmonizer. If you keep the center track dry, then feed the two hard panned tracks to the bus with this plugin its has both chorus and pitch shift. Normally you'd have one side pitched up between 3~6% and the other pitched down by and equal amount.

You can find both the duet and classic chorus here. Download Modulation effect - Free VST Plugins, virtual effect - Page 1 Like I said it doesn't take much. if you notice it working as an effect, you're using too much, simply use it as a ghost effect to add those human elements and give it depth and width.

What the pitch shift does is move higher pitches to one side, lower to the other and leaves the correct pitch in the center. This fattens thing up with both the chorus pitch movement and the Doppler effect you get based on intensity and movement of a sound source. You can do similar things by using a pitch shifter on two tracks panned hard left and right and use a pitch up on one and a pitch down on the other. Its simply a matter of experimenting with whatever tracks require for the best results. If you have singers with totally different voices you may not need much of any of these.
Old 21st April 2017
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phaceless View Post
For a double you might also trying adding a mic further away and off center of the primary so it is the same take but different.
It's a good idea to have the mic (or more easily, the singer) in a different spot for each pass regardless of whether it's an additional mic or just the one. When you pile layer upon layer and record them with the exact same positioning, the slightly-different high harmonics of the various passes "beat" with one another, resulting in unpleasant hashy junk that you can't get rid of.
Old 23rd April 2017
  #21
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Wow, this thread took off since the last time I looked at it! Thanks for all the great info on here everyone, I am gonna go over this a few times and digest it all. Its good to know my instincts were more or less right. I have definitely been aligning by hand and ducking anything with harsh sibilance or plosives and listening to make sure it still sounds natural. A lot of the EQ and reverb suggestions here are really good and I will definitely try these. As for busting the singer to come in again, I don't think so, it was a relaxed project, I am only a student and learning myself so noone is charging anyone any money here.

Also interesting Owen mentioned recording Sax cause funny enough that is the next thing I have to record and have never recorded Sax before. Any tips? I know not to mic the mouth of it and so on. I was thinking of throwing a dynamic near it and a LDC somewhere else in the room. Sound solid? I don't really have expensive ribbon mics or anything so that sorta thing is out of the question.

Owen where can I send you this track? Or can I PM it to you on this forum?
Old 23rd April 2017
  #22
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Another question regarding this: can somebody post an example of more looser doubled vocals in professionally released songs? As with everything I am sure there is a spectrum and I am wondering what you can get away with? How people approach this creatively etc?
Old 24th April 2017
  #23
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The results recording a sax can be all over the place depending on the mic used. The problem you have is untrained sax players tend to move around and this can create all kinds of changes in volume levels and frequency response due to a mics proximity effect. First make sure he's tuned to an electronic tuner. Many horn players tube by ear and can be all over the place making for a sour performance.

Last sax I recorded the player never recorded in a studio before. I tested at least a half dozen different mics or more trying to get the best tone and volume. What wound up working the best as a mini condenser mic clipped to the sax mouth at a 45 degree or so angle. I was able to get a consistent signal whether the player moved or not. Its was a much better solution then putting the player in kindergarten and teaching him to remain perfectly still at a consistent distance from the mic.

If you had ideal acoustics in a room with complementary reflections (not a super dry room like my studio) you could use a condenser mic at a longer distance, capture the room acoustics and use them to your advantage. That wasn't the case in my situation. I suppose I could have used compression to help give the player a more consistent volume level, but the player wasn't a pro.

I've worked with other pro players in live situations too. The ones who have been doing it a long time work with wireless clip on mics live and get highly consistent results. A player has to work with a mic for a number of years before they learn to maintain they're dynamics well. Its like an acoustic guitarist switching to electric. He'll first play it like an acoustic before he learns how to make the electronics bend to his will. Many horn players are the same way.

They may be able to play loud and fill a room but can become dynamically shy when playing with others when then pressure is on. If they were to play confidently and maintain a consistent dynamic level, you could record them with any mic that has a decent frequency response. Being asked to record takes more then just hitting the right notes. It takes a mindset and focus that takes a good deal of time to develop. Guitarists and singers are usually more accustomed to using mics and amps. Horn and reed players usually play in groups together and have a pack mentality when playing. Bringing them into a solo recording situation can be very tricky. Getting them to play out with confidence even tougher.

At least with a mounted mic, you can edit the hell out of the part. Compression will work much better in evening up they're dynamic levels which can surely suffer. Sax is an extremely difficult instrument to play. Its even got different scales compared to other instruments. What may be a simply key for a guitarist like E or A, is one of the toughest for a sax player to play in. They have some flat or sharp keys which are much easier for them to play in. If you find this the case, you may even want to think about temporarily transposing the music to a comfortable key then transpose the sax to the original key. It may gain some artifacts in the process but a better performance may benefit the music.
Old 24th April 2017
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
The results recording a sax can be all over the place depending on the mic used. The problem you have is untrained sax players tend to move around and this can create all kinds of changes in volume levels and frequency response due to a mics proximity effect.
The results can also be all over the place depending on where you put the mic.

Even trained players can move a lot, especially if they're standing up. The important thing is that the movement is usually up and down, not side to side. If you mic the sax from the front, you'll hear lots of movement. If you mic it from the side (which I think sounds better anyway), you'll hear much less movement, maybe none. And try to get the player to sit.
Old 25th April 2017
  #25
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Oh wow, thanks again, so much there that I hadn't thought about. Again great valuable advice by everyone! Thanks
Old 25th April 2017
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Bunker View Post
Another question regarding this: can somebody post an example of more looser doubled vocals in professionally released songs? As with everything I am sure there is a spectrum and I am wondering what you can get away with? How people approach this creatively etc?
I would say how loose, and how old? If you go back to the classic rock era there are lots of examples of loose doubling, but autotune and cursor editing weren't things back then. If the double wasn't tight enough you had to do another take.

John Lennon was the king of the rough double. Of course in the later Beatles records it's not always easy to tell what's real double-tracking and what's ADT, but one example of a hair-raisingly inexact pitch match would be in "Dear Prudence" at around 0:30. Earlier in their career, a great example would be the opening note of "I Should Have Known Better".

For more recent stuff, one example I can think of is "Lights Out" by Santigold. The doubling in general isn't all that loose, but there are a few spots that they could have tightened up but chose not to (for instance the word "concentration" at 0:52), and I think it works beautifully.
Old 27th April 2017
  #27
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Originally Posted by nightchef View Post
I would say how loose, and how old? If you go back to the classic rock era there are lots of examples of loose doubling, but autotune and cursor editing weren't things back then. If the double wasn't tight enough you had to do another take.

John Lennon was the king of the rough double. Of course in the later Beatles records it's not always easy to tell what's real double-tracking and what's ADT, but one example of a hair-raisingly inexact pitch match would be in "Dear Prudence" at around 0:30. Earlier in their career, a great example would be the opening note of "I Should Have Known Better".

For more recent stuff, one example I can think of is "Lights Out" by Santigold. The doubling in general isn't all that loose, but there are a few spots that they could have tightened up but chose not to (for instance the word "concentration" at 0:52), and I think it works beautifully.
Cool examples, I hadn't heard that Santigold song, I would say that compared to these examples the doubling on the song I did was definitely looser, but funny enough I don't hate it. Maybe others will think its sloppy. I will share the rough mix here (got the ok from the band) and would be cool to see what others think. This is really the first time I am mixing for someone else.
Old 27th April 2017
  #28
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Some mic's don't stack well, others do. This is primarily a function of the mic color and off axis color. Neumann's and ribbons stack nice, A groove tube MD1A stacks like crap, but that one track really sticks out.
Old 27th April 2017
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Bunker View Post
Wow, this thread took off since the last time I looked at it! Thanks for all the great info on here everyone, I am gonna go over this a few times and digest it all. Its good to know my instincts were more or less right. I have definitely been aligning by hand and ducking anything with harsh sibilance or plosives and listening to make sure it still sounds natural. A lot of the EQ and reverb suggestions here are really good and I will definitely try these. As for busting the singer to come in again, I don't think so, it was a relaxed project, I am only a student and learning myself so noone is charging anyone any money here.

Also interesting Owen mentioned recording Sax cause funny enough that is the next thing I have to record and have never recorded Sax before. Any tips? I know not to mic the mouth of it and so on. I was thinking of throwing a dynamic near it and a LDC somewhere else in the room. Sound solid? I don't really have expensive ribbon mics or anything so that sorta thing is out of the question.

Owen where can I send you this track? Or can I PM it to you on this forum?
Sure, feel free to PM.

There's a response above from "wrgkmc" which makes a number of valid points.

I've been playing sax and recording (home studio and pro studios) for 25-odd years now. So I've been on both sides of the fence in terms of recorded sax sound.

In almost all that time I've been using what I (and many others) consider to be the only really viable clip mic for saxophone - SD Systems LCM89. (It was a pretty rare beast in the early 90s, and I still remember a guy in the audience coming up to me between sets and saying "I engineer for Courtney Pine; WHAT is that mic you're using - I have to tell him about it". Saw him playing a couple years ago, and he's still using SD systems, and still one their many, many major endorsers.)

I found (and still find) it so hard to hit the same mark when recording to a stand-mic, that I used to get engineers to lay down masking tape where my feet should be - though after I got the SD Systems mic, my opening gambit was usually "can we try it with my live mic, and if you don't like it, we'll go with the stand mic". As often as not, they'd like the sound of the SD mic. (Though this may in part be because they were so skeptical of it, that when it turned out not to sound like a** they'd be relieved enough to let me use it!)

BUT, there are three big differences between the SD Systems mic and virtually all other clip mics: (1) it has a shock-ring suspension mount, which virtually eliminates key noise and rumble, which is really noticeable in things like the AKG goose-neck mics; (2) the tri-pod arms move the mic a lot further off the bell than all other kinds; (3) it is a much, much better microphone, with a much larger diaphragm than the other kinds. Which is how, despite being at least twice as expensive, it is hands down the industry leader among the pros.

But that's kind of a major digression - and I'm gonna assume your sax player doesn't have one of those. Any other clip-mic and my advice would be: just say "no".

Here's the thing about ALL clip mics on the bell (even mine): they induce a huge, massive boost in the 3-6kHz range on the instrument, relative to the natural sound. Imagine taking the balanced sound of the instrument (from keys and bell combined), and adding a wide 9dB boost at 4.5Khz - THAT's the kind of influence on the sound you wind up with when pointing a mic (any mic) directly at the bell, and so close that it doesn't pick up any sound from the keys. Fine for cutting through a PA in rock club; but a real liability in a studio recording. (Usually.)

In my room, I have found that the best compromise is an RE20, 12 to 18 inches from the instrument, roughly at the height of my/the player's LEFT (ie, top) hand, and angled so that the on-axis line of the mic is aiming roughly half-way between those left-hand keys and the top edge of the bell. What you're trying to achieve with this is for the sound coming from the keys (which is where much of the instrument's sound comes from, as you can tell by stuffing a sock down the bell, and hearing how much sound still comes out) to be as close to the on-axis area of the mic as the sound coming from the bell - which is where much of the harshness comes from.

To attune yourself to this best, and if the sax player is friendly, I'd suggest recording a brief clip with the mic 6" off the bell, pointing directly at the middle of it, and then recording another brief clip with the mic 6" off the player's left hand, pointing directly at those keys (or angled just a tiny bit down, to get some of the right hand keys). You will hear an enormous difference in tone, which will then help you understand what's going on when you try to find a more balanced position.

Sadly (for me) the saxophone is one of those rare instruments where you just cannot capture its natural sound with any kind of close mic - the sound blooms out from all keys, the bell, the neck, and you need to be a good 3 feet away or more to capture this combined sound; great in a lovely-sounding studio, but not feasible in a home-studio, where suddenly your sax sounds like it's trapped in an 8 foot cube! (All those classic Blue Note recordings, a huge part of the sax tone (besides the player, obviously) is that they weren't close mic'ing.)

The knock-on effect of this is that the sax excites the room in a much more uncontrollable way than, say, a vocalist, as the sound is splaying off in virtually all directions - blasting out from the splayed bell, the keys down the middle, the keys off to the right, the octave hole at the top. In short, it's absolutely the least friendly instrument to record in a home studio (at least, as far as I know)!

Hence my RE20 compromise solution, a foot or so off the instrument - the closest I can get to a balanced sound, without capturing too much small-room tone. (The RE20 being fairly directional, and virtually immune to proximity effect.) This is also the mic they use on saxophonists for the Montreux Jazz Festival, going back decades. If it was good enough for Benny Carter AND David Sanborn (another SD Systems endorsee), then ... it's good enough for me!

LDCs tend to pick up more off-axis sound, so if you don't want the sound of your room to be a feature of the sax track, a dynamic may be a better bet. But NOT an SM58/57 - its presence bump, combined with the sax's bell-tone bump, is a BAD combination of harshness. Unless its a punk rock band. I can see tracking sax through an SM57 for punk rock.
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