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Whistle tone voice Dynamic Microphones
Old 11th January 2018
  #1
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Thread Starter
Whistle tone voice

Hello !

I have a question about voices and especially whistle tone.

I have a rock metal band and my singer voice is really sensitive to whistle tone. Hé knows how to place his voice very well (he doesnt need melodyne at all, only for ajustements). And his voice is like very dynamic, hé uses many different vocal technics like whisper, clean singing, growls, scream...

When hé doesnt push his voice there are no audible whistle tone. But when hé push it there are ALWAYS whistle tones. Its really really really agressive on thé 2k range, unpleasant to hear and gives Big headhaches x)

I work with him since few years now, and he never understood why i have problems to mix his voice. Recently he came home and listen on good speakers/ headphone. hé was shocked to discover his own voice and those whistle tones. It was the first time hé realized this because hé doesnt have quality monitoring.

In the beginning it was really hard for me to mix his voice and now i know how to face it. I use a lot of Dynamic Eq and à plugin called "soothe" . i can make it almost disappear but it's not 100% perfect. And of course the more you cut frequencies the more you destroy thé original signal...

Now He uses a quite cheap microphone but i never find a suitable one for him.

Is there a microphone model who attenenuate those agressive frequencies ?

Do you have technics to attenenuate them?
Old 11th January 2018
  #2
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loujudson's Avatar
a. Voice lessons always help.
b. "whistle tones"? do you mean whistles on "s" sounds? Or what? Post samples?
c. good singers never need Melodyne or autotune. Maybe I don't want to hear samples...
Old 11th January 2018
  #3
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Whistle tones are not usually used in audio. As far as anyone could interpret that it could mean the guy us whistling a tune.

My guess is you're either talking about feedback or a speech impediment, or Possible an EQ problem though I've never heard an EQ causing an abnormal peak being called a whistle unless its also accompanied by some kind of sustained resonance.

My bet is you're trying to describe feedback. What happens there is sound from the speaker leaks back into the mic and sets up an endless self regenerating loop that grows louder and louder till this piercing tone or honk comes from the speakers. Its can be rumble is its a bass frequency, or a high pitched squelch a higher frequencies.

How much and how often it appears, depends on how much mic gain there is, how the mic is being held (hand over the ball end is a no no) EQ settings for the mic and the angle of the mic pointing towards the speakers.

The fix is, don't point the mic at speakers, don't hold the ball end, adjust the EQ to remove it and adjust the gain down.

If this makes the singer hard to hear, then that's why god made monitors. The band can turn down too.

They also make special tools called feedback eliminators which detect feedback as it occurs and creates narrow EQ notches to eliminate the feedback at those frequencies which allows the mic to be turned up louder without feeding back. You can also add a noise gate which silences the sound when the singer stops singing thereby preventing the feedback loop from starting.

Beyond that a good singer should have enough experience to hear feedback when it begins. If he has tin ears he may think his S..T don't stink and someone else is causing the problem. Its actually his. Good singers develop a kind of radar and when they move too close to the front of the stage or point the mic the wring way, and the feedback starts they develop a knee jerk reaction to draw the mic and themselves out of that danger zone and get back to physical area known to be feedback free. I should also note compression on vocals is a huge cause of feedback too because the mic signal is being varied automatically. if you use compression you have to realize it can increase feedback levels and sacrifice volume in order to control dynamics. Its better the singer learns how to control his own dynamics instead of using a crutch, same goes for pitch and timing in my book.

If the problem isn't feedback and its actually coming from his mouth, maybe he should see a dentist and get that tooth replaced which is making him whistle Dixie as he sings. May people have problems singing because they need major dental work. Others simply need to take lessons and learn how to pronounce words well. There can be allot to it and without an audio example to listen to all anyone can do is guess and what might be causing it.

Whistling in audio usually means a person whistling. If its something else then expanding the vocabulary to describe common issues is important for getting good suggestions from others.
Old 11th January 2018
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Thank you for your answers !

There are no problem of feedback because he doesn't have speakers. He uses headphone or earbud to record his voice. I don't hear the feedback on the recording he send me.

I think i will post an example of a recording he has done as soon as possible, so what i describe can be more clear. I just hope you won't be shock because he sing in japanese ( but it's not the subject) ! ^^
Old 11th January 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirito View Post
Thank you for your answers !

There are no problem of feedback because he doesn't have speakers. He uses headphone or earbud to record his voice. I don't hear the feedback on the recording he send me.

I think i will post an example of a recording he has done as soon as possible, so what i describe can be more clear. I just hope you won't be shock because he sing in japanese ( but it's not the subject) ! ^^
That's a whole different ball game then. you really need to hear the take to know where the problems coming from and property target it with the right tools. It may be an actual physical issue with is singing, like my missing tooth crack (I was joking of course but teeth can actually be the cause of many problems) If its an impediment many things from DeEssing to all kinds of EQ and tweaks can be used to mask the problem.

It can also be an issue with the wrong mic type, lack of a pop filter, singing too close to the mic and blowing into the head basket, or inexperience working a mic, getting closer and farther away as you sing louder or softer in order to control dynamic levels.

A good ear can narrow down the possibilities so post a sample, I'm sure you'll get many good tips to try out.

I'd also mention, how vocals fit into the rest of the is is a big deal too. I'm a great example of that. I've never had great vocals but I get around that by using tricks that blend the vocals into the mix well. Even if the vocals aren't great they can be tolerable if you don't try and push them so far out front that you need a voice as good as Elvis or Sinatra to be tolerated so far out on the catwalk.

Believe it or not it took me 40 years trying different mics to find a mic that was ideal for my voice and I can actually tolerate my own singing now that it produces the kind of rich tones I want. What I hear when I'm singing without a mic sounds pretty good to me. That's because allot of the tone passes through my head to my ear drums and increases the bass response. With a mic I always had super string upper mids and most stage mics only made that problem worse.
Old 12th January 2018
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Thank you for your story!

And yes i think you are totally right. It takes a long time to find the appropriate microphone. I don't really believe in the more expansive it is, the better it is. It just needs to fit the voice. And i think there should one microphone could fit my singer. I hope i will find it one day.

He uses use a pop filter and he sings quite far from the microphone depending on what he does, he really has dynamic voice. His mic is a studio project CS 1000. He also has tried the basic one like sm 57, 58.

If i post a sample you would take it seriously even if language is in japanese?
Old 12th January 2018
  #7
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirito
Recently he came home and listen on good speakers/ headphone. hé was shocked to discover his own voice and those whistle tones. It was the first time hé realized this because hé doesnt have quality monitoring.
So perhaps if he had better monitoring while he was performing he could train himself to avoid making these sounds in the first place. If he has been frustrating you with these "tones" for years, and he never even noticed it until now, maybe it's time he stopped recording with earbuds! How about investing in some better tracking phones?

While checking out other mics is certainly an avenue to explore, if you find the bad sounds are still there on other mics, that's his voice, then. I would say the best solution would be to actually get him to modify his performance - if that is possible without making him too self-conscious. Sometimes just hearing the problem clearly will help someone naturally avoid the issue.

Other times, electric shocks may be necessary!
Old 12th January 2018
  #8
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Thread Starter
yeah your right he should have better monitoring to directly hear the problem. Maybe he will know how to reduce this with time.
Old 12th January 2018
  #9
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I'm still trying to figure out what OP means by whistle tones. I've only heard the term used to describe that super-high Minnie Riperton/Mariah Carey thing.
Old 12th January 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I'm still trying to figure out what OP means by whistle tones. I've only heard the term used to describe that super-high Minnie Riperton/Mariah Carey thing.
I did a quick thing with some translation websites and when some of the words given for "whistle" were translated back into English, one came out as: "horn" - and another came out as: "hiss".

That could be just an artifact of machine translation, but Horn could point towards a honkiness, and Hiss could indicate sibilance? Hopefully the OP's clips will clear it up.
Old 12th January 2018
  #11
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Old 12th January 2018
  #12
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirito View Post
The difference is my singer whistles are much more annoying than his example
The harmonics in the open vowel on "duuuuuuuuuuust..."

I can almost guarantee that you could go stand next to that singer while he was singing that, and you wouldn't hear it. That's the sound of a condenser mic breaking up.
Old 12th January 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
The harmonics in the open vowel on "duuuuuuuuuuust..."
EXACTLY !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I can almost guarantee that you could go stand next to that singer while he was singing that, and you wouldn't hear it. That's the sound of a condenser mic breaking up.

mmmh okay so i guess i really have to find the right mic
Old 12th January 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirito View Post
Okay if you want to understand exactly what is it. This guy describe very well and he explain how he do to reduce this at the beginning of the video :

Pro Studio Live - Live Recording, Mixing and Mastering Classes and In-depth Training From Seasoned Pro's

The difference is my singer whistles are much more annoying than his example
I listened to the video and the tone of his voice. That guy has a Lisp (a speech impediment). He's also using a condenser mic which accentuates that lisp and makes his voice hiss (like a snake).

I find it quite amusing because he's describing software his own voice desperately needs.

If your singers voice is producing hisses, its very possible his headphones are the problem, not the mic. He's tried several different mics and has the same issue, has he tried different headphones?

What happens when a monitor lacks something the person using them tries to compensate and flatten out what they are hearing. If the headphones have too much bass (or two little treble) they may only hear the bass end and fail to recognize they are producing hiss noises. They may produce more treble sounds which sound normal to them because the headphone are not balanced.

This is why its always important to have the flattest monitors you can afford. Headphones are notorious for having hills and valleys in their response. The cheap commercial headphones designed for listening to commercial music hype the highs and lows to make the music sound big.

A pro set should be much better for singing. The other part is the loudness of the headphones. If the levels are too low they're crowd the mic trying to be heard and things like hisses and impediments become highly pronounced. If the volume is too high, they back too far off and the vocals suffer from vocal fades and timidity. Compression only exacerbates the problem.

You want the voice between 4" and 6" with most recording mics. You can use the pop filter to prevent them from getting any closer.

Post a sample. I don't care what language its in. I don't have to understand the words to hear what the issue is.
Old 12th January 2018
  #15
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirito View Post
... i guess i really have to find the right mic
I'm just (educated) guessing, too. What mic did you use?
Old 13th January 2018
  #16
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Thread Starter
It's a Studio project CS 1000
Old 13th January 2018
  #17
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirito View Post
It's a Studio project CS 1000
I've never used one of those. But in my experience, inexpensive condenser mics often have trouble with open vowel sounds, as well as some complex consonant sounds like T, K, F. They distort, and the distortion takes the form of harmonics that unpleasantly "sing" along with the actual singing. It sounds like it's being generated by the person, but it's not. It's the mic.

Back in post 9 you'll see my snarky signature which refers to a microphone that, compared to yours, is definitely not inexpensive. It's made by someone who ought to know better. And it distorts in this manner like crazy.

Once your ear is attuned to identifying this kind of distortion, you'll never be able to not notice it.

Late add -- I watched that whole video with the guy theorizing about the anthropological roots of whistle-tone generation. He seems like a bright guy, and he's definitely telegenic, but I think he's got this one totally wrong.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 13th January 2018 at 03:21 PM..
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