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Vocals sound harsh Condenser Microphones
Old 20th February 2018
  #31
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
OK, so here is a sample of a recording with one mic, acoustic and vox - doesn't the timbre of the vocal sound smashed/distorted? Is that the best I can hope for? Here's the signal chain - try not to get hung up on the mic and preamp combo, or the placement/distance of the mic, as I assure you I've been experimenting for days and have tried damned near every conceivable combo/placement I can think of and always the same result, just doesn't sound right to me. Anyway:

Ear Trumpet Edwina (condenser) --> UA Solo 610 --> Focusrite 18i8 --> Pro Tools



Notes:
The UA 610 is set to 0 gain, because I am trying to be sure not to color the signal any.
My meters were set around -18db, and were peaking at about -12db
No post processing, only turned the levels up a bit to make up some volume
I'm around 8" from the mic as recommended from Ear Trumpet, although I've tried getting further back, various axis positions etc. - That could all use some tweaking I'm sure, but no matter what I still hear the issue, so I don't think that has anything to do with it.

OK, let me know what you guys hear, thanks!
I feel like this COULD be a tone shaping issue. Have you considered trying any of warm audio's preamps? For this particular style, i think you'd benifit from the likes of a wa12, or tb12. This is just my recommendation
Old 20th February 2018
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Thanks Mattiasnyc,
hahaha, yes, it has been proposed that perhaps my hearing is to blame - and really, at the end-of-the-day I may be over thinking it - it just sounds pinched to me, and I was hoping to get a sound on the front end that I don't have to sweep too much just to get to square one. But, as has been mentioned, that may have a lot to do with the room, my setup, my technical skills, etc. So may just leave well enough alone.

To answer your q's - I have tried a variety of condenser and dynamic mics, and in different rooms in my house. I have tried switching cables - all are nearly brand new cables built by Pro Audio LA, I consider them to be of high quality. The only constant has been the Focusrite, as it's my only interface into the PC, so that's why I suspected it - so as you say, I may try to get another interface and try it just to see and for my peace-of-mind, although it seems like this thread is telling me that may be a waste of time. Couldn't hurt, I'll report back if/when I do that.
And you don't hear it when playing back commercial mixes?
Old 20th February 2018
  #33
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
And you don't hear it when playing back commercial mixes?
Haven't noticed it on anything else - even when I'm listening to tracks recorded with the same mics I'm using. To be clear. I haven't brought any tracks into my DAW, not sure if you're suggesting that?? - but listening on the same headphones/monitors I don't hear anything like what I'm getting.
Old 20th February 2018
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealMacVibez View Post
I feel like this COULD be a tone shaping issue. Have you considered trying any of warm audio's preamps? For this particular style, i think you'd benifit from the likes of a wa12, or tb12. This is just my recommendation
Thanks RealMac,
That's a valid point, and it seems that some shaping on either the front or back end will help - I was hoping to get to where I had a better sound out of the gate so I don't have to tame it with EQ, but given my limitations and what I have it seems that I may have to rely on sweeping out this frequency that I find offensive.

I looked into the ToneBeast wehn I was looking at preamps, but ultimately decided that I wanted my $ to go to a dedicated preamp, and then planned to buy a dedicated EQ down the road - so for now I'm just using ProTools EQ, considering investing in a plug-in, though, as I feel a bit limited with the on-board EQ (but it does the trick).

I did purchase the Warm WA-2A compressor, and so far I'm really happy with that piece - takes a bit of experimenting, but once it's dialed in it really does sound great and feels much more natural than a compressor plug-in to me. I think with practice I'll really get some use out of that thing, and in itself it can help shape the tone when set properly. Thanks again!
Old 20th February 2018
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Seems like the consensus is that the likelihood of it being a malfunctioning Focusrite is slim
Just to clarify -- it could very well be a malfunctioning Focusrite. What is slim is the likelihood of it being due to the inherent, out-of-the-box limitations of a properly functioning Focusrite.
Old 20th February 2018
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Haven't noticed it on anything else - even when I'm listening to tracks recorded with the same mics I'm using. To be clear. I haven't brought any tracks into my DAW, not sure if you're suggesting that?? - but listening on the same headphones/monitors I don't hear anything like what I'm getting.
I don't really understand what you mean above.

I thought you were having issues with how things sound in your studio when recording. So my suggestion was to rip a CD or whatever, with something that is known to sound good (you could grab Steely Dan's "Gaucho" or "Two Against Nature" if you want, both sound great), and then you place that in your DAW on a track and listen. At the same playback level, do you hear the same problem?

If you do, then the recording chain isn't the issue. If you don't, then the monitoring chain doesn't appear to be the issue.
Old 20th February 2018
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightchef View Post
Just to clarify -- it could very well be a malfunctioning Focusrite. What is slim is the likelihood of it being due to the inherent, out-of-the-box limitations of a properly functioning Focusrite.
Ahh, yes, that's more like it, thanks again!
Old 20th February 2018
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
I don't really understand what you mean above.

I thought you were having issues with how things sound in your studio when recording. So my suggestion was to rip a CD or whatever, with something that is known to sound good (you could grab Steely Dan's "Gaucho" or "Two Against Nature" if you want, both sound great), and then you place that in your DAW on a track and listen. At the same playback level, do you hear the same problem?

If you do, then the recording chain isn't the issue. If you don't, then the monitoring chain doesn't appear to be the issue.
OK, yes, that's what I was asking - I haven't gone to that length to test it, but will do so and report back. Thanks for clarifying, and those Steely Dan records sound so true it hurts
Old 20th February 2018
  #39
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Don't be afraid to clip the tube compressor a little....

Personally I own a TL Audio C1, and I clip the hell out of it, sounds awesome!
Old 20th February 2018
  #40
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
for some reason I feel like the Focusrite is the weakest link in the chain, and I'm stuck on that being the issue (could be wrong though).
As others have said, but just to confirm: unless it's actually malfunctioning (and from the sound clips, I don't believe it is) the Scarlett is absolutely NOT the cause of any shortcomings in your recordings. It's a good, clean, audio interface - one which, among other things, I've used to track a sample library for a fairly major UK company. Whatever you do, don't get hung up on the idea that your DA converters are somehow deficient. They're not. Yes, you can spend more on them. You can also spend $40,000 on a Fairchild 670 compressor. But that won't make your vocals sound 400 times better than the UAD plug-in. Or even 10 times better than your DAW's stock compressors. It's not like entry-level audio interfaces = "well, yeah, all the thousands of people who use are products learn to deal with audible distortion and digital nastiness; if they want to track decent vocals they need to stump up a grand". Nope.

Do you have any recordings you've made elsewhere of yourself playing or singing where you think: "yeah, that's exactly how I want to sound"?

Because, in my experience, it's more likely that a lot of what you're hearing is actually a detailed recording of your voice and guitar, in a somewhat unforgiving context (no dense mix and drums to hide behind), in an untreated room, without an experienced engineer (experienced both in trouble-shooting small-room recordings, and more in general) and ... yeah, even if you've been gigging for a while, and used to performing, it takes a while to get those skills up to the level where you can shine a light on them and still feel like they hold up.
Old 21st February 2018
  #41
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
As others have said, but just to confirm: unless it's actually malfunctioning (and from the sound clips, I don't believe it is) the Scarlett is absolutely NOT the cause of any shortcomings in your recordings. It's a good, clean, audio interface - one which, among other things, I've used to track a sample library for a fairly major UK company. Whatever you do, don't get hung up on the idea that your DA converters are somehow deficient. They're not. Yes, you can spend more on them. You can also spend $40,000 on a Fairchild 670 compressor. But that won't make your vocals sound 400 times better than the UAD plug-in. Or even 10 times better than your DAW's stock compressors. It's not like entry-level audio interfaces = "well, yeah, all the thousands of people who use are products learn to deal with audible distortion and digital nastiness; if they want to track decent vocals they need to stump up a grand". Nope.

Do you have any recordings you've made elsewhere of yourself playing or singing where you think: "yeah, that's exactly how I want to sound"?

Because, in my experience, it's more likely that a lot of what you're hearing is actually a detailed recording of your voice and guitar, in a somewhat unforgiving context (no dense mix and drums to hide behind), in an untreated room, without an experienced engineer (experienced both in trouble-shooting small-room recordings, and more in general) and ... yeah, even if you've been gigging for a while, and used to performing, it takes a while to get those skills up to the level where you can shine a light on them and still feel like they hold up.
Thanks Owen,
All solid, succinct advice. I have been doing the singer/songwriter thing for many years, and having tracked in other houses I've lived in with lesser equipment, and also some local studios both big and small, I've heard my voice through high-quality equipment before and have never heard the issue I'm hearing. You're right, putting your abilities, and limitations, under a microscope can reveal a lot of things you didn't know about your voice, and can be cause for some adjustments, sometimes it can be crushing, but it's always been fairly true to the sound I'm hearing in the room. With this, I'm talking about one particular frequency that just sounds smashed to me (only way I can describe it) never heard that before in any of the recordings I've made over the years. I dunno, starting to feel like it's in my head, but I've been armed with a ton of great info from this thread. GS can be kind of harsh sometimes, but I always come away a better musician for it. Thanks again!
Old 21st February 2018
  #42
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
Don't be afraid to clip the tube compressor a little....

Personally I own a TL Audio C1, and I clip the hell out of it, sounds awesome!
I don't mind a little clipping, builds character
Old 21st February 2018
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Thanks Arrowhead,
I agree - I know the room needs some attention, and I've neglected that up to now. I think it's causing some issues, but I'm still not convinced it's causing the offending noise that we're discussing here - for some reason I feel like the Focusrite is the weakest link in the chain, and I'm stuck on that being the issue (could be wrong though). Having said that - I don't mind having some room sound, and I don't like recording in "dead" rooms, so maybe it's a matter of taming the room I'm in - although admittedly, I don't even know where to begin lol. Here's a video I recorded when testing out the Mojave MA-200 and Shure SM-81 - you can see the room I'm in. Maybe it's just a matter of getting some dampeners in a few spots to hit some reflections? I dunno, that's another thread I guess, but I'm certainly open to improving that = improving the sound. Thanks again!

-Disclaimer- My ears are pretty tired here this evening, but I hear some high end hash on the vocal- way more on this track than the other.
You can hear similar on various singers -and not on others, and it is just a trait on some voices, and it can sound like distortion. Not saying that's what's going on here, just a possibility.
Now if that were happening the first thing I'd assume would be move the mic- for less on axis top end.
Then I see the mic in the vid seems to be well above you mouth (?

Not sure what to make of that.

On some folks you can find and dip out 'hot spots. But I tried sweeping top eq hoping to zero in on it here, but this seems to occupy quite a wide band.

Also of note. The guitar has a very nice wide airy tone, with no such issue like this at all.
That also confirms something -re 'digital converter/distortion

I'd be tempted to swing the Sure up (nothing else changes), square on with your face -not too close, about 8 inches out? and take a non hyped (as opposed to the Mojave+UA..) ref comparison sample.

Last edited by Wayne; 21st February 2018 at 07:46 AM.. Reason: Caus' I can't get it right the first frickin time!
Old 21st February 2018
  #44
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
-Disclaimer- My ears are pretty tired here this evening, but I hear some high end hash on the vocal- way more on this track than the other.
You can hear similar on various singers -and not on others, and it is just a trait on some voices, and it can sound like distortion. Not saying that's what's going on here, just a possibility.
Now if that were happening the first thing I'd assume would be move the mic- for less on axis top end.
Then I see the mic in the vid seems to be well above you mouth (?

Not sure what to make of that.

On some folks you can find and dip out 'hot spots. But I tried sweeping top eq hoping to zero in on it here, but this seems to occupy quite a wide band.

Also of note. The guitar has a very nice wide airy tone, with no such issue like this at all.
That also confirms something -re 'digital converter/distortion

I'd be tempted to swing the Sure up (nothing else changes), square on with your face -not too close, about 8 inches out? and take a non hyped (as opposed to the Mojave+UA..) ref comparison sample.
Thanks Wayne, that all makes sense and is very helpful. As you say, I'm sure the frequency is coming from my voice, especially given that I'm not hearing that harshness in the guitar, but the guitar has a different timbre so it's hard to verify with that - but yes, it may just be the way the mic is interpreting my voice, I just wish it was a cleaner frequency and I didn't have to sweep it out. But, as you say, that may be a matter of mic placement. The reason I have the mic a bit above me (not as dramatic as it looks on film), is because I found that if I was singing straight on that the harshness in question was worse, and I was getting a lot of plosives, sibilance, etc. Also, trying to make it where folks can see the performance and not the mic. I had experimented quite a bit with placement before I got to that - problem with going too far out in the room I'm in is that I start picking up too much room sound, and obviously it's not treated so starts to sound pretty bad. But I'll def try your advice - 8" is typically where I start - if I had a well-treated room I might even go further with a loud voice like mine.

Earlier on in my experiments, I had tried the Shure on its own, before I had preamps or anything (just running straight into the Focusrite), and never liked the sound of it on vocal because I was hearing that harsh frequency. So I think it's safe to say that, given that I've tried multiple mics/pres/mic placement/rooms/etc. etc. that it may just be my voice, combined with an untreated room, and perhaps not the best choices for mic placement, etc. Otherwise, it would be a faulty interface, but I'm finally steering away from that theory.

So, for now, I think you have a good point that "You can hear similar on various singers -and not on others, and it is just a trait on some voices, and it can sound like distortion." I am going to focus on putting up some acoustic panels in my living room next to help with some of the reflections, and maybe pick up a good surgical EQ plugin to help me settle that harshness down, make some adjustments to my mic choices/placement and I think we can call it a day Thanks again!
Old 21st February 2018
  #45
I'll throw this out there for anyone reading...

I ran into a situation similar to the OP's original problem this weekend with a composer I work with. He got a new setup (a Focusrite Clarett) and was complaining it didn't sound good, was crunchy and thin sounding, he swore up and down he wasn't even close to clipping on the meters...

So I went over there... In listening it sure was distorting but the meters in Protools showed the level down around -20dB... hmmmm... I tried guitar and drums... everything was really crunchy...

So I checked to see what metering he was using in protools... DIGITAL VU!!! He had no idea even how to change the metering so he must have changed it accidentally... when i changed the meter to Peak meter, EVERYTHING was PEGGED in the RED!!!

So... sometimes the most obvious thing is the one most often overlooked. If the OP or anyone reading this who is having the same problem... check HOW you are metering in Pro tools or any DAW. Make sure you aren't using some sort of RMS metering that isn't showing you peaks at all..

Also, another important part of this is setting your monitoring level correctly... all too often people have their monitor level turned way down because they have been listening to commercially mastered music... and then when they start tracking they are cranking up the input gain so they can hear it... and with the meters set incorrectly you'll never even know you are clipping...

So first is to set up and calibrate your monitoring level. There are tons of posts about that, so I won't get into it here. But once your monitoring level is set correctly, THEN everything else should fall into line and work correctly.
Old 21st February 2018
  #46
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
I'll throw this out there for anyone reading...

I ran into a situation similar to the OP's original problem this weekend with a composer I work with. He got a new setup (a Focusrite Clarett) and was complaining it didn't sound good, was crunchy and thin sounding, he swore up and down he wasn't even close to clipping on the meters...

So I went over there... In listening it sure was distorting but the meters in Protools showed the level down around -20dB... hmmmm... I tried guitar and drums... everything was really crunchy...

So I checked to see what metering he was using in protools... DIGITAL VU!!! He had no idea even how to change the metering so he must have changed it accidentally... when i changed the meter to Peak meter, EVERYTHING was PEGGED in the RED!!!

So... sometimes the most obvious thing is the one most often overlooked. If the OP or anyone reading this who is having the same problem... check HOW you are metering in Pro tools or any DAW. Make sure you aren't using some sort of RMS metering that isn't showing you peaks at all..

Also, another important part of this is setting your monitoring level correctly... all too often people have their monitor level turned way down because they have been listening to commercially mastered music... and then when they start tracking they are cranking up the input gain so they can hear it... and with the meters set incorrectly you'll never even know you are clipping...

So first is to set up and calibrate your monitoring level. There are tons of posts about that, so I won't get into it here. But once your monitoring level is set correctly, THEN everything else should fall into line and work correctly.
Thanks Etch,
That's good advice to start back at the beginning and make sure all of those "slap my head" things are in order. I admittedly don't know as much about meters as I should, but I'm fairly sure I have the right meters showing. It is tricky, because I have a meter on my preamp (which is just green/yellow/red lights), a meter on the compressor, a meter in Focusrite controller, and a meter in the DAW. So, it's possible that somewhere in that path I'm missing something, but I think that the overall sound would be obviously affected, rather than the one frequency I'm hearing. Also, I've gone as far as to turn all of my outboard gear down well below 9 o'clock (to give a visual reference), so low I couldn't hear playback in my headphones, and still when I playback I'm hearing the same thing. But I'll check it out and if anything this might help someone else having issues. Thanks!
Old 21st February 2018
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
I'll throw this out there for anyone reading...

I ran into a situation similar to the OP's original problem this weekend with a composer I work with. He got a new setup (a Focusrite Clarett) and was complaining it didn't sound good, was crunchy and thin sounding, he swore up and down he wasn't even close to clipping on the meters...

So I went over there... In listening it sure was distorting but the meters in Protools showed the level down around -20dB... hmmmm... I tried guitar and drums... everything was really crunchy...

So I checked to see what metering he was using in protools... DIGITAL VU!!! He had no idea even how to change the metering so he must have changed it accidentally... when i changed the meter to Peak meter, EVERYTHING was PEGGED in the RED!!!

So... sometimes the most obvious thing is the one most often overlooked. If the OP or anyone reading this who is having the same problem... check HOW you are metering in Pro tools or any DAW. Make sure you aren't using some sort of RMS metering that isn't showing you peaks at all..

Also, another important part of this is setting your monitoring level correctly... all too often people have their monitor level turned way down because they have been listening to commercially mastered music... and then when they start tracking they are cranking up the input gain so they can hear it... and with the meters set incorrectly you'll never even know you are clipping...

So first is to set up and calibrate your monitoring level. There are tons of posts about that, so I won't get into it here. But once your monitoring level is set correctly, THEN everything else should fall into line and work correctly.
Wow. (Or 'ouch
Old 22nd February 2018
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Thanks Arrowhead,
I agree - I know the room needs some attention, and I've neglected that up to now. I think it's causing some issues, but I'm still not convinced it's causing the offending noise that we're discussing here
Because...

If you have zero treatment, I'd be shocked if that wasn't at least part of the problem...maybe THE problem.
Old 22nd February 2018
  #49
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Your recordings sound too digital?

STOP DOING DIGITAL RECORDINGS

Look, straight facts, real talk, beyond the valley of B.S.....Digital audio is not great...period.

If your ears have developed a sensitivity to the suckyness of digital, there's no going back, It doesn't matter what you use, once your ears are locked on, it's over.

Get on over to Craigslist and get yourself a tape machine, once you hear that you'll be like: "F**K!!! Digital is that bad!" Even if it's not the best tape machine

No turning back now.....sorry
Old 22nd February 2018
  #50
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Because...

If you have zero treatment, I'd be shocked if that wasn't at least part of the problem...maybe THE problem.
That's a valid point Bill, thanks. I hope you don't hate me for elaborating with my limited knowledge and experience, but for me: there's room sound, and then there's distortion/digital sound, and what I'm hearing here (as far as I can gather) is not a frequency being distorted by the room I'm in. All things considered, the room I'm in sounds quite nice in person (not to say that I expect that to translate into a recording, just sayin'). And when I get right on top of the mic and still hear that offending frequency, it tells me that I'm not hearing it due to a reflection in the room, but that it is present somewhere in the signal chain (and my voice being the start of that chain and a possible culprit lol). Anyway, I respect the advice for room treatment, and I'm looking into building some DIY acoustic panels. I just don't want to deaden the room, because I don't mind hearing the sounds that are part of the reality I'm living - I mean, I make music in my living room, it's honest But maybe I can hit some reflections, experiment a bit, and see if that doesn't help. Thanks!
Old 22nd February 2018
  #51
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Thanks Etch,
That's good advice to start back at the beginning and make sure all of those "slap my head" things are in order. I admittedly don't know as much about meters as I should, but I'm fairly sure I have the right meters showing. It is tricky, because I have a meter on my preamp (which is just green/yellow/red lights), a meter on the compressor, a meter in Focusrite controller, and a meter in the DAW. So, it's possible that somewhere in that path I'm missing something, but I think that the overall sound would be obviously affected, rather than the one frequency I'm hearing. Also, I've gone as far as to turn all of my outboard gear down well below 9 o'clock (to give a visual reference), so low I couldn't hear playback in my headphones, and still when I playback I'm hearing the same thing. But I'll check it out and if anything this might help someone else having issues. Thanks!
you should calibrate all your gear too... 1.228V = +4dBu = 0 VU = -18dBFS

You want to make sure that when are passing signal between piece of gear they aren't unknowingly changing the gain up or down.
Old 22nd February 2018
  #52
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I think checking your levels is definitely the place to start. You have a powerful voice and could be hitting something too hard. I would try lowering your gain into the pre and see if it helps, don’t forget to turn up your monitoring to compensate. If you still have the same problem then look at the next link in the chain and do the same. If the problem persists then most likely the problem is occurring at the source which will mean changing mic positions and/or room treatment. It might be that the mic is too sensitive for your voice at that distance.
Old 22nd February 2018
  #53
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
you should calibrate all your gear too... 1.228V = +4dBu = 0 VU = -18dBFS

You want to make sure that when are passing signal between piece of gear they aren't unknowingly changing the gain up or down.
Thanks again Etch,
Reading the top line of your reply makes me realize I have a long way to go learning about the tech side of this, because I have only the faintest idea of what you're saying haha. Thing is, I've always been focused on writing/playing, and only recorded to hear where I'm at in that process, so I never wanted to get too deep into the technical side of things. But, now that I'm throwing some cash down on some gear, I guess it's time I read up more on these things. I'll look into it, thanks!
Old 22nd February 2018
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyzygis View Post
I think checking your levels is definitely the place to start. You have a powerful voice and could be hitting something too hard. I would try lowering your gain into the pre and see if it helps, don’t forget to turn up your monitoring to compensate. If you still have the same problem then look at the next link in the chain and do the same. If the problem persists then most likely the problem is occurring at the source which will mean changing mic positions and/or room treatment. It might be that the mic is too sensitive for your voice at that distance.
Thanks Zyzygis,
I'm starting to gather that it may be a combination of these things you've mentioned. I did experiment with the gain (even 0 gain, is that "unity" gain?), in the pre, just to make sure it wasn't the "coloring" that was offensive, but even going straight into the focusrite via its onboard pres I'm still hearing it. So... I think you might be right that my voice may just be hitting too hard and that's what's causing it. I'll do some more experimenting with mic placement - I want to get the mic further out - only trouble is then I start picking up more room sound. So I think I'll be spending some weekends building acoustic panels and diffusers. Man, I just wanna make music
Old 22nd February 2018
  #55
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Zyzygis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
Thanks Zyzygis,
I'm starting to gather that it may be a combination of these things you've mentioned. I did experiment with the gain (even 0 gain, is that "unity" gain?), in the pre, just to make sure it wasn't the "coloring" that was offensive, but even going straight into the focusrite via its onboard pres I'm still hearing it. So... I think you might be right that my voice may just be hitting too hard and that's what's causing it. I'll do some more experimenting with mic placement - I want to get the mic further out - only trouble is then I start picking up more room sound. So I think I'll be spending some weekends building acoustic panels and diffusers. Man, I just wanna make music
The frequency area that seems to be problematic is mostly generated in the nasal cavity. You could try moving the vocal mic so that it is pointing up and at chest or throat level as a starting point. This would pick up a different balance of frequencies and might mitigate the issue. Try singing and moving the mic height, distance and angle while listening through your headphones until you find the optimal position.
If the problem persists you might have to think about your singing technique when recording and perhaps hold back a little on those louder notes. You have a really nice voice IMO and would sound great live but close mic recording demands an additional set of skills.
Old 22nd February 2018
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyzygis View Post
The frequency area that seems to be problematic is mostly generated in the nasal cavity. You could try moving the vocal mic so that it is pointing up and at chest or throat level as a starting point. This would pick up a different balance of frequencies and might mitigate the issue. Try singing and moving the mic height, distance and angle while listening through your headphones until you find the optimal position.
If the problem persists you might have to think about your singing technique when recording and perhaps hold back a little on those louder notes. You have a really nice voice IMO and would sound great live but close mic recording demands an additional set of skills.
Thanks again Zyzgis, also great advice. I think we're onto something here, as another poster mentioned that the guitar sounds pretty clean and clear in my samples, and that the only offensive thing is in the voice - and I do know that there is a certain nasally thing that happens when I push air that may/is contributing to this. I was hoping that it might sound a little more natural, but as you say that may be a matter of experimenting more with mic placement. Only reason I'm coming down from the top is because I was trying to a)minimize the bleed from my guitar and b) minimize plosives, which seem to come downward from my mouth. But that may be mitigated by moving the mic out a bit further/angle etc. So, I will give this a try in my next session.

Thanks so much for the compliment! Part of the reason I threw down some $ on studio gear this year is so that I could practice in this unforgiving environment and, as you say, hopefully refine my technique to better suit recording. Many thanks!
Old 23rd February 2018
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyzygis View Post
If the problem persists you might have to think about your singing technique when recording and perhaps hold back a little on those louder notes.
Or step back from the mic a bit.
Old 23rd February 2018
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Or step back from the mic a bit.
That's ok when standing but in this case, in the video at least, he is sitting on a stool with a guitar on his thigh which would make that very usual technique impossible. Moving the mic below the mouth would make it possible to raise the head when singing louder, which is a natural thing to do anyway.
Old 23rd February 2018
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieD009 View Post
OK, so here is a sample of a recording with one mic, acoustic and vox - doesn't the timbre of the vocal sound smashed/distorted? Is that the best I can hope for? Here's the signal chain - try not to get hung up on the mic and preamp combo, or the placement/distance of the mic, as I assure you I've been experimenting for days and have tried damned near every conceivable combo/placement I can think of and always the same result, just doesn't sound right to me. Anyway:

Ear Trumpet Edwina (condenser) --> UA Solo 610 --> Focusrite 18i8 --> Pro Tools



Notes:
The UA 610 is set to 0 gain, because I am trying to be sure not to color the signal any.
My meters were set around -18db, and were peaking at about -12db
No post processing, only turned the levels up a bit to make up some volume
I'm around 8" from the mic as recommended from Ear Trumpet, although I've tried getting further back, various axis positions etc. - That could all use some tweaking I'm sure, but no matter what I still hear the issue, so I don't think that has anything to do with it.

OK, let me know what you guys hear, thanks!
I would use a lot more more compression and have you sit closer to the mic. I wanted to hear less cold room ambience and more bass in it, more warmth. Your recording sounded like you were playing way far away from me in a dirty bathroom.
Old 23rd February 2018
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
I would use a lot more more compression and have you sit closer to the mic. I wanted to hear less cold room ambience and more bass in it, more warmth. Your recording sounded like you were playing way far away from me in a dirty bathroom.
But 'more warmth, while it would compensate in a tone balance, wouldn't address the issue in question- up top.
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