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Why are my vocal recordings still not sounding good enough?
Old 12th May 2019
  #1
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Why are my vocal recordings still not sounding good enough?

Hey guys, I would really appreciate if you could give me some advice. I have upgraded my gear, plugins, and even attempted to acoustically treat my room - but I feel like the vocal recordings don't sound any much better?

I have an Avantone CV-12 connected to an apollo twin, and have some acoustic foam panels placed in a pattern on my walls. My vocal recordings though, when mixed still doesn't sound more "professional" sounding. I am a male singer, and I've attached an example if that helps!

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
Attached Files
File Type: aif Singing Demo.aif (3.44 MB, 81 views)
Old 12th May 2019
  #2
Quote:
when mixed still doesn't sound more "professional" sounding.
Have you produces or mixed any professional sounding songs? If yes, then the problem may be in the reoccurring stage. If no, then its not fair to compare yourself to a professionally recorded, produced, mixed and mastered song.

That said, you do have the equipment to capture a great sounding vocals. So look into vocal recording techniques first and then study mixing techniques after that.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Sybille's Avatar
 

I hear :

Capsul distortion : you sing too close to your mic.

Phasy issue / chorusy effect : Your room seem to have "hollow" resonances, probably small room ? or It could be caused by an element in your vocal chain.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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s wave's Avatar
You can get there... the equipment is fine - I believe. My 2 quick take-aways... Person above said - distorting where you do not want the distortion. Do a sound check test... small 1 inch increments from close 1 inch -- to all the way out - a couple of feet away... singing directly into the capsule (as much on axis as you can). Then do the same thing with most every angle off axis. Compare them and see where you like it best. Try a few registers - higher and lower push yourself... also see if you can get a real nice low relaxed voice too along with not 'dipthonging' and carrying one word into the next. Try making some space and distance between the words. WHEN you find ONE lil phrase that you like - sing and emote that one phrase every way you can. When you get to that point COMMIT to that phrase... small short recordings. Don't worry about all the plugins etc. You will surprise yourself when you run across your wheel house. (sometimes you can miss it by millimeters or pass over it by an eyelash HUNT that right sweet spot. You an the mic and the room. Try the shower or any other ideas - think out of the box or Hey try recording in a cardbord box... or garage - I am serious... gl.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfine View Post
Hey guys, I would really appreciate if you could give me some advice. I have upgraded my gear, plugins, and even attempted to acoustically treat my room - but I feel like the vocal recordings don't sound any much better?

I have an Avantone CV-12 connected to an apollo twin, and have some acoustic foam panels placed in a pattern on my walls. My vocal recordings though, when mixed still doesn't sound more "professional" sounding. I am a male singer, and I've attached an example if that helps!

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
Was this vocal processed or raw?

I'd agree with the other assessments that you're recording a touch hot, probably means backing away from the mic a bit and having a little less gain for starters. Unless the distortion is from the post processing.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post
I hear :

Capsul distortion : you sing too close to your mic.

Phasy issue / chorusy effect : Your room seem to have "hollow" resonances, probably small room ? or It could be caused by an element in your vocal chain.
Thanks!
Singing a little further from the mic seems like an easy fix. What do you think I could do about the "hollow resonances"? I do have a pretty small-ish room.


Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
You can get there... the equipment is fine - I believe. My 2 quick take-aways... Person above said - distorting where you do not want the distortion. Do a sound check test... small 1 inch increments from close 1 inch -- to all the way out - a couple of feet away... singing directly into the capsule (as much on axis as you can). Then do the same thing with most every angle off axis. Compare them and see where you like it best. Try a few registers - higher and lower push yourself... also see if you can get a real nice low relaxed voice too along with not 'dipthonging' and carrying one word into the next. Try making some space and distance between the words. WHEN you find ONE lil phrase that you like - sing and emote that one phrase every way you can. When you get to that point COMMIT to that phrase... small short recordings. Don't worry about all the plugins etc. You will surprise yourself when you run across your wheel house. (sometimes you can miss it by millimeters or pass over it by an eyelash HUNT that right sweet spot. You an the mic and the room. Try the shower or any other ideas - think out of the box or Hey try recording in a cardbord box... or garage - I am serious... gl.
Definitely will try to do this! It's very hopeful, thank you

Also guys, no there is no processing in that - and maybe I do need to check the gain as well as sing a little further from the mic. I just tend to like the sound a little more when it's closer to the mic.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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It would be nice to hear this in context of a song. Look at it this way, you will never have a worse vocal sound than Curt Kobain or Bob Dylan and they made millions, so just make music and don't think about the finer details of production.

If you really are worried about your vocal sound being the best it can be, have someone very experienced come in and help you track them. It could be a great learning experience.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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s wave's Avatar
Alright now.... good news that is dry like desert track. I really like your voice and commitment.
OK you got what it takes and I agree with everyone said here. I just took your vocal... put it on audacity changed it to .wav file / Split the stereo track. Then ever so slightly slid trck 2 a few milliseconds late (Double track delay kinda John Lennon) then detuned it about 1% lower I think at 950 hz cant remember, Added plate delay almost 2% but leaned on the 'WET' then through it REAPER DAW and did a quik 2 voice (high octave harmonizer...) and this came out... pretty poor job but ok for 2 minute no-look. I just wanted to see how well your sound took to these elements. very nice. you have a nice High Hertz resonance there and can easily put out a very good song! IMO. Like I said the added plugins are way too much and not calibrated at all. I would say you would sound 10 to 20x better with a lil care and effort...
Attached Files

AAAA BUTTERFINE test S WAVE split stereo detune track2 1% Dobletrack delay 1% 2%okate reverb dou.wav (5.92 MB, 392 views)

Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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s wave's Avatar
above is wav file, lets see if aiff uploads.... here
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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Here are a few common ways to control your distance to the mic:
1. use popfilter
2. Wear a hat, put the mic angled away from you and you sing up a bit. Your baseball cap will hit the mic when you get too close.
3. Line on the floor. Don't step over.
4. Light beam. Set up a light that hit's your eye's if you get too close.

I shure other's can list 10 more way's to do it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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kite's Avatar
You need a popfilter. Your gear is so ok - that you should afford a 10-20 dollars popfilter. Just connect directly to Apollo -> computer. Nothing in between. Don't record too hot and try to get a clean sound (you can process your recordings after). As you have a great mic, don't get too near it (lower your input - when mixing you can get it as loud as you want.

Recording takes a bit time. There are great books on that. Do you play an instrument (apart vocals - as it is an instrument too). And practice. World-class singer like bono sings to a dynamic Shure Beta 58. It is used primarily as a live mic. His vocals are great. Don't worry about your gear, it really ok. For now practise. Don't forget to get your pitch as correct as you can. After that rely on autotune-plugins.

If I can do - you can do too!! Can I ask your age? And how long have you recorded?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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Sybille's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfine View Post
Thanks!
Singing a little further from the mic seems like an easy fix. What do you think I could do about the "hollow resonances"? I do have a pretty small-ish room.


If you only have one room, try treating it properly (absorptive foam etc) and then try moving the mic around until this sort of comb filtering sound disappears, you must have some standing waves in the middle of your room.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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mark1971's Avatar
 

Have you noticed people are getting great vocals without using foam or room treatments?

I have not read one of these posts where the issue was microphone proximity. If it was the person would come back with a positive result, saying all better. Doesnt happen. You expect me to believe you did not already try backing off the microphone. Where do pop vocals come from?

This is possibly the biggest industry conspiracy ever! This goes all the way to the top. Get me the president!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark1971 View Post
. Where do pop vocals come from?
One would guess they come from pop vocalists.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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mark1971's Avatar
 

What is the worst , is when these two teen girls playing the Pet Parade tent, make A better single at home than I ever could.

I did not feel short or embarssed, it was utter amazement of the human spirit.

After buying their CD , tried asking them about their recording methods. I was told..

"A good magician never reveals their tricks", Courtney.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark1971 View Post
"A good magician never reveals their tricks", Courtney.
A professional studio or engineer is often the trick.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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s wave's Avatar
Many pop producers and singers, and engineers will tell you flat out that it was the right song for the right time. Even Max Martin had a little slump and he knows why. It wasn't 'current'. If many artists never re-invented themselves they never would have had the notoriety. Beatles - Elvis etc etc. When you come up with a 'now' sound it gets some legs. Striking a chord comes in many way... that sound - emoting whats on the populous's mind - Something brand new (auto tune in infancy) - its really endless to me. But exaggerating your lane (really doing 'you') will turn some attention - I am against homogenization (just my taste) I do not like fence straddling too much. Even if its bad fail hard fail fast doing it your way.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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weave's Avatar
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybille View Post
If you only have one room, try treating it properly (absorptive foam etc) and then try moving the mic around until this sort of comb filtering sound disappears, you must have some standing waves in the middle of your room.
Thank you for this - I have been trying to record acoustic guitar for awhile in a small room and it has sounded way bass heavy. I set up the mike and sit at my listening position and move the mic and just couldn't get past the low end hype. I have no bass traps, but I do have six 2' x 4' x 2" rock wool panels, which sucked up flutter echo and much of the high end... leaving muddy bass. And then I read:

STANDING WAVES IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR ROOM....

BINGO! I figured out I was in the exact center of my small room! I moved closer towards the back wall and suddenly my guitar actually sounded like a guitar!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
Alright now.... good news that is dry like desert track. I really like your voice and commitment.
OK you got what it takes and I agree with everyone said here. I just took your vocal... put it on audacity changed it to .wav file / Split the stereo track. Then ever so slightly slid trck 2 a few milliseconds late (Double track delay kinda John Lennon) then detuned it about 1% lower I think at 950 hz cant remember, Added plate delay almost 2% but leaned on the 'WET' then through it REAPER DAW and did a quik 2 voice (high octave harmonizer...) and this came out... pretty poor job but ok for 2 minute no-look. I just wanted to see how well your sound took to these elements. very nice. you have a nice High Hertz resonance there and can easily put out a very good song! IMO. Like I said the added plugins are way too much and not calibrated at all. I would say you would sound 10 to 20x better with a lil care and effort...
Wow!! this is so cool - thank you so much! I really appreciate the effort, and I feel hopeful and motivated to try again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kite View Post
If I can do - you can do too!! Can I ask your age? And how long have you recorded?
Thank you! I am 21 I have been playing around with music and recording for about 5 or so years!


Thank you for all your comments and thoughts, guys! It's very much appreciated. What I've taken from this so far is that the gain needs to be lower, I should back away a little, and to avoid singing from the middle of my room. What do you guys think about microphone guards such as the Auralex Mud Guard? Any good?

Thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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weave's Avatar
I have one of those things that attaches to a mic stand and wraps around the mic. It sits in a closet.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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badmark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfine View Post
Thanks!
Singing a little further from the mic seems like an easy fix. What do you think I could do about the "hollow resonances"? I do have a pretty small-ish room.
...
Also guys, no there is no processing in that - and maybe I do need to check the gain as well as sing a little further from the mic. I just tend to like the sound a little more when it's closer to the mic.
Couldn't listen to your file, but in a smallish room the 'hollow resonances' might be improved by a reflective shield. I use the slightly chewed dog frisbee you can see in a photo in this thread: Relfection filter for recording vocals Do you have the mic's power adaptor near you when you're singing? It sounds like it has a lot of recording pattern variations that could also help suppress them.

I've got a cheap pop filter and cannot recommend them. The distance they put you from the mic serves an instructive purpose, but they do mess with your overall vocal tone. I'm also not sure about the 'small short recordings' advice. 'Professional' singing does suggest being able to nail a song from start to finish, where better place to start than on your own time? Paying customers, fine, fix it in the mix etc.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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s wave's Avatar
I have seen a few promising careers never pursued because of lack of confidence, alone. If a singer can just get ONE recording or 'short recording' that he/she likes that is enough for them inside to say "I can do it - because I just did it". For me, I have the attitude of - do what ever it takes to get to this point. Some people are more homogenized in their thinking saying you have to do it by the book or the scholastic way or what tradition does. There are not many A - listers (today) that record a song and have it released without multiple compilations. Recording is one thing and live is another. In an ideal world your uncle owns Abbey Road.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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mark1971's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by weave View Post
I figured out I was in the exact center of my small room! I moved closer towards the back wall and suddenly my guitar actually sounded like a guitar!
After reading this post, am I understanding you record your guitar amp or body from many feet away, and that is better?

There is also a conversion formula for db amplification free standing, elevated, against a wall, and in a corner. So it matters.

How are you intending?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
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weave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark1971 View Post
After reading this post, am I understanding you record your guitar amp or body from many feet away, and that is better?

There is also a conversion formula for db amplification free standing, elevated, against a wall, and in a corner. So it matters.

How are you intending?
Acoustic guitar. Moved mic and guitar towards back wall and found “room sweet spot” instead of just “guitar sweet spot”. Big difference being out of middle of the room.

Guitar sweet spot, depending on mic being used, is typically about 1 to 2 feet away with various flavors of on and off axis to close to the 12th fret or so. Still playing now that I don’t have quite as much bass buildup to deal with.

Wasn’t as bad when I had foam. Upgraded to broadband panels and that made the bass stand out huge. Bass traps next.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
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juiseman's Avatar
 

It depends which Mic you are using; what amp you have & what kind of
tone you are after. Sometimes a close 57, sometimes a 2-3ft condenser or ribbon. The best thing to do is put on your headphones and move the mic around
to find the sweet spot. Everybody has a different approach to recording live amps.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
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badmark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
I have seen a few promising careers never pursued because of lack of confidence, alone. If a singer can just get ONE recording or 'short recording' that he/she likes that is enough for them inside to say "I can do it - because I just did it". For me, I have the attitude of - do what ever it takes to get to this point. Some people are more homogenized in their thinking saying you have to do it by the book or the scholastic way or what tradition does. There are not many A - listers (today) that record a song and have it released without multiple compilations. Recording is one thing and live is another. In an ideal world your uncle owns Abbey Road.
That's sort of my point. I'm not Abbey Road. I don't have a squad of interns happy to compile a hundred fragmentary vocal recordings into one cohesive whole.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by badmark View Post
That's sort of my point. I'm not Abbey Road. I don't have a squad of interns happy to compile a hundred fragmentary vocal recordings into one cohesive whole.
Yea we are coming from 2 sides of the same coin. If you have the pro-vocal skills its all moot. The singer can adjust and knows enough to adjust. Being new to recording and doing it alone can be intimidating or you can get lost quick. I do not have anybody either - but that just adds to your strength if we hang in there. Just to know basic theory of computer, OS, software, music, recording, electronics, instruments, graphics, html, social media etc. makes it so you don't have to rely on anyone. Its kind of a new demand niche.

"If you are demanding of yourself, you will be in demand."
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
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s wave's Avatar
I think this is a good spot for INSPIRATION!! - if you spend time listening to tracks like THIS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8ed1qzSSTw you might say to yourself - Ya I can do that. Until I studied the dozens of tapes like THIS one (vocals without instruments live) I always had doubt - You just look at the mic techniques - the breathing - timing etc etc... you start getting better in a hurry... then you build you own confident techniques... then forget about everything and juzz go witit gl
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
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Doors were terrible vocals. He was a poet, not much of a singer.

Opinions vary,

If drugs were music, Doors would be LSD.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark1971 View Post
Doors were terrible vocals. He was a poet, not much of a singer.

Opinions vary,

If drugs were music, Doors would be LSD.
Who do you think was the greatest of all time?
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