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Can't control my Voice's ''raspiness'' - Help please!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
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IndieTrash's Avatar
 

Can't control my Voice's ''raspiness'' - Help please!

Hey Gearslutz friends, this is my first post so please bare with my choice of words in the title and in this post

Here is my issue: Especially at the beginning of certain phrases, and when I'm not singing ''breathy'', my voice tends to be really raspy; I have a hard time explaining this but I recorded a little snippet just for this thread so I can demonstrate what I mean.
No matter what I try I cannot tame this, and also I'm aware that it shouldn't sound so harsh while recording.

My Vocal chain is Neumann TLM 102 -> GAP Pre 73 -> Focusrite Scarlette -> Mac (Logic)
I'm uncertain if it is my chain or if my voice is just that hard to handle.
I have recorded my voice several time in my Uni's studio, and the problem did not occur, tho to be fair they have a 100k$ SSL and it's pre-amps sitting around. I think I used a AKG 214 or something (at uni).
I used to own a SM7b, where the issue wasn't so bad either, but I felt it lacked too much detail in transients for the type of vocal I was going for.

So as I said I recorded a little snippet (around 20 sec of just my voice and some soft e-piano) that I attached, where I tried to exaggerate the effect while singing, but this happens just as much when I would sing ''normally''. I have done no post processing except for a lowcut at around 100hz and some slight compression for audibility (raspiness sounds just as bad without).

I'd be so thankful for any tips as to what the issue could be, or what Mic/preamp or whatever I could buy to help this. If you guys need me to clarify anything I'll gladly do so in the comments.

Cheers

Edit: Maybe I should clarify that by can't controlling my voice I don't mean while singing, but in the mix. I can sing really breathy and this issue doesn't occur, but obviously I do not want to be singing breathy the whole time. I also severely exaggerated the Issue (which seems to be vocal fry) during the recording.
Attached Files

MicDemo.wav (11.65 MB, 394 views)


Last edited by IndieTrash; 3 weeks ago at 06:25 AM.. Reason: Clarification
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Head
 

You’re in a very severe VOCAL FRY and the “mumble mushy baby talk” affectation that’s trendy among the televisually influenced set.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocal_fry_register

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/...what-vocal-fry

Unlike uptalk, which is a rising intonation pattern, or valleyspeak, which covers a general grab bag of linguistic features, including vocabulary, vocal fry describes a specific sound quality caused by the movement of the vocal folds. In regular speaking mode, the vocal folds rapidly vibrate between a more open and more closed position as the air passes through. In vocal fry, the vocal folds are shortened and slack so they close together completely and pop back open, with a little jitter, as the air comes through. That popping, jittery effect gives it a characteristic sizzling or frying sound. (I haven’t been able to establish that that’s how fry got its name, but that’s the story you hear most often.)


Vocal fry, which has also been called creaky voice, laryngealization, glottal fry, glottal scrape, click, pulse register, and Strohbass (straw bass), has been discussed in musical and clinical literature since at least the middle of the 20th century. It is a technique (not necessarily encouraged) that lets a singer go to a lower pitch than they would otherwise be capable of. It shows up with some medical conditions affecting the voice box. It is also an important feature in some languages, like Zapotec Mayan, where fry can mark the distinction between two different vowels. These days, however, you mostly hear about it as a social phenomenon, as described (and decried) as “the way a Kardashian speaks” in this video by Faith Salie.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
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IndieTrash's Avatar
 

Hey Boogerface, thanks for the quick reply.
It does sound like I suffer from this, however as I said I exaggerated it for the purpose of this thread. Also Sorry for the mumbly mushy baby talk, I tried to be quiet since its late at night here and English isn't my first language, I could try to provide a more ''normal'' example if that helps.
So is this something that I should fix? If so do I go to my doctor about it? And honestly Im not even sure if I want to completely get rid of it since Ive gotten accustomed to the tone of my voice lol.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
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s wave's Avatar
Good reply by boogerface. I find that singers often have 2,3 or even 4 voices. It's good to have 'fry' in the tool box. Try singing with the mic up above mouth height... this might tighten the muscles to get a smoother tone. Experiment with it. Also study a bit on the 3 major voice registers (Chest/Throat/Head) as well as full on MASK singing... you might get a nice breakthrough here with a little investigation and work. tc
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
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IndieTrash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
Good reply by boogerface. I find that singers often have 2,3 or even 4 voices. It's good to have 'fry' in the tool box. Try singing with the mic up above mouth height... this might tighten the muscles to get a smoother tone. Experiment with it. Also study a bit on the 3 major voice registers (Chest/Throat/Head) as well as full on MASK singing... you might get a nice breakthrough here with a little investigation and work. tc
Hey tc, thank you for the reply. I have some basic understanding of chest/throat/head, but definitely not enough I fear haha. Also will do some research on mask singing.
Would you care to listen to another recording? I have an old school group project that I recorded at uni, where the issue didn't occur. Do you think this is due the better equipment or did I just sing differently?
I think I used a Neumann 103 for this one through the SSL, the voice is completely unedited (as is the instrumental so please just ignore that lol).

Cheers
Attached Files

SkinnyLovedemo.mp3 (8.12 MB, 333 views)

Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Head
 

The second track has a lot of effects.

I’m hearing the same thing, though.

You sing in this style I hear in a certain genre of new pop and “rap” like trap.

It’s a “mumble” smearing of words dropping “n” and “t” making “r” a “w” sound and mumbling the words together.

I think it came from mumble rap.

I hear many pop singers doing this, but I think they’re borrowing the “sound” from trap and mumble rap.

It could be an ESL thing. It could be drug thing.

My guess is it’s a social thing.

The vocal fry is a social thing. People learn languages. They imitate sounds.

If you look at the European languages and the language of the Middle East, MANY come from the single language called “Proto-Indo-European” or PIE.

These languages change over time. So sibilants like “Sh” might shift to a hard “K” sound or the hard “T” might be dropped as in “fillet” (fillay) but some in the British world say “Fill it”

You sound like a young American raised on American culture. If you want to get rid of this signature (like some people want to get rid of their New York or southern accents) you might see a voice coach.

Otherwise, try listening to other styles of music. Singing with your diaphragm and chest and less with your throat.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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IndieTrash's Avatar
 

I'm sorry Booger but I can't really take what you write seriously, no offence.
You went on a tangent about mumbling while singing which is completely off-topic and has absolutely
nothing to do with the question(s) I asked.
Also you say that the 2nd track (bon Iver track) ''has a lot of effects'', which leads me to believe you don't understand all that much about music production.
There is 0 editing done on that, the thing that might sounds edited to you is that I backed up the main vocal twice, hard panned left/right. But if you mistake that for
''a lot of effects'' I don't think I will value your opinion.

Also you missed the part where I told you English isn't my first language, I'm actually German, so defenitely not a young American raised on American culture.
I'm sorry to be so rude but I think my original question went completely over your head and you just wanted to spew some ''facts'' about languages you acquired, which had (except for maybe the throat-fry part) nothing to do with my thread.
I wanted to know if people could suggest equipment that would help tame the throatiness in my voice, not a sociology lesson.

Ok blew off some steam but I hope my point got across. cheers
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
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Owen L T's Avatar
It sounds to me like it's at least 99% a result of the actual sound being produced by the way you sing in the first clip, rather than anything to do with the equipment used to capture it. And it's the inherent sound, rather than, say, a build up of a particular frequency; so while different mics, and different EQ, will result in variations of tone, none of that will reduce the raspiness - that can only come from you.

Booger did actually mention that "maybe it's an ESL thing" (that is "English as a Second Language"), so I think his remark about "you sound like a young American raised on American culture" was less about you actually *being* one, and more about you *sounding* like one - as in, it's nearly impossible to imagine that the singing style in the first clip could have arisen out of anything other than having listened to, and been influenced by, people singing in that style; in popular music, at least, that kind of sound simply didn't exist 20 years ago, whereas now it's all over the pop charts.

I associate it much more with the English pop charts, and the accent is *very* UK - impressively nailed on, in fact, which makes me think you have a real ear for sound, and reproducing the sounds that you hear, so you definitely have the ability to modulate your voice slightly, now that you are aware of the issue.

Booger's comment that you could try "singing with your diaphragm and chest and less with your throat" is, IMHO, 100% on point - possibly articulated in a slightly tough-love, non sugar-coated way, as is frequently the case here on GS (I've been known to use tough-love articulation myself, on more than one occasion).

To get back to the key question: no equipment, either hardware or software, is going to de-rasp that vocal.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
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Dan Popp's Avatar
I think a vocal coach is your best friend, OP. You wouldn't want to sing in such a way that could (over a period of years) harm your voice.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Popp View Post
I think a vocal coach is your best friend, OP. You wouldn't want to sing in such a way that could (over a period of years) harm your voice.
As a vocal instructor with 15 years experience I can tell you that vocal fry is actually therapeutic to the cords and not going to harm your voice in any way. Whether it will wear thin on your audience’s patience is a different question, naturally. Myself, I gotta turn that baby affectation off right away before I stab someone, but I’m probably not the target market...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Also, if it helps, I do not hear any rasp or issues with the recording. However, oftentimes when recording vocals, your monitoring levels will bring about drastically different results, especially if you’re an untrained singer and just responding pretty intuitively to what you’re hearing.

Without getting too much into it, my one recommendation would be to approach your vocal recording with an attitude of experimentation with the monitoring levels. Do some takes with the sound of your own voice lower in the headphones, louder in the headphones, maybe out of the headphones altogether with an earphone off one ear. Try a bunch of stuff and see what works best. This is perhaps one of the most difficult things singers have to deal with and getting a good monitoring situation is a bit of a moving target. Often what works for one song with a certain instrumentation and vocal range will totally not work with another song when these factors are different. We can’t feel our voices the same way during recording that we would feel them in a normal acoustical space and this is the challenge of recording voice.

The sound you’re making in the first recording is most likely happening because you’re monitoring your voice very loudly in the mix. You can hear yourself “too well” and so you’re listening to your voice too much while you’re singing. So do the exact opposite for a few takes– make it so you can just barely hear yourself and focus on the instruments. You’ll likely project more and get a very different recording. Absolutely none of this is tied to any issues with gear.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
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IndieTrash's Avatar
 

Hey everyone,
thank you for the kind replys. I had a **** day yesterday and I think I might've took it out on booger, sorry man.
I appreciate all the advice you guys gave me despite my rude comment lol.
I have already tried different singing styles with mixed results, but this will definitely help me get there,
also thanks Zasterz for you very professional insight, I will also mess around with monitoring levels.
Sorry again, but thanks anyways!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Head
 

No worries man. Thanks for following up.

The vocal sounded like an intense doubling effect, which made it hard to hear the quality of the voice. Doubling is an effect. Sorry to upset you about this.

The overall “style” might be leading toward this affectation (the fry and mumble) is all I was saying. That singing style is a thing here in the States. People do this. It’s called “mumble”. That type of LOW VOLUME, throaty singing might TEND toward a vocal fry is all I was saying.

Even Geoff Tate from Queensryche does vocal fry when he sings low.

Marilyn Manson vocal fries all of the time, but usually when he’s “talk singing”.

It’s not an insult my friend. It’s simply a discussion to better understand it.

I completely understood that English is your second language. This may be why the inflection, intonation etc sound different to a native speaker.

I think a lot of the current “mumble” and “baby talk” singers probably originated with ESL people. I notice that a lot here in NYC where I grew up.

Some people have a hard time forming some the sounds in English. So this transfers to singing.

A lot of “rap” and “pop” is made by people from other countries singing in English with a heavy accent. People COPY this as a “STYLE”.

I think the FRY and baby talk comes from this.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Head
 

For what it’s worth this is a fascinating topic and I’m glad some vocal pros are here.

I’ve been singing in metal bands (power vocalist with opera training) for my entire life.

I’ve also studied international political economy at the graduate level and find the socio-anthropological aspect to this truly truly interesting.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
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IndieTrash's Avatar
 

Yeah I kinda mistook your explainations for criticism and was really thin skinned that day, no need to have a go at you.

Also fascinating insights Booger, sounds like you got a lot of experience.

I've already found some success in having the vocal sound a little less sharp on the ears by focusing on avoiding vocal fry at the very beginning of words and phrases, it gets rid of that really eerie sound for the most part. Mid-phrase it doesn't pop out so bad.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndieTrash View Post
Yeah I kinda mistook your explainations for criticism and was really thin skinned that day, no need to have a go at you.

Also fascinating insights Booger, sounds like you got a lot of experience.

I've already found some success in having the vocal sound a little less sharp on the ears by focusing on avoiding vocal fry at the very beginning of words and phrases, it gets rid of that really eerie sound for the most part. Mid-phrase it doesn't pop out so bad.
The vocal fry a cool thing to use though.

Many great singers use it sparingly. So don’t lose it!

You have a vocal trainer here on the thread. These people know A LOT about the physiology of sound. How to create loud, resonating falsetto and gutsy booming lows. It’s very athletic in many respects.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Head
 

From Johns Hopkins:

Whether you use it or not, vocal fry is a pattern of voice use that does not cause harm to your voice. However, if you’re not satisfied with your voice, a speech-language pathologist can help improve its quality. These methods train you to produce a stronger, more powerful voice.

Akst also encourages anyone experiencing persistent vocal roughness to receive an examination to rule out vocal cord disorders that can only be diagnosed during an exam.




https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heal...ining-my-voice


Yeah, I use vocal fry. So what?

What do the Kardashians, Zooey Deschanel and Katy Perry all have in common? They all are well-known for their use of vocal fry, a creaky voice tone. But women aren’t the only ones using vocal fry —men use it too.

What is vocal fry?

Vocal fry is the lowest register (tone) of your voice characterized by its deep, creaky, breathy sound.

When you speak, your vocal cords naturally close to create vibrations as air passes between them. Like a piano or guitar string, these vibrations produce sound (your voice). When you breathe, your vocal cords are relaxed and open to let air pass through freely, which doesn’t produce any sound.

When you use vocal fry, you relax your vocal cords but do not increase the amount of air you’re pushing past your vocal cords, which produces slower vibrations and ultimately results in the lower creaky sound.

Does vocal fry affect your health?

Vocal fry is not physically harmful to the health of your voice. “The vocal anatomy is not damaged by speaking in vocal fry. However, like any behavior, vocal or otherwise, it can become a habit,” explains Johns Hopkins otolaryngologist

Lee Akst, M.D.
Side affects of vocal fry.

Vocal fry can affect how others perceive you. “Having a little vocal fry in the voice can sometimes give off the impression of the person being more relaxed,” explains speech-language pathologist Kristine Pietsch, M.A. “It's become more common for radio personalities to use vocal fry in an attempt to sound more natural and accessible to their audience; however some listeners can find it grating."

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heal...ining-my-voice
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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s wave's Avatar
Some throat specialists actually say it is actually beneficial to voice health...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Addict
 

For those who are curious about this, the general idea is explained here. Basically, the slow vibration is a kind of massage to the cords. (It doesn’t really have much to do with musical applications though.)
Quote:
What is glottal fry and how does it work?

* The lowest vocal register
* Vocal folds slowly vibrate, reducing stress on the tissue
* Vocal folds are shortened, relaxing the tissue

Large movements cause fibrotic tissue of the nodule to vibrate, loosening it
* Vibration of this tissue could lead to a reduction in the size of nodules
From
https://minds.wisconsin.edu/bitstrea...pdf?sequence=1
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