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modulation 22nd February 2007 07:06 AM

Cutting Vocals in the Control Room
I was curious if you have had experiences recording Vocals in the control room with the main monitors at high volumes and a handheld microphone?
I am working with ana artist that insists on doing it this way, he gets into it more and it helps his performance.
So if you have had experience with this, how do you deal with bleed into the mic and also feedback issues that can arise?i tried this once and the bleed from the monitors into the microphone was out of control and at times there were feedback issues.

halcyo 22nd February 2007 06:41 PM

Have you ever tried this 'out of phase monitor mix trick' in this situation?

Basically, you record your track in the control room, and then record a second track from the EXACT SAME mic position, but don't sing into it (all it will capture is monitor bleed). Then, you flip this track 180 degrees out of phase with the vocal track, and alot of the monitor bleed cancels itself out.

I don't know if this ALSO messes with the vocal sound or not, perhaps some experienced engineers can comment on this.


Kevin Killen 22nd February 2007 06:50 PM


I have cut vocals in the control room with the main monitors blaring, its akin to a live recording with the PA and foldback monitors squealing. The choice is simple, do you go for an inspired performance with a comprimised sound or do you go for the opposite. If the genre of music allows you to place the vocal a liitle further back in the mix, then maybe that is a choice that is worth making.

However if the vocal needs to dominate the mix then the artist, producer , label , management need to understand that there is a tradeoff.

What I have done in the past is to have the small speakers on, flip the phase of one and place the microphone equisdistant form the speakers ( at the apex of a triangle) The singer has to stay on position ( something impossible with a hand held! ) and you can also encourage him to wear in-ears or phones so that he gets a more immediate sense of the mix. Then its a question of balancing the volume of the speakers and headphones. Once the performances are complete, run a pass down where the mic records the intrumental mix at the same volume settings, mic gain and when doing a comp , flip the phase of this track with the vocal track and balance to see if you can get cancellation. At best you will get a result that resembles loud headphone bleed.

On main monitors , it is just not practical or advisable to be reversing the phase of one side. The insistnace of using a hand held mic will only negate any slight reduction in bleed or feedback. You may want to search around to see if there are some stage mics that have a super hypercardiod pattern to mitgate the bleed factor.

But at the end of the day, basic laws of physics are at work and that is the choice.

Good luck, worse thing that can happen is that you get a great vocal take and lose some hearing at the same time !


halcyo 22nd February 2007 07:34 PM there a theoretical degradation of the sonic quality of the vocal take during all this phasemongering?


modulation 22nd February 2007 08:08 PM

Thanks Kevin I am gonna give a go and see what happens.

Kevin Killen 28th February 2007 06:36 AM


Originally Posted by halcyo (Post 1144338) there a theoretical degradation of the sonic quality of the vocal take during all this phasemongering?


In therory, I guess there could be some degradation, but certainly not much worse than howling feedback and squealing !