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Help with distortion on Vocals
Old 25th June 2009
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Help with distortion on Vocals

Hi there.im a producer and i have a small studio.I not new in production and mixing i did it 10 years.

So what is my problem..

I have a lot of rap accapelas like 50 cent dre busta and so on.Now..every single vocals have some kind of distordion on top mid high frecuencies especially on esses and shh words.I cant get that effect no matter what i did.

i searched a lot on gearslutz how to make this sound but every tip i tried was not the same.

first please tell me if it is a hardware effect.I tried a lot of parallel hp eq and distorsion and a lot of distorsion plugs.the effect is almost the same but not that effect.i mean if i cut frquencies with a hp to lets say 6k or 7 k and distrot that and add that to the main vocal its sounds something like that but on all the words not only on the shh and esses and the distorsion is not creammy its more like irritating.it is like adding a hi distorsion wich is present on all the words and i dont like it.i even tried to put a parralel de esser and put that on monitoring to hear only the esses and distort that but sound very bad.I tried all the exciters on vst area (working in logic) nothig sonds like that period.

the effect im looking for is like when the vocalist say some word with an ess or shh its like the "shh is hitting some harmonic overdrive and it sounds...perfect.not like a vst distrorsion.on some acapellas the effect is very very loud and i really like it.if you listen to the acapellas you tend to say that the vocals are not recorded well but in the mix...the distrition is not that present.Just please listen to some acapellas.



im curently have a neumann u87 and im recording thru spl gainstation retubbed with telefunken tube.Should i record hotter?should i record with fet limiter on and drive the signal hard?

i just dont know.if you want i can post some examples.

my vocals sounds so undistorted so clean no matter how many parallel comprssion and no matter how hard im compressing.and i dont like .I want THAT sound.

So again its the rcording stage sounding that way?or the post production.

Any good advice will be great.thx all
Old 25th June 2009
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Do these acapellas where you hear this wonderful distortion happen to be in MP3 format?
Old 25th June 2009
  #3
Gear Nut
 

good question...

yeah they are.
hmm..it is possible that i listen to some lofi mp3?

i always thought that there are at least 192k but i have to check.
i just bounced a voice from logic to a 80kbps mp3...not that sound not even close.the mp3 format compression is cutting all inaudible freqs (for most of the people) im monitoring on k+h o300
Old 25th June 2009
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorrrell View Post
good question...
Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorrrell View Post
yeah they are.
Ha, how did I know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorrrell View Post
i just bounced a voice from logic to a 80kbps mp3...not that sound not even close.the mp3 format compression is cutting all inaudible freqs (for most of the people) im monitoring on k+h o300
You mean to say that in order to get this lovely distortion you're talking about and that you are hearing in mp3 acapellas,
you exported vocals that you recorded as mp3?
Old 25th June 2009
  #5
Gear Nut
 

yeah.i just exported some vocals i recorded and its not that effect.Just to hear if mp3 conversion does that. it is possible that the mp3 conversion did that to vocals but hmm...when i exported to mp3 it was not that kind of saturation/distortion on my vocals.
Old 25th June 2009
  #6
Lives for gear
 
phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorrrell View Post
Hi there.im a producer and i have a small studio.I not new in production and mixing i did it 10 years.

So what is my problem..

I have a lot of rap accapelas like 50 cent dre busta and so on.Now..every single vocals have some kind of distordion on top mid high frecuencies especially on esses and shh words.I cant get that effect no matter what i did.

i searched a lot on gearslutz how to make this sound but every tip i tried was not the same.

first please tell me if it is a hardware effect.I tried a lot of parallel hp eq and distorsion and a lot of distorsion plugs.the effect is almost the same but not that effect.i mean if i cut frquencies with a hp to lets say 6k or 7 k and distrot that and add that to the main vocal its sounds something like that but on all the words not only on the shh and esses and the distorsion is not creammy its more like irritating.it is like adding a hi distorsion wich is present on all the words and i dont like it.i even tried to put a parralel de esser and put that on monitoring to hear only the esses and distort that but sound very bad.I tried all the exciters on vst area (working in logic) nothig sonds like that period.

the effect im looking for is like when the vocalist say some word with an ess or shh its like the "shh is hitting some harmonic overdrive and it sounds...perfect.not like a vst distrorsion.on some acapellas the effect is very very loud and i really like it.if you listen to the acapellas you tend to say that the vocals are not recorded well but in the mix...the distrition is not that present.Just please listen to some acapellas.



im curently have a neumann u87 and im recording thru spl gainstation retubbed with telefunken tube.Should i record hotter?should i record with fet limiter on and drive the signal hard?

i just dont know.if you want i can post some examples.

my vocals sounds so undistorted so clean no matter how many parallel comprssion and no matter how hard im compressing.and i dont like .I want THAT sound.

So again its the rcording stage sounding that way?or the post production.

Any good advice will be great.thx all
Are you f****ng serious???
Is this a joke??
Distortion ,insofar as your explanation is concerned,is not an "effect",but a product of amateur recording techniques and common in the rap game and should be AVOIDED at all costs.
Old 25th June 2009
  #7
Gear Nut
 

hey man those bad recording techniques are in all rap hiphop track i ever heard so it must be a standard no?if the people are used to that sound even if its not a good recording,when they will listen to my product wich you will say its better (good recording) people will say.."is somethign wrong with the vocals".or Doesnt sound like the last 50 cent album.

and remember i didnt listened to some "who is this i never heard of it" accapella

i listened and i have maybe 200 of acapellas from various artists from nerd dre snoop busta timbaland usher and so on.. from 90s to present day.all of them seems to have some kind of that stuff wich my vocals doesnt have.

even in some dance accapellas i found this type of effect.
Old 25th June 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 
ncoak's Avatar
 

i think i understand what you mean, and it's not exactly distortion - limiting/compression or tape saturation perhaps?
Old 25th June 2009
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Because your description of the ess/shh phenomenon sounded to me like the damage mp3 conversion might do to audio, I asked if the acapellas were mp3s, and you confirmed that.

I highly suspect, that the distortion that sounds pleasent to you IS actually caused by mp3 conversion.
I guess if you had uncompressed high quality versions of these acapellas, this distortion would not be there.

At first I wasn't sure whether your post was a joke or not because I thaught it was highly unlikely that someone could actually like this sound.

In any case, it is not my place to second guess anybody's personal taste so here are a few ideas you might try out to get you closer to the sound you're looking for:

Experiment with different mp3 export settings to get closer to the sound you're after. Or try multiple mp3 conversion, meaning export as mp3,
import mp3, export imported mp3 as mp3 again and import it again and so on... you get the idea.

If you have a de-esser plug-in where you can listen to the de-essed part of the sound only, export that (as mp3), import it and blend it with your original vocals.
You could also try different distortion/sat. plugs on that essed part.
Old 25th June 2009
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by korbes View Post

At first I wasn't sure whether your post was a joke or not because I thaught it was highly unlikely that someone could actually like this sound.
But since there are enough people that actually like autotune, I guess nothing is impossible... ;-)

.
maybe im just crazy..no no im very very critical about my sound and i tend to mess up the sound and next day i dont like it at all.

maybe i have to get some wav acapellas just to hear the difference.the problem is where to get some wav vocals from top artists...

all i can fiind is mp3s
Old 25th June 2009
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorrrell View Post
maybe im just crazy..no no im very very critical about my sound and i tend to mess up the sound and next day i dont like it at all.

maybe i have to get some wav acapellas just to hear the difference.the problem is where to get some wav vocals from top artists...

all i can fiind is mp3s
I don't know... In my younger days (I am in my 80s now), CD singles had acapellas on them sometimes. I guess nowadays you'd have to look for the vinyl singles...
Old 25th June 2009
  #12
Lives for gear
 
phillysoulman's Avatar
 

This is the craziest **** I ever heard....even on GS.

Where is this dude from???
Old 25th June 2009
  #13
Lives for gear
 
sardi's Avatar
 

I doubt it has anything to do with the fact that they are low quality mp3's. Yes lower bitrates affect the sound, but I wouldn't go as far as to say they add audible distortion.

I think what you are hearing is more likely the effect of distortion that sometimes occurs when cutting vinyl rather hot. It happens on high frequency sibiliant types of sounds such as esses etc in vocals. You hear it all the time on club records because they push the levels hard to get a loud cut.

Most accapellas you're grabbing are probably rips from vinyl. I don't think it's very common to find accapellas on CD these days. It's more a DJ thing hence on wax.
Old 25th June 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 
JanZoo's Avatar
Sorrell, try Chandlet TG 2005 compressor/limiter on your vocals, it does something nice to the voice in mid/highs frequencies
Old 25th June 2009
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sardi View Post
I doubt it has anything to do with the fact that they are low quality mp3's. Yes lower bitrates affect the sound, but I wouldn't go as far as to say they add audible distortion.

I think what you are hearing is more likely the effect of distortion that sometimes occurs when cutting vinyl rather hot.

Most accapellas you're grabbing are probably rips from vinyl. I don't think it's very common to find accapellas on CD these days. It's more a DJ thing hence on wax.
Good thaught. I don't have much experience with vinyl myself.
I just guessed I might be an mp3 thing since I often hear hihats and vocals (the esses) being damaged when converted to lower-bitrate mp3.
They lose clarity and smear somehow... well, you all know what I mean.

In any case, according to his description it is probably an undesirable sound ;-)
Old 25th June 2009
  #16
who wants distortion on vocals unless it's intended one? Thats a weird question.
Old 25th June 2009
  #17
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Ok... let's step back and realize something here. You are listening to accapellas, and not solo'd vocals of a song. What does that mean? Well, it means that these vocals are mastered and have been made to be very loud..

Just throw L2 on your vocal track and limit the **** out of it. This should be that distortion you are hearing.... They are making it very hot with no dynamics, so DJ's can throw it over a beat in a club and have the vocals out there... That's not how the vocals would sound in the mix, though.
Old 25th June 2009
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
Ok... let's step back and realize something here. You are listening to accapellas, and not solo'd vocals of a song. What does that mean? Well, it means that these vocals are mastered and have been made to be very loud..

Just throw L2 on your vocal track and limit the **** out of it. This should be that distortion you are hearing.... They are making it very hot with no dynamics, so DJ's can throw it over a beat in a club and have the vocals out there... That's not how the vocals would sound in the mix, though.
Exactly, of course the Acapella will be distorted if it is alone and clipped to death. They do it that way for the club.
Old 25th June 2009
  #19
Gear Nut
 

aha...so thats the s**t im hearing

i though that acapellas are just bounces from the mix processed with the same treatment from the mastering process of the mix.

now i think i understand.

thx all for the posts
Old 26th June 2009
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Distortion ,insofar as your explanation is concerned,is not an "effect",but a product of amateur recording techniques and common in the rap game and should be AVOIDED at all costs.
Old 28th June 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Justice's Avatar
 

I'm still just tring to figure out what he said. I thought I was bad at the english langwich.... Hahahahahahaha

dude you cant beleive that High andMid High distortion is in anyway good for anything.

Man what are yall feeding these new catz...
Old 29th June 2009
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Storyville's Avatar
all depends on the distortion. some is good, some is bad. each to their own. ultimately the crowd will judge.
Old 29th June 2009
  #23
Lives for gear
Yeah easy fellas-

I remember reading somewhere that the answer to every question was "it all depends".

If you got a gritty beat, you are probably going to need to add some grit to the vocals. Not everything is supposed to sound like Kenny Lattimore . . . electric guitars were originally made so a guitar could be heard with a big band. The distortion was un-intentional, and supposed to be a bad thing.

These clips are from some Mixtape BS, but I'm guessing that's more or less the effect you are after? It's HP Filtered, nailed with a limiter (in this case L2007) and put into Reel Tape all in parallel and mixed back in to taste.
Attached Files

With D.wav (1.29 MB, 164 views)

Without D.wav (1.29 MB, 162 views)

Old 30th June 2009
  #24
Gear Nut
 

yea man thats the sound.
Old 30th June 2009
  #25
1) probably MP3 conversion

2) heavy compression on vocals. Causes the esssing, to peak and distort.

3) it isn't perfect practice but is used in hip hop. However a good engineer will take time to EQ the vocals so it's not as apparent, smoothing things out more naturaly then uses some de-essing as needed.
Old 30th June 2009
  #26
Lives for gear
Yup just parallel limiting, and you hear that on pretty much everything on the radio (not just the acapellas). Definitely the acapella has more most the time.

The reel tape isn't really necessary. Massey one is just as good for this or none of them depending.

I think you are setting the HPF too high, try more like 300-500hz. Also because EQ's are phase shifting you need to experiment with different eq's (plugs and or hardware) but generally Low Q filters work better for me.
Old 2nd July 2009
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Tibbon's Avatar
There's very little distortion wise that you can't get going between a Fuzz Factory, a PSA-1, Big Muff and a Sherman Filter bank...

Being an huge fan of industrial music, i think that distortion on vocals is totally ok
Old 3rd July 2009
  #28
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
I think you are setting the HPF too high, try more like 300-500hz..
what HPF? on paralel comp? or on the main vox?
Old 3rd July 2009
  #29
Lives for gear
Yeah on the parallel bus, you could do it per track, but I prefer to just setup aux's for main, parallel with lim and then feed them both to a overall vox bus. Then you can use sends.
Old 3rd July 2009
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tibbon View Post
There's very little distortion wise that you can't get going between a Fuzz Factory, a PSA-1, Big Muff and a Sherman Filter bank...

Being an huge fan of industrial music, i think that distortion on vocals is totally ok
It's ok if your name is Trent Reznor
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