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Live Vocal Recording / Bleed Dynamic Microphones
Old 29th December 2010
  #1
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musicguitar's Avatar
 

Talking Live Vocal Recording / Bleed

I recorded a band with 16 channels over the holiday.

Drums - k, sn top, sn bottom, hh, rack, floor, <oh, oh>
Bass - di
Sample - di
Guitar - <gtr, gtr> 1, gtr> 2, acoustic
Vocals - backing, lead vox

I have the drums sounding really great, the bass sit well with the drums in the mix. The guitars are okay at best, and the vocals are subpar.

The problem with the vocals is that they have a lot of cymbal bleed from the drums. What can I do to alleviate this? I have tried a gate, but it seems unnatural...

Is there a way to eliminate this in the future because the vocalist always has the mic pointed at the drums because of the way a live band performs?

Please help!

Thanks,
Sean
Old 29th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
The best luck I've had with this issue was using an audix OM5 mic, and positioning it to point as close to vertical as the singer could manage. The comination of that positioning with mic's very narrow polar pattern cut down the cymbal bleed better than anything else I've tried, so far. I'm sure others will have more & better ideas, but there's my two cents plain.
Old 30th December 2010
  #3
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The band is endorsed by Sennheiser, so the odds of using an OM5 are slim to nil for these performances and the recordings (especially with it being the main vocalist). I can try the upward angle to see if that will help...

I have gone back and actually started doing the "gating" manually throughout the entire vocal track.

When I put a gate on it was either too much or too little, when I do it by hand it seems a bit unnatural in some places, but it does minimize the bleed through substantially. I am trying to make it sound a bit more natural... I am thinking this may be the the quick/cheap solution...

Any other tips will be beneficial!

Thanks,
Old 30th December 2010
  #4
LX3
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Common problem. You need to either reduce the level of spill somehow (often difficult) or get the vocal louder (so it needs less gain, thereby reducing the contribution of the spill)

Suggestions...

1) Tight pattern dynamic. e.g. Sennheiser e945. Although if the singer wanders around the mic a lot instead of staying right in front, a plain cardioid may be better. Def no condenser vocal mics, they tend to really kill you if spill is a problem.

2) Encourage the singer to sing right on the mic. If they are keen on singing six inches or more away, it's a problem. Two to zero inches would be a lot better. (for the monitor engineer too).

3) Quiet singer? Try the above first, but if that isn't enough, you'll occasionally see a band put plexiglass screens around the drummer (primarily around the cymbals) or move the drummer to the side of the stage instead of the centre.

4) Ride the vocal fader to reduce the spill where there's no vocal, and do it with consideration for the overall sound so that the change in spill isn't too abrupt. On long instrumental passages you can take the vocal out altogether. You're right, 99.9% of the time gates won't work.

5) Or, do as much as you can, then live with it.heh Be prepared to reduce the amount of overheads you're using in the mix to compensate for the amount of cymbals in the vocal. It's not a studio recording, it's live, and almost all live recordings suffer from this problem to some degree. Just go for the vibe and do the best you can. Room mics are all spill after all, but I wouldn't want to record live without them.

I don't know, there might be some other tricks, but that's what springs to mind for me.
Old 30th December 2010
  #5
LX3
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Ooh, also, watch how hard you compress the vocal. Compressing a lot will tend to emphasise the spill. If you can get away with compressing less and riding the fader more, it should help.

On the other hand, if you need to hit the vocal hard with a particular compressor just to get the vocal sound you want, then go for it and to hell with the spill. The vocal is kind of important after all...

I suppose you could say (as with many of these decisions) that there's a balance to be struck.
Old 31st December 2010
  #6
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I do FOH for We The Kings. We are playing tomorrow in Grand Rapids, MI. If anyone wants to come to a huge New Years Eve show and help me record this that would be great.

Good Charlotte / We The Kings are playing

Let me know. I'll be flying out tonight just PM me and I'll get you on the list ONLY if you won't to help out with the recording process.

Thanks!
Old 3rd January 2011
  #7
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timothyclee's Avatar
 

Vocal Bleed...

Stage setup can help too. I have found that bands that have the drumkit off to one side of the stage with the vocalist in the middle minimizes the drums in the vocal mic problem. When I do a band that the lead singer insists on standing right in front of the drums all night I get tons of bleed. I look forward to bands that setup without the drums dead center on stage.

Tim
Old 10th January 2011
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Try the E945 like posted before. Also try a low profile drum shield. They make certain models that are shorter than most and won't look so ridiculous. We made a custom one that s just a single sheet of plexi-glass that goes across the front of the drum riser. That way the band still gets some ambiance from the sides but it keeps the vocals clean out front.
Old 11th January 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 

You might try flipping the phase on the vocal mic too.
Old 11th January 2011
  #10
Mixing a live record is different than mixing a studio recording - if you are actually using the live mic's that is.

Steve Remote gave me one really great tip that is applicable here - start with the mic that has the worst bleed and build your mix around that.

In this case, rather than getting the rhythm section together first and adding the lead vocal after, maybe start with the lead vocal and build your mix around that; or at least have the lead vocal mic in the mix while you are dialing in the drums and bass.

Otherwise, just overdub/replace the live vocals in the studio.
Old 14th January 2011
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Several good suggestions here for trying to minimize bleed in the future...if you have to find a way to use your existing tracks you could try side chain gating with an extremely eq'd side chain signal....

Route the existing track to a send bus, tweak the eq on the send bus to get rid of everything but the vocal's (ie...peak the heck out of the voc center frequency).

Use this as a side chain signal to your gate.

An alternative that might work better????? run the oh's thru a compressor and side chain it using the voc send (essentially use the voc send to duck the oh chan's...)this would turn down the cym levels, from the oh's, when voc's were happening and the cymbal bleed in the voc chan would compensate.
Old 16th January 2011
  #12
urumita
 
7rojo7's Avatar
 

No matter what type of recording it is, I always start with the Vocals. Then the Bass.
You might want to solo the vocal track and, reduce, not eliminate the bleed when necessary (automation). Make a trade-off between direct OH and Bleed OH as a base. Adjust the volumes of both when necessary (automation).
Old 19th January 2011
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Couple of people have hit the nail on the head here; try building the mix around the bleed.

I almost always do that now, I try and avoid gating where I can. It keeps your FOH tune honest too.
Old 4th July 2011
  #14
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Remoteness's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson View Post
Mixing a live record is different than mixing a studio recording - if you are actually using the live mic's that is.

Steve Remote gave me one really great tip that is applicable here - start with the mic that has the worst bleed and build your mix around that.

In this case, rather than getting the rhythm section together first and adding the lead vocal after, maybe start with the lead vocal and build your mix around that; or at least have the lead vocal mic in the mix while you are dialing in the drums and bass.

Otherwise, just overdub/replace the live vocals in the studio.
FYI, it happens to be my standard approach when mixing choir and chorus recordings.

IMHO, this technique works very well each and every time I use it.

It hasn't failed me yet.

I start working on the mics that have the most leakage, especially when you're blending them with the other cleaner more direct sounding mics.

I recall mixing a live jazz recording (which I did't track) that had much cleaner cymbals in the piano mics than in the actual overhead kit mics did. I ended up balancing the piano mics with the mindset that the cymbals were part of that mic placement. I time aligned the kit to match the piano/cymbal mics and everything was everything...

In that same session, I also had a lot of trouble getting a good sound from the trombone mic. There was too much ugly sounding distortion and bleed and not enough of the bone coming through. Luckly for me, the talk mic was right next to the bone mic, so I was able to use it with plenty of clarity and punch. That SM58 saved my arse. Good leakage is a beautiful thing.
Old 13th October 2012
  #15
Gear Nut
 

One thing that comes to mind is some of the great work the Grateful Dead did in this type of REC-in short...OVERDUB the Voxs when possible-its worth it !!!!

See:
-Euro '72 (the Vox is Overdubbed and poss some Guit-Bass)...results are fantastic, you can now compare the orig and the overdub, since they have released the orig, one sounds good but amateurish, the other is totally pro (for the period)-you can hear the "ghosting" of the orig vox as it was picked up by other mics, but only an audiophile would care-heck you can hear that on many old Classics (Zep 1 comes to mind).

-Skull n Roses (similar)



BTW, anyone familiar with the way they did the "In the Dark" LP, techs they used to get it so clean (apparantly some type of DolbyS NR-does that narrow the Bleed in real time?)

I am setting up a Live Rec Barn, like Levon Helms Rambles or Daryl Halls' Live, i have bands at full Vol, any tips on NR re: Bleed but without using Baffles around the musicians? Dont need it perfect, just as good as poss...


Last edited by billzoe; 13th October 2012 at 07:52 PM.. Reason: spelling
Old 14th October 2012
  #16
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Well, if you're setting up a Live Recording situation with bands at full Volume and do not want to use Baffle, Gobo and such around the musicians, you may want to consider using my "Virtual Gobo" technique.

It just might end up being perfect;-)




Quote:
Originally Posted by billzoe View Post
<snip>...I am setting up a Live Rec Barn, like Levon Helms Rambles or Daryl Halls' Live, i have bands at full Vol, any tips on NR re: Bleed but without using Baffles around the musicians? Dont need it perfect, just as good as poss...

Old 14th October 2012
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Remote, Thanks !!!! Looking forward to tryin it !
Old 14th October 2012
  #18
Here for the gear
 

I like to use multi-band compression on the vocal mikes such as Waves C4. It allows me to bring the vocals up without all the cymbal wash.
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