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Nasty vibration in soprano voice
Old 9th January 2013
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
Nasty vibration in soprano voice

Dear folks, here's a technical question.

I recently recorded a local youth orchestra and soprano (professional) plus other singers in a concert of light operas by Spanish composer Francisco Alonso.

Venue was an auditorium in my city.

We were allowed to use the house mics, a pair of Schoeps cardio, but were not allowed to move them in any way. They are a stereo pair owned by Spanish National Radio used for their transmissions.

We suplemmented the main pair whith various spot mics for voices on stage, woodwinds, harp, etc.

The problem is that, a really nasty vibration arround 10-15kHz in the soprano's voice, especially when she sings loud.

I thought maybe there was a problem in the main mics, but we had an AKG 414 on stage as spot for the singer and I can hear the same thing in this microphone. It really sounds awful to me, and it seems it is a vibration in the soprano's way of singing that's boosted by the mics. It doesn't sound natural anyhow.

Well, has anybody come around a problem like this and how do you deal with it?

I have recorded voices before (solo soprano, tenor and orchestra, amateur choirs) with Beyer 930s and have not encounterd such an effect.

My present solution is tu use Spectral Cleaning in Samplitude, and EQ...

The recording gear was:
Main mics: Schoeps cardio (can't specify which capsules) hung about 3.5m above conductor, 40cm and angled slightly outwards)
Voice spot: AKG 414TL-II.
A&H ZED R-16 and Samplitude 7 in 48k/32bits float.


You can hear the effect in two short samples from:
Main microphone left (Schoeps cardio)
Vocal spot on stage mic (AKG 414TL-II)
Attached Thumbnails
Nasty vibration in soprano voice-schoeps-cardio-left.jpg   Nasty vibration in soprano voice-414-soprano.jpg  
Attached Files

soprano-Schoeps-Left-MAIN_MICS .wav (1.14 MB, 110 views)

soprano-414-TLII .wav (1.45 MB, 80 views)

Old 9th January 2013
Gear Head

I didn't listen.
I have had this experience.. some sopranos sound that way, and the mics pick it up. Stand in front of them while they are singing, and it will sound the same.
try a ribbon mic.
Old 9th January 2013
Lives for gear
tourtelot's Avatar
Yep, this is a known problem with young operatic sopranos. Totally freaked me out the first time I heard it; tried to chase the "distortion" down in every piece of my rig.
Old 9th January 2013

This is fairly common. The vibrato seems to be under the pitch a bit too.

I'm guessing she just needs a bit more time with a vocal coach.

Be grateful that there wasn't a duet with two of them!


Old 9th January 2013
Lives for gear

Operatic sopranos are rather difficult to record, especially when they are trying to sing as loud and as high as they can.
Old 9th January 2013
Lives for gear
Roland's Avatar
Classic case of garbage in, garbage out.
Old 9th January 2013
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
Thanks for your answers.

Yes, I did listen very near the soprano during rehearsal, but didn't hear anything strange at that moment.

There was a baritone with a "reedy" tone which I thought might cause problems, but the effect is less pronounced than the soprano's (no samples).

Old 10th January 2013
Lives for gear
tourtelot's Avatar
Originally Posted by Roland View Post
Classic case of garbage in, garbage out.
Ouch! It's a youth orchestra, not La Scala.

Old 31st January 2013
Lives for gear
Roland's Avatar
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Ouch! It's a youth orchestra, not La Scala.

Sure, and I wouldn't suggest that he goes telling them that, but call it what it is!
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