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Old 20th July 2012
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Michael,

My partner is an operatic soprano and I have recorded her and many others and have experienced this problem. I have found that the distortion is heard acoustically with the ears as well which points to a distorting effect in the vocal tract.

If you listen to just the recording you would swear that it is distortion in the audio chain. But I think it is at or within the source, depending on the singer. When they push it can be much worse even though the SPL is largely unchanged.

I have also noticed that some phase/comb filter effects come into play when using spaced mics, hence I always use a coincident pair as the vocal spotter.

A very interesting problem and phenomenon. There are some heavyweight academics studying soprano vocal tracts, in the most professional manner of course.
Academic Staff at Physics UNSW: Wolfe
A paper by the author, Wolfe, says this: "They sang piano (softly) to avoid saturating the microphone and to improve the signal-to-noise ratio."

I don't know his definition of saturation, but I imagine he might mean that sufficient resonance modes in the transducer make it nonlinear with regard to it's designed function, i.e., simple acoustic-to-electric transduction.