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need a golden channel for vocals
Old 5th July 2005
  #1
Lives for gear
 

need a golden channel for vocals

Hi. i've been lurking here for about a year and i finally decided to post. I am recording to DAW using nuendo, an RME(digi 96...something. My band has pooled it's collective recording gear...so i don't remember the exact card name), presonus Digimax LT, Presonus Eureka, and a Speck MicPre 5.0.

I mainly use a shure SM7 for vox, but we also have a KSM44. We built a vocal booth(it's PVC pipe with blankets above and on the sides) and have noticed a DRAMATIC improvement in the quality.

I normally use the Speck for vox(and record without compression..i don't like the RNC we have) because it sounds upfront clear and the Eureka
seems to smear things..., but with both pres i am getting an undesirable sort of sibilance.

Anyways, I am wondering what I need to get a GOOD vocal sound. I want the big, upfront silky sound that i hear in PRO recordings. What am i missing? And how can i have a good vox sound without this sibilance.


I am about to buy a Portico preamp because everybody says that Neves are awesome on Vox(and sound good with an sm7) but if anybody can offer advice...please do so. i need a golden channel for vox. i think the mics i have are good...and I really like the Speck, but for some reason, my vocals don't sound pro.

pros, please chime in and tell me what i REALLY need to get a professional Vocal recording. i need to step up from mediocre quality recording to sweet, sweet, audio bliss. lol......... erm ......please help.


BTW

These are male rock vocals...think: NOFX, Wilco, Counting Crows, Smashmouth, Bad Religion, Descendents....stuff like that.
Old 5th July 2005
  #2
Sounds like you need to audition a bunch of mic's to find the one that suits these vocals the best.

Some audio stores have a booth where you can test various mic's (you should bring the mic's you own in to compair)

Select a high quality pre to test em all with

You may need to try out 10 or so mic's before you find the right one..

You could then move forward and audition mic's pre's to suit it best

IMHO thats really the only way forward for you....

Golden mic - then golden mic pre

How about a valve mic?

Old 7th July 2005
  #3
Lives for gear
 

update

Thank you, Jules. ...for taking time out to offer advice. I will try to audition more mics when we can.

I don't believe it's the mics though. We got a presonus central station yesterday...so now we can hear much clearer.

We recorded vocals through the eureka and the speck....and both mics at various settings...and even on quiet passages there is an audible sort of distortion to the vox....they DO NOT sound pristine or smooth. it sounds like clipping. I think it is a digital problem, but i don't know because we don't have an analog recorder to A/B against.

We tracked vox, and none of the meters clipped(pre amp...or in the DAw), but they sounded like they were clipping. i noticed it while i was singing. We listened to a few albums ...to make sure we weren't being stupid....and sure enough...our vox sound clipped.

the soundcard is a RME digi/96/52. We are using a presonus digimax to convert A/D. We are monitoring through mackie 824's.

please help.
Old 7th July 2005
  #4
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vince @ speck's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wagz
Thank you, Jules. ...for taking time out to offer advice. I will try to audition more mics when we can.

I don't believe it's the mics though. We got a presonus central station yesterday...so now we can hear much clearer.

We recorded vocals through the eureka and the speck....and both mics at various settings...and even on quiet passages there is an audible sort of distortion to the vox....they DO NOT sound pristine or smooth. it sounds like clipping. I think it is a digital problem, but i don't know because we don't have an analog recorder to A/B against.

We tracked vox, and none of the meters clipped(pre amp...or in the DAw), but they sounded like they were clipping. i noticed it while i was singing. We listened to a few albums ...to make sure we weren't being stupid....and sure enough...our vox sound clipped.

the soundcard is a RME digi/96/52. We are using a presonus digimax to convert A/D. We are monitoring through mackie 824's.

please help.
Double check that you have not "unbalanced" the active-balanced output on the Speck MP5.0. That could result in distortion.

Under normal conditions, the MP5.0 can handle a max. of +30dBu at the mic/DI inputs, +28dBu at the active-balanced output, and +24dBu at the transformer balanced output.

Check the cable that is connected to the output of the MP5.0. It should be a balanced XL type. If, for some reason you must connect to an unbalanced input, there are instructions in our manual on how to convert a cable for unbalanced operation.

If you are still having problems you can call me. I'd be happy to work though this problem with you. Or PM your number and a conventient time for me to call.
Old 7th July 2005
  #5
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maskedman72's Avatar
 

i would think you could/should get a good rock vocal sound from the sm7 and the 5.0 combo.

perhaps better a/d or audition a great river mp1nv.
Old 7th July 2005
  #6
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

I'm with Jules, audition audition audition mics.

War
Old 8th July 2005
  #7
Lives for gear
 

whoa!

It's pretty awesome that you'd respond to my post, Vince! Thank you. I think everything is still balanced, but i have to download the manual for the 5.0 to be 100%. I don't believe that's the prob., though.... because we a/b'd the speck against the eureka and the Speck was MUCH better, but both pre's had the clipping sound...it's like a really light clipping. I would try to post clips, but i'm on dial-up aTM.

the only common threads in the setups are Presonus conversion and the digi96/52....and maybe the mic cables? The mics sound fine. i REALLy like the SM7 on my voice, btw. There's a digital harshess to these vox, but i don't know exactly where it's coming from...
Old 8th July 2005
  #8
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Oldone's Avatar
Some of the smoothness you hear on pro recordings is partially the compressor knocking off the transients. This tends to smooth things out. Did you try tracking with a compressor?
Old 8th July 2005
  #9
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max cooper's Avatar
 

That's what I was thinking. I love the SM7, and for the music you list, it's probably one of the first mics I'd put up. I loaned my SM7 to a singer who I've recorded a couple of times, and he came back wondering if my API preamp/Apogee converter combo was making the tracks I record sound so much more 'like a record' than the tracks he recorded into a Digi oo1. When I listened to the tracks he had done, they were fine, they just sounded like him singing, not less, not more. I had to point out to him that when I record him, he's hearing a touch of API 525 compressor, and a touch of that Digiverb Non Linear rev patch. It was blended such that he didn't realize the effect they were having, but they were making a huge difference. Maybe that's part of it (and of course I'm not comparing the Digi 001 to a Speck Mic Preamp! )
Old 8th July 2005
  #10
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doorknocker's Avatar
Another vote for the SM7, I like it so much that I got 2 now. It's especially great for being treated in the mix (if necessary).
A Pultec-ish EQ or plug-in (try the Bomb Factory or UA ones) can work wonders for 'that silky sound'.

I absolutely love the SM7 through my UA 6176, maybe with a touch of 10k from the EQ and some compression from the 1176 (depending on the 'urgency' required) It works great for me.

Much like the SM57, the SM7 really needs a good pre to shine.

Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
Old 8th July 2005
  #11
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i'll try that again

well, when we A/b'd everything a couple of days ago, we thought compression would help, so we tried tracking with just the eureka(using it's compressor) and then we bypassed it's pre and used the speck w/ the Eureka's compressor.

I could hear the compression(2:1)on the tracks , but the distortion still was there with both the Eureka and the speck...and w/ both mics.

I'm gonna go try different buffer settings on the soundcard and maybe switch mic cables. i'll keep trying things until i solve this....


Btw, the SM7 is Really good. I'm tracking mine w/ the rectangular sort of windscreen
that it came with and a real Pop filter about two inches away. is that overkill?
just wondering if you guys like it more W/without the windscreen.
Old 11th July 2005
  #12
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this poo is BANANAS B.A.N.A.N......err

Ok.... i don't know what's up! I was stressed about vocals sounding distorted,....and guess what...

this morning i was tracking @ like 5am(long night of songwriting)and I noticed everything was clear and clean. The vox sounded really good. i even did some acoustic. I didn't change ANYTHING from the day before. I did some of the softest, sweetest vox I'VE ever done...and they are CLEAN.

I mean i was going to because of the suggestions, but i hadn't because i was too lazy/bummed to try all the different variations.


Well, thanks everybody for posting replies.
Old 11th July 2005
  #13
Gear Head
 

Are you refering to the sm7b?
I am interested in buying one but sm7b is the only model I find.
Thanks
Old 11th July 2005
  #14
Moderator
 
toolskid's Avatar
 

golden box = BUZZ ARC

www.buzzaudio.com
Old 11th July 2005
  #15
84K
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84K's Avatar
Pendulum Quartet 2
Old 11th July 2005
  #16
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yeah, that's the one.

yes, i mean the Sm7b.

Man, that buzz Arc looks killer, but it would take me at least another 3- 4 months before i could buy that(minimum wage). I was gonna order the portico this week, but i had a few unforseen expenses.

i'll have to look up the quartet.
Old 20th July 2005
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Found this thread a bit late, but FWIW, I doubt the culprit in your unsatisfactory vocal chain is the Speck 5.0 Mic Pre. I have found this pre to be excellent and just as high quality as the Great River MP-2NV, which I owned and sold after discovering the Speck. I've also auditioned the Phoenix DRS-2, which to me was not "better" than the Speck, a bit more iron perhaps, less clean. The 5.0 Mic Pre is one of the most overlooked and solid-sounding pres I've heard, with a touch of thickness but great clarity.
Old 20th July 2005
  #18
Lives for gear
 

i concur

the Speck kicks much booty. I like it alot. I am, however considering getting the Portico....I've never owned a Neve pre.....or even heard one in a studio....to be honest. so i would be buying just because I'm curious.

The speck is really my first piece of high quality gear. i am more than happy with it.
Btw...That distortion in my chain was probably caused when the AC in the house went out. I figure the mic and the other gear got Really hot. also, my voice just has alot of distortion in the way i sing sometimes.
AHAHAHHHAHAH....eh... sorry. I am the culprit.

I think i'm probably gonna take the advice given here and get a distressor.
We don't have any compression on the vocal chain when recording and i think that our software compressors aren't really sounding very pro.

Are there any high quality alternatives to the Distressor that flat out ROCK on vox?

i'm off to scan the forum some more.
Old 20th July 2005
  #19
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wagz
Anyways, I am wondering what I need to get a GOOD vocal sound. I want the big, upfront silky sound that i hear in PRO recordings. What am i missing?

As I'm sure you know, there is a lot more to that end result you want than the tracking front end. I think I know what it is you wanna hear, and when I finally got to do a high dollar album for a label, and see them use top gear, engineering, mixing, producer, mastering....my big discovery was that it took every little bit of everything to finally arrive at THAT sound, a "real" record. It was amazing to watch the progress of the sound from initial tracking through mastering. Each stage it inched a little closer, and a little closer. At the end, finally, there it was :-)






.
Old 20th July 2005
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

You need a good compressor in my opinion, one that makes your tracks more defined, powerful and up front for that "pro" sound. Not a transparent compressor, but one that adds character, perceived size, and focus.
Old 20th July 2005
  #21
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mikey's Avatar
 

what about the ksm44 ???you dont like it??
Old 20th July 2005
  #22
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Kestral's Avatar
 

U47 -> Neve 1073 -> Urei 1176 -> LA2A -> Tape/Pro Tools
Old 20th July 2005
  #23
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tunesmith's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestral
U47 -> Neve 1073 -> Urei 1176 -> LA2A -> Tape/Pro Tools

Yup... that'll work every time!


I have been getting pretty spectacular results with this one:

SDelux251 -> Avalon M5 -> Daking (for EQ) -> Distressor - > "tape" BIG BIG BIG sound and really in your grille.

Tunes.
Old 20th July 2005
  #24
Gear Head
 
Jammer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules
Sounds like you need to audition a bunch of mic's to find the one that suits these vocals the best.

Some audio stores have a booth where you can test various mic's (you should bring the mic's you own in to compair)
Hi Jules,

Can you name any of these stores?

I'm looking to get a mic in the very near future and being able to do this would be a great blessing indeed.

Thanks in advance,
Old 24th July 2005
  #25
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ksm44

mikey what about the ksm44 ???you dont like it??


I just seem to be more sibilant on the ksm44...and i sound more upfront on the sm7. I sound thicker with the sm7. i like that. i guess it's just a matter of preference.
Old 24th July 2005
  #26
Lives for gear
Find the Mic that best suits the vocalist. Someone mentioned a U47. No doubt, a great mic, but may not be a great mic for every vocalist.

Great mic that fits the singer -> great pre -> great eq and compressor and your are getting to finish line. Let's not forget a great performance. Get a great performance with a SM58 and you will be happy.
Old 24th July 2005
  #27
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wagz
mikey what about the ksm44 ???you dont like it??


I just seem to be more sibilant on the ksm44...
But are you overly sibilant with the KSM44 in the mix? Sibilance is sometimes "abused" during mixdown...and over de-essed! You need sibilance, I just hear very often that people think sibilance is pure evil, when it's actually defining the vocal track...not something to stay away from but rather find the right balance of.

Just curious.

War
Old 24th July 2005
  #28
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macr0w's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wagz
mikey what about the ksm44 ???you dont like it??


I just seem to be more sibilant on the ksm44...
Are you a juicey talker? heh
Old 25th July 2005
  #29
Lives for gear
 

yes, i am a juicey talker

War, I've noticed that my vocals sound fine in the mix... and some of them sound really good(with both mics). I think i sound good on both mics...what i'm missing is a good compressor to kill some transients and smooth things out a bit.

It's just like everybody suggested: get a compressor.

having said that, I'm not gonna get a compressor just yet.

while I have the money...I'm getting a Portico. i wanna see what all this Neve fuss is about. also, I really like the speck, but getting the Portico will mean i have 3 AWESOME channels! that's important because we have to track drums, bass, and guitar too. and since my vox sound good....why stress?

Also, i am learning to sing with less sibilance, but ...some is sibilance necessary.
I think the sm7 is my mic(i'm pretty loud at times), but i sound good on the ksm44 when i work the mic. I think my Speck and mics are up to snuff. The sound i'm missing is definitely good compression. i was gonna get a distressor, but I read so many reviews of people saying they didn't like it on VOX.
when i buy a compressor it's probably gonna be a Pendulum OCL-2 or a UA 1176ln.

This is the path I will take.


So, thanks guys for your help and all of your advice.
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