The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Vocal recordingtips
Old 22nd August 2005
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Atari's Avatar
 

Vocal recordingtips

I'm able to get a real nice and clean recorded vocal, but still it doesn't sound like whet I really want it to be. What are the most common vocal recording techniques like making the singer do it twice, whispering,.. I've heard about this but I don't really know how or when or why.. For loud vocals or for soft and sweet vocals.
Any help is appreciated. (I hope my description is clear enough. )
Thanx!
Old 22nd August 2005
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Mrs. Fairman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atari
I'm able to get a real nice and clean recorded vocal, but still it doesn't sound like whet I really want it to be. What are the most common vocal recording techniques like making the singer do it twice, whispering,.. I've heard about this but I don't really know how or when or why.. For loud vocals or for soft and sweet vocals.
Any help is appreciated. (I hope my description is clear enough. )
Thanx!

What for a Mic, a Micpre and a converter uses you?
Old 22nd August 2005
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Atari's Avatar
 

I own a Protools HD|2 192 converter. Mi Preampis a Millenia STT-1. The choice of mics:

SM57/58
TLM 103
Blue Baby Bottle
Rode NTK
AKG C414
AKG C451
Nueman KM184

But it's not really the choice of mics that is the problem. I'm able to choose the right mic for a particular singer(still any help is or tips are welcome). I'm rather looking for recording and mix techniques.
Old 22nd August 2005
  #4
Gear Nut
 
TedF's Avatar
 

Hi Atari,
There's certainly nothing wrong with your gear list..... the Millenia has too many facilities for my taste, but it's all there.

Recording vocals needs a solid foundation of gear and technique, and then some 'art' to make it come alive.... and a good recording starts with a a good, well routined singer.

I find that this is what works for me.....

My vocal 'space' is not too reverberant; not quite dead, but certainly treated so that there are no obvious reflections from hard surfaces.
I use a good large diaphram tube mic and get my singer to sing slightly off-axis, through a 'stocking-top' type pop shield and 5 inches away from the mic.
I use a high-pass filter if needed and drive my mic amp quite hard, but at the same time making sure that loud transients don't distort.... the only way to do this is to listen..... meters are no good!
I use a soft optical compressor in the recording path (of course!).... enough to control the dynamics without being too obvious; with a slowish attack (5 mS) and medium to quick release.
Another important factor is to be sure that the singer gets a good monitor feed of the compressed signal, plus a touch of reverb.... this makes the world of difference to the performance.
I avoid using EQ, de-essers or enhancers in the recording process; these you can play with later. The main thing is to get that first basic track, once it's there you can experiment to your heart's content.
With your gear you should be able to do well.

Ted Fletcher
www.tfpro.com
Old 23rd August 2005
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Atari's Avatar
 

Hi Ted,
Thanx for the reply. I will use these tips an try to improve my vocal recording this way. Don't get me wrong, I think the vocals I've recorded this far sound ok, but it's not always easy to let them stand out in the mix. I thought there must be more to it.
Anyone else who wants to tell me something about this? I thought this was a forum where people where there to help. Is this such a strange topic then no one knows about..?
Tim.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Hi Tim,
it would be much easier to help you, if you could post a MP3 of your vocal track.


Andreas
Old 23rd August 2005
  #7
Gear Nut
 
TedF's Avatar
 

Getting vocals to stand out in the mix is a combination of 3 things....
a) controlling the audio spectrum.... making sure that the mix is not too cluttered up with sounds containing similar frequencies.
b) The mix itself; obviously holding the vocal at a good enough level so that it doesn't get lost.
c) my old favourite; compression... pull the vocal forward slightly in the mix, then apply some 3 or 4 to 1 compression over the whole lot, this makes the voice control the mix, pushing the backing slightly when the voice is there.
If the attack and release are both fairly long, the compression will not be obtrusive.
(must be a good opto compressor of course!)
Old 23rd August 2005
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Atari's Avatar
 

Hey Andreas,
I was thinking about some vocal tracks to put online when I realised that it could indeed be the singer that is the biggest problem. I'm doing lots of budget-recordings and most of the singers I get are just not qualified enough maybe. You can find a track for a band I did a year ago on my website or here. I did not have the gear I have now yet and the singer had a really thin breathy voice. I tried to make it bigger by adding some whispering to the background. Maybe you can tell me what you think. i tried my best but my experience is sometimes to small.
When I listen to records that I like and compare it to their live performances it's just not the same! And not only because it's live. I think some big artists aren't good singers either but still engineers manage to get it right. I'm not lucky enough to work with qualified people and a big budget whole the time...


Thanx Ted! I will try the compressor trick. Actually it's pretty logical, I just never thougt about it like that. These are the things I am looking for. heh

Tim.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #9
Gear Nut
 
TedF's Avatar
 

Hey Tim,
Thanks for letting us hear the track.....
Love the drum recording... but the whole thing just sound's like you're trying too hard! Each individual track is squashed, or 'controlled' to be just the right level, and there's no perspective. A lot of it is to do with the artist, sure, but a recording has to be given room to breathe, and this track sounds 'small' because it lacks that perspective.
I'm sure that a touch of reverb, and letting the tracks find their own level in the mix would do wonders. ... You do need just a spot of reverb on the vocal, with a delay of about 50mS, this helps to separate out the vocal, you can then leave it back in the mix and it will sound more rounded.
But doing budget recordings is hard! I know that one of the main problems is being faced with a band that is determined to put down the arrangement that they use on stage... and that's usually useless for recording!
But take no notice of me or anybody else.... keep at it and try your own techniques. Get your own sound and enjoy it!
Old 23rd August 2005
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Atari's Avatar
 

Hey Ted,
This song was my first recording in a "professional" studio and I was indeed trying really hard to get it right. I mastered it myself and maybe that is also what your hearing? I used a tc finalizer and squashed it really hard.. did I know..? I'm not a mastering engineer.. but again.. tight budget :(.
Maybe I'll try to remix it and keep in mind what you said.
Thanx for the compliments on the drums.. I'm a drummer myself too

Cool replys, Is there more?
Old 24th August 2005
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atari
Hey Andreas,
I was thinking about some vocal tracks to put online when I realised that it could indeed be the singer that is the biggest problem. I'm doing lots of budget-recordings and most of the singers I get are just not qualified enough maybe. You can find a track for a band I did a year ago on my website or here. I did not have the gear I have now yet and the singer had a really thin breathy voice. I tried to make it bigger by adding some whispering to the background. Maybe you can tell me what you think. i tried my best but my experience is sometimes to small.
When I listen to records that I like and compare it to their live performances it's just not the same! And not only because it's live. I think some big artists aren't good singers either but still engineers manage to get it right. I'm not lucky enough to work with qualified people and a big budget whole the time....
Hi Tim,

how did you build up your mix? Sounds like you've done first the mix without vocals and than tried to integrate the vox somehow (by fighting with the guitars... the guitars have won btw )... so at the end the vocals doesn't sit right in the mix

Try this: make up your vocals first, slight eq balancing (in your example I'd try to add a little about 100-200Hz but watching out for muddiness) and some comping to get a more smooth but still natural sound. Than add the kick, after that the snare, the hh, the bass, at last the rest of the drums. Keep that all in the right balance... this is your basics... your "rythm'n'blues"... watch this like one instrument. Everything you're adding now should improve either the "rythm" or the "blues" (vox). Of course in an instrumental part, a guitar (for example) could take the "leading actors" part... you know that. But like in a good film there should only be one "leading action" at the same time.

Watch out the arrangement, if you've instruments in the same register like the vox (but dosen't improve it, cause has its own personality) change it! In your mp3 the left rythmguitar in the verse could play in the register of the right guitar when the vox jumps in. If the vocal is out you can leave this riff, sounds nice (sometimes this can alternate very quickly... listen to your reference rocksongs under this aspect) ...a good arrangement is one of the mainkeys for a successful song with an outstanding vox!

What about the 3rd dimension in your mix? Close you eyes and listen again... well, if you ask me it is all sitting on one layer. How could the vox be outstanding there? I know, Iknow you want a powerfull mix with lots of pressure and may be you thought you could achieve this with a dry and direct mix... and yes your mix has power! (without the vox). But there are direct and powerful mixes out there with lots of dimension. For example say Pearl Jam.
If you like try this: take some pieces of paper and make something what they called storybook in the filmindustrie. What happens when, where, what is moving, effects etc.. in all 3 dimensions. Draw yourself in front as the listenerposition. Than draw all your instuments in where you want them to have in a room, for example vox right in front, overhats in the back, effect from left to right etc... do this for intro, verse, bridge and so on. And now the easy part heh ...try to get these scenarios in your mix until you can hear your vision. ...I know this is not so easy. But hey... for the first, if you have the basic part and the arangement under control, I think you are a big step closer to your purpose: "an outstanding voice"


Hope that helps a bit


Andreas
Old 25th August 2005
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Atari's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas G
Watch out the arrangement, if you've instruments in the same register like the vox (but dosen't improve it, cause has its own personality) change it! In your mp3 the left rythmguitar in the verse could play in the register of the right guitar when the vox jumps in. If the vocal is out you can leave this riff, sounds nice (sometimes this can alternate very quickly...
This is the only thing I don't understand for the full 100%.

The rest of the post is really great learning material for me. I will defintely try to work in the same following as you said. And I'm excited to draw myself a "plan" for the next project.

And indeed, the way I worked before is totally wrong. I tried to get all the instruments right and in the end I always put the vocal on top of the rest. That's what you can hear in the mix I posted.

This is a great source of information for me, thanx a lot Andreas and Ted. I will try all of these tips out and if you're interested I'll post the progress here.

If anyone has something more.. all welcome.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump