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Recording vocals with Pro Tools 8. Any help is appreciated Condenser Microphones
Old 16th September 2011
  #1
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Recording vocals with Pro Tools 8. Any help is appreciated

Hello, this is my first thread so I apologize if it's in the wrong place.

For the past few months I've wanted to get some serious recording done but since I don't have a studio I've decided to use a home studio. I work on my laptop. Here's what I have

- Pro Tools 8
- M-Audio Fast Track Pro
- M-Audio Nova / AT2020
- A-F Reflection Filter
- Pop Filter
- SONAR

Pro Tools is 8 is what I mainly use but I have SONAR as well. I'm almost always on Pro Tools.

Now, for some reason with the vocals, they don't turn out well at all. I have a unique nasally voice so when I record it never turns out like I want it too. I can hear my laptop's noise but the vocals just aren't clear enough, aren't try enough, they just don't record correctly. I'm really wondering what it is, maybe it's my Fast Track Pro but I'm wondering what I can do. I've been battling with this for months. I see others on youtube recording with the M-Audio Nova and theirs are fine but eh idk what I can do. I can record over SONAR with my AT2020 and then possibly port it over to Pro Tools for further work?

Then again...maybe I need to buy something that's not a Fast Track Pro, I don't know what do you all think?

Any ideas on what I can do? Also if anyone has any tips I'd greatly appreciate it. You'd really be helping me out.

Thank you in advance.
Old 16th September 2011
  #2
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Any tips? Thank you
Old 16th September 2011
  #3
One possibility is simply that the mic you're using doesn't compliment your voice well. Even the "best" mics out there can sound less than ideal on the wrong voice - you just have to look around for a mic that is a better match.

It's also possible that the mic pre and conversion in the Nova aren't top-notch, but I really doubt they're detracting from the sound that much.

As far as using Pro Tools vs. Sonor, there is no sound difference between the two programs and it's not going to sound better if you use one or the other. Use the one you're more comfortable with (I'm guessing PT because you say you use it more).

One final possibility: have you recorded your voice before with different gear and been happy with the results? Our recorded voices often sound thinner than we are used to hearing - When we speak or sing, the additional resonance from the bones and tissue in our head makes our voices sound fuller and bassier to us than they actually are. It could be that you just aren't used to hearing your actual voice, this is fairly common among singers. A good vocal coach can aid you with your singing technique and help you achieve a fuller, more musical vocal tone - In fact I don't think I've never met a singer whose technique didn't improve after doing some serious work with a vocal coach.

Hope this helps.
Old 17th September 2011
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLUElightCory View Post
One possibility is simply that the mic you're using doesn't compliment your voice well. Even the "best" mics out there can sound less than ideal on the wrong voice - you just have to look around for a mic that is a better match.

It's also possible that the mic pre and conversion in the Nova aren't top-notch, but I really doubt they're detracting from the sound that much.

As far as using Pro Tools vs. Sonor, there is no sound difference between the two programs and it's not going to sound better if you use one or the other. Use the one you're more comfortable with (I'm guessing PT because you say you use it more).

One final possibility: have you recorded your voice before with different gear and been happy with the results? Our recorded voices often sound thinner than we are used to hearing - When we speak or sing, the additional resonance from the bones and tissue in our head makes our voices sound fuller and bassier to us than they actually are. It could be that you just aren't used to hearing your actual voice, this is fairly common among singers. A good vocal coach can aid you with your singing technique and help you achieve a fuller, more musical vocal tone - In fact I don't think I've never met a singer whose technique didn't improve after doing some serious work with a vocal coach.

Hope this helps.
I've heard my voice before but never quite in a recording setting so yeah you might be right here. Whenever I hear me in videos I always think I sound weird but everyone says it's fine. I hear John Lennon even hated his voice so I guess it's understandable, while I don't hate it I'm just not used to it yet.

I have found that with the AT2020 I do sound a little bit better but then again it is a condenser mic which works sort of better, a little bit, I have noticed that with it I don't hear my laptop much either. I don't know why but with the other I can hear the laptop sounds. maybe I just need to use the filter better. I don't want to sound stupid but I don't even know what I put the mic on when recording such as the level. I'm not even sure about that lol. I've got a bud who will end up mixing/mastering the stuff but before that yeah.

Yes it does help. Any help really helps out.
Old 17th September 2011
  #5
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Vintageidiot's Avatar
vocals

Recording vocals takes lots of practice and MAYBE a few plugins to massage it into place.....
Old 17th September 2011
  #6
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What plugins do you suggest? Just your opinion. I am going to have to post a clip of my voice so it can be understood how it sounds.
Old 17th September 2011
  #7
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ScumBum's Avatar
 

If you have Pro Tools 8 , you have the bomb factory compressor , BF76 . Use that on your vocal . Set the ratio to 20:1 , attack slow - all the way to the left , release fast - all the way to the right . Then find the spot on the vocal track where you get the loudest , then turn the threshold till it reads around -5dbs at that part .

If you want lots of help , post your recording and people will be more able to help once they can hear whats going on .
Old 17th September 2011
  #8
There are no set plugins to use to make a vocal sound good. It depends on the sound your going for and the context of how it sounds in the song. Hearing the vocal alone wont do anything.

Here are some tips i wrote and there very straight forward.
Vocal recording tips
Old 17th September 2011
  #9
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ScumBum's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
There are no set plugins to use to make a vocal sound good. It depends on the sound your going for and the context of how it sounds in the song. Hearing the vocal alone wont do anything.

Here are some tips i wrote and there very straight forward.
Vocal recording tips
Great tips you got there !
Old 17th September 2011
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum View Post
If you have Pro Tools 8 , you have the bomb factory compressor , BF76 . Use that on your vocal . Set the ratio to 20:1 , attack slow - all the way to the left , release fast - all the way to the right . Then find the spot on the vocal track where you get the loudest , then turn the threshold till it reads around -5dbs at that part .

If you want lots of help , post your recording and people will be more able to help once they can hear whats going on .
That's about the opposite to my usual 1176 settings! 4:1/fast attack and release....
Old 17th September 2011
  #11
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andersmv's Avatar
 

Possibly consider a good dynamic mic for your voice. If you have a "nasally" voice, I would use something like an RE-20 or a Heil PR-20. Those will also cut down on any kind of noise that is around you. The reason I suggest those mics is also because they tend to complement a voice like yours, they are not overly bright and tend to pull out the midrange of someones voice very well.
Old 17th September 2011
  #12
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ScumBum's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
That's about the opposite to my usual 1176 settings! 4:1/fast attack and release....
Ha !

Those are my steve Albini settings . I don't know where he puts the attack , but I've seen him use 20:1 , fast release and -5dbs on Vocals .
Old 18th September 2011
  #13
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageidiot View Post
Recording vocals takes lots of practice
You just need to keep trying different things.

Learn how you sound at different distances from the mic. Try different positions in your room. Remember that you are actually recording your room with you singing in it so look to how that room sounds.

I've been trying to get my vocals right for over ten years now on a PTLE rig and I guess I still have a few things to try.
Old 18th September 2011
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum View Post
If you have Pro Tools 8 , you have the bomb factory compressor , BF76 . Use that on your vocal . Set the ratio to 20:1 , attack slow - all the way to the left , release fast - all the way to the right . Then find the spot on the vocal track where you get the loudest , then turn the threshold till it reads around -5dbs at that part .

If you want lots of help , post your recording and people will be more able to help once they can hear whats going on .
I will pretty soon I'm trying now. Afterwards I'll try with the settings you gave me and post that as well. This is a huge help thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
There are no set plugins to use to make a vocal sound good. It depends on the sound your going for and the context of how it sounds in the song. Hearing the vocal alone wont do anything.

Here are some tips i wrote and there very straight forward.
Vocal recording tips
Wow these are some amazing tips. Most of these I haven't even thought about. Since my voice is nasally I'm definitely going to near clarity. Unlike these others with lower voices having a nasally voice while rapping is different so all of these come in handy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
Possibly consider a good dynamic mic for your voice. If you have a "nasally" voice, I would use something like an RE-20 or a Heil PR-20. Those will also cut down on any kind of noise that is around you. The reason I suggest those mics is also because they tend to complement a voice like yours, they are not overly bright and tend to pull out the midrange of someones voice very well.
I'm going to buy one of these definitely thanks for suggesting them. For now I'll use my AT2020 but that's probably going to be my next purchase. I've always wondered what mic works better with a nasally voice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
You just need to keep trying different things.

Learn how you sound at different distances from the mic. Try different positions in your room. Remember that you are actually recording your room with you singing in it so look to how that room sounds.

I've been trying to get my vocals right for over ten years now on a PTLE rig and I guess I still have a few things to try.
It is different for every person I suppose so thanks for that. I'm going to try and move around the room for a bit and see what it actually does. I really never thought about that lol.

Here's me using SONAR and the AT2020. I then bounced it over to Pro Tools. How is the quality to you for mix/mastering? That's before any effects as well, I'll mess around with that next. Also yeah I know it's a bad performance, pronunciation/enunciation aren't exactly perfect but I got it out as quick as I could with the small amount of time I had and also I didn't use a beat over and I think I went to fast, anyway please forgive the performance lol. I should have really did when I had more time and when I wasn't so wound up.

Hulkshare.com testdemo.mp3

You can hear my voice and hear I'm too nasally, I'm wondering how that would work with some effects. Thanks for the responses.
Old 18th September 2011
  #15
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Ok, just talked to my producer and he said judging the quality of the recording I did he can work with that and it can be done. He said it's good enough. Although he did tell me to work on my pronunciation and the flow judging it (which I completely agree with since it was a horrible recording and that was the fastest song on the mixtape) he said it's good enough.

But good enough for a mixtape is great but I need to be better so thanks for everything guys. Anything else helps. I plan on learning to mix/master my stuff later on so that'll be good.
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