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coffeeman
post Aug 20 2009, 02:35 PM
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hey guys,

I need tips to record vocals. Im using a mic direct into the PC throug a Line 6 Toneport UX1.

Thanks a lot in advance.



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muntahunta
post Aug 20 2009, 02:52 PM
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put a thin towel over the end of a mic and always have it on a mic stand to try and keep the sound the same for each take.

the towel acts as a pop shield


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coffeeman
post Aug 20 2009, 03:34 PM
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QUOTE (muntahunta @ Aug 20 2009, 08:52 AM) *
put a thin towel over the end of a mic and always have it on a mic stand to try and keep the sound the same for each take.

the towel acts as a pop shield


Thanks a lot my friend.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Aug 20 2009, 04:37 PM
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Once you have recorded the vocals there is an awesome, and free, vst plugin called blockfish. Just ad the preset for vocals and you will get killer sound and vocal fatness:

http://www.digitalfishphones.com/main.php?...2&subItem=5



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coffeeman
post Aug 20 2009, 04:47 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Aug 20 2009, 10:37 AM) *
Once you have recorded the vocals there is an awesome, and free, vst plugin called blockfish. Just ad the preset for vocals and you will get killer sound and vocal fatness:

http://www.digitalfishphones.com/main.php?...2&subItem=5


Awesome , thanks a lot Kris.


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Kristofer Dahl
post Aug 20 2009, 05:03 PM
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Also - the key to good vocal sound is creating at least one dub (extra take) - which you mix at a lower volume.


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coffeeman
post Aug 20 2009, 05:07 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Aug 20 2009, 11:03 AM) *
Also - the key to good vocal sound is creating at least one dub (extra take) - which you mix at a lower volume.


Perfect I'll do that , and I think in my case is mandatory cause I really sing in tune but not good. I'll upload a recording a.s.a.p so I can get more tips.


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TheKeplerConject...
post Aug 20 2009, 06:19 PM
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Make sure you try different distances from the mic. There's a thing called "proximity effect" that causes a coloration of the sound because the source is too close to the mic. It's usually an ugly round boomy bassyness. This is worse for vocals than it is for an amp or drums. Most "bad" vocal recordings I hear are the result of proximity effect.

The trick is to get as far from the mic as possible while maintaining the best signal to noise ratio you can. So, if you can be 8 inches from the mic and still get a good level to your daw, that's great. But, make sure you don't use gain staging to help this. You might be tempted to crank your preamp or the input level on your interface - but remember, if you turn that up, your also turning up the noisefloor... which is bad. Noisefloors, these days, are usually computer fans, air conditioners, etc... The more stuff you can silence in the room the better.

Don't use any FX when recording - do that later in the mixing stage. Btw, +1 on Kris' recommendation of BlockFish. But, if you have a multiband compressor (SONAR comes with a great one, if that's the daw you're using) you might get better results from that.

What type of music/vocals do you intend on recording? What type of mic do you have?
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Kristofer Dahl
post Aug 20 2009, 07:12 PM
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QUOTE (coffeeman @ Aug 20 2009, 06:07 PM) *
Perfect I'll do that , and I think in my case is mandatory cause I really sing in tune but not good. I'll upload a recording a.s.a.p so I can get more tips.


Cool - if you can sing well in tune, then you can probably do really cool choruses with lots of overdubs. (that's what I did in my latest song).

@ kepler - I really need to start using the multi band compressor a bit more, for some reason I find it a little hard to use.


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TheKeplerConject...
post Aug 20 2009, 09:22 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Aug 20 2009, 02:12 PM) *
@ kepler - I really need to start using the multi band compressor a bit more, for some reason I find it a little hard to use.


You can get VERY good results. Which one do you have. I could probably walk you through a use case/approach if you want. The trick is usually a matter of isolating frequency ranges one at a time making adjustments from lowest to highest. Making sure the gain reduction never really exceeds 8dB. From there, you use each band's gain value a bit like an eq.
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Kristofer Dahl
post Aug 20 2009, 10:22 PM
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QUOTE (TheKeplerConjecture @ Aug 20 2009, 10:22 PM) *
You can get VERY good results. Which one do you have. I could probably walk you through a use case/approach if you want. The trick is usually a matter of isolating frequency ranges one at a time making adjustments from lowest to highest. Making sure the gain reduction never really exceeds 8dB. From there, you use each band's gain value a bit like an eq.


hmm so how would I go about doing that with a vocal track? I only have the multiband compressor included in Cubase 4.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Aug 20 2009, 11:22 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Aug 20 2009, 09:22 PM) *
hmm so how would I go about doing that with a vocal track? ...


Depends on what you want to achieve with MBC Kris. You can deal with proximity, you can try and tighten up the vocal, you can de-ess your vocal and remove pops, or you can run it as a dynamic eq... It also makes a difference on where you put it, main bus, vocal stem, etc...



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Kristofer Dahl
post Aug 20 2009, 11:28 PM
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Well I guess the most interesting thing would be to boost/compress the frequencies that will give more power to the vocal track - any advice (at a beginner level!) is welcome though! smile.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Aug 21 2009, 08:25 PM
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- If good mics and recording techniques are used, vocals usually don't need any coloration adjustments at all. If there are some that are needed, it is best to move things in small increments. If done in big increments it can still sound good, but the bigger the increments used, the bigger are chances that it will sound harsher on other sound systems.
- Basic vocal sound should be smooth, full and easy to listen too. If vocals turn out to be edgy or harsh, this takes some boosting/cutting.
- There isn't much need for the frequencies bellow 100Hz since this range is reserved for rhythm section mostly, so it's a common practice to roll off bellow 100-150Hz or to use a high pass filter.
- If vocals lack clarity, try boosting slightly 4-5KHz.

Offtopic: Nice little trick to add width to the vocals is to create FX track, add double delay stock Cubase/Nuendo plug, and make a preset:

Feedback: 20%
Pan 1: -100%
Pan 2: 100%
Delay Time 1: 500ms
Delay Time 2: 499ms
Mix: 100%

This preset will create a "wet" FX track that you can send your vocals to, and it will create a nice stereo width, because delay 1 time is only 1 ms longer then delay 2 time.
It also helps when this FX track is low-passed above 5KHz if you have strong cymbal coverage or big presence on main vocal tracks


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Kristofer Dahl
post Aug 21 2009, 08:40 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Aug 21 2009, 09:25 PM) *
Offtopic: Nice little trick to add width to the vocals is to create FX track, add double delay stock Cubase/Nuendo plug, and make a preset:


Cool - I am bookmarking this to try it for my next recording!


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Aug 21 2009, 10:23 PM
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Some ideas on how to use a MBC for vocals here Kris.

Following on from Ivan two more time based tricks if you want to thicken and add a bit of depth to the vocals: 1) use a different reverb type on one take i.e put a plate on one take and a room reverb on another; 2) use a reverb with a longish reverb time of about 2 secs where its easy to adjust the attenuation of the early reflections against the tail and attenuate the tail by about 4dB. This will clean up some of the mud and thicken the vocal, Add 100ms of pre-delay will more depth.


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Canis
post Aug 21 2009, 10:32 PM
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A lot of interesting tips in this post... Gonna subscribe, bookmark and learn all of this!


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TheKeplerConject...
post Aug 24 2009, 02:05 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Aug 20 2009, 06:22 PM) *
hmm so how would I go about doing that with a vocal track? I only have the multiband compressor included in Cubase 4.


The Cubase Multiband has 4 bands. Each has a solo. Typically, I'll solo the first (lowest) frequency range. Once it's soloed you can hear exactly which characteristic of the vocal will be affected by your compression. This bassy one is usually a "muddy" area, interfering with the bass guitar - especially since both are very often panned center in the mix. For this one, I usually care nothing about the compression, but the gain comes way down.

The next band is the "warmth" range. This one deserves some tender love and care. Solo it, compress it way too much (not because it sounds good, but because it helps the next step), and adjust the attack value. I usually go with something around 50-100ms. I've read the the general rule of thumb is to start at 35ms, but I tend not to like it that fast. While you're doing this mess around with the release time; you'll need to in order to try different attacks, because if the previous compression has not yet been "released", the next word/note will get no attack. Now ease up on the compression and get it so there is a just noticeable punch from the attack - this is usually when you're maxing at 8dB compression at the loudest parts. The downward moving meter will report that - it's on the second row next the the graphs that look like hills/mountains.

The attack/release/threshold settings you've established for the second band/freq will be set to the third as well. If they are not, the mids in the vocal won't sound consistent. Upper mids might suddenly get louder while the lower mids stay the same, etc. This sounds unnatural and "pumpy." Then follow the same method for compression here.

The final band is where you'll handle sibilant sounds like S's and T's. I find that the Cubase Multiband's top range is a little low in the freq range by default, and I move it up a bit so that I pretty much only hear S sounds when it's soloed. You do that by grabbing the little dot to its left on the top graph and pulling to the right. Make the attack 1ms here. Now unsolo it and use the compression to tame those S sounds. Compress til they no longer sound abrasive against the rest of the vocal.

Now, the final step is where the magic happens. Do this step with the vocal track unsoloed. Use the "gain" to EQ it. You'll mostly be balancing the two center bands. Also, bypass the plug-in once in a while to get a comparison and see what you're doing to the original sound. Don't be afraid to go back and make minor adjustments to compression ratios and thresholds, remembering to keep the center bands threshold values relatively close to eachother.

This is just the way I do it. I bet everyone's approach is different. But I really do like the results I get and I've gotten jobs based almost solely on how I fit vocals in rock mixes. I definitely recommend trying it. I can't take full credit for the method, though. It's an adaptation of a procedure I read about in a Craig Anderton Mixing and Mastering book.

This post has been edited by TheKeplerConjecture: Aug 24 2009, 05:38 PM
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Kristofer Dahl
post Aug 24 2009, 07:54 AM
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Excellent Kepler - very insightful to get a practical example of how it could be done. Once again this thread will be a perfect reference for future mixing sessions! biggrin.gif Can't wait to try it


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Frederik
post Aug 24 2009, 11:33 AM
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Very nice, Maybe we can start a mixing tutorial, starting for dummies, and moving to advanced ´, i would follow it thouroughly !
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