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> Recording Vocals, need some advice
Gitarrero
post Nov 7 2010, 04:19 PM
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Hey guys,

so lately (well, last two days), I felt a wave of creativity washing away all the other feelings I have at the moment (you know the thread...) and I recorded 5 songs, at least a rough mix.
Now I thought to myself: "I am used to sing when I perform with an acoustic guitar for my friends...why not record vocals?"
So:
I have a decent microphone, I have tons of cable options, but: What way is the best to record vocals on a PC? Should I just plug my microphone into the mic-in of my computer? Or should I plug it into my guitar amp (a v-amp 3) and choose a clean setup? Or is there another way I haven't thought of, yet?
I'd really like to know how you guys would do that. Plus: Is there a software to, well, play with the vocals, add effects and stuff? Not sure if my energy XT can do that. But please, I am looking for a freeware tool for starters...wink.gif

Thanks!

Christian


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 10 2010, 06:07 AM
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You should look in to getting a recording interface. They can be had quite cheaply these days. I have tried several and reviewed a few in my forum I actually have one for sale that I've reviewed. It's a firewire based TASCAM FIRE ONE. It has XLR and Quarter in Jacks and is Mac and PC compatible. It does require that your computer has "Firewire". Here is a site selling them new for $200.

http://www.audiolines.com/Recording/Comput.../Tascam-FireOne

I'm selling mine for $75.

If you don't have firewire, you should get one that uses USB. Any basic unit will do the trick to start with.

BTW Here is the link to my forum post where I review several recording interfaces/speakers/mics etc.

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...showtopic=35615

However, if you are wanting to just work with what you have on hand, you can just run right in to your computer with whatever mic you have available. There will be a "mic"input in your sound card. This is not ideal, but will work in a pinch.

What software are you using for recording/mixing?

Todd


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Ramiro Delforte
post Nov 10 2010, 11:03 AM
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I'm with Todd but I want to add a little thing

You said you have the pod XT. Basically you can use that to digitalize your signal and use the XT as a preamp so the level of your signal is not poor (and would be a better quality than plug your mic into the on-board card).
So...
Setup would be

Mic-Pod XT- USB Port- DAW

In that case I think you're going to have some decent audio from the mic. But, as Todd said is better if you buy an audio card with the mic preamp like a M-audio Fast Trak that's about 150 dls I think....

Cheers!


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Gitarrero
post Nov 10 2010, 07:13 PM
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Thanks guys!
I'll try the version with my v-amp (it's pretty much like a POD) and see what the result will sound like. And when I'm done, I'll post my records here to get some feedback.


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 11 2010, 01:49 AM
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Ramiro has a GREAT point that I didn't even consider. If you have some sort of pre-amp you can use, that will act to digitize the signal to get it in to your computer over USB or what not, this would be much better than just running into computers stock sound card. Great catch and advice on that Ramiro!

Put up some recordings and I"m sure everybody will be glad to give them a listen smile.gif

Todd


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Nov 12 2010, 03:02 AM
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You need an audio interface that has mic preamp. Plug your mic into that preamp, set the level, record into daw over backing track, and mix it.

When recording vocals, it's always best to record them as dry as possible, and don't forget to record layers. Doubling the vocals on choruses, singing in unison with the main vocal is very important. Record 2-3 layers against the main vocal and pan all the backing vocals a bit. Add some space on backing vocals, but not too much on the main vocal. Some reverb and short delay will do, but don't overdo it. If you can - sing some thirds or higher octaves, they can sound nice too. These backings don't need to be loud. Lower the volume down and mix them in - they will add a lot like this.


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Gitarrero
post Nov 12 2010, 12:11 PM
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Great Idea, thanks a lot Ivan! I'm gonna try it this weekend and will keep you guys updated!


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Nov 12 2010, 01:46 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Nov 12 2010, 02:02 AM) *
You need an audio interface that has mic preamp. Plug your mic into that preamp, set the level, record into daw over backing track, and mix it.

When recording vocals, it's always best to record them as dry as possible, and don't forget to record layers. Doubling the vocals on choruses, singing in unison with the main vocal is very important. Record 2-3 layers against the main vocal and pan all the backing vocals a bit. Add some space on backing vocals, but not too much on the main vocal. Some reverb and short delay will do, but don't overdo it. If you can - sing some thirds or higher octaves, they can sound nice too. These backings don't need to be loud. Lower the volume down and mix them in - they will add a lot like this.


Great advice as ever Ivan smile.gif .

I'd also add a few things -

1/ use a good mic stand and pop shield.

2/ experiment with mic position. That includes whether it's on axis, above or below your mouth etc.

3/ 90% of a good vocal is down to good clean tracking. Get it right here and you will save yourself a lot of problems later. At tracking keep the signal path as clean as possible - leave the effects for mixing. You might need a compressor and an EQ but you shouldn't need anything else.

Whatever you do, don't record hot. A hot distorted signal can not be fixed at any stage.

4/ also for backing - experiment with parallel compression and if possible a different mic and pre-amp and different EQ.

5/ mix your work so there is space around the vocals - particularly the main vocal.

6/ If you stem mix then experiment with the main voc up/down 1dB to see how it affects the mix.

7/ if you're panning be aware of how panning algorhythms affect the perceived volume and adjust levels accordingly.

8/ experiment with panning between hard L/R and 80% L/R for the backing but leave the main as C.


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Adrian Figallo
post Nov 12 2010, 01:51 PM
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great tips guys!!!
my only advice is, record dry, and on the mix stage if anything is sounding funny it is because of the compression, you NEED it there smile.gif.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Nov 12 2010, 01:57 PM
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QUOTE (Adrian Figallo @ Nov 12 2010, 12:51 PM) *
great tips guys!!!
my only advice is, record dry, and on the mix stage if anything is sounding funny it is because of the compression, you NEED it there smile.gif.


Normally absolutely right Adrian.

You sometimes need compression at tracking though if the vocalist is either inexperienced and sends things in to random clipping or just has a very large dynamic range wink.gif .


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Adrian Figallo
post Nov 12 2010, 02:11 PM
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yeah tony, when i record vocals i add some compression at least on the monitoring, i know my limitations as a singer so i try to make it as simple as i can, a little bit of compression will boost your confidence making your vocals sound better even on the tracking part smile.gif

also if you are not confident enough with your voice double it, maybe it's not the "right" thing to do because it is like using distortion all the time to cover a sloppy playing, but it will save you some time and most important it will maybe allow you to release some stuff and not be scared of your "natural" voice tone (like me biggrin.gif).


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Nov 12 2010, 02:15 PM
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QUOTE (Adrian Figallo @ Nov 12 2010, 01:11 PM) *
yeah tony, when i record vocals i add some compression at least on the monitoring, i know my limitations as a singer so i try to make it as simple as i can, a little bit of compression will boost your confidence making your vocals sound better even on the tracking part smile.gif


you could always cheat and send the vocalist a cue mix with a compressor on it but record dry and add it later if you need to wink.gif .


QUOTE
also if you are not confident enough with your voice double it, maybe it's not the "right" thing to do because it is like using distortion all the time to cover a sloppy playing, but it will save you some time and most important it will maybe allow you to release some stuff and not be scared of your "natural" voice tone (like me biggrin.gif).


Maybe also try parallel compression to thicken things up rather than/as well as doubling cool.gif ?

BTW - your main vocal mix is usually ok with me smile.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Nov 12 2010, 02:38 PM
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Great pro advices Tony smile.gif

For everything we mentioned, , I should add that (next to all ever-important things in the mix) - you should always try to sing the best way you can. This may seem like something trivial, but often is important and underrated missing link. The way to do this is to:

- Singer should keep the dynamic range in some reasonable limits. So, no yelling, loud singing, specially on some words. Some unexperienced singers (me for example) have troubles with singing some letters a bit louder than others. This should be cut down to a minimum with practicing the vocal lines over and over before recording. Pronouncing everything loud, clear and even increases the chances that everything is being heard like that in the mix.

- Singers should watch the distance from the mic. Experienced singers know how to get away from the mic when they know they will sing something loud. This way they adapt the loudness to the mic.

- Singer should know how his microphone reacts. Spending some time experimenting with different angles and distances on the mic will mean a lot in getting the initial (healthiest possible) recording.



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Gitarrero
post Nov 12 2010, 03:10 PM
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Wow guys, these really are pro tricks! So I will do some experimenting this weekend and see what I can achieve. The biggest hurdle will be my voice smile.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Nov 15 2010, 06:32 PM
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Let us know how it went, and possibly post some samples if you can! smile.gif


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