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Thread: Techniques for getting vocal levels even?

  1. #21
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    I always slice and dice in my daw ( studio one ) doing simple manual edits on a word, phrase or whatever to not only level out parts of the vocal but to maintain the feel of the song.

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    yep.. that's learning to work the mic

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    All these answers and not one mention of good mic technique. Learning the distance from the microphone to sing certain phrases in a song will not only put your mix ahead of the game, but for “live” gigs will make your performance professional. Best starting point IMO

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    You need to use a compressor. Or in your case, learn how to use one.

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    Although I am speaking with merely a budding technical knowledge base, I would point out that off-axis movement with mics commonly used for vocals can also impact sound-level consistency. Increased loss of sound level occurs with greater movement left/right or up/ down away from on axis, practically speaking the center of a mic. While some singers use a mic off axis intermittently for desired effects (as well as intentionally varying distance), it may be an unintentional occurrence that becomes noticeable in listening to a vocal track as opposed to awareness of this occurring on stage.

    It occurred to me that a pop-filter screen (if not part of a shock-mount with your mic) with a flexible gooseneck and clip may give the singer a good reference point of where to be (in distance as well as centeredness).

    It may be, however, that the singer’s vocal production is a variable that needs to be considered. After addressing technical consideration to no avail, if you know a trained singer who could discretely observe the singer to determine such an issue, it might be practical before suggesting a voice coach. If a coach is needed, a singing instructor at a community college might give private instruction. This would be preferably an instructor who has experience in using a mic to lend of insight as well as instruction in vocal production.

    By the way, I did not see the mic itself discussed. If the sound level variation is occurring consistently within a defined frequency area or areas, I would suggest a test swap to a better vocal mic--borrowed if need be--with a flatter response to isolate whether the current mic is producing the sound level variations. Although perhaps not the only issue, lower priced mics commonly have noticeable response deviations due to their lack of engineered flatness. (As a technical term, flatness is used to refer to frequency response—not tonal quality—of mics’ or speakers’ relative accuracy, top to bottom in frequencies either captured or reproduced of sound, respectively. Generally speaking, greater flatness is desirable.)

    Welcome to your Home Recording forum—JeffF.

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  7. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveAlton View Post
    All these answers and not one mention of good mic technique. Learning the distance from the microphone to sing certain phrases in a song will not only put your mix ahead of the game, but for “live” gigs will make your performance professional. Best starting point IMO
    Several people mentioned this, didn't they?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zepfan59 View Post
    You need to use a compressor. Or in your case, learn how to use one.
    I agree. Any recommendations for a good tutorial?

  8. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffF View Post
    Although I am speaking with merely a budding technical knowledge base, I would point out that off-axis movement with mics commonly used for vocals can also impact sound-level consistency. Increased loss of sound level occurs with greater movement left/right or up/ down away from on axis, practically speaking the center of a mic. While some singers use a mic off axis intermittently for desired effects (as well as intentionally varying distance), it may be an unintentional occurrence that becomes noticeable in listening to a vocal track as opposed to awareness of this occurring on stage.

    It occurred to me that a pop-filter screen (if not part of a shock-mount with your mic) with a flexible gooseneck and clip may give the singer a good reference point of where to be (in distance as well as centeredness).

    It may be, however, that the singer’s vocal production is a variable that needs to be considered. After addressing technical consideration to no avail, if you know a trained singer who could discretely observe the singer to determine such an issue, it might be practical before suggesting a voice coach. If a coach is needed, a singing instructor at a community college might give private instruction. This would be preferably an instructor who has experience in using a mic to lend of insight as well as instruction in vocal production.

    By the way, I did not see the mic itself discussed. If the sound level variation is occurring consistently within a defined frequency area or areas, I would suggest a test swap to a better vocal mic--borrowed if need be--with a flatter response to isolate whether the current mic is producing the sound level variations. Although perhaps not the only issue, lower priced mics commonly have noticeable response deviations due to their lack of engineered flatness. (As a technical term, flatness is used to refer to frequency response—not tonal quality—of mics’ or speakers’ relative accuracy, top to bottom in frequencies either captured or reproduced of sound, respectively. Generally speaking, greater flatness is desirable.)

    Welcome to your Home Recording forum—JeffF.
    Thanks JeffF, these are useful tips.

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    Looks like it's all been covered but just for another +1 learning to work the mic is key here.
    People think it's optional; I'm not very good at that - I'll just use automation.....

    Honestly, I see having to automate a shoddy take, in that respect, as being no different to having to tune the crap out of a take because the singer was almost in tune.

    It's one of those where a little bit of work at the start pays off over and over during the mix.

    Sure, manual automation, vocal rider, compression...They're all great tools and I use them all, but if you can get that take as close as possible at the microphone it will help so much.
    Last edited by Steenamaroo; 04-06-2018 at 10:41. Reason: typos
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  11. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    Looks like it's all been covered
    Yup. Pretty much. The only other one I don't see is side chain ducking. Not side chain compression, not side chain filtering. Volume ducking. Different than automation. It can give the vocal the appearance of being more even than it actually is.

  12. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkuehlin View Post
    Yup. Pretty much. The only other one I don't see is side chain ducking. Not side chain compression, not side chain filtering. Volume ducking. Different than automation. It can give the vocal the appearance of being more even than it actually is.
    What exactly is "side chain ducking"?

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