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Thread: Help with a dynamic Female voice...

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    Question Help with a dynamic Female voice...

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    I'm kind of new to home recording... (New to the forum as well..)

    I'm having a hard time keeping my recordings from clipping. (her voice seems to constantly shift between quiet and loud)... I have almost talked myself into getting a compressor but wanted to ask for opinions. I read a few articles, and it seems there are some negative opinions on using compressors on voices...

    As for our setup, were using a laundry room deadened with sleeping bags/Carpet as our recording room, Miking about 6 inches from the mike (I think the room acoustics still suck...). Im using a Groove Tubes GT66 and a presonus-MP20 preamp for the vocal, a couple of Shures with Tubpre's for the guitar (which seem to work alright). They all plug into a Yamaha mixer which goes into a audiophile 2496 on my computer. Im using Guitar Tracks Pro as the recording software.

    Any Ideas would be welcome....

    Thanks,
    Joe.

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    I can't think of too many unapproving of a compressor on a vocal track - Maybe not during tracking "normally," but I have a tendency to limit the problem areas on the way in once in a while. Normally? Maybe not. Sometimes? Certainly.

    This would seem to be one of those cases where a little limiting on the way in might not be such a bad idea. Only a few dB, though - Don't go nuts on the way in - There's nothing you can do to fix it later.

    DISCLAIMER: Ideally, just lower the input gain so there is no clipping to begin with.

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    I'd run her through the tune on a "dry run" and adjust the levels where she hits her absolute loudest to -3db or so. It's going to fall off during her quiet passages,but that should be ok. I'm not familiar with your particular software, but if you are recording at 24 bits, the lower levels during the quiet passages shouldn't be a problem.

    You can always add compression later, but if you put it on at recording, you're stuck with it. If you're working at 16 bit and she is really falling way off level-wise,you might consider a peak limiter. Also, a litle mic technique can help too. If she can lean in a little closer when she gets quiet and back when she belts it out,that can help too, if she does it smoothly.

    Good luck!

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    Can you get her to do a bit of 'lean in' on the low parts, back off for the heat? Sometimes just tilting a few inches back from the 'normal' distance in the hot spots...
    The singer is part of the dynamics process.
    Wayne
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    Mixsit, that is exactly right. I recorded a young gentleman last night with whose vocals I had had trouble in the past. He is in a bluegrass band, and he is used to approaching the mic when he wants to be loud and backing off for softness. I explained to him that recording was a bluegrass band in reverse...it apparently worked because now I have useable tracks without the =LOUD= to =soft= that we recorded before.

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    Yo Joe "da" Bear:]

    I recently did ten songs with a gal who is a dynamic "burst" at times singer. I worked with her for several years and her mic technique is not too bad.

    I put her vocals into a RNC and used the magic button for real nice compressor and adjusted the gain. No clips and plenty clear and vibrant.

    I had on board compression on my 2816 but prefer the RNC.

    A professional I work with doing vocals has 'excellent' mic savvy. It does help when the vocalist knows when to lean into and lean away from the mic.

    Just a suggestion you might try.

    I put reverb in the cans while the talent is performing but it isn't recorded. I add the reverb during mixdown.

    Green Hornet

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    I put reverb in the cans while the talent is performing but it isn't recorded.
    That seems like a good idea - maybe helps seperate the vocals from the instruments a little better - I guess a short slap might help too - something to give the singer enough detail so they're not tryin to push into the mic so they can hear themselves. Holy moley - I just thought of this - finally a use for my BBE exciter - I might try pumpin that into a vocal can mix...

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    Thanks for the responses.

    I have tried the lean in and out approach, it seems to work a little, at least at first, but the more she gets into the song (feeling), that harder it is. I usually end up becoming a human compressor, lowering the level slightly while shes singing loud (to keep it from clipping), and slowly pushing it up again as she quiets down. but its a guessing game at that point. (I know i have amateur written all over me ) Probably need just a little more focus and planning.

    strmkr, I have been working at 16, I think I will kick it up to 24 and try out your Idea. My experience at 16, was that the quiet side of her voice seemed to really drop off the recording. Wasn't quite sure what it was due to.

    BTW - What is a RNC (I take it that its a type of compressor)?

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    FMR AUDIO "REALLY NICE COMPRESSOR." Do a search and you'll learn about it. About $175. I think the RNC is a good investment. It seems very transparent when applied gently. I have learned to use this compressor during tracking with good results especially using the supernice mode. A little compression \ limiting is much better than digital clipping artifacts in my experience. Even with compression, good mic technique will produce better results, and riding the faders still is necessary for really dynamic performers. I would like to know how you guys use compression during tracking.
    Last edited by ALBERTPIKE; 05-11-2004 at 21:37.

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    IMHO life would be much easier if you use one of the following microphones instead;

    1) Electro-Voice EV 635a omni
    2) Electro-Voice RE15 or RE16
    3) Electro-Voice RE20 (worth also considering if budget allows)

    The 635a omni can be "eaten" close up by a vocalist and is resistant to popping. The other two suggestions have EV's patented "Variable-D" design,
    so if the singer goes off-axis and/or closer or farther to the microphone
    the resulting coloration will be much less.

    This will also help open up the option of the singer NOT using headphones
    in order to perform more effectively and it'll be easier for them to stay in tune.

    Is it an option to record live together in this room, or preferably in a better souding one?

    Chris

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