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Thread: Recording vocals - any tips

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    Recording vocals - any tips

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    Hi all,

    Just thought I'd ask for some advise in recording vocal techniques. I can sing the vocals fine as I play live (and as I want them to sound)but when I have recorded the backing tracks and go to sing over it - without playing - I just lose it. I have just finished building a vocal booth (of sorts) so can't play my guitar along quietly at the same time as I used to.

    What tips do you have? Do you listen with both the cans on or with one off one ear. Do you crank up your vocals or send them to the background when you record. I am singing into a large condensor at about 6 - 8 inches thru pop guard.

    Any clues?

    Cheers in advance

    Saxter
    "listen to the sustain on that...
    - I'm not hearing anything...
    You would if it were playing"

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    recording vox

    hi saxter

    how you approach fixing this depends a little on what you feel is happening. interesting psychological things happen when you swap from live to recording, and understanding them can make huuuuuuge differences to what hapens when you record.

    some quick tips:
    * if you are missing high notes - visualise not going 'up' to the note but forward into it
    * sometimes oversharpening can occur if you are nervous and trying to put too much energy into the performance
    * if you can't hear enough of the track, you may tend to flatten consistently - if you are being swamped, you may tend to sharp.
    * single earphones can help but beware if you do this with stereo phones as the can that is off-ear can cause immense bleed into the mic.
    * if you have a note that you hitting consistently badly, have a look at the lyric you are singing - sometimes the very word itself or the phrasing of it can give you difficulties - try rephrasing or even changing the word!
    * a trick some engineers use to get more energy out of the singer is to make the track a little louder than the singer expected to get them to try and lean into it a bit more - i've tried it with 'friendly' singers and it does work. but see above for potential problems.

    it really depends what is happening, but these are some of things that have helped me over the years, before you even get to technical considerations.

    remember, there is also the temptation when recording is to redo and redo and redo until you get it JUST right - however, sometimes, thought the first take may not be absolutely perfect, it may well have the most feel and passion about it! this is where useful lil tools like autotune can come in - jst to rescue an otherwise great vocal marred by one note. recording is funny, because your brain always knows it can go back and do another - you don't get that live, you have one chance and often just go for it - i work with a guy who has a very similar problem to this.

    hope some of this helps. keep the thread up if you have any more info

    good luck - keep going

    paul d
    tollbooth
    paul d
    tollboothmusic

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    Wink

    One way when using headphones that's usually effective is to leave one on/one off. Then do NOT feed your vocal into the one on your ear, only the backing track(s). BTW make sure to avoid having any sound come out of the other headphone.

    A further trick is to use a "goof-proof" microphone, like a Electro-Voice RE20 or RE15, where mic placement concerns are mitigated by the variable-D
    feature that minimizes proximity effect. That way you can relax more when you're singing, rather than being concerned about wandering out of the sweet spot.

    Chris

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    Another trick you might try is when recording a second vocal track (especially if you are singing both parts) is to use a different mic. This will give you a slightly different tone (or something) to make the second voice more distinctive. EQing the vocal tracks differently makes for greater contrast too. You might try recording one track while sitting and one standing(sometimes minor differences make major changes when you play it back) These are a few of the things that have worked for me, keep experimenting, you'll find the ones that work for you.

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    Leave one of the cans on and leave another ear open. Use your finger to close that ear tight.

    This helps you hear yourself at a truer tone and it's simple to do.


    Also you'll need something to filter out your consonants and any sudden transients. This is what we call a pop filter or a wind screen. You can take a clothes hanger, open it up a little and slide a panty hose over it.

    It also helps to make sure you have mics that are going to cover the freqs you need. In terms of vocals, you'll need something that covers good mid range (700hz to 5khz).

    Hope that helps.

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