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Thread: Advice for the singer if you were mixing this?

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    Advice for the singer if you were mixing this?

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    Hi, I practise singing as a hobby. I have been told point blank in the past (just from a vocal track) "you can't lead like that, but maybe it would be ok as backing vocals".

    So, I'd like to please ask people who actually mix vocals for advice. What should I look out for, and would either of the clips below (minus the hiss) be "hard work" for a sound engineer? I know that it would ultimately depend on what you are mixing it with, but I am only asking about fundamentals.

    (I've picked an easy tune at random. Sorry about my recording equipment and the hiss.)





    (My guess is that vocalists just want to make you sound more like their favourite genre -- usually heavy rock and stuff, even if you are singing something entirely different.)

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    Did you sing these to a reference track?

    The big things I would consider when mixing these is:

    1. Pitch - did you sing the right notes? It sounds pretty good from that perspective
    2. Timing - are all of the takes in sync? These are not, but if you didn't track them to a click or reference, that's not going to happen.
    3. Noise floor - There's a low hum through the entire thing. That's gonna make life difficult.
    4. Other sounds - you have a lot of lip smacks, which I would find myself laboriously editing out. And if I couldn't find a way to remove the hum, that means we're stuck with the vocal take either having weird silences between phrases or lip smacks and breaths everywhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VomitHatSteve View Post
    Did you sing these to a reference track?
    I try to sing from memory after an initial listen of the song (just as a practice thing).

    Each clip is one take, but, as you pointed out, the timing is bad. I need to learn to hear the instrumentals in my head, so that I get the timing correct, instead of guessing.

    Those "lip smack" sounds, thanks for pointing that out. I need to pay attention to it and try to eradicate it.

    I think the hum is probably the hard drive on my laptop feeding through. Occasionally, the fan may come on too. I'll get better recording equipment once I better understand what I need.

    You have given me some clear working points. Thanks so much for your time and help.

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    If an engineer was going to use that recording to add to a backing track, there would be some difficulties, though not unsurmountable.

    Those difficulties would be lessened were you to sing along to an existing backing track in a studio.

    However if someone says "you can't lead like that, but maybe it would be ok as backing vocals", they are not talking about the quality of your recording, they are talking about the quality of your singing.

    Your voice has an unusual character that might make an interesting lead vocal. What I hear in the clips, though, is a mechanical, rather emotionless treatment of the vocals. It sounds like someone reading the lyrics, rather than feeling them. That's probably why you got that observation about "you can't lead like that".

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