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Thread: Recording with SM58 and making it "sit" in the mix.

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    Recording with SM58 and making it "sit" in the mix.

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    Hi guys,

    I've been recording vocals with my SM58. The mere recording kinda sounds bassy and I was thinking of getting RODE NT2 or a microphone with a similar dynamics. MY isse is that whenever i record vocals it kinda sounds somewhere else rather than sitting in the mix with other instruments. It feels reverby. Do i have to use maximizer, imager etc...? I would love your opinions on both choosing a mic and mixing the vocals into a track.

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    it's not sortable with careful EQ? A condenser will sound equally bassy if it's not positioned quite right, and EQ is not carefully managed. I'd try recording a little further away before blaming the microphone.

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    Some here would say "if you cannot make a good vocal recording with a '58 there is either something wrong with the room or your technique"

    But you seem to have two, contradictory problems?
    First "bassy". Too close to the mic and eliciting the Proximity Effect? Back off then and I would say, though I am NO recording engineer, that male voices almost always need a bit of HPFilter post tracking?

    Then, paradoxically we have "reverby" (great adjectives btw!). This is the room intruding and is usually improved by getting closer!

    So, I shall trot out the time honored VO technique! A heavy blanket/duvet behind the mic and similar behind YOU, i.e. stopping the 'room' coming back in over your shoulders. Might even need a 'roof'.

    Do not, I implore you consider a 'vocal booth'. Unless you have a 1300cu ft+ room that you can virtually fill with sound absorbent to make a tiny space, it will sound dreadful.
    And of course, post a clip?

    Dave.

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    An SM58 will have a bass boost if you sing within a few inches. When I have that happen I just use a low shelf cut rolling off around 500Hz.

    The reverb sound is probably from singing too far (could be just a few inches) in a really bad room. The solution to that is to treat the room or record elsewhere. There's a slim chance that it's a problem with routing where a delayed copy of the signal is getting fed back into the recording.

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    Fix your recording space and back off the mic a bit, to repeat what the others have said.

    EQ might make the bass problem less, but if you've got a low voice, it's much better to keep it from getting into the mic, so practice recording a a few different, fixed distances to hear the difference and then stick with one that works best.

    Some folks record in a closet filled with clothes. It's not great, but it's better than a small kitchen or some other smallish room with hard walls.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Damn quick responses, guys thank you all very very much! So, doing small eq adjustments would solve that bass heavy sound, i was hesitant on that because i thought it would be too surgical but seems like careful adjustments will solve my issue. By reverby i meant that when I add reverb bus and delay bus, the vocals just did not fit in the mix. I guess that part is up to me to study and improve... Thanks y'all!

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    Quote Originally Posted by borimayra View Post
    By reverby i meant that when I add reverb bus and delay bus, the vocals just did not fit in the mix. I guess that part is up to me to study and improve... Thanks y'all!
    So you will just have to back off the 'wetness' of reverb and delay until the voice has a level of effect that works with the reverb and delay in the mix itself. If the instruments are totally dry, then another possibility is to add reverb to them to fit with what the voice is like.

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    I'm curious what the other tracks are. Did you record them yourself or are they from someone else that you're singing to? If the latter, then it can be quite difficult to get your vocal track to sit properly.

    Condenser mics are great and you should definitely be looking at getting one, but you should get usable mixes with the 58.

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    Here's an actual eq curve I used on a recent live recording. This is on a female lead vocal with a live band behind her. She's singing essentially right on the grille with no additional pop screen. On a male vocal I might have rolled the HPF down a little. I'm using a band cut rather than a low shelf cut because a lot of the lower part is covered by the HPF. The cut at 277.2 is wide enough that it's having some effect well above 500Hz, which is consistent with how high the proximity effect boost goes. There's a subtle clarity boost filter at about 5.5k.

    If you sing at a greater distance then you might not need as much of a cut, but I wouldn't be afraid to do whatever is necessary to make it sound right. You're not making a scientific measurement, you're creating art.

    caitlyn-sm58-eq-png

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    And here's what I did on the backing vocals. We re-tracked them one at a time using the same studio mic and more or less the same placement. The mic captured a full representation of each vocal and I carved away what didn't fit.

    jd-vocal-eq-png

    mm-vocal-eq-png

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