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Thread: Recording Vocals Tips...

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    Recording Vocals Tips...

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    Hey, relative newbie here. I've mainly been working at recording guitars for a while, and now I need to move on to vocals. I am recording in my bathroom (natural reverb is good, curtains for dampening, etc) and I need some tips. I know that there is no single "right way" to record anything because there are too many factors, but do you have any tips on mic placement (directly in front of my face, or higher or lower? angled? etc). Would the best way to capture the natural reverb be two mics, or recording in a single one from a distance (i.e. 2-3 feet) or should I just sing into the damn thing from a normal 6 inch distance? I am using a large diaphragm condenser (with pop filter) in a largely rectangular bathroom plugged into my Fast Track Ultra (through XLR - no separate preamp or anything) and into my computer. My voice is baritone in range, and pretty resonant, but on my initial attempts at recording, it sound slightly tinny and thin. I know it is the voice as well as recording technique, but I am already working on my voice, so now I need help with the technique.

    I also want to record vocals and guitar at the same time. Should I put the amp in a separate room, or just do it all 'live' in the bathroom?

    As you can see, I am once again in over my head (it tends to happen a lot) so any advice on recording my voice would be a great help. And if there is any addition hardware I might need (better mic, preamp, etc) please let me know what model you may recommend, although know that my budget is small.

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    If the vocals are sounding thin, you might want to try singing closer to the mic. I, personally, record my vocals in an acoustically "treated" bedroom and get decent results. In the end, you should just keep experimenting until you get the sound you're looking for

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    If you get closer to the mic you should get more bottom end but that's dependent on the microphone. I would record things separately so you can avoid mic bleed. It makes it easier to mix. What are you using for recording software? Usually they include some reverb plugin. I would avoid the bathroom and add reverb later as it could take a lot of tries to get the reverb like you want it.

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    Yeah I've tried singing close up but it gets fuzzy (in a bad way) and muddy (slightly). As far as post-tracked reverb, I use protools and it does have onboard reverb, but it sounds so false to me. Also, (and this is a noob problem in the extreme) I don't know how to send the reverb effect to the headphones so that I can hear it when I am actually tracking. I tend to sing with a little more confidence with some reverb present, so how would I send a reverb signal to the headphones? Also, are there any free/cheap plugins or software that will have a better sounding reverb than the built-in one in protools?

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    I don't know a lot about Protools since I use StudioOne, but I'm sure you could find some nice reverb settings somewhere. If the mic gets fuzzy up-close, it's clipping. Turn the mic's gain down and give yourself a lot more headroom.

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    its new to me to lol

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    Cool guys thanks. Any tips on sending the reverb to the headphones during tracking though?

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    My advice is also ditch the bathroom and record the vocals 'dry' using a reverb plug-in to colour it up later.

    You should also have the mic set so you can sing up close (with your mouth nearly touching the pop filter).
    I'm used to singing live and using different distances from the mic to good effect, but then always get told off for backing off from the mic (for the louder bits) in the studio.
    If it's clipping, turn the gain down, add some compression if you need to.
    If it sounds a bit bottom endy, add some mid/top in the EQ.

    Can't help specifically with sending reverb to headphones in Pro Tools, but I guess your signal path goes from the mic into the channel you've selected for input, it's then monitored through that channel's EQ and processors (including rev, comp, etc), then to the headphone output, so you should be able to hear it by default. Although the signal that's being recorded will still actually be dry, but that's really just a guess. If it's set up with send and return for effects (channel inserts), you'll have the option of pre or post fade, try both (sorry it's been so long since I used a system like that, I can't actually remember which you need).

    Hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Clown View Post
    Can't help specifically with sending reverb to headphones in Pro Tools, but I guess your signal path goes from the mic into the channel you've selected for input, it's then monitored through that channel's EQ and processors (including rev, comp, etc), then to the headphone output, so you should be able to hear it by default. Although the signal that's being recorded will still actually be dry, but that's really just a guess.
    This is exactly how it should work.

    What version of ProTools are you on? If I have any effects on a track in PT9, I can hear them while I'm recording.

    I'd also recommend forgetting about the bathroom. It's probably 99%, if not 100% of you thin vocal problem.
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    LIke the clown says, ditch the bathroom. Find the biggest room with the most soft furnishings and highest ceiling, upend your couch and sing into that. Reverb afterwards. Closer to mic gets you more bass, further gets you less - you'll be doing both if your song has any dynamic range to it.

    Think about how you want the song to sound before you decide where to position it. It can be really hard to get rid of extra bass from proximity effect, especially if you then sway away a little bit and it just disappears on its own and leaves a hole.

    Experiment, take notes, adjust, rinse, repeat...

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