Getting the perfect monitor mix for tracking vocals?

guitarplayr82

New member
Lately I've been struggling to get a good headphone monitoring situation for tracking vocals. I can sing a lot better when I set up some speakers in front of me and play the backing tracks out loud to sing to, but then I have to deal with bleed and whatnot. So I feel like the reason I can't seem to sing as well when I track with headphones is because of how I am monitoring myself.

Does anybody have any tips? How loud should the backing tracks vs. the live singing be in the headphones? Also, I'm open to buying some new tracking headphones, so are there any specific recommendations anybody could make for some great tracking headphones?
 

jimmys69

MOODerator
Some have better luck by pulling one side of headphone off one ear a bit. Then you can hear your voice in the room.
 

mixsit

Well-known member
...How loud should the backing tracks vs. the live singing be in the headphones? Also, I'm open to buying some new tracking headphones, so are there any specific recommendations anybody could make for some great tracking headphones?

I do a lot more phones mix for others than myself but I do feel you can go a long way in doing a custom mix for the time at hand. For voice that could mean pulling things down that might cloud the pitch issue- or mask your pitch. Panning as well.
Try different levels for the mix or the voice though. Too loud can mess with pitch.
Going along with the idea of using one phone off' are open phones like the AKG240. Yes the bleed can be a factor (killer) depending, but sometimes not being so closed in helps instead of forcing more ref level.

Also test flip phase (polarity). The 'through the bone + phones combo can hollow out the voice one way or the other.
 

grimtraveller

If only for a moment.....
I've always had the bare minimum in the cans when doing vocals, like it'll be guitar/drums, guitar/percussion, bass/drums, bass/percussion. They'll be down fairly low and while it's not important for me to hear my voice in the headphones, it is important for me to hear my voice. Like Jimmy suggested, I'll often have one phone off so I can hear my voice.
 

Track Rat

Dungeon Studio
Sometimes it can help to cover just one ear with the headphones and stick your finger in the other ear.
 

guitarplayr82

New member
Thanks for the suggestions so far. I'll try them next time I track. Any other recommendations for headphones other than the AKG 240?
 

Armistice

Son of Yoda
It's more a technique specific thing than an equipment specific thing. I'd stick with closed phones to avoid bleed and try the one off, one on thing, or experiment with levels more...
 

mixsit

Well-known member
It's more a technique specific thing than an equipment specific thing. I'd stick with closed phones to avoid bleed and try the one off, one on thing, or experiment with levels more...

Agreed. If it's just one it'd be safer to have a closed set and something along the lines of the 240's as an alt. (I use them by default. They're not loud, not a lot of low end but comfortable and reasonably natural sounding -err, closer to natural' and speakers' than the closed ones.
 

ecktronic

Mixing and Mastering.
I suggest getting a good solid sounding Mix for recording vocals. If you can get the Instrumental Mix to close to finished stage then this will help with the vocal recordings.
I would do main vocals before backing, but some producers choose to record backing first, and this tends to be with backing singer session musician professionals.

As for the volume of the Mix, I'd have the Mix down lower in relation to the vocal being recorded than in the final Mix. Makes it easier to hear problems that may be in the vocal recordings ie. pitch, clicks and pops, heavy breathing, voice style etc.

Adding a little reverb to the vocal while it is being recorded (not in the recording but as a send on the output so it is not printed to tape) can help whithvocal performances as it sounds more natural rather than having a totally dead vocal.

All the best,
G
 
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