My singing vocals don't sound good. Advice?


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I don't know the Tascam headphones although I have heard they are decent, but I think $40 is a bit on the low side. I have three sets, none are high priced. AKG K240s are about $65, Sony 7506s are in the $90-100 range, as are the Sennheiser HD280s. I've also used the HD200s for tracking recently and they sounded decent. I didn't have a chance to compare them with the headphones I already have.

Of the three, the 240s sound the most natural to me, the 7506s are very revealing with a stronger upper midrange. I find the HD280s to be lacking in upper mids and top compared to the others, but they are nice for tracking.

As for the rack, that's all nice to have a rack full of fancy boxes if you've got plenty of cash, but I have ZERO external equipment for my recording setup. Reaper has quite a few options for compressors, a nice reverb and all the EQ I need. If you're struggling to spend more than $40 on headphones, there's no reason to even considering buying a rack full of external processors.

Regarding what type of clip you should post, just pull the vocal track from something you feel is boxy sounding and give us a 30 second clip. If you can include a couple of hand claps, that will let use hear the room nicely. Attach a 320K mp3.


Well-known member
Aside from headphones, there is more gear to help your vocal production. In the rack you need a nice preamp. A Compressor. An EQ. A Reverb box to blend in with your voice. Not to swim in reverb, but short ambient thickening.

Stretching the vocal with two compressors is researchable. One Compressor set slow, then another one set fast. It stretches the attack curve.

Here is an oldie but goodie..The Aphex Aural Exciter..It adds harmonics with your singing. Make sure you get the one that is for +4 line level. The -10 only one is sucks. The better ones are older. Though the last ones, like the Aphex 250 type III has controllable settings for a tweakable knee like curve. Fantastic. Not a BBE maximizer. That sucks too. The Aural Exciter is much better.
I think I need to offer going nearly an almost opposite direction here -rather straight clean and stripped down voc sample, at least initially to hear and sus out the issue(s).
May I ask are you using hardware kit like this in tracking (vocals in particular)? It looks like what one would expect to be 'mix down kit(?


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The aural exciters can be used anywhere during the process. The 250III is great for live applications. The harmonics it adds really blend in and help become your voice. That was a piece of gear I came across that I thought was worth a mention.

You want the cleanest best recording into the with it all ya want later..

If someone had an issue with the sound of their voice , and somebody says get 'headphones' , I would think they were joking. A headphone set doesnt effect the sound of your voice..but its ok, I added some other things to check out, in case the issue was on all playback devices..
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Aphex is currently an incredible bargain. The Made in the USA rack units up till the mid 90's are high quality..I dont know anything about the newer stuff.

Someone recording rock music, wants to sound like the radio, those are the tools to do it. Get the best source you can into it, then bump it up.
If so, that's kind of a downer. I don't want to have to get an engineering degree to just sing pleasantly on recordings. I can't imagine this tech was around for all the excellent sounding vocal recordings prior to 1965. It seems like overkill and kind of moving too far toward fake, but this is also an uninformed opinion.

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Aphex exciters left me cold. We had them with similar units in the college studio and there was a button called big bottom on one of them. They worked for some types of music that lacked 'sparkle' but I hated them. They are like the limiters, compressors and other tricks - processing afterwards. A good mic that suits your voice and can work in your room is all you need. But they go after the mic has done it's job. Until we hear your voice, we can't really help that much? We need to hear the voice, in the room. ten seconds would do.


Well-known member
A good mic that suits your voice and can work in your room is all you need....

...and headphones.
You've missed the point Beaky. The OP has a Blue Spark condenser, an SM57 and an I5 mic, a Motu M2. That's at least reasonable gear, and he's got a seriously cheapo set of headphones, and he's trying to judge the tone of his voice. If I were doing my mixes on a clock radio speaker, would you tell me to add a bunch of compressors, reverbs and exciters to make it sound good? Not likely... The system is simply not going to reproduce things properly. We might as well tell him to just bite the bullet and buy a U87.

Without some reasonably accurate monitoring setup, you're stuck. It would great if we could just tell the OP to buy a nice pair of Genelec monitors, but since he mentioned $40 as a target it basically throws out ANY half reasonable monitors. That's the reason for suggesting a few options of headphones. PLUS we asked for a quick vocal sample, so that we can listen and maybe give some guidance on where any issues come from.

There's always the possibility that the OP's just not used to the real sound of his/her voice. When you lose the natural resonances that you get from your head, people often say "do I sound like that?"


Well-known member
Senn HD206 are $25-30 and the best value I found in headphones.
I'm going to get something posted here soon, thanks. Learning a lot on this thread, so thanks for all the info!
Awesome, everyone here just wants to listen and help. Was this your only way to monitor the track? or was this issue on other playback devices?
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New member
Aside from headphones, there is more gear to help your vocal production. In the rack you need a nice preamp. A Compressor. An EQ. A Reverb box to blend in with your voice. Not to swim in reverb, but short ambient thickening.