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Thread: Recording Vocals

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    I recently purchased the "Guitar Tracks" program by Cakewalk and have been using it to record acoustic guitar and vocals for the past week or so. My setup is as follows: AMD K6-2 (400 MHz), Yamaha 724 soundcard, Peavey Ecoustic 112 amp, Audix OM3xb mic, LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI preamp. So far I have had great results sending my guitar through the preamp into the amp and taking a balanced signal from the back of the amp (XLR) through an impedance converter and into the soundcard. The amp has two channels which each have 5 band graphic equalizers. One of the channels has an XLR input and I have been running the mic into it and out the back through the balanced XLR output and into the soundcard. So far I haven't found a good mix for the vocals yet. The sound coming out of the amp is pretty good. I use a little reverb and presence and I have the EQ basically set up in a smiley face formation. The sound that gets recorded doesn't sound very professional though. I have tried a few things in the software to polish it up and have had some success but I'm still not where I would like to be. So far the best thing I have come upon is to use a little reverb, a little delay, and to set the EQ in a smiley face formation imitating the way it is on my amp. I was looking for any suggestions on effects or EQ settings to get a fairly natural yet polished sound on my vocals. I don't want anything that sounds really processed. All of the factory preset effects for vocals in the software are a little too wet for my tastes. Okay, I know this is already a really long post, but while I'm at it if someone could throw some tips in on backing vocals I would appreciate it as well. So far my attempts have produced what sounds like I'm just doubling up on the original track. Should I pan one or both?, volume differences?, effect differences? By the way, if you've made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read all of this.

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    If this will help at all and if you're interested enough to take the time to do it. Here is an example of the sound I am looking for. Go to http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/33/f...y_friday.html, and listen to the track "Back to Her". That's a friend of mine's band and our voices are very similar.

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    okay that link doesn't work but you can hear it by going to www.mp3.com and searching for Five Way Friday.

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    Ok.....let me see if I can help. For starters, if you want to record good vocals then you
    need to use recording gear. That doesn't mean you have to go out and spend big
    bucks but at least use something meant for the purpose. The Ecoustic is not a mic
    preamp made for recording. I know because I work for the company that makes it.
    It is designed to give the acoustic musician a portable, combo p.a.
    It does a great job at it. However, what you want can easilly be acomplished by
    adding a small mixer such as the Peavey RQ200 or, if you want a real recording
    console, the new RSM mixer. I could sit back and tell you the Ecoustic amp will do it
    all. It will work for what you are trying to do but it's not designed for it and therefore
    your results will reflect it. I hope that doesn't come off the wrong way. I'm only trying
    to be honest and help you with your problem. Recording preamps found on small
    mixers are designed for minimal noise and minimal signal coloration. They take a
    low level mic input and amplify it to a nice hot level so it can be recorded. They have
    a better bandwidth and are usually not packaged right next to an amplifier such as
    the one in your Ecoustic. All these factor into what you hear in your recordings.
    Another thing that could be causing you problems is the process you use once your
    vocals are in Cakewalk itself. I usually use this sequence of effects once I've
    recorded raw vocals. First, EQ.....rolling off the lows around 100 Hz and sucking
    out some mids here and there. This will depend on your voice. I always do this before
    using compression because it affects the way the comressor works. If it's not gonna
    be part of the final signal I try to eliminate it early so as to not have it affecting other
    elements of the process. Second, I compress slightly. This, too, will depend on your voice and how you sing. Third, I add some reverb/delay. I use the factory settings but, like you, I'm not happy with them. They give you a good starting point though. Just go in and adjust the wet control to knock it back down to a usable level. Finally, after all that, you may need to EQ again to notch out any boomy artifacts from the effects and pick up some highs that may have been lost as well. This may not be the right way, just what I use and thought I could share with you. Good luck with your recording.......pete o

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    Thanks for the response Pete. First let me say that you guys did a great job with the Ecoustic 112. I tried out a lot of amps before I bought that one and nothing else in that price range even compared. I knew it wasn't really meant to be used for recording though but I was trying to do the best I could with what I already had. Initially I just wanted to get my ideas recorded so that I wouldn't forget them and also do some soloing over my rhythm stuff. I didn't plan on putting a big investement into it. I've caught the recording bug though and it looks like I'm gonna be spending a little dough. I've already bought a mixer and I'm looking at getting a condenser microphone right now. After that I might upgrade the soundcard and get a second hard drive that will be dedicated to recording and making CD's. I am actually able to get some decent recordings by using the amp though. The biggest mistake I was making earlier was that I was way too close to the mic. Once I backed up some and threw in some compression things improved greatly.

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    Glad to hear things are better for ya....I must have caught that same recording bug.
    I, like you, use what I have and "make it work". I'm pretty happy with the set up
    I have now and hope to add a dedicated hard drive as well. Thanks for the compliment
    on the Ecoustic and most of all thanks for purchasing one. I don't get on these BBS
    type things to market our products. I'm not even in sales. It just happens to be that
    I'm most familiar with them and I believe in them. Oh, I did happen to see the guy
    who designed that product just before lunch (incidentally, he is the same guy who
    works with Eddie Van Halen on the design of the 5150 amps) and he said that the
    Presence control does not control the XLR output that you are using. That may have
    a bit to do with why you hear something different out of the speaker versus what you
    record to disk. Of course every speaker has its own tonal characteristics as well that
    manipulate the sound you hear. Try adjusting in some more high end and see if that
    helps you out. Later......pete o

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    Hi guys,
    Seeing that this is CakeWalk forum, I'd like to add a comment - I'm doing a lot of vocal recording nowadays & using EQ like Peter's explained - especially on very 'bassy' voices. I then do a final polishing up of the sound with CakeWalk FX3 soundstage plugin. Works wonders - even with low budget mic's.

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    I have that but don't use it much. I would like to though. Which preset did you use or
    did you creat one of your own?

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    I have that but don't use it much. I would like to though. Which preset did you use or
    did you creat one of your own?

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