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#732912 - 06/25/09 08:31 PM Dozen tips for vocal recording  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 10,529
Kevin Emmrich Offline
Kevin Emmrich  Offline


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Crozet, VA
Someone over at the BIAB forum posted this link: http://www.harmony-central.com/articles/tips/12_vocal_tips/

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#732918 - 06/25/09 08:48 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Hummingbird Offline
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Victoria, B.C. Canada
good list smile


Vikki Flawith: Songwriter/Composer, Singer/Voice Teacher

12Feb10- *NEW BLOG: "BE YOUR OWN GURU ;)"

MY STORY & MY MUSIC: http://www.vikkiflawith.com
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#734997 - 07/04/09 12:57 AM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Hummingbird]  
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Polly Hager Offline
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This offered some awesome tips! Thank you! smile

I might add, iffin I may, the ENVIRONMENT in which you're recording makes such a huge difference. If you've got a sound guy there who's tapping his watch and rolling his eyes every time you have to (or just WANT to) do another take, it's causes so much stress and anxiety, it actually prolongs the session.

I've been lucky enough to find someone who darkens the studio, lights candles, and talks to me in a very soothing voice (yes, we're making music, not porn! LOL) I get things in the first or second take now, because the ENVIRONMENT is so pleasant and non-threatening. I wish more recording engineers would be aware of this trick, especially with female vocalists. It could become a cash cow for them. Singing is mental and emotional. We can't change strings or drumheads. It's produced from our bodies. If the least little thing is wrong with us, not enough sleep, a cold, stress, any number of things, we can be off of our game. It sucks to be a singer. But when we are ON, we're REALLY ON! smile


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You're supposed to be grooving as hard as you can, all of the time. - Stephen Gaskin
#772659 - 11/23/09 04:31 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Polly Hager]  
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Nadia Offline
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Nadia  Offline
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Hi Polly. I was speaking to a singer yesterday and when I told her about your experience, she absolutely loved the idea of using the candles. Thank you so much for sharing.
Nadia

#772724 - 11/23/09 07:54 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Nadia]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
Hi Polly that is a hoot I am LMAO. The thought of a sound guy tapping his watch and you asking for candles and a darkened room.
I can imagine my guys having a straight face after being asked for that.

The birthing suite usually comes 9 months after a studio session. LOL

The singers I know turn up.... sing.... then go home.....it is done and dusted before your candles would even be lit. There is no room in the sound booth not to mention the fire hazard. LOL

You brightened up my day.....keep em coming.

#772730 - 11/23/09 08:11 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Joe Wrabek Offline
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Garibaldi, OR USA
They are all good points. A couple of (low-end) tips, I think:

Want to make your own pop filter? (Pop filters are good, by the way. I just don't like to pay *anything* right now.) Pantyhose--the old "sheer" stuff--stretched over a rounded-out coathanger. (Sure, it looks hokey. You've seen pictures of my studio. The only thing that doesn't look hokey is the vase of plastic flowers I added for "class.")

Mikes sometimes have little quirks that can be advantageous. The little Nady "Starpower" I acquired several years ago (for *free*, of all things--I'd ordered a mike stand from Musicians' Friend and they threw in a mike for free) has a very short, very narrow "cone" within which it picks up sound, and I love it, especially for recording. Meant I could record somebody out on a street corner (and I did that once, with a harmonica player I know) and not pick up any traffic noise. Works great for performing, too; I tend to be motionless and deadpan when I'm singing, anyway, so I can be right on top of the mike and know I won't be moving away. When we do concerts, that's the mike I use for vocals--even though we've got lots fancier, name-brand ones to play with.

Polly, I like the candles idea. If you come visit, I'll do that.

joe

#773247 - 11/25/09 03:59 AM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
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Paul Ryan Offline
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Paul Ryan  Offline
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Toronto Canada
I had never been happy with my vocals. My voice isn't weak per se, but it's thin and the tonal qualities could be better. Anyway I am here to second the double-tracking notion. It adds richness and a very different personality to a song. Also on the micing-I have been using one totally transparent condenser, and another one, a ribbon that adds warmth. The two together, double-tracked (one take on one mic, one on the other) is great. Anyone thinking about trying true d-tracking, give it a go. The engineer will need to do some work on track alignment, but well worth the effort.

Paul Ryan
www.ryantunes.com

#773276 - 11/25/09 10:11 AM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Paul Ryan]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
Paul there are a few other ways to improve a thin voice.

You could add a bit of compression.

There are plugin warmers. Check out PSP vintage warmer.

You could adjust the eq to make the sound richer.

Reverb and FX will also help.

Sometimes a little panning helps.

One technique worth trying is to duplicate the vocal track and offset it very very slightly rather than recording a separate double track which is vey difficult to achieve as no two vocals will match properly. You will have to experiment to find the optimum balance and time delay between the two tracks.
I might add that sorting and matching double tracking is an engineers nightmare. Most singers can never sing exactly the same twice.

#774852 - 11/30/09 12:47 AM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Paul Ryan Offline
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Paul Ryan  Offline
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Hey thanks Jim. On the compression, eq and so on - on past projects, my producer has been doing that, but electronically, after the recording. I assume you are referring to live/in? If so I finally clued into that, and am looking at an FMR RNC. They are good in your opinion? Thanks. Also the mics and d-tracking already has added some real depth. It aint Sinatra, but it's not bad now, and if the compression can kick it up another notch even better.

Thanks again Jim,

Paul Ryan
www.ryantunes.com

#774856 - 11/30/09 12:55 AM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Paul Ryan]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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Hey Paul,

The FMR RNC is a very well-regarded low-end compressor, known mostly for it's transparency. I have heard many people state that they actually prefer to use the FMR RNLA as well.

Another good affordable compressor is the ART VLA Pro II...more colored sound than the FMR.

Good luck!

#774876 - 11/30/09 02:05 AM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Paul Ryan Offline
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Paul Ryan  Offline
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Thanks Mark. I researched the Art Pro two and probably the transparency best for me. What is the RNLA? As you can tell I am looking for budget but decent.

Thanks

Paul Ryan
www.ryantunes.com

#774878 - 11/30/09 02:21 AM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Paul Ryan]  
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Polly Hager Offline
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Big Jim, laugh all you want, but the recording engineer that caters to the female singers' emotional needs, making them comfortable, maybe a glass of wine, dimming the lights, telling them there's no pressure, no rush, you'd be AMAZED at how much easier and faster the session goes. A lot of females are self-conscious to begin with...add in a bunch of impatient guys watching, not enough time to warm up, a brightly lit studio and knowing that everyone is VERY AWARE of every little mistake you make...for a lot of women, this just makes the whole recording process worse. The recording engineer who "gets" women...will make a mint! You can hear the difference between my recordings here, done with Larry (my Nashville cat, sitting there, listening for mistakes as he stares at me, looking at the clock) and my guitar player Dave, who pampers me www.myspace.com/jdjacksonband Listen to the difference. Dave gets MUCH better results! Just being told "Take all the time you want...we can do as many takes as you want to." cuts the time in half. I immediately relax. Being told, "You HAVE to get this is one take, we don't have time for another one!" just automatically makes me choke!

BTW, Dave mentioned an "Audix" mic? Said it's the best kind for my voice. Anyone ever had one?


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You're supposed to be grooving as hard as you can, all of the time. - Stephen Gaskin
#774961 - 11/30/09 12:04 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Polly Hager]  
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James Perrett Offline
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James Perrett  Offline
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Hampshire UK
Originally Posted by Polly Hager

BTW, Dave mentioned an "Audix" mic? Said it's the best kind for my voice. Anyone ever had one?


I've used them both live and in the studio. For one Sweetedge vocal session I put up a Neumann U87, a Neumann U47fet and an Audix OM5 just to see how our recently purchased Audix live mic would fare against the established studio heavywieghts. We actually ended up using the Audix version on a couple of tracks as the sound suited the song best. The OM7 is also good on female vocals live - especially quiet female vocals where you want as much level as possible before feedback.

Some singers who are used to singing into a mic live find that singing without a mic in front of their mouth is a very odd experience so I've been known to set up a live mic close up and a studio mic further away at the same time (although only actually using one mic at a time to avoid phase problems).

Studio engineering is very much about psychology and, whenever I'm working with a singer, I always try to remember what it is like in front of the mic. "Lets give it a go and see what happens" is probably one of my most used phrases. Always record the first run through is another of my tips - it is rarely the best performance but, if you don't record it, you can be sure that you will have missed something that you want.

Cheers

James.


James Perrett, JRP Music http://www.jrpmusic.net

Della Perrett's Sweetedge http://www.sweetedge.com
#774969 - 11/30/09 12:29 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Polly Hager]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Hi Polly I was just messing.....It goes without saying that every engineer should put ALL his clients at ease to get the best from them. If an engineer does not then he will lose business cause folk will go elsewhere to someone that does put them at ease. In this day of sexual equality I do not see why females should be treated any different from men or expect to be. It is up to everyone to be professional and adapt to strange surroundings and treat each other with professional respect. Going into a studio can be traumatic the first few times but if you know the guys are pros and you are well rehearsed and know what you want to achieve there should be no need to be too nervous. Re a glass of wine.....that is a big NO NO booze and work do not mix and nobody should drink alcohol before singing. It does nothing to help vocal cords, professionalism or performance, water or fruit juice is much better. Most studios I know do not allow drinking alcohol on the premises. Past experiences show them why.
The guy who insists on one take obviously has not got a clue about much including recording.....not only does this behaviour put people off but from a tech POV is not the way any engineer I know works. Most insist on a few takes EVEN IF YOU LIKE THE FIRT one....this is done as a matter of course to guarantee that they can comp a good performance from all the different takes. Do not assume that this one bad guy is representative of all the others or be put off by it. There are A$$HOLES in every walk of life.
Re the mic....I remember you asking about it in another thread.
I have not heard of these mics but from the specs it seems OK...If your engineer pal rates it then it must be good.
I know that an SM57 is almost classed as a female mic cause a lot of women say it suits their voice better than a 58. Mics are difficult as voices and tastes vary. Try Audix out it is not an expensive mic so nothing much to lose. I personally use a Audio Technica cordless 300 series mic,for live work but carry a few different types and makes in my mic flightcase just in case.
http://www.handheldaudio.co.uk/page...dio+Technica&rec_no=8&pr_id=1262

#786225 - 01/10/10 04:22 AM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Dean Richardson Offline
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Peoria(ish), IL
ARG, I am using a "female mic"?!? I had no idea!

Seriously, great forum. I appreciate ALL the advice.

#786518 - 01/10/10 11:05 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Dean Richardson]  
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Bob Cushing Offline
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I find booze in moderation loosens me up, and adds a little "liquid soul" to the proceedings, but that's me.


bc
#786525 - 01/10/10 11:21 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Bob Cushing]  
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Polly Hager Offline
Helping Hand
Polly Hager  Offline
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Originally Posted by Bob Cushing
I find booze in moderation loosens me up, and adds a little "liquid soul" to the proceedings, but that's me.


And you always sound stellar to me, Bob! smile Of course, I've been drinking when I hear you sing.... grin


http://www.soundclick.com/pollyhager
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You're supposed to be grooving as hard as you can, all of the time. - Stephen Gaskin
#786794 - 01/11/10 08:51 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Polly Hager]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
I like being drunk too when I hear certain people sing. It takes away some of the pain...... LOL.
Of course Polly and Bob and a few others here I am not referring to any of you.

#787110 - 01/12/10 11:23 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Bob Cushing Offline
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I don't recommend it, and fundamentally it goes against the rules, I just find that my voice and emotions open up a bit after a bit o' whiskey, and I start "feeling" the song a little more. Stangely enough, my vocal range goes up about a half step too.I have to down quite a bit before I start getting "pitchy"

Last edited by Bob Cushing; 01/12/10 11:23 PM.

bc
#787115 - 01/12/10 11:48 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Bob Cushing]  
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Polly Hager Offline
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"Pitchy"...or "Bitchy"??? grin What is "pitchy" anyway?


http://www.soundclick.com/pollyhager
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You're supposed to be grooving as hard as you can, all of the time. - Stephen Gaskin
#787583 - 01/14/10 06:46 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Polly Hager]  
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Bob Cushing Offline
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cincinnati oh usa
Off- pitch biotch!


bc
#787594 - 01/14/10 07:46 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Bob Cushing]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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Minneapolis
Pitch, pitch, pitch.

#787595 - 01/14/10 07:47 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Paul Ryan]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
Mark Kaufman  Offline

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Minneapolis
Originally Posted by Paul Ryan
Thanks Mark. I researched the Art Pro two and probably the transparency best for me. What is the RNLA? As you can tell I am looking for budget but decent.

Thanks

Paul Ryan
www.ryantunes.com


I guess it took me awhile...

The RNC means Really Nice Compressor, and the RNLA means Really Nice Limiting Amplifier.

#788609 - 01/18/10 05:46 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 556
pRISCILLA Offline
Top 500 Poster
pRISCILLA  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 556
Barcelona, Spain
I totally make the mistake number eleven, everybody keeps on telling me i need up put the vocals louder, and at the end i just cannot do it right myself and rely in others to do feeling a bit uncomfortable if too loud LOL hahah


Priscilla Hernandez singer-songwriter
http://www.yidneth.com
New album at:
http://theunderliving.com
#798981 - 02/25/10 10:17 AM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 49
Medford Offline
Serious Contributor
Medford  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 49
Mix magazine profiles audio professionals recording and mixing and mastering vocals and vocal tracks in the recording studio in mixguides microphones. ...










_________________
LED gadgets

#803199 - 03/16/10 12:27 PM Re: Dozen tips for vocal recording [Re: Medford]  
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 4,173
Tom Shea Offline
Top 100 Poster
Tom Shea  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 4,173
Nebraska
Very good list and ideas.

Tom


Thomas Shea

Thomas Shea - Songwriting
http://www.soundclick.com/thomasshea

Justice - Songs
http://www.soundclick.com/justice-nebraska


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