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Singing and Recording, Mixing, and Mastering... How does it work?

highmtnhighmtn Posts: 9,697Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

This is a place to ask questions or have discussions about how to do simple recordings for practice or Master Recordings for mass consumption, and everything in-between!


Bob

Comments

  • 26 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • bbergbberg Posts: 36Enrolled
    edited August 2016 Vote Up1Vote Down
    Samplitude MS is a beast! Loads of features that other DAWs don't have for little to no money if you buy last year's version. Unfortunately it's very buggy. If you don't need virtual instruments I love this DAW here: http://harrisonconsoles.com/site/mixbus.html
    It's on sale right now, it's much more stable than Samplitude MS and it sounds stunning. Also it get's the mixes done faster because every channel's got a tunable EQ and Compressor built in.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 9,697Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    I find it really stable and easy to work with at a low price.
    Ha, ha!  I read this as "it crashes less"...

    Who here hasn't lost the greatest takes and performances ever when their computer crashed? 
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 618Moderator, Pro
    A tip I recently saw from Chris Lord-Alge was to monitor and Mix at a quieter level. It makes it easier to place the instruments and if it sounds exciting at low volume, it should sound Super Exciting when you pump it up.
  • I have always been under the impression that you use a condenser microphone for recording the singer and dynamic for live performances. However I was watching a video of Radiohead recording Fake Plastic Trees and it looked like Thom Yorke is using a dynamic microphone. The microphone is right up to his lips and the shape looked like my dynamic microphone. I have both types of microphones and would appreciate perspectives on this topic. Below is the link to the video.

    As a side note Thom seems to close his mouth a lot on the softer high notes in the verses. Is he using open throat technique? Is closing the mouth like him what is meant by a 'covered' sound?

    The video is below

    Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees (Live Bullet Sound…:
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 9,697Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    If you like the sound of a dynamic mic, it's fine to use it for recording.  Condensers can record higher frequencies and often lower frequencies as well, but if the dynamic mic is making a sound that you like, it's OK to use it. It just won't be able to get as much high-end sparkle as a condenser. 

    Closing down the lips around the mouth is part of covering the sound.  Part of the covering takes place in the back of the throat.  

    A covered sound is usually less bright and more dark. 

    Bob
  • bbergbberg Posts: 36Enrolled
    edited June 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    @steves
    there are no rules regarding microphones for recording. Just use what you're comfortable with. Bono used SHURE SM58s in the studio, Michael Jackson and Axl Rose used SM7s and Lemmy Kilmister used SM57s. All dynamic microphones and 2 of them rather cheap ones. I guess many singers use these in the studio to get rid of too much high end or nasality in their voice. Getting really close to the mic like Thom Yorke does also gives you some additional low end which is great if you have a rather thin voice.
  • bbergbberg Posts: 36Enrolled
    edited August 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    another wonderful little DAW is Tracktion. I find it really stable and easy to work with at a low price. Plus big bonus: they give away Version 4 for free, which is fully functional. http://www.tracktion.com/
  • @highmtn and @bberg thanks for the microphone info. As Bob has mentioned before I have a lot of crackling noise in my recordings and the more I looked into it sounds like an issue limitation my audio interface (steinberg ur22) when using a condenser microphone. I have been able to get rid of the noise most of the time now but it often involves me unplugging the interface to 'reset' it - a bit of a distraction I find when I am trying to focus on my vocal performance. I may try out the dynamic microphone as an alternative to see if I can avoid the crackling altogether.

    Interesting to hear the feedback that it helps people with a thin voice. I wouldn't have known that about thom yorke but I recall ken mention he has a breathy technique in one of the threads. Perhaps being thin keeps the breathiness from drying out his chords?
  • bbergbberg Posts: 36Enrolled
    Hi @steves, no Yorke doesn't have a thin voice, it's rather warm but he still seems to like his dynamic mic.

    The noise could be a problem with induction from your power line. That could either come through your audio interface's or your laptop's power chord (or maybe an external preamp's power chord). Or if you use a tube mic - it could be a bad tube (or the tube mic's power supply).
  • @bberg if I power off my studio monitors and turn off any plugins the noise goes away. But if I turn them on and then off before I record the noise is there unless I reset by unplugging and replugging. The steinberg site mentions a defect related to a similar case but mine is slightly different.
  • bbergbberg Posts: 36Enrolled
    @steves Have you tried to seperate the microphone / interface + Mic by using different power lines? Sometimes the magnetic fields of loudspeakers can interfere with other electric devices.
  • @bberg yes I have. I also recorded the sound and played it at my local music shop as well as a recording forum I am in. It is likely related to but not the same as the following defect with my interface. Hence I started wondering if I might try a dynamic mic for the vocals.

    https://www.steinberg.net/en/support/knowledgebase_new/show_details/kb_show/ur22-audio-interface-notification-regarding-low-frequency-noise/kb_back/2020.html
  • bbergbberg Posts: 36Enrolled
    Maybe the dynamic might solve the problem.

  • streeterstreeter Posts: 618Moderator, Pro
    I know this is a little off topic but the CLA classic compressor and CLA signature series plugins from waves are awesome.
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 618Moderator, Pro
    edited July 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Actually I'd recommend watching anything relating to CLA and mixing. There's a bunch of interviews with him about what he does and how he does it. Pretty inspiring and entertaining dude.
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 618Moderator, Pro
    edited August 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Not sure what you are referring to bro. He's got a bunch but here's a ripper featuring another prominent guy on the scene.
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 618Moderator, Pro
    I sing into the DAW using CLA Vocal Plugin. So the EQ, Compression and reverb are already set.
  • How do you guys EQ your voices? The standard rock male singer EQ settings aren't optimal for me. Apparently I have a lot more hi-mids in my natural tone than most singers... Not sure what the significance of that is in terms of vocal technique.

    Not only that, but with songs that have a lot of range, settings that sound good on the low range aren't great for the higher range etc. I often just bypass the EQ on the preamp and EQ it after everything is recorded.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 9,697Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    I like to emphasize the upper mids and the highs. Seems like trying to add low-end makes things sound puffy.

    More specifically, I put a bump at 1.5khz, 2.5khz, and 4khz. Then a lift at 10 or 11khz.

    That might sound a little bright to some, but it makes the vocal track stand out over the din. Whatever boost I might give the lows would be around 240 hz. with a roll-off around 90 or 100 hz. 300 hz to 900 hz mostly sound honky to me, so I tend to drop that area a couple of dB.
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 618Moderator, Pro
    I don't solo EQ the track. I EQ it with everything playing at the same time to make it sit in the over all mix.I generally just get rid of the Pillow sounding frequencies as a starting point, then EQ it until I get what I want. Same goes for Reverb and any other effects. Just add and takeaway until it sounds good.
  • I don't solo EQ it either, but do you EQ the track as it is going in? What about live?
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 618Moderator, Pro
    I get the EQ and everything going while I'm doing rehearsal runs. Then I'll tweak it comparing it to the original but it's one setting for the whole track. Pro's will ride faders and get it all automated though.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 9,697Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited August 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I pretty much go for the same EQ live or when recording. You just have to be careful about the monitors feeding back, as the frequencies I stated are pretty sensitive to feedback. They also help a vocal to stand out in the mix, so a bit of careful monitor placement and careful directional aiming of the microphone is important.
  • bbergbberg Posts: 36Enrolled

    How do you guys EQ your voices? The standard rock male singer EQ settings aren't optimal for me. Apparently I have a lot more hi-mids in my natural tone than most singers... Not sure what the significance of that is in terms of vocal technique.



    Not only that, but with songs that have a lot of range, settings that sound good on the low range aren't great for the higher range etc. I often just bypass the EQ on the preamp and EQ it after everything is recorded.

    I tend to have a similar problem - quite some nasality in my voice in the upper midrange. Here`s a good article on that: http://blog.crowdaudio.com/what-to-do-when-dealing-with-nasally-vocals/

  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 145Pro
    edited August 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    @bberg Actually I don't really have an issue with unwanted nasality. The upper-mid range of my VOCAL register is one of my favorite in which to sing. I'm talking about upper-mid frequencies of my recorded voice in general. Curiously enough, they're usually still boosted, just not as much as they usually are when recording rock male vocals. Recently I've just been bypassing the EQ on the preamp altogether.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 9,697Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited August 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    There is a negative connotation to nasality that is often misconstrued into the notion that there should be no nasal component in singing. The nasopharynx is an important part of vocal sound. If we pinch our nose when speaking, it sounds very unpleasant. This should tell us that there is a natural, pleasant component to our voice that happens through a healthy inclusion of a proper amount of "nasal" sound in our voice.

    It is like saying that the color green is ugly and should be eliminated from our sight. That's ridiculous. We don't want to see all green or too much green, but without ANY green, our vision is out of balance. Good singing always includes good balance. Not too much of anything, but also not too little of something that should be there. Balance.

    The upper mids is one of my favorite areas of the voice. It's an area that the ear is very sensitive to. You have to be very skillful in utilizing it without going overboard.

    I am often amused at the vocal methods that train their students constantly on "Nay, Nay, Nay" or "Meow, Meow" and then point at other vocalists and say they are using "too much nasality".

    Bob
  • I agree. I initially typed nasality but changed it to "unwanted nasality" because I feel like it is pretty important to "characterizing" the voice at times.

    I know of a person who trains "nays" but sings with very little nasality. I wonder how long it will be before vocal training achieves a higher level of standardization.
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