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The Carpenters We've only just begun demo

dingodingo Posts: 119Enrolled
So I finally have my recording equipment. yay. I decided to try one of the musical masterpieces by The Carpenters.

The first one was with a basic headphone mic because I could actually hear myself when I sing. 


The second one was with my Blue Yeti usb mic which is a great mic but I just can't hear myself singing with it. I truly am equipment challenged. I tried using it with my reaper software and when i put it on monitor, the static was so bad, the recording was not usable so i used singsnap software with the same mic and so i sang it with the music and no vocal guide and i could not hear myself. 

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Comments

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 13,913Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    Only Just Begun, version ONE:  Excellent!  Intonation very good, breath support sturdy, vibrato just right, especially for this song... voice characterization: convincing. 

    Dingo, this first version of the demo is much better, especially for evaluation purposes, than your previous cell phone submission.  Your pitch is following the backing tracks accurately, unlike in the cell phone demo.  Maybe it's just the way you located your playback device, or whatever, it worked this time.  You have a very pleasing voice to listen to, and you have a professional sound quality.  If I would recommend an area to work on, it would be the same as what I need and most of the rest of us need: keep working to strengthen the support mechanisms.  That will only make us sound better and better.

    On the second version where you had the problems with the monitoring, your pitch drifts from the backing tracks.  This is because of the technical problems you are having with the mix. 

    You have a very good voice.  An inexpensive, second-hand mic mixer with a headphone output and a CD or ipod input and mic input could help you to put out some excellent demos.  You mix the sound of your mic and the song track to levels that keep you in tune and provide a proper balance of full-sounding backing tracks and full-sounding vocal tracks, blended together at the correct levels.  Record this blend and voila!!!

    But don't worry about all of that.  We can tell how good it sounds, and for evaluations, your first version today is more than sufficient.  Good Job.

    More. More. More...

    Bob

     

     

  • mivisonmivison Posts: 191Pro, 2.0 PRO
    i agree with bob, you have a very good voice. when the carpenters first came out (yes i was there) i did not care for them, but i enjoy them now. my only input would be is to work on your support . which i can see that in my own singing. also some how get some better recording gear. which has nothing to do with you voice. Good Job!
  • dingodingo Posts: 119Enrolled
    Thanks for all the great feedback. I put the previous suggestions to work and spent some time on cord closure exercises and it does seem better. I will continue to work on the breathing and support.

    I am wondering how I will be able to sing a song on pitch consistently with no guide vocal to listen to in my ear? Do I just practice with just the music over and over? 

    I have some equipment but really don't know how to use it or even connect it up correctly.
    I have a Shure SM58 mic
    a focusrite saffire 6 usb audio interface
    a Blue yeti usb mic
    win 7 laptop with reaper and mixcraft installed
    sony monitoring headphones


    i think my main problem is the DAW software settings. i don't know how to set it to record and also monitor what i am recording. can i play the sound through my computer speakers or do i need separate speakers to connect to the audio interface?

    if anyone knows how to tell me how to do this, i would greatly appreciate it.

  • mivisonmivison Posts: 191Pro, 2.0 PRO
    audacity is very easy. i used it to record. its not the best but its easy. :)


  • dingodingo Posts: 119Enrolled
    Thank you. I seem to have that on my laptop too. how do you use it? 
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 13,913Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited August 2012

    Dingo,

    You need to learn a little bit about how to set recording levels, as you mentioned "static" in your first post. Digital distortion, from overloading the level at any stage of the recording audio chain, will sound very bad. You must ensure that the playback level and the mic level never go into digital overload, or the sound will be very harsh and "static-y".

    On the other hand, a good recording will have as strong signals as you can get into the equipment without overload.  So there is a balancing act there.

    When recording with a mic, you must have the backing tracks in headphones only in the room where you are singing into the mic.  No playback speakers allowed! Just your voice.  No dogs barking in the background or kids arguing!  Just your voice.  Headphones that seal around your ears are best, so that none of the tiny playback sound gets into the mic.

    The playback needs to go directly from a line signal (an audio cord) from the playback device (ipod, CD player, whatever has your backing tracks) into the mixing device.  Your mic also plugs into the mixing device.  You now have a mix of your voice and the direct audio (not speakers in a room) in the mixer.

    You plug your headphones into the mixer, and sing along.  You now have good audio of the music tracks, and good audio of the mic mixed together, sounding good, your're in tune, because you are listening to the music tracks AND your voice in the mic on the Sealed-ear Headphones that are plugged into the mixing device as well.  So now we've got you hearing a nice mix of the music and the mic in your headphones, levels are set correctly so that there is no distortion. This is your monitoring setup. At the same time, there should be a main output of this same sound, or in more sophiticated setups an independent mix that can be the same as, or different from your headphone mix.  So your main output is what you record.  Ensure the main output levels are optimum, with no distortion, and press the red record button.  The red light comes on, you start the playback of the backing tracks, and you sing.

    I'm not sure of the differences that may be in your recording software setup, but in general, it should emulate what I just described.  As Mike said, he finds audacity easy to work with.  I'm not familiar with reaper and mixcraft, but they should have most of the features you need.  The audio interface should serve as an input device for your playback and mic.  Just having the backing tracks playback on speakers in the room won't give you a full sound like a line-level music recording.  You need to have the mix sounding good in your phones as you sing and have that sound being recorded.

    I hope this helps or is at least a start for you and others that are having technical issues.  Once you get the bugs out of this basic setup, you will be set to start cranking out song after song, and burning them to CD.  Get past this obstacle and do this as often as you can.  It's a fast track to be able to improve and perfect your vocal technique and to have something to show for your hard work.

    Bob

  • mivisonmivison Posts: 191Pro, 2.0 PRO
    edited August 2012
    if you looked on You Tube there are all kinds of tutorials on DAWS. how to set them up and use them. i have reaper and Cubase. to me they get very deep(for what i do, too deep). when i want to just throw something together like i did "I am the Walrus" i just use audacity. i also have Band-in-a-Box which i have a lot of fun with just fooling around. 
  • dingodingo Posts: 119Enrolled
    @highmtn thanks for the detailed explanation. I will try this today and see how it goes. It seems there are too many in  and out and things to select in these DAWs. 

    @mvision I will try to find some better tutorials. I think I might have problems setting up the sound card on the laptop too.

    **************************************************************
    Can I ask about singing live?

    If I am just singing live with a piano or guitar, how do I stay on pitch and in key without a voice in my ear for a guide. People busking are just out there with their instrument and a small amp just singing. 

    I tried one of those pitch software training things. It was free from soundforge and I used the electronic tuner on my phone to check the accuracy. So upon pressing the piano key and singing or making a sound to that note, I found I am pretty accurate in pitch after the first few wrong notes. I tend to be slightly sharp on some notes. I can definitely tell the middle C4 note simply by hearing it and can easily match it! So even though I am deaf, I don't seem to be tone deaf lol.

    So when I  am singing a song out somewhere with minimal equipment and no back track and voice in a headphone, how do I stay in key and in pitch? Is it just a matter of practising the song until the sound is memorized in my head or learning the notes so well I can sing it or something else?

    I think part of the problem is former instructors would have me mostly sing songs with the original artist and I always had their voices to match to.

    Should I put this in a separate question?

    Thank you again for the help with the equipment and my singing!!

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 13,913Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    dingo,

    For singing live, it's a matter of learning to listen accurately and learning what it feels like to sing those notes in that key.  You have to do this a little more than others may, since you have a little deafness to compensate for.  If you generally sing on pitch, it's just something to be aware of and not let it go unnoticed if you drift. 

    You do a great job with your pitch when you have good monitoring going on with your recording, and that has to be because you are listening intently to yourself within the context of the backing music.  You simply have to pay that much attention live and do the same to maintain your vocal pitch to the context of the piano or guitar you are singing along with.  You would be surprised how many vocalists and musicians just play or sing without listening to themselves in the context of the mix and the key.  That's why a lot of bands are too loud.  They don't listen to the overall sound and only know how to turn up their own mic or guitar.  Everything should "sit" in the mix nicely, and everybody should be able to hear everyone else all the time.  So many musicians are in their own little world during a performance.  That's cool for them, but they are not getting as much out of the experience as they would if they would listen more and play or sing less.  It's just a matter of where your attention lies, and what you are doing with your consciousness when you sing and/or play.

    Sharpen up your listening skills.  I know you have some deafness, but use the hearing acuity that you obviously have when you are singing on pitch.  Learn that skill and hone it to the best of your ability.  You've already proven that you can do it.  Learn to do it consistently and you will be on your way.

    Bob

  • dingodingo Posts: 119Enrolled
    @highmtn thanks again for all your help. 
    i really appreciate it.

    i think because my hearing is so bad, i try harder to pay attention.

    i FINALLY got my mixer figured out. goof grief, i'm clicking on each setting. MME, saffire for input and output and realtek for output and one input mono or stereo and on and on lol. i just kept trying different things until it worked.

    i didn't get it to work in audacity but got it to work in reaper and the karaoke web site.


    i worked on really listening to the music as it was just the music and my voice in the mix. i know the songs better than i thought i did which is good.

    thanks again for all the help.

    i better get off here. lots more work to do.


  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 13,913Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    dingo,

    Glad you're getting it figured out.  This will help a lot in the long run, both your recording settings and clarity, and your live vocal listening skills.  Once you find the key to resolve the issues in these matters you can move on and start to tackle your real goals in these areas.  You've only just begun!

    :^)

  • mivisonmivison Posts: 191Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Awesome! Dingo
    when i record i push one of the phones off one ear. i can hear my self better then through the ear phones. even though i have a way to control it though my audio box. happy recording. post another soon!
  • dingodingo Posts: 119Enrolled
    Thanks again!!!

    @mvision, yes I do only wear the phones on one ear. Of course the one is over my better ear but the other one on the ear with the 90 percent hearing loss goes on my head behind my ear and it is like the sound vibrates in my skull and I do hear it better for some reason.

    @highmtn, you are so right. It is frustrating having technical problems when you just want to make some simple recordings to practice and evaluate things.  Plus it is harder to be consistent when things are messed up like that. 
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