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Singing/recording equipment question(s)

donmckindonmckin Posts: 25Enrolled
As mentioned in my introduction post,Ive been doing this for about a year.However Im an absolute novice when it comes to recording equipment.In addition to singing,Im also re-learning the guitar (havnt played since I was a young kid),but in the meantime,can anyone recommend a decent Karaoke style set up? I see some people on youtube make some decent recordings with karaoke machines.So any recommendations on some equipment would be great!Thanks


  • 18 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 11,079Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro


    There are some software products that will do a pretty good job of extracting the vocals from regular recordings so that when you sing over them, only your voice will be heard.  There are a lot of programs out there that may do what you want.

    Soundforge is one that isn't too expensive and most versions now include a karaoke feature.  You would be happiest with a recording program that will let you multi-track, so you can sing along to music tracks, double-track your voice if you like so you can harmonize with yourself, do background vocals, etc. 

    All you would need would be a program, a computer, and possibly a USB microphone of reasonable quality.  Oh,yes, and some headphones!

    I would suggest you google "Audio Recording Software" and see what interests you... You might be able to download 30-day trial software and compare one program against others, before you commit.

    Even without dedicated recording software, I'm pretty sure you could just use the mic on a webcam and the existing Windows or Mac operating system software programs for live recording.  A multi-track setup would just give you a lot of options for more possibilities for learning experiences.

    In most any case, you should also have a good pair of sound-isolating headphones or earbuds to monitor yourself while recording.

    That's enough to get the ball rolling for ideas.  I'm sure others here have their own suggestions.  Let's hear 'em!


  • So "noise isolation" is what headphones are for?Ok.I always seen people wearing them and never could figure out why...Shows what I
    Thanks again.Ill check out some audio recording stuff,including soundforge.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 11,079Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    Headphones are always worn while recording vocals.  That is so the microphone will only pick up your voice.  The kind that seal around your ears are best.  See the ones Ken wears on all of his live recording videos?  The seal keeps the music playback  from bleeding into the vocal mic.  It also lets you hear only the music playback and also your voice without feedback from speakers.  You control the level of the playback tracks and the playback of your voice with the mixer in your software, setting the levels of both to the appropriate mix.  If the software is fancy, it may have reverberation or echo that you can add to your voice at appropriate levels.

    You may have to work with the setup a bit, but once you get the bugs worked out on how to properly monitor your voice and the playback tracks, and then to do a final mix after the recording process is completed, then you will be "set" to do more and more recordings using this process. 

    Many of the demos being put up on this site have pitch issues here and there.  Often pitch issues on recordings are the result of inability to hear either the playback music while recording, the vocals while recording, or the proper mix of the combination.  It's a great way to teach yourself better pitch control, even if it's an actual pitch problem.  If you honestly find that you're sharp or flat, you can zero in on what you are doing, exactly where that is happening, practice over and over on the weak spots, and turn them into well-oiled and rehearsed masterpieces.  Then just keep doing what you learned over and over and replicate the pitch-discernment skills you are learning again and again.


  • Ok.Great.As mentioned:Id always wondered why people wore headphone while recording.So I really appreciate your detailed explanation on the headphones and recording equipment.
    Ive been a bit in the dark as relates to this stuff and it finally dawned on me a couple days ago that I should come here.Glad I did.
    BTW:Since were on the topic:What exactly is a "preamp" used for?

    Kain H.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 11,079Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro


    Microphones output a very low-level electrical signal.  They must go through a pre-amp to boost that signal up to a level that is appropriate for recording.  If you've ever seen a sound mixing board or console, with all the zillions of knobs, it's just row after row of preamps for a whole band or concert full of microphones to plug into.

    There's a lot of hubub about preamps because they are the first thing in the recording chain that your voice will go through (or guitar, or whatever), and at that early stage, a very high-quality microphone through a very high-quality preamp could possibly make for a very fine-sounding vocal sound.  Some preamps have only a volume knob and only provide gain, while others may include tone controls, compressors, de-essers, and other gadgets to control and enhance the sound you are amplifying or recording.  Some microphones and some preamps use old-time vacuum tubes rather than modern transistors or integrated circuits, as audiophiles may find the sound quality of the "vintage" design of the tube-type units to be more pleasing to the ear.  Of course you pay more for the various options.

    You can get a modest entry-level preamp that will do just fine for most applications. A nice condenser microphone could make a big difference in recording quality, especially over the built-in mic in your webcam.  Most built-in mics are going to have a rather drab tone to them and may distort without any means to control or shape the sound.  Nonetheless, I've heard a lot of good demos that have been made in a bedroom or office with just the mic on the webcam.  It just takes some experimenting, and practice at avoiding overloading the mic's sound capability.

    The advantage of a multitrack recording system is that you can record the music tracks, then do the vocals.  If a section of the vocals needs work, you can work on that part and replace the old parts with new, until you have composed a completed project.  You can work with the mix levels and tones of the various tracks. This helps you to isolate the problem areas of your performance and learn to improve them. I find that when I work out songs in this way, it is much easier to then perform them as a whole and perform them with the skill level of the composite performance.  Without the ability to sectionalize the areas of the songs, I would have a hard time focusing so intensely on those areas by just going over the whole song over and over.


  • Excellent info.Thanks! So I need a recording software program (i.e.-soundforge,etc..),a preamp,a mic and some headphones and I should be all set.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 11,079Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited September 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down


    You should be rockin' by then!  This is all assuming that you have a sound card (even built-in sound on the motherboard) in a reasonably new computer... that's just about any computer made in the past six or seven years.  The sound card actually has a crude preamp built into it if it has a mic input.  But in some cases, a built-in sound card may be fairly low-fidelity and only accept cheapie mics.

    You will have a slight learning curve, but just dive in there and start getting into it.

    I (and others here) will help you get it sorted out if there are any snags.


  • Yeah.Just bought a new pc a couple months ago.It even has a mic jack built it.However it probably isnt that great.So Ill probably still need to buy a decent preamp.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 11,079Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro


    The cheaper one says: Create Karaoke Tracks, so this one just might do the trick for you.

    I just got a new bundle, as I needed to update my video editing software recently, and the bundle includes soundforge.  I honestly haven't used Soundforge previously, but I got a copy today with the video upgrade.

    So I don't know yet what multitracking capabilities it has, but I should know in a few days.  I may not have time to load it on my computer and get into it very deep for a while, as I'm gigging on the road tomorrow, and have a lot of other irons in the fire, as well. 

    I will give it a try, and maybe see what the karaoke plugin can do with Stayin' Alive.


  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 11,079Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited December 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down



    I loaded Soundforge today, and it looks like it is NOT a multitrack recording program. It does come with a vocal remover plugin to convert tunes to Karaoke, but it looks like it is more of a stereo mastering program, and NOT a multitrack recording program.

    If you Google "Mutitrack Recording Software" you will get a number of hits on this topic.

    Most of the ones I saw include free evaluation downloads.  That might be best, to try several and select the one that seems to work best for you.

    I know some folks on this forum use Reaper, but it seems to have a grim name.  :^\





  • Excellent bob.Thanks for the update.Ill keep checking around a bit
  • Hi, Kain.

    May be it`s late, but i have one advice for you. Especially if you re-learning the guitar. For this purpose not necessarily use computer programs. Be flexable. I`m very often use old Boss Tm-7 Guitar monitor (google it). It`s guitar oriented device (for training with recording), but in this device there is a button center canceller. It cancels sound from center ( i mean pan.) of recording - guitar or vocal. Currently on ebay it costs around 60 bucks,

    P.S. Bob, Soundforge is not a Mutitrack, it`s sound editor.

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 11,079Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    Yes, I eventually got Soundforge free with a video program I purchased. It does not do multitrack. 

    I'm not sure why they would have limited it in this way, but DO NOT buy Soundforge if you are looking for a multitrack  recording program.


  • MichaelS  Thanks Michael.Ill check into that.Ill be buying "something" as soon as the good ole income tax $$ comes back.Another thing that has been tossed around to me by some folks,is the "Adobe Audition"..Anyone had any experience with this?Also sounds like Ken is doing a webinar today on this very topic.
  • MichaelSMichaelS Posts: 73Pro
    edited January 2013 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Kain, your solution depends on your situation. If you want computer-based solution rember : "Adobe Audition" is sound editor. To cancel voice in ponogram you need special plug in. Type in youtube voice canceller vst or voice cancellation software and you`ll find a lot of interesting things.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 11,079Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    Adobe Audition looks like a good program.  It's a bit expensive, but looks like it has a lot of useful tools.

  • Adobe Audition is a good program. Yes  It`s a little bit expensive, but it is multitrack function, which is not in Sound Forge. This can be useful if you looking for all in one solution. I don't know exactly, if they have a built-in plug-in for the cancelling (suppression) of vocal, therefore advised to see the information on YouTube.
  • There are various softwares to singing that are very helpful to you. With the help of singing softwares you can improve your singing skills.
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