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Recording advice.

Hi guys! Just need a lil' info on recording. So I tried to record a song a couple of days ago. I use garageband and a $100 portable mic called the ZOOM H2n. So I hit record and sang the whole thing with the music at the background. I thought I sounded pretty okay when I was listening to myself while recording (garageband has this button that allows you to hear yourself through the headphones while you sing into the mic). However, when I listened to the playback, it turned out that my vocal track was kind of sticking out from the music track, if you know what I mean. You could clearly tell that the music was playing at the back whereas the music was really in your face. If this to do with the way I sing or is there something that should be done with the recording equipment or software?


  • streeterstreeter Posts: 679Pro
    edited November 2015
    If you have garage band just import an MP3 karaoke track and sing over that. That way you can control the volume of both tracks.
  • EdgeJayEdgeJay Posts: 21Pro
    Yeah I tried messing with the volume levels but it didn't exactly come out the great. Is there a way that one could sort of "blend" the vocal track into the music track better?
  • streeterstreeter Posts: 679Pro
    I'm not sure what plugins garage band comes with but if there is some sort of stereo spreader, an EQ and compressor all that helps. Applying the stereo spreader to the MP3 should make it feel as though it wraps around the vocals more, EQ to work the bass and treble frequencies of said track and a compressor will make it louder. Mixing is an art unto itself.
  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 481Pro
    It is almost certainly mostly the way you have mixed it and not the way you sing. If you post a brief clip, I can better tell you what I would do to mix it. Production is really fun to me.

    To be clear, are you recording over an backing track (so in GarageBand you have one track that's the music and at least one track that is your vocal line), or is it playing in the background of the room in which you're recording? If the latter is the case, then your first step would be to record over an mp3 track. You didn't mention this, but are you also experiencing any latency in your recorded file and your headphone monitoring (where you hear your voice through the headphones)?

    Keep in mind that if you're using a backing track, it almost certainly already has been mixed and mastered to some degree. A raw vocal, especially with no processing such as pre-amplication, compression, or EQ is highly unlikely to stand out beyond that. My mixing skills are still fairly modest, but here's what I would do. Don't just crank the gain, because then you'll lose sound quality once you cross the 0db threshold and it'll sound too raw. Put some compression on to even out your levels first. Then slap on some EQ. If you want to have a smoother sound, put on the EQ first. If you don't think you know what you're doing with EQ, either use presets or look up some good general settings for vocal tracks. Then put on some reverb, but don't crank it too high just yet--especially if it's a cheap or low-quality reverb. Add on some light delay, if you want. If it is STILL too quiet, then put on a limiter and turn the sound DOWN from that (it'll blow up your sound). Alternatively, turn the limiter threshold up.If it is still too quiet with a limiter, there's probably something else wrong. This might be fundamentally wrong, but sometimes I'll add on multiband EQ on the Master track (so it goes on top of everything). I add 2:1 compression, too. Some people like to add on master track reverb, others don't. If you do, make sure it's very light or the whole song will sound "cloudy."

    A stereo spreader, like streeter said, can also help. Play around with the settings. There were times when it made the background too prominent after I widened it.

    If you need further help or don't understand some of these terms, feel free to message me or ask here.
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