Recording vocals

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jwelshy
Posts: 2
Joined: 10 Nov 2018

Post 13 Aug 2019

Hi guys, I’m after some advice/tips when it comes to recording vocals.Do you record completely dry or do you put any effects on as you record, when I say effects I mean effects in reason not outboard gear, if you do what effects do you use to enhance your performance? no matter what I do I can’t get it to Sound right, I’m using a audient interface and a Aston origin mic and a Aston stealth mic and I peak around -12

Many thanks

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diminished
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Joined: 15 Dec 2018

Post 13 Aug 2019

What do you mean, you can't get it to sound right? Timing issues?

I record dry, always, for further processing down the line. But that doesn't mean that I can't use, for example, a reverb as an insert on the audio track while recording, just so that I sound nicer on my headphones.

So.. in a nutshell, what goes into Reason is dry, but what goes out in addition to your dry signal for monitoring purposes is totally up to you.
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selig
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Post 13 Aug 2019

The old adage "garbage in/garbage out" applies to recording. The better the source, the less you have to do later.
So, with that in mind, you start with the human body creating the sound, and assuming that's OK, you next address the space in which the performance takes place.
Assuming that is all copacetic, you next make sure the microphone (and it's placement) is up to the task at hand, whatever that may be (creative decision).
From there, the pre-amp is the next step, followed by the recorder (A/D in most cases, aka the "sound card" or "audio interface").

99% of the time the MOST I would add to a vocal would be high pass filtering, MAYBE some slight high boost EQ (if the mic wasn't up to the task), and some light compression (1176 or LA-2a being my two favorites (currently using the new UA versions, "6176" and "LA-610"). There is generally little else going on with most mainstream productions, keeping in mind the performers/room/gear is typically top notch in those cases.

The Aston is a decent mic, and any interface made today sounds fine as well. You may find a better match for YOUR vocals with a different microphone - only way to know is do what the pros do, which is to "shoot out" the top 3-4 choices and see which one fits your voice (and the chosen genre) best. If everything else is on point, that leaves the room as one potential weak link (it can make a huge difference in some cases), or the placement of the microphone (consider what is close to the mic: a wall, a window, etc).

Should have started by saying this, but if you want to know what to do to address any issues you may be having, please post an example of the desired vocal sound plus an example of the sound you're currently getting. Without both, it's a crap shoot whether or not anything any of us say will actually have meaning to your situation…
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Boombastix
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Location: Bay Area, CA

Post 13 Aug 2019

Just record dry, maybe with a hi cut before your in-line compressor. Here is a chain: pop filter - mic - pre amp - hi cut (75-ish Hz) - compressor (as little as possible, e.g. -3dB) - DAW. You can skip EQ + comp in the chain, just be sure you don't hit red...
Once in the DAW you compress more - EQ - tune - FX etc.
The vocalist may want a separate monitor mix, so add tune + FX to taste.
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guitfnky
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Post 13 Aug 2019

I keep it pretty straightforward...straight into the interface, and set levels accordingly. once in the box, I’ll hit the vocal pretty hard with a compressor (RE-2A), but only while recording. my arrangements get pretty dense, so I need to keep things in line so I can hear as I’m singing. I always send to my standard reverb so I can perform into the sound a little.

one of the most important things for me is the headphone choice...for me, an old pair of iPhone earbuds has the right frequency response for me—lets me hear my vocal as clearly as I need it, without having to push the vocal monitoring volume up to the point where I stop being able to hear the music.

once it’s recorded, I pull back the compression, and it’s usually already 80% to where I need it, and easy to make tweaks from there.

jlgrimes
Posts: 378
Joined: 06 Jun 2017

Post 13 Aug 2019

jwelshy wrote:
13 Aug 2019
Hi guys, I’m after some advice/tips when it comes to recording vocals.Do you record completely dry or do you put any effects on as you record, when I say effects I mean effects in reason not outboard gear, if you do what effects do you use to enhance your performance? no matter what I do I can’t get it to Sound right, I’m using a audient interface and a Aston origin mic and a Aston stealth mic and I peak around -12

Many thanks
I would go dry.

Your recording levels at -12 sounds pretty similar to what I do.

I actually usually try to peak anywhere between -20 to -10.

The main thing to be conscious though is your mic techniques. Usually you should be around 8-12 inches for a natural sound. If you want more low mids get closer, like 6 inches.

Use a metal pop filter.

If your vocal sounds shrill, consider rotating the face of the mic about 45 degrees or so from mouth.

If you want more room ambience go back more than the typical distance 2 feet or more.

6-12 inches is ideal for minimum ambience.

If ambience is annoying, Auralex studio panels (or any decent sound absorption panels) helps. Dont go overboard though as you can overdo it and room will sound unnatural.

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NekujaK
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Location: USA

Post 13 Aug 2019

You might want to check out this post:

Producing Great Vocals
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7508590

Have fun!
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jwelshy
Posts: 2
Joined: 10 Nov 2018

Post 14 Aug 2019

Thanks guys great advice will take it all onboard

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guitfnky
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Post 14 Aug 2019

I’d say maybe take some salt with the suggestion to use a metal pop filter. you should absolutely use a pop filter, but metal filters can sometimes cause a whooshing sound as air passes through them. I tried one, and immediately swore off them and went back to a dual fabric filter (which I’ve never had a problem with).

you could probably make a metal filter work if you’re far enough back from it, but that sort of defeats the purpose.

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motuscott
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Post 14 Aug 2019

Did Franky or Ella or The Old Possum use a pop filter? I think not.
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motuscott
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Post 14 Aug 2019

Well sometimes those things were built into the mic, Motuscott here changing his opinion mid piss...
Sometimes a cigar is just a synth that's on fire

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boingy
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Post 14 Aug 2019

I think the OP's problem is more fundamental than a pop shield.

jwelshy, you need to experiment with the audio that the vocalist is hearing in their headphones when recording. They need to hear the backing track but maybe without some of the embellishments and they also need to hear their own voice, usually with plenty of reverb added. The reverb does not need to be a complicated or expensive one. The stock device will do. The levels are key and vary by person. Consider recording all of the verses and then all of the choruses. You may need to change the monitor levels for the chorus, depending upon the arrangement.

The trick is to find a simplified backing track that they still allows them to sing the song. Drums, bass and chords kinda thing but it depends upon the style. What you don't want is loads of quirky or "icing on the cake" stuff going on that may distract from the timing or tuning of the vocalist.

Pick two lines of the verse or chorus and get the vocalist to sing them with different levels in their 'phones and record and review the results.

And in the proper takes, always record dry. The vocalist still gets to hear the reverb but record it without so you can mess around later.

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guitfnky
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Post 14 Aug 2019

obviously, the OP wasn’t asking about pop shields, but someone made the suggestion to use a metal pop filter—I just thought that advice warranted some additional clarity, in case anyone was thinking of taking that to heart. I wish someone had mentioned it to me before I’d bought mine. it would’ve saved me $25.

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