Vocals sound awful. Is it the room or the processing?

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Post 23 Nov 2018

So I've got a bunch of tracks that are just waiting for vocals.

But every time I try to record myself singing, everything sounds awful.

I can't zero-in on whether it's the horrible acoustics of my room or my complete inexperience in processing vocals. For the life of me, I can't figure out vocal processing. I've tried different effects chains and I can't really tell whether one setting is better than others.

(My current chain looks something like this: Vocals -> Gate -> Multiband compressor -> EQ -> Delay -> EQ -> Reverb -> Compressor -> EQ)

In the meantime, I've started taking steps to improve my room acoustics. I've got some acoustic foam but that doesn't seem to have made a huge difference. I'm thinking of getting fiberglass panels and covering them in burlap cloth next.

I can't decide what should be my focus: room treatment, or learning better vocal processing skills. I know it should be both, but which should I prioritize?

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Post 23 Nov 2018

I dont have much experience in recording vocals and you did not provided an example, but just from the reading:
* Too much EQ
* Too much compression
* Too much (muddy) reverb?

What you can try to improve:
* isolate the room with less reflections (just a towel behind the mic can help if you dont have a studio)
* try to level it out
* try to lower unwanted frequencies (very low and very highs/noise)
* use delay with ducking
* use reverb with ducking or in parallel with frequency space in the range of your vocals and use proper eq for your reverb

provide an example for listening here.
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Post 23 Nov 2018

Share some audio of the recording dry, and with effects.

Better yet, just share it in a Reason project file. Upload it to something like Google Drive.

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Post 23 Nov 2018

What mic?
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Marco Raaphorst
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Post 23 Nov 2018

can you give us an audio example? otherwise it is purely guessing

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Post 30 Nov 2018

Producing good vocals involves many different factors beyond just EQ, compression, and reverb. You also need to take into account pitch, timing,the overall tonality of the vocal, and the performance itself. This might help:
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Post 30 Nov 2018

What mic is a good question. If you use a condenser mic and your room is reflecting sound off the walls that could be a problem. Maybe try a dynamic mic if you used a condenser and it's picking up too much weirdness. With no processing at all the recording should sound fairly pleasing. Then you might try a high-pass filter and some "surgical" EQ cuts if there are problem frequencies. Hopefully these steps will help you get a recording and "prepare" the track for further processing.

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