vocal mic tricks

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by therigaletto, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. therigaletto

    therigaletto Member

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    anyone got any good tricks of the trade to get that nice natural "feels like the singers right next to you" sound? Im using the Blue Bluebird through PT 7.0 with Waves bundle and a 4x4 clearsonic vocal booth. Thanks!
     
  2. Luke V

    Luke V Member

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    A good compressor. It will bring the vocal right up front. Try whatever you have lying around.
     
  3. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    if u want that 'upfront' sound, it's really important that U have the wall behind the mic well damped.
    use the waves renaissance compressor.
     
  4. thesedaze

    thesedaze Member

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    Use a nice preamp w/ a good amount of clean gain. For the mix itself, a compressor would help, but don't overdo it. I've had more success getting this 'effect' with a good mic/preamp combo rather than a compressor.

    A compressor in this case would be POST tracking, as a compressor during tracking is usually used for limiting purposes.
     
  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    A singer who knows how to "work" a mic is also a big help.
     
  6. thesedaze

    thesedaze Member

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    Definately good advice there! Also knowing the characteristics of that particular mic's polar pattern can help determine where to situate the singer in front of the mic, and how far to back off for loud parts, etc. Most of that stuff can occur with trial and error, but if you don't have a lot of time to waste, take a look at the stats for the mic.
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Took the words right out of my mouth.

    You get the "right next to you" sound from being right next to the mic. But there's an art to it; a singer can't just plant himself/herself up close all the time.

    Rent the movie Being Mick. It's a documentary shot in the late 90s when he was recording a solo album. There are a couple of scenes of Mick working a mic for his master takes that are an education in themselves. It's a master at work, well worth seeing, and you'll get a feel for what I'm saying.

    Compression is great, I always use compression on a vocal, but what it does is even out levels. It doesn't make a vocal sound up close and personal when it was recorded at a distance. George Martin has said that John Lennon was a master at working the mic up close - and they had one of the best vocal compressors in history.
     
  8. therigaletto

    therigaletto Member

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    Great advice guys! So is the general conssensus to Compress POST tracking? Also what kind of Preamps is everyone using? Thanks guys!
     
  9. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    unless U have a really great hardware compressor and know what sound U are looking for and are happy with the sound U are tracking w/, go w/ compressing after. if U only have software compressors, there is no need to track w/ compression and it will only tax the resources of Ur computer (i'm assuming U're using a computer DAW) to do so.
    preamps?
    groove tubes, great river, chandler, avalon, manley, d.w.fearn, focusrite into apogee AD/DA16X w/ dangerous music 2buss summing.
     
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I track vocals with some compression and compress after, too.
     
  11. hw2nw

    hw2nw Member

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    let the singer track with some reverb on his/her voice...it's a real confidence booster for most. You can always take the plugin out later.
     
  12. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Sorry, I think you'll find that the vast majority of folks track vocals with a compressor. Not a lot, I usually use 3:1, with maybe 4-5 dB of GR if they get really loud. This tames the dynamic range, and gives you a nicer signal. Then you can spank it during mixdown. The lead vocal is still the ONLY thing that gets analog signal processing at mixtime at our place, other than summing. It's the best/easiest way to get that sound you're talking about.

    For $175 you can get an RNC, which'll put you right there sonically, if you just have a home studio. Next step up (a big one) is a Distressor or 1176.

    We've been liking either a Soundelux E-47 or Elux 251, into either an API, GR MP-2MH or MP1-NV, into a Purple MC77 (1176 clone) for vox lately, although it depends completely upon the singer. We've used everything in the studio to track a vocal, at one time or another. There's really no rules, just suggestions... <g>

    Loudboy
     
  13. elambo

    elambo Member

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    Actually, most people I know don't compress going in. With the boost in quality gear over the past 5 years it isn't necessary anymore to hit the convertors so hard - make it up in the box and you won't lose any definition. If recording at 16bit - sure. At 24 there's no reason to risk a poorly-set compressor on input that can't be re-expanded.

    For that close sound, I stay clear of any reverb and make sure there's an adequate amount of high end, adding it in if necessary. And an aggressive compressor can help. That and the high end helps bring up the breaths (literally, the breathing) which the mind perceives as "close."
     
  14. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    >> Not a lot, I usually use 3:1, with maybe 4-5 dB of GR if they get really loud. This tames the dynamic range, and gives you a nicer signal. Then you can spank it during mixdown.

    That sounds about right. I try to keep it to an average of 3 dB GR at most, 5 - 6 only in "emergencies." I find a little bit at various stages sounds better for voice than a lot at any one stage.

    FWIW, I'll just reiterate that a voice singing softly sounds different from a voice singing at normal levels, and if you want to capture it right, you move in close - or better yet, have the singer move in close. If you want a close-miked sound for anything else, you put the mic up close, so why would this be different?
     
  15. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    When talking about getting up close on the mic you have to consider proximity effect if you are using a cardioid microphone, which is something nobody has mentioned yet.


    As far as compressing on the way in, everything i've ever been taught is that it's a better idea not to if you don't have to.
     
  16. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Actually, I rarely have mine in a cardioid pattern. But that's part of working the mic too, using it if it's there.
     
  17. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    From Gearslutz, re: vocal chains and that "in your face, modern sound"...

    A buddy of mine did a bunch of the Clarkson stuff, and I know he used his Soundelux 251 into what I can only guess is something like a Summit TLA or CL1B/La2a as I know he prefers those types of comps for tracking that type of singer (as opposed to 1176, etc.).

    U47 -> Neve 1073 -> Urei 1176 -> LA2A -> Apogee converter -> Pro Tools

    Something I read about the Avril recordings:The Voc-Combo on her first Hit was U87/1073/Distressor.

    Any large diaphragm Cap mic from £600 up should do the trick. Try any Focusrite ISA pre into a tfpro P38 compressor set to the LA2A mode, and like the previous guy said compress the living day lights out of it! Thats why its important to get a nice sounding comp.

    I've been using the U99 lately with either the Avalon 737 or the GR MP2-NV... and my compressors vary... same as EQ's..

    I'm using a Manley Reference through a Portico and RNC.

    U 47 Tube or Sony 800 ... vintage Neve channel strip... 2 fader compressor in the middle set up [ride the input to compressor ride the output to storage medium] ..3-5 Db compression max and then process it as you like LATER..this method works with all types of music and gives a clean very workable and smooth vocal recording when done correctly..

    I'm not quite sure, but I think we used one of my U87s, again through the Hardy M-1 (the only pres I had at the time) and the Neve compressor

    I guess these guys don't know what they're doing... <g>

    It's all part of building the sound you want. Also, the way the mic/pre/comp responds is something that can't be duplicated after the fact. Most modern vocals are hit really hard, if you do it in stages, it's a lot more palatable.

    Loudboy
     
  18. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    i can certainly see this if one were recording an orchestral ensemble or jazz or bluegrass. pop and rock recording is all about smoke and mirrors. in analog times it was not uncommon to hit the tape hard on vocal tracks to give it presence and an up-front sound. likewise with modern, digital recording with artists like tori amos, aimee mann, john mayer. it is inconceivable that their vocal sound is achieved by any other method than compression during tracking and mixing.
    it certainly requires more than a modicum of experience, cojones and a clear vision of how one sees the entire track coming together when the complete multi-track has been recorded. i think that a fairly decent hardware compressor is part of the equation. some piece of grainy sounding, prosumer grade box with a tube operating at sub par voltages ain't gonna give up the goods. it's all about crafting the sound that goes into the DAW with the foresight that one is gonna process the sound even further during mixdown.
    if the only decent compressors one has are software, i think it prudent to hold off on compression until mixdown. even then, to get an up-front, modern vocal sound out of software it's usally better to use two compressors of differing colours used in more subtle ways that to use a lot of gain reduction on one. my personal preference when working this way is to use a a very distinctive sounding comp like the waves ren or PSP vintage warmer followed by a far more neutral comp.
    in the end it comes down to whatever the individual can make work to achieve the desired results. same as it has always been.
     
  19. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I kinda missed this last time...

    I'll just say this: I don't know anyone who doesn't. Just out of curiosity, where were you taught this and who taught it?
     
  20. therigaletto

    therigaletto Member

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    So would you use software comp during tracking?
     

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