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Can this thing be corrected in Vocals?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by djbolly, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. djbolly

    djbolly Active Member

    I know a lot of singers owe their success to compressors, and limiters etc

    I sing in a way that every word I sing appears to be coming 'suddenly', suddenly rise, forceful

    When we naturally sing softly, the attack on every word is lets say natural.

    I am facing a problem and am wondering if it can be solved by dynamics processing or something else

    My each sung word is as if, it suddenly reaches max amplitude, singing appears to be jerky or forceful. like slapping words.

    Forceful and Emphasised pronunciation of words.

    Do I need to reduce the attack on each and every word I sing?


    How else can this problem be fixed in mixing?

    Help appreciated.
  2. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Perhaps it can...but...you always get the best recordings by starting with the best source material. IOW, teach yourself to sing more smoothly.

    If you have already recorded tracks you want to fix, I'll have to defer to the engineers here who have more experience.

    In the meantime, learn to sing opera. You may never use opera-style in your recordings, but the skills you acquire will make all the difference in the world:

  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    You may want to better explain exactly what is happening?

    Is it just powerful "plosives", like a lot of "pop" when you mouth a 'P'? Stuff like that?

    Is it that you start off with a lot of power and a lot of air (I wish I still had that!) and as the line evolves, your air output is less, therefore, it loses volume?

    Are you singing in a style of "jerky and slapping" in which you take a lot of breaths between shorter phrases? Kinda like "Bah, bah bah bah......bah, bah, bah, bah....

    Is it a combination of any or all those?

    What kind of music are you singing? It's possible that a combination of studio effect and a different microphone technique may work?

    "Microphone technique"? If you know it's coming out strong, and petering out over the length of the phrase...maybe just a little adjustment of your positioning to the mic as you sing will make a big difference? Instead of right up against the pop screen all the time, maybe back off just a bit, or turn to one side just a bit, and adjust yourself as you go? (Uhhh... the orientation to the mic. Leave your hands out of your pocket!) Maybe you are just entirely too close, anyway? Maybe you have the gain a bit too high, in the first place?

    Please explain just what you are experiencing? Long phrases? Short blurbs? Rap? Heavy metal? Opera? Low register overloading? Etc.?

  4. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins Active Member

    I wouldn't say you have to learn opera, but getting some lessons in voice from a good professional will be benifitial.
    Learning to breath correctly will fix tons of problems. Utilizing the proper muscles is key as well. When you have built up your lungs and the muscles that are used to sing, you'll find that it's very easy to give a smooth delivery in your phrasing. "Jerkyness" usually comes from pushing too hard. Think of it like a power lifter who's got a lot of wieght to put up....if he's strong enough then he'll be able to lift that wieght smoothly and steadily.....if not, he'll have to heave it up in a jerking motion.
    Singng is something that EVERYONE can do with hard word and patience.
    Also, always be careful not to be overly critical of yourself...which is a very common problem.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I think everybody's suggestion here is right but it is also wrong. If you are an operatic vocalist, you have already learned a certain technique. If you are a pop vocalist, there is no technique. But there is learning how to work a microphone and there is the need for dynamic range modifications through equipment usage. I've known idiot pop vocalists who move into the microphone, loud notes and moved back from the microphone on the softer passages. That's just plain wrong. Other pop vocalists stay in one place and let the dynamic range compressor and limiters deliver their sonic goodness. What you are experiencing is the lack of proper dynamic range limiting. There is nothing natural sounding about not using a limiter. Trying to record a voice naturally requires a dynamic range limiter. And that's basically because the voice is one of the hardest instruments to record, naturally. The dynamic range of the human voice is extremely unnatural sounding on our electronic equipment. There is nothing natural about electronic equipment. There is nothing natural about playing things back through speakers from electronic equipment. So we have to fool the ear with electronic equipment so as to make it sound more palatable.

    Pop singers all have peculiar styles, techniques and delivery. And we want that. What we don't want is to hear them the way they really sound without some kind of dynamic range modification. Now I'm not talking about any kind of equalizer tweaking either. It's more about microphone selection and placement before you start playing with any equalizers to create a certain sonic signature that you might find more flattering or interesting sounding than not doing it. There is also that little situation called Proximity Effect that occurs with all directional microphones. And that requires its own special filter to compensate for that proximity effect so as not to end up with mud. So to get that really good sounding pop vocal requires a witches brew of electronic technique more than it requires vocal technique.

    Hit me!
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Remy...I was just trying to get the OP to elaborate on what exactly is happening, since it wasn't quite clear.

    And, you are correct that in a good situation, with the proper equipment, a vocalist shouldn't need much "projection direction adjustment" (as if that's even a valid phrase?)

    Lacking a professionally-tweaked room, a $4000 Neumann, a Fairchild...and your expertise...what could help?

    A bit of understanding of what is happening and why? And some ideas on how to minimize it, if lacking the $100,000 budget for equipment, room treatment...and someone like you?

    If a pop filter isn't helping plosives enough, perhaps a small redirection away from the capsule at that instant? Shouldn't take much. These are just points I'm throwing out there to drag a bit more info out, and some possible small things that may help. Nothing replaces fine equipment in a great room with a pro engineer. But, there may be a few small things to do with whatever is available. Gotta remember that a lot of folks don't have access to the greatest stuff, and have to improvise in their present situation.

    Anyway, we still haven't found out EXACTLY what the OP is experiencing...except that he's loud...and then not.

  7. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins Active Member

    Pop singers use all kinds of different phrasing and delevery, but there is still technique involved. There is still proper breathing and placement that will make any pop singer better.
    If this wasn't true there would be no such thing as vocal coaches who make their living working with pop and rock acts.
    Having a peculiar style has all to do with phrasing and delivery.....which is seperate from technique. You can have a peculiar style and still use good technique.
    There are singers who use improper technique and still produce a good sound. I used to be one of them. But I was producing a good sound in spite of the things I was doing wrong. Those things still hurt me.
    Learning good technique made me much, much better. Especially in the control department. And it didn't change my style at all.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I certainly understand and agree with what Shannon has said. But who coached Bob Dylan? Who coached Joe Cocker? Rod Stewart? I don't think anybody coached them? It's just them. Now I'm not saying that one needs a U-47/67/87 or any of those. I'm not saying you need a Neve, API, Millennia, etc.. Heck, you don't even need good acoustics. I've almost never had good acoustics on a live gig. Give me a foam pop filter on a SM58 into a Mackie and I'm happy. I don't need my 1176's, LA-3's, DBX 165 A's. I'm happy with a DBX 166, Alesis 3630, Behringer thingy as long as nothing is broken. And that's all anyone needs. I don't need special plug-ins. I utilize whatever is in the software cheap or otherwise. It's all in how you use it that counts. Sure you can stick the microphone a little bit and off angle but not off axis. Some guys like to stand behind their consoles. I prefer to sit on my axis. Certainly having good breath control and proper projection produces a nice vocals sound but even folks who can't or don't do that can still be recorded effectively. And it is what it is, what they are, what they have. We are simply talking recording technique utilizing your equipment and/or software correctly. It's not what you've got but what you do with it that counts more than anything else. Shannon simply learned how to deliver a better performance by recording and then listening. But that's not necessarily what will happen when the average schmo comes into your studio. So you still want to make them sound as professional as you can deliver it. And I have frequently coached the average rock 'n roll singer to deliver a better performance for the recordings I am making for them. I don't usually coach operatic singers even though I can. And that's because they have studied with someone else. I don't want to contradict what they think they may have learned from their teacher. Even though I might know better and usually do. One of the things I frequently do before I put a microphone out is to listen to them vocalize in person, first. That at least gives me some basis for my microphone selection. And when there is no selection, I'll just put out a SM58. Because everybody has one of those. And that's what most will be using live anyhow. And for most rock 'n roll singers, I think it's almost counterproductive to put out your best condenser thingy since they won't be utilizing that live in all probability? It might be different if you're the Producer for an album project? Then the skies the limit. And you'll still need that limiter just the same. Any limiter.

    I want all my singers to be as pure as Neuter Gingrich.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    I don't blame ya! Certainly don't need no AntHoney Wieners hangin' around, either, huh?!:eek:

  10. Shannon Adkins

    Shannon Adkins Active Member

    Very valid points Remy. Bob Dylan has been a favorite of mine for quite a while. I think he taught me more than anyone else that you don't have to sound pretty to sound good:)
    I do think Rod Stewart actually has a great voice and wouldn't be surprised if at some point he did have some formal training....especially to deal with the strain of constant touring. I know a few years back he actually had to have surgery because he blew his voice out, though.
    Chris Cornell also comes to mind. What a vocalist! He used to be so raw... but now when you see him perform he's much more refined and I suspect this is because he's had to learn how to sing without overdoing it so he doesn't end up on the operating table.
  11. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    Every singer has to learn how to not "overdo it" and that is just that. When I hear someone give a post that suggests "My each sung word is as if, it suddenly reaches max amplitude, singing appears to be jerky or forceful. like slapping words." Then there is a real problem w/ the performers experience in a recording format. That is to say it is all about learning how to perform in the studio... It is worlds different than the stage... However, this leads me to think that this performer might not have had all that much experience on stage either, since many techniques are learned on stage and transpire to the studio. Also, it could be they need some reverbs or other monitoring guides that make the singer feel like the mix is already present. Of course you don't record the reverb but so many singers I know love some lush verb in their headsets as they sing. Couple that with some plugs on play back and the singer will adjust to the process much quicker.
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    The doctor is quite correct. Headphone monitoring for the vocalists can make all the difference in their performance and delivery. And that's why it is so necessary sometimes to include proper EQ, compression/limiting, reverbs in their headphone mix without printing that to the track you are recording. Of course in many instances you may elect to dual record where you are printing all of that to one track (stereo track) and a single dry mono track which some of us also do from time to time... just because we can. Unfortunately most of the processing is not possible during recording within most common software multitrack packages. Some can, most don't. That's where many of us utilize our hardware devices in order to provide that along with splitting up the dry preamp to the recorder.

    Tom Jones from Wales is another example of someone who over blew his voice to the point of bleeding vocal cords. He had to stop doing that to continue his career. He sings more sensibly now if he's still singing at all? He sounded good in the movie Mars Attacks which was not that many years ago. In that movie, he was singing the hit he was best known for which is not unusual, LOL. That kind of vocal abuse causes nodes to form on the vocal folds/cords preventing any kind of sustainable notes/lines. Then the doctors have to scrape those off and you end up sounding like Rod Stewart. It's great if you like that pack of Chesterfield's/Jack Daniels like sound.

    I prefer Scotch & Pall Mall's.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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