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Different mics for vocals in the same song?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by EricIndecisive, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Do you guys do this? Say you have a song that has generally quiet parts during the voice, you may use a condenser, then for a big chorus would you go to a dynamic?

    I mean, this probably doesn't matter for me and my bedroom recordings... but I just wanted to know
  2. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    I can definitely see how different mics would help with getting a different feel to the chorus/verse (or to a layered part) so, if I had anything shiny and expensive, and actually did studio stuff instead of live sound, yeah - I could picture myself doing this, though judiciously.
  3. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Thanks Codemonkey. Shiny and expensive eh? Well maybe it won't matter for me, I was thinking of using my Rode Nt2-A for verse and then just an SM58 for chorus. Both through my firepod. How I wish I could go to a pro studio.... I can never get my stuff to sound like they do
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I generally will use a different mic for backing vocals. Sometimes I will use a different mic for doubling a vocal track. Sometimes I use two mics on a lead vocal part. I usually place them to use the qualities and the frequency response of each mic to their advantage. If a singer needs more 'chest' tone then I'll use a mic with a bit of a bump in the low-mids and one that is a bit dark overall and place it at the vocalists throat level. Always check your phase. You will occasionally see a picture of a session being recorded with a mic inverted above another and the capsules aligned. This is a great technique if you have mics that are complimentary to each other and you have control of the phase relationship.
  5. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Thanks Davedog! Very helpful, those will give me some good ideas to try. I still have to try to find which of my mics will best suit my voice. I have a 57, 58, AT2020, and an NT2-a. When doing vocals do you usually have to slobber them with effects and EQ's? I am just finding out that at least for the rest of my things, less is more.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I NEVER put any effects of the vocals while tracking. I might bleed a little bit of the effects into the phones for the vocalist to 'work' from, but the track goes down dry. I also find that the better singers do not want anything on their voice while tracking as it can be distracting to certain kinds of phrasing. Learn to sing dry and a lot of pitch and arrangement problems are solved instantly.
  7. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Oh no, I meant when the audio is already recorded. While tracking I do it completely dry. I went back to all the songs I was working on and reset the EQs, volumes, and compression for everything. And guess what? It sounded better than before. So much for my mixing skills! I just don't understand what the pros do to audio to make it sound so awesome and fitting in the music. You don't need to do a whole lot, correct? I just don't get it. The bass of the voice sounds too upfront. Then I take away some bass and it's too far behind. ARGH! It's frustrating. But I keep learning more and more, especially just record it and make LIGHT adjustments rather than big ones. I had compressors on everything, threshold at -18 dB at a ratio of 20:1 with a 5dB overall gain. Took it off and things sounded better.

    Wish I could hear dry tracks of every individual instrument in a professional mastered song.

    When recording vocals, I am about 6 inches from the NT2-A, at least for the softer stuff. Should I move farther? Is bass good to have in the vocal recording because it is easier to take it away than it is to add? It obviously sounds more natural when I am singing and playing the guitar at the same time, but it doesn't work well for the clear separation and such that I want in these songs that I am working on.

    It's a good thing that I'm only doing this for myself!
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I totally understand the frustration. And I sympathize with you. The GOOD news is your ears are becoming more sophisticated and learned as a recordist and a producer. It doesnt matter how large your audience is, its all about the learning curve anyway.

    I still go back from time to time and drag out the old masters and the old cassettes of mixes and its surprising how good a lot of it sounds even though the degradation of the medium is evident. One of these days I'll spend the money to restore all my masters from 'back in the day' as well as the multitracks and actually FINISH some of those projects!!

    Understand that your mic, whether its the Rode or a Shure or a whatever has a polar pattern peculiar to that mic. Understanding its boundaries and what happens at the edges of these boundaries as far as frequency response and sensitivity, helps you in positioning the mic to take full advantage of its abilities to capture your voice in the way you want it captured. This may be a situation where you simply want to rotate the mic slightly off-axis to you singing directly into it and taking advantage of its natural roll-off that occurs in its pattern. You can only determine this angle by experimentation. If it takes a month of experimenting, so what. At least at then end you will have grown even more in knowledge of YOUR gear and its abilities and how to implement these things in YOUR room on YOUR music.

    THIS is what its all about .

    You cannot read about these things. My telling you its something to consider will only be, in the long run, the seed that you will grow.

    When you have been doing this for a long time , as I and many folks on here have, its all that experimentation which gives a STARTING POINT to begin a recording with. That NEVER means that it will continue to be where it started with the settings and placement of the gear... even after a few moments of a project, but it does give you a place to begin.

    The best thing that happens, when you track properly.....and I use the term "properly" as loose description of its reality....is the MIX comes as easy as you can imagine because you have prepared it to be done in the first place.

    If its not 85% done at tracking, I havent done my job as a tracking engineer.
  9. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    This is a technique I have used before w/ success. Usually a dynamic and a condenser. Make sure the capsules are aligned though!

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