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How would I record with what I have?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ThirdBird, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    I want to record some of my songs using only my ukulele and voice.

    I am undecided on if I should track them separately or at the same time.
    My musical ability would be better suited to tracking, but I would like to be able to perform them live one day so it would be good if I used this to force myself learn to play and sing at the same time.

    Different parts of the songs have picked and strummed parts, and the volume difference is something to consider.

    My signal chain is very budget, but I don't want my recording techniques to be. Here is my signal chain:

    mics (more on them next)
    behringer mixer (yeah i know)
    seasound soloist AD/DA
    sonar 7

    mics: AT2020, 2 cheap Nady SDC's, 4 cheap Nady dynamics, part of a drum package (one of them is large for bass drums and such)

    How should I mic my voice and the uke if I track separately, or how if I were to track it 'live'? It is important to note that I can only have 2 tracks go into the computer at a time, due to the limitations of the soloist.

    Once I get the tracks in the box, how would you pan, eq, and apply other FX?

    The vibe I am going for is similar to Iz's "Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" and any of John Frusciante's album "Curtains" with a touch of Jack Johnson thrown in there. Also, I am also a fan of "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz.

    Thanks for any help!
  2. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I actually was able to attend a session run by some local pros where the frontman of the band played uke and sang.

    If you were to do it live, my suggestion would be to track them together on one mic - the nature of the uke makes it hard to isolate voice from it (sits higher on the chest than a guitar, smaller). You can try separately micing your voice and uke, but I think you will have better results w/ one.
    I would use the 2020 in this case.

    If tracking separately...
    Again the size of the uke presents some limitations.
    When doing acoustic/voice, I like to use 2 SDCs on the guitar - one on the body and one around the 12th fret. This lets you get different tones and make a L/R stereo spread.
    Don't think that will work with a uke, but again, you can try.

    In this case, I would try the 2020 again. You may find one of the Nady's provides a better option for the sound you want from the uke. If so, go with it.
    For voice, whatever mic you think sounds best. It may be the 2020, or it may be one of your dynamics (even the kick drum mic).

    Since what I've suggested means single micing each source, I would double track the uke part (play it twice, record it twice), and pan these tracks L/R as wide as needed to give a good stereo image but not sound unnaturally wide. Vox in the center. Maybe a little reverb on the voice.
    If going live, just take the one track from the 2020 and EQ to taste.
  3. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    Thanks for the tips!

    Would you use any compression or reverb on any of the mentioned methods?

    Side Note: My room doesn't sound the greatest, not sure how that effects things.
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I have a band in the studio right now where the singer plays her Uke for some songs.

    Isolation is hard to achieve but here is what is sounding best so far...

    I have her isolated in a different room. She plays and sings at the same time.

    I use a Rode NT2 in Cardioid on the uke. The Rode is angled such that the rear of the mic is pointed towards her mouth for maxiumum vocal rejection. The front of the rode is aimed close to where the neck meets the body.

    I also have a U87ai in Figure 8 on her Vocal. The null is pointed towards the Uke.

    I have four 4"x4'X2' rigid fiberglass panels surrounding her to dampen the roomtone.

    Pre-amp is a Neve Portico with silk engaged on the voice and uke.

    On the voice I am using a Pinky Ver 2 compressor. No Compression on the Uke.

    I have that running into a cranesong Hedd192 for the ADC into the Daw via a Lynx L22 digital in.

    I am using Nuendo 3.0

    As for the mix, I have a few other instruments in there so the Uke is off to Left (L45) and the Voice is in the center.

    I added a bit UAD LA-2 compression to the Uke.

    I added a small amount of Waves Trueverb to the vocal and nothing to the Uke.
  5. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    Would be able to post a clip of just the voice and the uke?

    Thanks for the help guys.
  6. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I will ask my client.
  7. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Link555 - Good advice on taking advantage of the null in the pickup on the Rode to try and isolate the uke.
    Unfortunately the OP has no mics capable of fig-8 to use on the voice.
  8. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    That's because I have a wife and mortgage!
  9. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Good point....
    Are all your mic Omni-directional?

    A properly placed Cardioid is better than nothing. You could your a Cardioid for vocals as well, just angle so that the rejection points to the uke.

    Maybe the 2020 on vocals and a SDC on the uke.
  10. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Yep I feel your pain....I have a wife, mortgage and baby girl. Who by the way has an amazing ear at 9months ;)

    My day job pays our day to day bills and all the money the studio makes goes back into the studio.

    Time is hardest part of this maddness.
  11. ThirdBird

    ThirdBird Active Member

    Everything is cardiod... I will have to make due for now. The clip I posted in the Song & Mix section used the following test setup:

    AT2020 on voice and the 2 SDC Nady's on the uke. Due to my two track limit, I had the Nady's on one and the AT2020 on the other. The problem was that was too much voice in the SDC's and I ended up turning the AT way down, when I thought it should have been opposite.

    My ukin' is way better than my singing, and that isn't even that great. I am a reformed drummer!

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