1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

improving my recordings

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by MikePan, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. MikePan

    MikePan Active Member

    Hi everyone!
    My name's Mike and I come from Italy...
    Lately I've bought a new condenser mic and an audio interface...(Rode NT1A and M-Audio Fast Track Pro mkII)
    I'm using adobe audition cs6 to mix my vocals but there's something wrong...
    The sound is a little bit weird...I just don't know what to do and I feel I can't record something else unless I figure out what's wrong...
    For expample I've heard this cover on youtube and wondered why I couldn't get the same quality...

    Here's the last recording that I posted on youtube 2 weeks ago...
    Born to die - Lana Del Rey Cover (Piano Version) - YouTube

    Recordings sound different but I don't know why...
    Perhaps I need to use GarageBand or there's a problem with mixing/mastering the vocals...
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Its all about the gain-staging. Look that term up and understand it. It will open up your recordings in a way that software or hardware can.
  3. MikePan

    MikePan Active Member

    I read it but I'm an amateur so I just didn't understand what shall I do XD
    I mean this is not about the mixing (EQ, Compressing, Masterizing, De-Esser etc...) but it's a problem about the gain level of the sound card?
    Is it too high?
    Sorry for my non-knowledge but I really want my recordings to be as professional as possible...(with my current equipment XD)
  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    well assuming you are going right into a pre on an interface... just sing at a normal level, and turn the gain/trim up till the meter shows about halfway (around -18db). it will eventually come down to mixing, but this is the first step. each eq, compressor, ect, offers another 'gain stage' you want to make sure you aren't near the red in digital audio, generally, on the tracks them self. each thing you add, will likely add more 'gain' so that's why you record w/ plenty of room before the top of the meter. "headroom"
  5. MikePan

    MikePan Active Member

    ....In other words??
    Sorry again but it's like you are talking to a baby (I'm the baby XD) who doesn't understand lots of words XD
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    ok, no prob. lets start w/ what your set-up is. starting w/ your mic, ending w/ your speakers. that way specific advice can be offered.
  7. MikePan

    MikePan Active Member

    It's quite easy:
    - RODE NT1A condenser mic;
    - M-Audio Fast Track Pro mkII;
    - Logitech speakers 2.1;
    - OS windows 7;
    - Adobe audition cs6;
    This is what I have at the moment...I don't have a pre-amplifier but I watched the video of Christina Grimmie and I didn't see a pre-amp so I'm wondering if the problem is my mic or mixing (or gain levels as you told me before...)
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Sure you do. Your pre amp is the Fast Track.
  9. MikePan

    MikePan Active Member

    Oh O.O LOL
    I'm so noob here XD
    However I tried other settings but still my recordings sound weird...T.T
    I tried to follow several tutorials on youtube but they all bring me back to the start >.<
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Sure she has a preamp. Its on the desk behind her and the mic is plugged into it. Watch how it signal indicator lights up every time she sings a phrase. Its also bumping a yellow light so the gain is set pretty high. She has a lot of space between her and the mic so she's getting a LOT of room sound and if its hitting a yellow light then thats up pretty loud considering this distance.

    This is the effect of gain staging properly.

    I also think she's controlling the reverbs with the remote there on the piano. I also noticed that the tracks on the computer screen appear to have a previous track already recorded. She could be playing back that one while singing into and playing the second set and streaming it all live to the video capture. This would tend to thicken everything up quite a bit as well as allow a different set of verbs and compression to be used. Either way, she's very good and if you research all her youtube videos this is not an unusually great track. Its very much what she is capable of doing. I dont think her choice of gear as any better or worse than yours but her abilities are superior. Perhaps not as a musician but she's obviously been doing this quite a while and has developed her recording skills. This is something you should aspire to. It takes time and failure to produce as well as this. There is no 'magic bullet' or piece of gear that will get you to this level. Practice makes perfect. As an old saying its dated but in all things audio its everything.
  11. MikePan

    MikePan Active Member

    Yeah I guess that it should take time but my singing is not that bad...
    The thing that annoys me is that everytime I record something, my voice is not recorded properly...I guess it will take a lot of time to understand what should I do to record my voice properly >.<
    Btw if there's someone that can explain me how to mix vocals maybe showing me a good tutorial it would be appriciated (or that could mix me a wave for me and explaining me which are the correct steps to follow cause the only tutorials I've found on youtube made my voice sound just like in my vid...T_T)
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    You put the lime in the coconut and you mix it all up.

    All righty now... you have nice equipment. It's all professional. It's good stuff. It's not a whole lot different from the example you showed of that lovely young woman. In fact you could see the LED on her little M-Audio or similar thingy. Now, you can certainly tell here that she understands the fine art of vocal processing. And the process of recording in which she has not peaked out the digital capacity of the recording system. So you were well advised in your purchase.

    Now, your vocal processing was far less involved or aggressive as she used. And for all you know, the vocal you heard and the vocal you saw were also not necessarily from the same take. To me, it seems obvious, that she has probably gotten herself a degree in music. Most obviously including the recording arts and sciences from some university? And she paid $40,000 to learn how to make it sound like that. Her instructors showed her how to do it. There is nothing natural about this kind of a process. Her pitch was perfect. Was yours? Her monitor speakers behind her also seem to be a little more control room de rigueur than Wal-Mart computer speakers like you are using. Your speakers, no, absolutely not. Those, my friend, ain't the ones to be using. Those are toy computer speakers not to be taken seriously, at all. Only for personal enjoyment purposes not any kind of professional application. You can't make proper mixing decisions through those speakers. Ain't going to happen.

    So how can you expect to get a professional mix out of speakers designed as toys? You've got all of this other fine equipment but toy speakers. Now it's not necessarily just the speakers keeping you from getting this kind of sound obviously.

    Her sound was very carefully crafted. Compression, limiting,spectralprocessing dynamic equalization, variable phase and/or constant phase equalizers, just happen to be more expertly used. So to think that you can not achieve the same thing with what you have is only because you haven't learned how to yet. It's not the equipment holding you back. Better preamps, better microphones, better anything is only better in the better hands of better engineers. I was a French horn player, my father a violinist, my mother an opera singer, I would never expect to be a violinist or an opera singer like my folks. Not unless I practiced at it for a few years? Certainly not on my first try or two?

    You did have to study to get through school didn't you? Did you specialize in anything in college? I never went to college. I just started specializing in this at a stupid young age by accident. And I really didn't consider myself good until at least the age of 12? And then all the stuff I blew up along with my electrocution at 14. At 15 things started making some sense. 17 started to make some serious recordings while still try to make sense of things. 19, FM rock 'n roll disc jockey getting to listen to a lot of recordings on a decent broadcast playback system. It wasn't until I was 23 that I custom designed and built my first 24 track console. So I think you got a ways to go yet? It's a good start. You really aren't doing anything wrong. You just haven't paid $40,000 to make it sound like that.

    On to some aggressive processing. I believe I was listening to pitch correction software she was using on herself. That's the popular thing to do they teach you at Drop Out University School of Fader Flipping. She was using more than just compression. Limiting was also involved. She had some aggressive equalization that may have been from some multi-band spectral dynamic processing a.k.a. multi-band limiter.

    Your piano sounded acoustic and hers sounded as electronic as it appeared. This was likely also not her only vocal performance to obtain this? She may have done multiple passes to multiple tracks then compositing them together for a single excellent take that has also been highly processed, pitch corrected, rhythmic quantizing. Everything you can get on a hot dog at Nathan's, Coney Island New York.

    I also think she may have Photoshop her own complexion LOL?

    Obviously she was highly crunched by dynamic range processing. And she most likely also Tracked Herself at 24-bit, At most any sample rate 44.1 kHz and above? But it is definitely aggressively processed. Noise gating and/or downward expansion, also sounds like judicious use of that was also used on her vocal. And that really tightens a vocal sound up. Then a very nice plate like reverb plug-in was used on her vocal. And the surrounding acoustics in which she cut this is also quite a bit different from your surrounding acoustics. Some of your acoustic signature can be damped by downward expansion sometimes erroneously referred to as "noise gay teen" er gating.

    I might also point out that your pantyhose pop filter Popped repeatedly through your pop song. Pop filters are not there to make the Pops. Try foam. It'll take off a little tip of that extra high-end whack. That extra high-end makes her s-e-x-y sounding but not you. Nat King Cole may be, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin Mell Torme, going into gigantic transformers into gigantic tubes. But that ain't what you got so forget it. Obvious lack of high pass filtering on that microphone was painfully obvious. Your demo is not rock 'n roll oriented as much as hers is. She put some real vocal BELT into that performance of hers. It sounds like you need to Cialis? Maybe a fifth of Jack Daniels and a pack of Chesterfield's before your next try? Try it above 10,000 feet in altitude to get yourself to try and breathe more? Were you singing this song to try and attract a girl or a boy? Some of this is delivery you understand? So not all of this is a recording issue but that of a performance issue. Sounds to me like she's had some vocal lessons? How many have you had? Honestly it doesn't sound like much? Years? Or a CD?

    These are baby steps you are taking which are great. Putting yourself perhaps in a slightly less acoustically live environment would be a good start. Using an electronic piano that can be recorded directly may also be helpful? Then you overdub your vocal while wearing headphones playing back the piano part. This way you can stand up instead of hunch over while trying to play. Or hanging over your computer trying to watch your sound card and levels. You don't want to do that. You've merely set your level appropriately and once you hit record you don't look at it again. We need performance value. Not trying to sing so as to not peek out your preamp.

    You are already standing but you had no support and no breath, no vim no vigor. This gal had to breathe a bit more. And that's were a producer comes into play. Why the heck do you think not everybody produces themselves? Some people can. Others can't. She paid $40,000 to have a producer instruct her. So she's got a feel for it or he did? Others want that coaching of someone that will bring out the best in them. Some people have that built-in perhaps like her and it's something you'll have to learn. As I said, good start.

    What else can you do to the recorded track? This would depend upon whether your vocal track is completely isolated. And the piano has been recorded to other tracks? If that's not the case? There are still things that can be done to improve the existing recording as it currently appears. It will always be a compromise however. You know the saying, garbage in, garbage out. And if not enough preproduction or planning went into your original recording, it will never sound like hers.

    Now if your track is well isolated in your multitrack timeline, it's probably largely unscathed by any external or software processing? In other words a dry raw track? So the first thing that would be necessary in the software, to your microphone, is to use some kind of high pass filter preset. This will cut off all the low frequencies of your vocal microphone below approximately 80 Hz. And the Pops from your microphone will then be less apparent. Now you're going to sound slightly thin. But this is where the magic starts. This microphone you have, has a very nice extended high-frequency response. And it has a nice built-in rise within the presence frequencies between 3 kHz-6 kHz. So you really don't need any EQ. If anything, you might need some subtractive notch out style of equalization? It's not a perfect world.

    So now we just have a high pass filtered microphone. Time for some dynamic range compression. This is where it gets a little more variable. Numerous different types produce numerous different perceived effects. And there were many different kinds. Some of these are well emulated in software. Others are just more generic in nature that still do what is expected of them though perhaps with some less memorable coloration? We generally start around figuring what's the best kind of compression that's needed? We generally had choices of optical, VCA, FET, variable mu tubes. Then we had to decide whether we needed peak sensing detectors, RMS or average response detectors, Optical? And how fast do you want all of this to happen and how fast do you want to get out of this mess? Are there any of those adjustments? Some donated them. Others do. And what about getting rid of all that extra noise it causes? Well then, you want to downwardly expand or do you want to gate? And she probably spent $40,000 to find those magic answers out? (Downward Expansion set to around 10-15 DB may be more?) Or a teacher who thought she was really cute and took her out to dinner and a movie and the recording studio taught her exactly what to do on the couch in the control room? So now she can do it from her dorm without having to spit out any hairs I mean splitting hairs.

    No my dad also want to add some additional equalization in the presence or high frequency range perhaps after the dynamic range processing and then add a little bit of artificial software algorithmic or convoluted reverb? This stuff ain't easy. It takes people years to learn how to do well.

    You have a nice drive through system. It's up to your culinary recording skills to make it sound like her stuff, our stuff, my stuff. There is nothing natural about this process. Natural sounding recordings with the exception of symphonic and operatic recordings in beautiful acoustic environments is a confusing misnomer when it comes to studio pop music production techniques. So the equipment does not make the engineer. Quite the opposite. There is better stuff than what you have but it won't make any difference for you at this juncture.

    There are lots of company-sponsored and YouTube videos produced by individuals that cover much of what I have already talked about. Of course folks that know how to do it well, make it look so easy because it is for us, I've been doing it for 42+ years. So I picked up a few things along the way.

    Part of the problem with having a single microphone is not knowing what's the best sounding microphone for you to use? It's a great microphone that you have. Pretty much all purpose. Grade on some things and awful on other things your voice might be one of those things? People keep telling me to stop recommending the $100 US SHURE SM58 with an additional foam pop filter. But the fact remains, everything you've seen on TV live by your favorite groups are singing into that microphone. Not your microphone... that 58 that only cost $100. And it sounds incredible. In many ways much better on vocals then your microphone. That's why you don't see that microphone being used live on TV. If you do? It's over top of the drum set. Might be on a acoustic piano? And that cheap 58 will give you this warm wool luscious round quality sound rivaling the 3000+ dollar Neumann 87 that your microphone they tried to patterned after. And it's way better than yours. A thicker diaphragm keeps it from being so thin crispy, wimpy. Great for when you need that sound. Not great on everything. A 58 his great on everything and I mean everything. Some of this depends upon the genre of the music you are doing but from what I can hear, that's what you really need. Some people prefer the more expensive SM-7 or, 5. As those actually also place you in more proper distance from the capsule. In other words, you can't get too close no matter how hard you try. And that will run you $200 extra basically LOL. Not necessary. Not needed. 58. Keep yourself 5 inches from that capsule and you've got a 7 LOL for $200 less and without the extra switches. It's OK, you got software.

    Let's review: spend $100 more and get a 58. Try it again and report back. We'll be able to hear you smiling.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  13. MikePan

    MikePan Active Member

    Thank you for your reply :D
    So in other words the quality of my recordings, unless I pay 40.000$ to understand what should I exactly do, will be always like that...
    Honestly I'm a bit scared because I think that the problem is my voice and not simply the mic...
    I'll get the 58 asap but I hope my voice doesn't let me down...some ppl say it's rubbish or lifeless and some ppl love it...I really don't know if singing is something that I can actually do but I'll give it a last shot with that mic XD
    If my voice isn't good enough then the only thing left is being a mediocre singer with a huge lack of talent even though singing is my one and only passion xD
    Thanks again for the suggestions :)))
    (Btw I'm a full amateur singer....haven't took a singing lesson in my entire life XD)
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    No. Remy was using an example of the time, skill, (and yes money) that it takes to become good at this craft. This doesn't mean you need to drop 40 large on a 4 year degree to become better at what you do.

    You're obviously a beginner, and that's fine, because every single veteran here started out as a beginner.

    You have a good voice. You need some practice on mic technique or "working the mic", - understanding how to control your own dynamics and other nuances of a performance, but, you do have a good voice.
    Obviously you are passionate about your singing... so here's a concept...

    Why don't you concentrate on your singing, and developing yourself as a performer, and let a real engineer take care of the technical side of things? Sure, go ahead record your own stuff... nothing wrong with that.
    Learn as much as you can about the craft along the way... perhaps engineering might be a calling at some point - but right now it seems as if what you really want to do is sing... so, sing!

    Let someone else who is trained for this handle the recording, and you can concentrate on what you really love to do, as opposed to getting bogged down in the tech stuff.

    That's a ridiculous statement. A "last shot"? As if a particular microphone is going to determine if you continue to sing or not?

    Don't look for "magic" to happen with one particular mic, or one particular pre amp, or reverb, or whatever.

    The magic happens within, and there's not one piece of audio or music gear out there that is going to suddenly and miraculously make you sound great... or even good, if you're not.

    Yes, ok, there are certain pieces/mics that are nice to have. And in the hands of professionals who know how to use them, they can add things that are nice. But none of those pieces of equipment is a magic talisman... you're not gonna plug in a particular pre or sing through a particular mic and suddenly sound like you just tracked a record at Abbey Road, especially if you don't know what you are doing.

    You're expecting professional recording results... when you're not a professional. I'm not trying to insult you, but it's obvious that you're not a trained engineer, you know very little about even the most basic engineering fundamentals, and you are expecting professional results. You don't watch a few youtube videos, buy a certain mic or pre and suddenly become a pro engineer. Can you get better? Sure. But to really be a pro at it takes time, it takes experience, it takes dedication. So, put that time and dedication into your performing ....and let someone who really knows what they are doing engineer the tracks.

  15. MikePan

    MikePan Active Member

    I guess it's the right thing to do now :)
    (I got a lot nervous about that thing of being professional because I thought it was a bit easier but as it seems it's a lot difficult...)
    However I'll concentrate on my singing and try to do better performances because what I really want is being a succesfull singer ("It's not about the money, money, money" but it's about succeeding in my passion...XD)
  16. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Many of those professionals had the advantage of some of the finest music production people in the world. They also didn't start there albeit it may have happened virtually overnight for them, for the lucky few. And those with Mafia backing LOL which was a good part of the business. And it was a good part of the business. Why do you think that Italian family owned studio was called The Hit Factory? Who else could have afforded those multimillion dollar facilities? Someone had to keep the audio equipment manufacturers in business, didn't they? And they were smart because they hired those Jewish accountants. Bugsy Siegal comes to mind? And probably a few more Italian guys that had Jewish mommies? New York Italian Catholics and Jews are all the same and pretty much everywhere else. Then all of that other great rock 'n roll he got from the other Protesters I mean Protestants who were all sick to death of that other Catholic and Jewish stuff. Which is our music business today. It's been beautifully homogenized and improved with other traditional elements all about. I mean would you really want today, to teach a kindergartner a death metal version of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer? And is it necessary to do so?

    You have a lovely voice. In which we should you use it, you have not yet est. for yourself? It's not easy. And you may vacillate? No not with that stuff you occasionally play with in lewd ways... in different musical genres. A friend of mine I recorded wanted to sound like Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. Well you can't do that by whispering a scream. No guts, no glory. And when clients require it, I am also a vocal coach. But you can't always get out of a performer that which they cannot deliver no matter how much they may want to sound or be a certain way. So, high energy rock 'n roll might not be designed for your most obvious talents? It can still be fun to do. Sometimes, you almost have to think SNL a.k.a. Saturday Night Live. Where parody and the sincerest form of flattery from imitation, prevails. And you'll quickly notice there is a most definite physical aspect to those types of performances. They frequently exaggerate that which made that person famous. And it's always a bit over the top. If you want to stand stoically on stage and perform, you might want to learn some German, Italian, French, Russian? It's called Opera. And it's extremely physical standing there. Then there is musical comedy. Who doesn't love musical comedy? Monty pythons did it. Cheech and Chong did it. Al Yankovic does it. And I think their bank accounts look quite nice even though I've never seen them myself LOL.

    Some people are just lovely smooth and bluesy. They are what they don't. Super famous? Probably not? Personally fulfilled? I believe most definitely so. I have considered the possibility of becoming an opera singer like my mother? I was only interested in musical comedy. So I played French Horn instead. Because playing French horn teaches you how to make love to a woman (before I realized I was a lesbian). You see, the French horn embouchure is not like that of trumpet, trombone, tuba. It's like a kiss. The mouthpiece rests lightly upon your lower lip. You only kiss it with your upper lip. While caressing it politely with your left hand. And sticking your right hand up where it shouldn't be. Before there were tampons we were Stopping French horns and no one was ever arrested either. All completely legal to teach a minor in junior high school LOL. We learned other things watching those other lucky kids get to play on monkey Island... at the zoo a.k.a. the zoo.

    One of the things that makes for better pop vocalists is learning what it actually means to not only work the microphone but also knowing how to work that dynamic range compressor and/or limiter make you sound so much better. And you won't know how to do that without a pair of headphones on. And you won't know how to do that without listening to playbacks through entry level control room powered monitor speakers at the least. Then that sure doesn't cost $40,000. Folks like myself either searched it out in those old-fashioned things called lie berries. And with your $20 battery-operated tape recorder and $3.98 Olsen Electronics Crystal Microphone (because you knew it was better than the Lafayette version) you were cooking with gas. You knew then, looking at those pictures of RCA Studio A, NYC with those poly cylindrical wooden acoustic movable diffusers you are already close. Well, that's how I felt at seven. I even modified that $20 portable to have easy control access with the lid closed along with externally accessible microphone and earphone access points. Amazing what you can do with moms sewing scissors. I caught hell for that.

    Trying to be a stage performer is only one performance aspect. I worked with many wonderful singers we used for our commercial jingles. These folks were not your average run-of-the-mill rock band pop singers. They refer to themselves as vocal stylists. We were constructing jingles. We would have a certain vision of what kind of performer would fit the jingle? These people could emulate/imitate/impersonate, a whole roster of megastars. They were awesome! And nobody ever knew who they were? They were just voices on jingles. Jingles that played across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, St. Thomas where else I don't know? More people are probably reluctantly heard my jingle singers than they have Paul McCartney? And that's all these folks did. Musical theater, dinner theater, backup vocalists for other hot Miami productions. But working a microphone requires a certain kind of intimacy.

    The intimacy you get with the microphone directly in front of you, headphones on, monitoring the dynamic range compression, equalization and reverb can really influence your recorded performance. Standing out there naked you have nothing to interact with. You can do this really cool vocal choreography with a compressor and/or limiter. But you won't know this until you've done this plenty with headphones on and good playbacks to hear. As you have frustratingly discovered, there is more to this than meets the eye or the ear. Certainly more than meets my rear, ear, I have surround sound. I like to feel the low end because I'm sitting on it.

    Here's your problem, most computer recording systems that have these great equalization, dynamic range augmentation, reverb and other room simulations, can't generally give that to you, in real time, while you are recording it. There are those systems that can and do. They're slightly more expensive but still very affordable. And they feature quite fantastic software as a featured bundle. They are generally USB 2.0/FireWire 400. New items coming online is Apple's Thunderbolt which does not yet exist in the PC world. Where are the PC world now has 10 times faster USB 3.0. And a fair competitor to Thunderbolt when the equipment starts to hit the fan which it hasn't yet. So until then, USB 2.0 would be the next logical affordable and currently available options.

    These USB 2.0 devices such as the Pre-Sonus Audio Box USB 2.0 (not to be confused with their USB 1.1 version of the same thing), has the ability to provide that real-time, hardware like experience because our processors and the speed at which the data can transfer back and forth at, can accommodate this. And you have to play with it and play with it a lot with your headphones on and sing into it at different distances and with different stuff all tied together in the software and this little box you have a cheap microphone plugged into and are now sounding like the next world superstar. You had to learn things in school and so you have to learn this also. No big whoop.

    If you don't have one of those computer interfaces, don't despair, all is not lost. You just get to spend extra money anyhow. And so then you purchase a " analog console strip tracking channel" thingy. Generally not cheap. But can be done in inexpensive ways. For instance, ART or some other such company, makes a $50 tube microphone preamp. Piece of crap but it works. You plug that into a cheap five band graphic equalizer. You plug that crappy equalizer into a $50 ALESIS micro limiter and voilĂ . Almost like Howard Stern's. And that 58. You stick an extra foam pop filter on that 58. And then you put up your pantyhose filter in front of that foam. The only thing you'll lose is lousy sound.

    Now that gives you everything you need to hear of your self. At first, things that sound great in your headphones will sound like muddy shoes on white carpeting, through speakers. The perspectives are quite different. But they're still quite relevant to the finished product. What you need to hear for you to deliver a good performance is different from how it may be presented to others in recorded form? That's called a monitor mix for you. Via just you or you and the entire band with everybody wearing headphones in the studio and such. And the engineer is tweaking everything as to your liking and requests. So it makes it a lot easier when it's just you. And you will, hopefully, try to find others that you admire, that you may want to try and emulate? That doesn't mean that you are going to be an imitation but you are trying to glean from their performances what else you might need to do? If this is a single person's quest? Mine was. Sometimes people need to be spoon fed or would just rather kindly pay for this knowledge. Ain't nothing wrong with that. I don't quite believe in the recording schools. I believe in the time-honored tradition of teacher-student, one-on-one with an elder of experience, knowledge, guidance. Other folks like classrooms, DVDs or YouTube. And it's all there. Whichever way you want to go? Lots of this has been talked about through the years how important it is for the talented singer to have the right kind of headphone mix they need to deliver their best performance for an album. They might be different on stage? I don't know? But probably not much. I mean if you're Ted Nugent you're not going to be anywhere near as appealing as Paul McCartney. One's a bigot and one is nice, to everyone. One wrote something of musical value and the other thinks that they had something of value? I'm not even sure how I can put those two in the same sentence? It's blasphemy! I should get my steak burned?

    So the only way you're going to learn how to work the microphone is to know how it changes as a directional microphone when you get closer and further away from it. That's called proximity effect and it can be used to great effect even though you don't want much of that effect. You might also learn how to move your head and/or articulate things differently to avoid awkward sounding phrases? This kind of close-up intimate recording with plenty of dynamic range limiting makes for wonderfully intimate sounding recordings. They are very revealing sounding. So you have to be much more technically and vocally oriented to " work ", the equipment. Which does not mean and adjustment of anything but your delivery, your performance your interaction with what that dynamic range processing, equalization and reverb is doing to your voice. Announcers love this kind of thing. Then he can't be those brass balls clanking style announcer's, without hearing that themselves in their headphones. That's how they develop that kind of delivery. And the same goes for those singing vocal performances. It's not just a matter of spitting out the right words in tune with the music. It's your heartfelt, gut wrenching, knee slapping, deadpan, pseudo-inebriated, delivery. It's a performance first and foremost. Not a school performance with the other kids. Which I'm sure you were very good at doing. Its performance. It's learning how you can abuse your equipment without getting arrested. And you can abuse your equipment without hearing it do its thing so you can do yours.

    That is not to say that this has been necessary for everyone, it hasn't. But it sure is fun and we all think it's part of the business. So we do it. And it makes people happy and it makes them sound good. That's what this is all about. Nor does it happen when you first plug it in. I know you are a mensch of enough to understand this necessary learning curve you are currently on. Babies happen overnight. This doesn't.

    And so now you've got one of those USB 2.0 thingies and your stuff still doesn't sound like that girl? Can we stop here for a moment and perhaps compare yourself to someone of a more similar physical build to yourself? I know as opera singers go, certain kind of voices go with certain kinds of bodily proportional types. You don't find little skinny dramatic heldin operatic tenors. Skinny dramatic sopranos, doesn't happen much. Fat coloratura's? Rarely. And then there is that other small difference that XX the tracks. Y you ask? You have to be old enough to drink.

    I think that about sums it up?
    Mx. Remy Ann David

    The only Jewish one I can remember is that dreidel song? Ugh.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  17. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I keep proofreading these figures I post and I can figure out why I am double posting my signoff lately? Something's gone wrong with the brain surgery?

    Chris already knew that.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
    I'm only signing off once here
  18. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Trial and error....trial and error...fail,fail,fail....As long as we learn something from each foray there is no "fail". You dont need any other mics or gear....monitors would be nice....Study mic technique. Learn about singing techniques. In order to be better at something a person needs to allow the mind to relax and accept the knowledge that is available to them. Its all around. Everything you need to know is at your fingertips. Type in any subject matter you wish and the world replies.

    You'll NEVER get better by counting yourself out before you actually try. This is a process and it takes time. The time in dollars is what Remy was reffering to. The requirements are true desire and time.
  19. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Hey wait a minute here! What producer was producing your recording? How did you find this producer or did this producer find you? What did the producers say to you to get the best performance from you for your recording?

    I think you can see where I'm going with this? (I know I can't?) Nice little college-bound girl already worked with the producer to deliver what you heard and saw. And just because we all saw her USB audio gizmo blinking to her vocal, that's not necessarily that vocal. Not the one you heard. Lip-synch. ADR in the film business. And it's in perfect synchronization with the video. So it looks like she is doing it in real time. She's not. Maybe she is? There is no real way to know while software is in the sentence. But there are performers out there that have that natural ability. Most folks don't. So don't be hard on yourself. You're going in the right directions (notice I said that in plural?) Yogi Berra... when you come to the fork in the road, take it. It gets you there either way. From on the stage to behind the glass sometimes? So maybe you are a better producer/engineer then you are a performer yourself? So sometimes you need only explain what you want? Though sometimes you might want to demonstrate as I have. And... sometimes, the bands want me to do their backup vocals because they quickly find out they can't do it well enough. And I've done that on occasion LOL. Not for anyone famous of course but for those local bands that used to book in for their demos. And that can take you in a completely different but similar direction that can be extremely gratifying and even financially fruitful. More so than you could generate by yourself? And you never know when that band might walk in you like and think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread?

    Which is why you have to know about " working microphones ". So either way, you gotta learn. Whether it's with the USB 2.0 thingy and software or, whether it's with those affordable real-time hardware processors. So this might be a professional hobby? It might be your profession? It might just be a hobby? Either way, you have to have the right tools even for a simple tune up. If you catch my drift? And you've already got some of those tools but not all. So you need a few more tools and then you need to know how to use them properly. And just like going to school, this is just like going to school. Obviously people actually go to school for this today. I didn't because it didn't exist not in the way it does today. You would take broadcast journalism, broadcasting, a musical degree, electrical engineering, physics, computer sciences with 8088's, IBM 360's, Control Data, NCR's. And how does that relate to software today? It doesn't. Recordings? Not really applicable. Is DC theory important? You bet your sweet bippi, it is. So is AC. Your clients don't like it when the air conditioner doesn't work.

    It's all very confusing?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  20. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Then stick with what moves you. Concentrate on your singing. Performance isn't easy either. It has it's own discipline, its own dedication.

    Again, you're expecting professional results - sonically - when you know very little about the craft/science of recording.

    You bet it is. It takes years of learning, studying, and doing it, to do it well.

    One of the reasons that there are so many terrible sounding recordings out there today is because people think it's so easy.

    They start with little-to-no knowledge of the craft, they buy a computer, load it with Sonar or Reaper, purchase an $89 audio I/O pre amp, drop a hundred bucks or so on a Chinese condenser mic, record in their living room, add vast amounts of harmful compression and detrimental EQ - (often and most times without even knowing what these tools do); they play the results back and mix it through $59 PC speakers... and then they wonder why it doesn't sound "professional".

    I'm not trying to sway you away from learning the craft of recording, and I don't believe that others here are, either. By all means, if you have the time, the inclination and the willingness to commit to it, then you should absolutely do it, if it sparks something in you. You certainly wouldn't be the first person to enter the world of audio recording - and ultimately end up as a professional engineer - by starting out as a performer who wanted to record themselves. Many of us here started out the exact same way.

    But, if you really want pro results - and you want them now - perhaps it would be best to rely on someone who already knows about it, someone who already does it... and I'm not talking about a cousin or neighbor who is in the same boat as you... I'm talking about taking a few hundred bucks and buying some time at a real studio, letting a real engineer do the audio work, while you focus on what it is you really love doing, which is obviously, singing.

    Even engineers like myself will rely on other engineers from time to time, to take care of the audio work when it comes time to record their own projects.

    If I decide I want to record my own music, and take it beyond just a demo or pre production stage, I will often hire in another engineer to cook the tracks, so that I can focus and concentrate on the performance.
    I guess what I'm saying is that even pro's will use other pro's.

    You shouldn't be hesitant to do so. ;)

    In my humble opinion, of course.


Share This Page