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New to ( Recording rapping and singing)

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by AKAmusic, May 4, 2011.

  1. AKAmusic

    AKAmusic Active Member

    Hey people, I hope all is well and am glag to be here part of a site so interactive for the love of music. I bought this set up a while ago with a buddy, he used it all last summer and did not get much done, so I bought his half and now I have the equipment. I run an AKG Perception 220 condenser mic through a Tascam US - 122 MK usb 2.0 Audio/MIDI interface with Cubase LE 4.

    I have recorded 9 tracks so far and they are up on youtube, here is a link to my youtube page: YouTube - AKAMUSICkeepit100's Channel

    I stopped rapping and singing for like 2 years because the people I was around were no good for me and I almost quit. But I love music to much and it's inside of me wanting to break out everyday.

    As you can tell there is no production involved what so ever and I can only do so much with a 200 $ mic and a 200$ interface. I do not edit or mix, although I have learned to fix my levels to eliminate clips.

    Basically I would like some advice on how I should be recording, what type of levels am I looking for for first layer vocals to my second and possibly third. I am also annoyed with the instrumentals I import into Cubase, they are always so low and they clip so easily, is there anything I can do with these instrumentals to work with them better. ?

    Should I be recording in Mono on my tascam interface?

    I have so many ranges with my voice & I have a hard time finding the right levels for each, especially for singing, my singing is so much better off the mic. for that matter so is my rapping, but I am coming along with my rap structure ( bars). I used to be a really sick freestyle / battle artist but like I said I quit for along time and I am getting it back more everyday. I also record open in my basement and it is quite hollow though it does not echo to the human ear. ( If that affects how I should be recording? probaly does) I have trouble with choruses and structuring them with these industry beats I am using though. Any tips and advice will really help me get an Idea of what I should and can be doing.

    thank you for your time.
  2. AKAmusic

    AKAmusic Active Member

  3. BluMaterial

    BluMaterial Active Member

    A few quick thoughts:

    You need more than one mic (or a stereo mic) to record in stereo. Otherwise you are recording in mono by default.

    Use acoustic treatment to deaden the room you record in, and your vocals will be crisper and cleaner. You can even try something simple like this portable vocal booth that will fit on your mic stand: RealTraps - Portable Vocal Booth There's also TONS of info on the web about DIY acoustic panels and bass traps.

    Where are you getting your backing tracks? They sound pretty bad, no offense. Are you treating them to remove the main vocals from the center channel?

    Your rap vocals could be way tighter, I'm hearing some pretty big differences in timing between separate tracks. Unfortunately there's no easy way to do this in Cubase. The best solution is the Melodyne plug-in from Celemony.

    I'm also hearing big differences in volume level between separate tracks. Read up on compression and use it to even out any volume differences between your vocal tracks.
  4. Rude Boy

    Rude Boy Guest

    Why do you link to half-ready memo tracks? I'd take those off the air, asap...
    This is so far away from acceptable as it gets and I am not sorry to say that.
    One should give it at least some effort.
    Please, post in the home recording section.
  5. AKAmusic

    AKAmusic Active Member

    what is a half ready memo track? I just import an MP3 Instrumental and rap over it.
  6. AKAmusic

    AKAmusic Active Member

    I am not sure what you mean by " Backing tracks" ... some of the rap vocals needing to be tighter is most certainly my fault I am just getting back into it. thank you for your feedback any and all advice is much appreciated.
  7. AKAmusic

    AKAmusic Active Member

    & I realize its un acceptable, that is why I am asking for help and advice, I appreciate your honesty as well.
  8. Drizm

    Drizm Active Member

    hang in there soljah. You are gonna come across people that will not answer your questions because it is on such a basic level. Sometimes people forget where they come from and at one point they didn't know what they were talking about. Only a handful of us actually was born in the studio and live in to this day.
    1. try to get away from recording on industry beats. Get with producers who are starting out. They love it when artist can make there music sound good.
    2. I am not a big fan of cubase. That program is definitely for the novice engineer. A pro-tools Digi01 set up will cost you about 50 on ebay. Start there. People will argue which interface is better but it's to your preference. 6.4 protools is easy to learn and you will easily be able to figure out later versions.
    3. When I first started recording a professional writer use to reference all of his stuff at my studio so he taught me a basic way to record.

    a. Open up an Aux stereo track
    b. Open up 5 Mono tracks
    c. On the Auxillary tracks put in the following plug-ins in this order. 1.An EQ that you like, 2. A compressor that you like, 3. Reverb that you like. 4. A delay that you like.
    d. bus your lead mic (which it should be dead center, do not pan) to the aux stereo track.
    e. Open up an additional Auxillary stereo. Bus the remaining four tracks to it. and also put your eq, compressor, reverb, delay set up on it as well.
    f. you can pan your tracks (excluding the lead) hard left and right to your liking.
    g. Get away from MP3s if you must use industry tracks. convert them into a wave file. Later versions of protools you can do this but this specific one you cannot. You can easily convert it in Itunes.
    h. Record at your own risk. Everything that you record should sound good, if it sound like $*^t in the beginning retake it. Don't wait for the mix down. It will just be $*^t with a mix on it.

    Practice everyday and all day. play with the plugins and you will find your sound. **** up people $*^t long enough and you will eventually start sounding good. I promise. I was you fifteen years ago. Don't give up. So much to learn. Word of advise. Learn the business too. You will be a great asset for any artist.
  9. AKAmusic

    AKAmusic Active Member

    so I can record in auxillary stereo with one mic??? Thanks cuz I was recording a track and i'm jus not happy with the sound cuz off the mic my voice is so much more powerful and different. It comes across dissapointing through my recordings so far. I was going to say **** it and wait to hit a real studio. but i have to keep at it regardless so I can get my rythm back. for me it's about the content in what I am saying ( it's harder to rap or sing something when you are actually saying something and not just rhyming words) and knowing that if I get into a real studio it's going to sound awesome. thanks. i'll check out that stuff your talking about.
  10. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    AKA, if I may offer some advice to you as someone who decided to start a studio about 3 years ago and has spent $30k since...
    I've wasted a lot of money, and have quickly learned the value of proper tools.
    I don't do a lot of rap, but take on any style, so I need a variety of tools.

    I think Drizm has some good ideas for your style, but I'll amend them to match my experience:

    1. Good idea. There are a lot of talented younger, unproven folks out there. Their work will be cheaper, fresher, and you could stumble upon a diamond in the rough.
    2. Totally disagree here. DAWs are mostly about preference- which one you are comfortable with. Some have features that are better depending on your workflow and use of MIDI/samples/virtual instruments. Keep in mind Steinberg (Cubase) have long been on the leading edge of those.
    Further, the interface makes a big difference. I'm not a Protools hater, but one of my biggest gripes about AVID/Protools has been their exclusion of most interfaces.
    Most Digi interfaces suck compared to comparably priced units from other manufacturers. Fortunately, AVID recently lifted their hardware restrictions w/ the release of PT 9, so any interface will do, and probably do better.
    3. None of his advice is bad here, and follows the rap industry standard of doubling, doubling, doubling vocals. I will say that what he suggests MAY not work for you - find the right # of vocal tracks, the right plug-ins (and order), and aux/efx/group tracks, that gets you the sound you want.

    4. (Mine) Find two mics that work well for your voice - one for that centered, in your face mono track, and one for the various panned doubles that provides a different character.

    5. (Mine) You need to have a better understanding of stereo v. mono.
    If you are using one mic, it is ALWAYS mono. If you record two mono tracks and bus them to a stereo aux/group, you have a stereo "track" made up of two mono recordings. If you bus a mono track to a stereo group/aux track, you have a mono track that is treated w/ stereo effects. It is still mono, but will have more space and depth (but less than if you used two mics, or recorded two tracks on the same mic). If you use a stereo mic to record your vocals, you have a stereo track. The sense of stereo is easily achieved w/ mono tracks as described above, so don't bother w/ a stereo mic for vocals.

    6. (Mine) Spend some time in a real studio. Bring a pad of paper and a pen. Note what they do. Ask them why and take more notes. You'll have a great recording, and a better idea of how to go about getting it yourself.

    Hope that helps.
  11. AKAmusic

    AKAmusic Active Member

    I have to stick with Cubase for now, I'm not working...when I open Cubase is gives me a bunch of different options, to open different types of setups, & I always choose "Tascam" because that is through my interface, that much is right. Correct? the other two are 16 midi tracks and 4 stereo and 8 mono tracks, the others are a mastering set up, and Cubase synths on instrument tracks.

    The Tascam setup gives me 8 mono tracks to begin with, though the first track is larger than the others with a couple more options. this is the track where I put in the mp3 instrumental which should be in wav format. How do I convert to waive format? probably find that on the internet, m friend says Cubase shouldd do it... and will it be different looking in the track? or act differently as far as options?

    Okay so going by what you told me, open a stereo track ( they default Aux stereo tracks ? correct. ) then it says stereo speakers (LR) and 1 ( count)

    that is my option for the stereo track.

    I'm not sure how to put those plug ins in ( I know I am so new lol) but I will try and figure that out. so I put my plug ins inn (1.An EQ that you like, 2. A compressor that you like, 3. Reverb that you like. 4. A delay that you like.)

    then I bus my lead mic... what is busing my lead mic,,, it's hip hop I only have one mic.

    then I open another stereo track & I bus my other mono tracks to it. and I bus as well as my eq, compressor, reverb, delay set up. or don't bus & I just put them in like the other one. oh and do each one of those plug ins go into each seperate mono track that I have bused to the stereo track ? or am I reaching for something I don't know?

    which track does my mp3 or wav instrumental go into?

    and why would I pan anything to the left or right? I feel everything should be center for my setup.

    I think if you answer these questions for me as best you can and I should have an idea, I really appreciate it if you have the time...

    thank you, sincerely.
  12. AKAmusic

    AKAmusic Active Member

    Appreciate it, turst me... It's just hard for me to graps what you guys are saying cuz I only know a little bit,,, some stuff you guys say I have no clue, Nobody has ever shown me nothing and I've looked up a few few things but it's so much easier to learn face to face when somebody show you the stuff... thank you very much though.
  13. legatto

    legatto Active Member

    The thing about rap and hiphop is that you must know the origin to know what the artist wants. I own a studio bout a 4-5 years, and im self taught , but still not a real producer or anything like that. If i'm mistaken please correct, but have in mind that i do this in best intention.

    To be a rap vocalist you must first relish your voice, and then control it. Cause quality rapper is one who can perform everysong in voice which corresponds to type of song that you perform. To have a best recording you must have a few gigs , concerts, and then watch how your voice behaves in different room sizes.

    Mono microphone is not must-have, but is desirable. All you need is a Vocal booth , Or your friends studio for recording. Because Recordings for beginner are very expencive. And you wont learn much of one -two -tree recording. The effect you need is a clear voice , so you can later process it best way possible. And MC's as singer spend most time perfecting their flow and voice should be in best shape so it wont record bad.

    start with simple program , learn them full , and then cross to better. when recording try to give an emotion but not yelling.

    hope this help'd. not so much software help but performing.

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