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Phasey Sibliant Vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by steppingonmars, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. steppingonmars

    steppingonmars Active Member

    Hi All,

    Was recording a female artist last week and seem to have had some issues. She was nice enough to do the vocals over again, but I'd like to figure out why this happened. First of all she's a very breathy singer, meaning you can hear her breathing quite a bit through the mic. The vocals are very phasey and sibilant, they are eq'd a fair amount, but even before the eq the phasey part of it was prominent especially when taking breaths. She moves around a fair amount when singing, but nothing crazy. I've used the mic and pre amp many times before with no issues in the same room with no issues, although we were in a bit of a different spot of the room

    - is it the different spot in the room
    - mic placement
    - something wrong with the gear
    - all or some of the above

    Any opinions on the mix are also appreciated

  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    what type mic and pre are you using and what kind of environment are you tracking in?
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    i am guessing you need to add more distance between the mic and the singer. perhaps try using a mic with an omni pattern.
    steppingonmars likes this.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I listened to the track and don't hear a proximity issue (well, it does sound a bit thin to me so what does that say?) but I do hear a bit heavy compression for my tastes which makes me wonder (only a guess) could you have something on an effect that is shifting something just enough that its effecting the vox? I'm really shooting blanks here. I hear the ss more than the phasing you describe. Was the headphone, with a touch of latency bleeding? What does the track sound like when she's taking a break? What do you hear then?
    If the track was in my system, I suppose we could help more.

    smooth track. :)
  5. steppingonmars

    steppingonmars Active Member

    Thanks guys

    - little bleed on the headphones so I don't think that's it
    - still phasey if all the effects are off including compression
    - it was a rode ntk with a blue Robbie which I've used many times before w/o issues
    - I'm leaning towards being too close to the mic, she sings with a wavering motion. I noticed the sibilance and had the mic pointed more to her chest, but I wasn't watching her and I think she may have crouched down and sang into the mic anyways. She's a loud singer so she may have been overloading the mic. Also I had her a little closer to the wall than usual and wonder if I'm getting comb filtering off the wall
    - fortunately she's agreed to sing them again. I have a 414 and an sm7. I'm actually tempted to try the sm7 with a UA 710 to reduce heavy breathing and smooth her out a bit, that or use the 414 , it's an xls so I'm not sure if it would work well or not
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    It's the wrong mic for her IMHO (assuming the blue Robbie, is reasonably transparent). I find that all the rode mics I've used have a tendency towards bright upper mids/nasally, which can be good on some things (perhaps hand drums,, acoustic gtrs, ride cymbals, ect). Shes a bit chirpy and sssy, which the mic aint helping. but that phasey stuff i can hear clearly, and thats what i mean by nasally.

    as far as breathy, i love it, and dont find her overly breathy at all, (listening on ipad), this style of song loves breaths, if anything i would just edit them down via automation, or just reducing the gain of the region on the offending breaths.

    i think the sm-7/414 would be a better match, and anythiinng the pre-amp can do to add some fullness on the bottom, would be a welcome addition. Don't be afraid to get her close to the pop filter. If she's moving around too much do what Kurt said and use omni mode, but keep in mind that this will reduce any bass boost from proximity effect, to the point of eliminating it just about.

    Also, it's quite possible that the eq is messing this up. What eq and general settings are you using?
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Strickly from a learning POV, thats the first for me :) I usually hear phase. I'm trying to define what you are calling phasy? I hear her moving or what also sounds like a poor compression with a really slow release, which also sounds like her moving. I also don't think she sounds too close, do others?

    Nice guitar playing.
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I think I'd probably opt for the SM7 on this track. Don't get me wrong, I love 414's - my EB's are my main go-to's for... well... for almost everything - but I think the SM might help to rein in the "fizzy" and the sssibilance.

    And yeah, I'd get her away from the wall, and then... glue her down to one spot. LOL

    OTOH, if I had one available, or had access to one, personally, I wouldn't rule out a ribbon for this style and for her voice... but, that's just me.

    This is a very smooth sounding track on the whole - once you get her voice tracked and tucked in, you will have a very nice jazzy piece. Very listenable.

    IMHO of course
  9. steppingonmars

    steppingonmars Active Member

    -I've had great vocals done with the Rode, but it was usually with singers of a lower timbre.
    - I've doubled tracked vox in the past with one on the sm7 and one with the ntk and blend in so it's not even noticeable with good results. - The 710 preamp has some nice low end to it so I might try it with the ntk.
    - I'm really thinking it was kinda a perfect storm of singer, mic placement, distance from wall. This is because I've used this gear and placement a hundred times before without issue.
    - One other thing I noticed that was different was I accidentally recorded the song in 16bit instead of 24, but I don't think that should matter.
    - As for eq and compression, like I said all of the issues are there with no compression or eq so I don't think it's an issue

    Thanks for all the input guys, always good to learn something
  10. steppingonmars

    steppingonmars Active Member

    Think I found it out, she was using a music stand and looking to the side, when she took breaths she would pull back from the side at an angle from the mic. I noticed it when recording her again. Here's the new vox with an SM7 and UA 710

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