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Recording falsetto vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by welo, Jun 3, 2007.

  1. welo

    welo Guest

    There has to be some trick to this I'm overlooking. I sing prog metal and although these days I'm heading deeper and tighter rather than higher and louder, I find that once I do scream it seems to get clipped during recording. And this is weird because if I'm blasting through the PA I can conjure things that are absolutely piercing.

    So what gives? I know the 80s picked up a lot of this slack with flange, which can be cool at times. This is really bugging me though, because even if I have mix volume set so I don't clip when I scream, no EQ or compression or anything seems able to punch it up.

    Any ideas?
  2. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    First - falsetto and screaming are two VERY different things. Second, if you're not clipping (are you sure?) when singing live are you using the same mic for recording?
    Second, clipping is a result of a signal that is hotter than the recorder can handle at the mic, preamp, soundcard or daw level. If you can't get enough gain because your levels are set so you don't clip, but are unable to boost the level to match your accompaniment back those off until you're balanced and then bring up the entire mix with compression or....
    To me it sounds like you need a compressor on your vocals on the way in to even out your levels so that you can boost without clipping on the way out.

  3. welo

    welo Guest

    Granted, but so are screaming and screamo (which I don't do), and nobody these days seems to know that either :).

    How this all started was a few weeks ago I woke up hearing Priest's Beyond The Realms Of Death in my head. Musta been dreaming about singing it. Anyway, impossible to get a canned version of this track so I voicetrapped it into something passable, threw it in toward the end of my warmup set and been working with it ever since. On that song pretty much the whole chorus is a controlled scream.

    (Dead Link Removed)

    On a live run I'll naturally distance the mic from me when I get louder. Lately I've been playing with the same technique while recording, which might not be the greatest idea, but meantime by doing this I've managed some very good runs that don't even really need compression on the final vocal mix (always hafta remember to remove my wedding ring so I don't clank the mic though).

    I suppose the obvious next thing to try is to back off the gain in the software mixer by half then increase it a few percent at a time until I find a sweet spot. But that contains its own catch-22, because by the time you do the same song 10 times in a row you don't know what it sounds like anymore, and the best takes tend to happen at the second or third one. Then of course after a day or two you come back and not quite hitting the same zone you were before.

    Thought about that too, and am really hoping to avoid doing this because:
    • There's no way to track what's happening until after the take. If I switch my phones to the computer or headphone amp rather than the mixer so I can hear the compression, the latency is horrendous and I cannot tell where I am in the song.
    • It creates bad singing habits.
    • I never never never get the ideal compression mix and will drive myself nuts with it, guaranteed :D.
    Anyway, will work with it over the next few days and see what happens. Thanks for responding.
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    If it is the Behringer, you certainly can do something about it. Lower the output gain of whatever device comes before it (the mixer presumably).

    Messing with the software mixer will have no effect as the signal is already distorted at conversion.
  5. welo

    welo Guest

    Ah. True. Even though the mixer is not clipping itself it might be overdriving the Behringer. I hadn't thought about that.
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    You're welcome. You can send your check made out to cash to my home address...:)

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