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Recording Opera Vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by GeneralTeo, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. GeneralTeo

    GeneralTeo Active Member

    Hello Guys! I really need your help!

    I sing opera and i am a lyric Baritone.
    I' ll be recording lots of things as a Baritone and i really don't know how to do it but i know it's a little complicated.I have recorded rock,metal,pop stuff before but i know that this is a lot different.

    All i got is 2 Rhode NT1 mics, one Shure SM58. My audio interface is Roland Quad capture(which has decent mic preamp) and i'll be recording in my basement which is 6 X 5 and 2,4 height Meters. 19,6 X 16,4 and 7,9 height feet. I really can't record anywhere else so it is going to be here.

    Now what is the best way to record with this equipement in this space? mics used? mic placement? software stuff?
     
  2. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    What is the perspective of the track you will be singing to? As in - is it a close miked recording, so very in your face and detailed, or is it a proper operatically balanced recoding using A/B or X/Y techniques? Your 'sound' needs to match the backing. The difference is rather like when a pop singer does the old 40's big band recordings - they either sound huge and realistic or contrived.

    The decision is tricky. Close miking means a the room sound isn't so important - but this sound might well 'fight' with an ambient recording, and sound exactly like it really is - a voice plonked onto a track. A more distant technique might work better for your track, but then of course, the room sound will potentially fight with the room sound on the track?

    Experimentation is the key!
     
    audiokid likes this.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    To add to what Paul mentioned - your recording space - meaning its acoustic signature, will play a big part in how your vocal recordings will ultimately sound.

    If you are working in a space that is a typical home room, and is untreated - like a basement or bedroom - then you may want to rely on the dynamic mic (the 58) more, because it will have far less sensitivity to its acoustical surroundings than a condenser mic will. If you are planning on a close-mic technique, then probably either a dynamic or a condenser would do, but if you are working in an untreated space, I'd still likely reach for the dynamic first.

    BUT - A typical basement is a pretty bad environment to record anything - even if you aren't doing your laundry at the same time you are recording - LOL - there are other sources of unwanted noises - in a typical basement, there are pumps, venting fans, furnaces, AC units and dehumidifiers that can suddenly turn on; and there's sheet metal housings on appliances, and duct work and cold air returns that can all sympathetically vibrate and rattle with certain notes... not to mention that you can also chance picking up the sounds of whatever is happening above you - people walking around, a TV playing, etc.

    Heavy packing blankets hung around your recording position will help a little to tame some upper frequency reflections, but these won't do anything for your voice vibrating duct work, or low end frequencies vibrating various hollow objects, nor will they do anything for noise pollution emanating from inside - or outside - of your space.
     
  4. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    It's a long time ago now, but I recorded an ensemble and soprano in a methodist chapel - so think big and wood, rather than stone, and in one section, she missed her intro and didn't start to sing until she was a couple of line in. We tried to fix it in the studio - just adding in the missing lines, and I tried all the reverbs I had, different mics and distances, but all were quite obvious. To the casual listener, 'something' was wrong, but they couldn't put their finger on it.

    In the end, we went back to the chapel, set up the stereo pair where it had been for the recording - put her in the same place, and she did the two lines - with the track on a cassette recorder in her pocket (WM6 to anyone old enough). It blended perfectly. The space the performer and mic are in is so important once you move away from the mic, even just a bit.

    Why not try some different things in your room? distance is an easy one, but with a couple of mic boom stands you can experiment with blankets, duvets, bits of old chipboard - anything to hand to either tame or enhance what you have. It might look ridiculous, but that doesn't matter if it sounds good
     
  5. GeneralTeo

    GeneralTeo Active Member

    thanks a lot for the feedback! I'll try to see what i can do with all this advice.
    but i really can't expect my work to be as professional as you talk about because
    1)i'll record here and then my vocals will be added in a mix which is an orchestra part with VST orchestra sounds
    2)we are not doing the "a baritone sings" thing...i must record 8 takes of one melody, 8 takes of another and mix them all together to make a choir.
     
  6. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Hmmmm. I've got quite a few orchestral samplers on my Cubase system, and while they are realistic in some circumstances, in others they're a bit unrealistic.

    I'd start with the NT1, and try a short section at different distances and see what it does to your voice. Then feel free to report back - hopefully with a short sample we can hear and then perhaps suggest things you can improve?
     
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I've heard some pretty amazing orchestral libraries out there - but I sure don't have any of them.
    Then again, I'm not scoring orchestral music, either. I'm mostly a rock/pop guy, and nowhere near good enough as a composer to do classical or orchestral.

    A few years ago, I installed the Independence Sample Library, which came with Samplitude Pro X Suite. Upon first listen of some of the orchestral samples, I thought, "hmmm.. these sound pretty good."
    And then, a few weeks later, I went to see The Akron Symphony at EJ Thomas Hall and thought.... "Hmmm, those samples I have really don't sound realistic at all". LOL

    But... I know that cats like Hans Zimmer and Michael Kamen will use libraries for film scoring... but those are libraries I don't have; and they'd probably be a waste on me anyway, as mentioned, I'm not good enough to deserve them. ;)

    Although, I'm pretty sure that there are still guys out there using the real deal.... I'm fairly certain that John Williams is still using real orchestras, as was George Martin.

    Danny Elfman uses both - apparently it depends on the budget:

    "I like using my own samples of my own stuff, but I still can’t ever top real brass, strings and woodwinds. Even thought the sample libraries are getting better and I think they are suitable, you can’t get the nuances out of those instruments yet.
    Maybe someday they will, but for now I can still hear the difference between a sampled orchestral score. But those work best if the score is not orchestral. I’ve done scores and pieces where it was almost all samples because there was no money."


    source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/danny-elfman-johnny-depp-tim-burton-322627
     
  8. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Lots of my stuff has strings and woodwind in it - not so much brass, and these things do a pretty decent job when they're not exposed, but despite having some amazing demos (Garritan in particular) I've never been able to 'play' them like the demos. They're a darn sight better than the string synths, and that's m y usual requirement - to work in the mix.
     
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    For a twist in this discussion. :)

    DVZ Strings makes realtime way less important. That is, if you know how to do it. The days of needing a real Orchestra to produce epic sound tracks left a decade ago. ( maybe even 4 decades ago)

    Christopher Stone's DVZ was just the beginning. "Most" everything can be done in a one room studio today, by one man.

    The days of emulating a big room to create a truly realistic acoustic environment starts with Bricasti and a bag of tricks.

    Being said, there is nothing like real-time performance and that is why I am a musician first and foremost. Who never took no for an answer and who saw the future of what electronics can do for those who are musicians first, engineers after.
    None of what I am talking about is related to good old Rock & Roll, Blues, Jazz, a classical experience etc. Where example... a Royer SF series captures the performance, where the performance has more to do with the outcome than a sophisticated sound ever does.

    imho

    Here are some interesting media video in our library.
     
  10. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    They're great sounding - like GPO and Jazz band that I use, along with colossus (getting old, but still good). In context they work, but it's the playing. The things being played in those clips are sampler friendly - it's not the same as putting in a solo oboe line, or perhaps something like Shindler's List's solo line. A real performer is really needed for that. The rest of Schindler's List is quite sampler friendly. Tricky!
     
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I also have all three of these - along with NI's B$ ( Hammond B3 vsti, which I love). I do think that these libraries sound good...but I don't know how they hold up sonically to more current libraries, and I don't know if the big guys are using these older libraries.

    As you said earlier, much of the success ( or failure) of these libraries is in how you use them.
     
  12. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    I've got the B3 too - amazing! One of my favourites.

    Most commonly used sound - GPO - the vibrato flute!

    I work with a pianist, so have actually stopped recording his Yamaha C3, and we're using the Pianoteq sampler. He's very impressed with it, because it handles pedalling properly - which others don't. He produces with guide material in GPO, and then I do some orchestration, and add the tracks he doesn't produce, and it makes money! Music for Ballet. Not wild, but steady income. He's very uncomfy with cubase and editing, but when we recorded for real, the music he composed was too clever to play accurately and consistently, so he'd make a mistake and have to do it again. We tried breaking things down into smaller sections, but the tempos were never right at the edits - as in one or two beats per minute. So now we sequence it, and we sit together and edit. The piano sound is close enough for him, and the editing ices the cake!
     

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