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Recording vocals problems

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by ontrackstudio, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Hello. I am recording a singer who has a very loud upper range, and often clips out when recording. However, when she drops down in her lower range, she is almost inaudible. The signal chain runs as follows:

    Cardoid condenser mic
    Presonus TubePre
    Behringer Compressor
    Alesis Multimix
    PC via usb

    What can I do to prevent her from clipping out at the mixing board during her higher notes, while still being able to hear her during her lower notes? I've never had this many problems trying to record a vocal track. When she is in lower notes, she's at a decent level, but as soon as she goes higher it is LOUD. I mean LOUD.

    Any ideas?
  2. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    have someone stand behind her when she sings. when she sings a loud passage, have them pull her head back by her hair. after a few takes, she will learn to do it on her own.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    This has to be a joint effort. She has to learn to "work" the mic (taught in the excellent way that S4G suggests), and you have to learn how to set the pre-amp gain and the compressor settings correctly.

    I think you mean "cardioid" not "cardoid" (cardioid = heart-shaped). What is the mic, by the way?
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The outboard compressor should be a help here, but I've always found Behringer compressors to do more harm than good. I find that they are so dirty that it is very hard to learn to use a compressor while experimenting with them. (You never know if you or the box is to blame for the bad sound.) I'd suggest the following.

    1. Remove the Behringer from the signal chain.

    2. Use the methods suggested above to get the uncompressed performance into your DAW without clipping. Don't worry too much about the soft passages being too soft. With 24 bit recording you should have a good deal of signal to noise ratio to work with.

    3. Use a software compressor in the DAW to smooth out the performance. This will give you a chance to learn to work a compressor for her vocals at a leisurely pace. Work with the threshold and ratio so that you are getting 3-6dB of gain reduction in her loud passages. Experiment with more and less reduction as you wish.

    4. Put the Behringer back in the signal chain and use what you learned with the software compressor to do a better job of working its settings. Once you are better at working the compressor you may find the Behringer to be a worthwhile part of the signal chain. Me - not so much.
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I favor the "shin-kicker" approach. Guaranteed results and it's a helluvalot cleaner than any Beh@#^r comp!
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    When I was growing up on the farm, I had boots that would have made any compressor look clean.
  7. To Boswell,
    The mic is a sterling audio st-51. And, yes, I did mean cardioid. Just a type-o. Lol.

    To Bob Rogers,
    Thanks for the advice. I have quite a bit of experience using software based compressors, which is why I am getting frustrated that I am even having this issue. I would like to think that I didn't waste my money with the behringer comp though, as I bought it specifically to handle her booming range.
  8. Furthermore, I am concerned that having her back away from the mic during loud passages will effect the tone of the recording. I don't want to lose good tone due to the proximity effect.

    Just to clarify, I am clipping out at the mixing board. I have the gain turned all the way down, and the channel fader, just barely up. So, you guys are probably right. The problem could very well be at the compressors output level.

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