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Regarding vocal recordings:

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by StephenMC, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. StephenMC

    StephenMC Member

    I am extremely new to recording (like very, very new) and don't know much about it. I generally understand mixing terms and such, however, so I'm hoping you guys will be able to help me.

    My first question is if any of you have any books you'd suggest I read or articles or websites I ought to check out that would help me understand the fundamentals, both technical and practical, of recording. I do realize that reading and doing are two completely different things, and that to really learn, I need to just do it, but I need a little push in the right direction to get that inertia and momentum going.

    My second is that I've had difficulty in vocal recordings in getting a somewhat distant vocal sound, yet one with clarity. My best example is "I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light" by Brand New. Does this happen in the processing or in the recording? I'm sorry for sounding like an amateur... but I am. I've tried adding some large room reverb and lowered some bass and mid frequencies, but I really don't know what I'm doing. And I recognize that.

    I pick up fast, I just would like to learn.

    Edit:

    And I'm using an SM58 and an E-MU 0404 USB.
     
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1932929002/?tag=recording.org-20

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0872887235/?tag=recording.org-20

    The Mixing Engineer's Handbook has a particularly good section on how certain frequencies generally affect sound. It's not a be all end all solution but it will help you to get in the ballpark. It's all about using your ears of course.

    If you have a sweepable (parametric) eq, it's a good exercise to take a vocal track and turn the boost up and sweep the band. Listen to how the eq is affecting the track. Do the same with horns, guitar, drums. It's always good to practice listening. That is, of course, what it's all about.
     
  3. tigert10

    tigert10 Guest

    check out the mic

    Thanks for wanting to learn...you will never regret it.

    First of all, I can see why you are having difficulty getting a great vocal sound. It is very hard to get a good sound with an SM58 (or any dynamic mic for that matter) without a lot of experience. Some people use an SM57 for vocals, but that is usually for loudly performed vocals (screamo), nothing delicate.

    The very first thing I would suggest is to get a large diaphram condenser mic. Even the cheapest one you can find would be FAR superior to the SM58. These mics can be bought for well under $100 all the way into the $1000's. They are designed to give a very delicate and clear sound...perfect for vocals or acoustic instruments. Even miking a room or overheads on drums. There are hundreds of applications for them.

    However, your initial recording will sound very clear and natural through a condenser mic, and then you will be able to tweak it from there.

    Maybe a short answer to your recording/processing question is a piece of advice that I got when I was starting out - You can't polish a dog turd, but you can shine a jewel. In other words...if the initial recording does not sound great, you will never make it sound great through processing. But if the initial recording sounds great, processing can make it sound better.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    I would add that the room/environment you are recording in is pretty darn important, too. Check the Acoustics & Design forum here for w..a..y.. more info on that that I could ever give you.
     
  5. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I'm sure there's more than a few people who would argue that point.

    Personally, if gear is an issue, go buy yourself the best preamp you can afford. That will probably get you better results than a cheaply made condenser. When it comes to clarity, nothing gives more percieved clarity than a decent amount of headroom. If you have to max out your preamp to get any level, all you're doing is boosting hiss. If you can get decent, clean gain from a preamp, you'r better off than using a sensitive condenser that accentuates the inadequacies of the room your recording in. This is of course, just my opinion. Take with ample salt.
     
  6. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    OK I'll be your Huckleberry...

    Cheap: Marshall MXL 'whatever - with a couple zeros after it' typically found in a POS bundle from GC or MF.
    -vs-
    SM58...

    Hmmm...

    No, there's no way with a clear conscience that I could declare the Marshall a winner.

    Many mics offer many different flavors, but a majority of the el-cheapos only offer one - over the top, gritty (gritty bad, not gritty good, there is a difference) sounding highs and a buzzy / wonky low end (I can't stand that, it sounds like a really bad car stereo playing MP3s to me - and no, I'm not knocking my Sirius receiver).
     
  7. StephenMC

    StephenMC Member

    Thank you all, I'll look into those books, as well as condensers, and I'll look at the Acoustics/Design forum. Wish me luck, and prepare for an overwhelming load of questions from me in the future.
     
  8. Audiophile76

    Audiophile76 Guest

    Hey stephen, i have found a wealth of good information here

    *Pretty helpful articles, a dictionary of music terms, and etc.

    http://www.audiomecca.com/articles.php



    Congratulations on getting started in the recording arts. Spend time learning all you can, and i guarantee it to be time well spent. Hope This helps

    Cheers
     
  9. I agree with T-10. because what he said was that you need a little experience (and maybe a few other tools) to get yr 58 to sound as good as it can.
    I know ive been there in yr same shoes, and the day i spent my first 100 bucks on a marshall mxl 100, was a happy day. Even a cheap condenser, with the experience you have ,will give you that clear,up front sound that your longing for. Good luck.
     
  10. I agree with T-10. because what he said was that you need a little experience (and maybe a few other tools) to get yr 58 to sound as good as it can.
    I know ive been there in yr same shoes, and the day i spent my first 100 bucks on a marshall mxl 100, was a happy day. Even a cheap condenser, with the experience you have ,will give you that clear,up front sound that your longing for. Good luck.
     

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