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treble trouble

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Keith S, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Keith S

    Keith S Active Member

    Hi All. I'm working on a project where I'm having a tough time getting the vocal track clear and bright without being harsh. It's a stacked distorted guitar heavy song but the guitars are nice and thick with pretty smooth top end.

    The problem, I believe, is that the singer had one ear uncovered with the phones so there is a ton of bleed in the vocal track and it's pretty much from about 2kHz and up. Whenever I try to bring up the clarity on the voice, I can't do it without it getting harsh.

    Do you guys agree that this is probably the reason?

    The vocal was tracked with a circa 1984 U87 (recently serviced by Tracy Korby) into a UA Solo 610 pre.

  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    If you could replay the backing track with a headphone in a pretty darn close proximity to the mic (one ear piece only), you could invert the polarity and phase cancel noise with proper levels.

    Not that it helps right now, but one ear headsets are standard on movie soundstages for orchestral musicians. In fact many have their own pair based on their comfort and audio quality preferences. I confess not to remember to use them much in a pop studio setting but that would be just the ticket for the talent that prefers only one ear covered.
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    beyerdynamic DT 102 - Headphones for Intercom - Intercom, Broadcast & TV - Headphones & Headsets - Headphones & Headsets
  4. Keith S

    Keith S Active Member

    Well, that's just brilliant. I'll give it a try but do you think this is what's causing my problem?
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I don't know. If you can hear the bleed from the headphone earpiece in the solo'd track then that is where I would start. The alternative is to retrack the vocal or deal with it in other ways.

    I will say that even as an advocate of a minimal approach, when I am having trouble getting the basic mix correct it is nearly always because I keep pushing the faders and subgroups louder. Once I realize that and start pulling back subgroups to more correctly balance the total picture I can go to work on the entire finished mix to bring the total volume at the main fader to expected levels.
  6. Keith S

    Keith S Active Member

    Oh, I can hear it in the solo'd track, big time. I was tired during the tracking or I would have had her redo with the cans taped to her head. My fault for not fixing it then.
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Many musicians have comfort issues with tracking while both ears are covered. Also, some musicians can't sing/play on key to save their soul if both ears are covered. The eustachian tubes and cooresponding bones don't transmit pitch the same as the tympanum. I only say this because single ear headphones are a very established method to combat this. You could get some cheaper phones and cut an ear off and afix some sort of thick foam pad to the headband in place as a starter set. Singers usually benefit the most from this but there are plenty of instrumentalists that would prefer one ear free whether subconsciously or consciously.
  8. aj113

    aj113 Active Member

    Regrettably, yes. :( You can give give it your best shot with EQ, phase cancelling etc but in all honesty - it's back to the tracking room.
  9. Keith S

    Keith S Active Member

    Yeah, I believe you're correct.:frown:
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Next time, try this. Deal with the headphone bleed. Then have the singer stand in the same position for a second overdubbed track and tell them not to sing anything. Combine their original track with that one and phase invert that second pass. You might be able to cancel out most bleed but not all. And you probably used a condenser microphone which added to that problem to begin with? What? You never hit solo while they were singing their track? You need to check those things at the time of capture. Noise gates can be quite beneficial to combat some of this problem but not always. But hey, if she was good-looking, it's great that you need to have her come back in and do it again. This time around, don't give her any headphones. Playback from a speaker instead. Then you can do a second pass (without changing the mix, without changing the volume of anything and not moving the microphone at all) you record a second vocal track without any vocal and then phase invert that track to the vocal track. And the speaker will magically disappear from her track.

    After all, you won't have to deal with the second generation of analog tape noise either.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
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