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Voice presense

Discussion in 'Recording' started by westshore, May 8, 2005.

  1. westshore

    westshore Guest

    Im looking for that very expensive vocal sound in the mix, used on many records you hear on the radio like sevendust. I have some of the equipment that should take me close. I have 2x 4040s and a Marshall electronics tube condenser with nice preamps. Any VST plugins or other tips to make the vocals sound right in your face with a very full/present sound. Also any tips to make vocals sound more gritty without distortion or more fluid to diversify what sounds i can create.
  2. xaivious

    xaivious Guest

    The microphone and preamp have a large part to do with vocal presence and punch. It is always best to start with the great sound. Unfortunately it is made easier with better gear.

    It is hard to replace the presence of a fine tuned capsule and top-notch components with great S/N. AT and Marshall mics are more mid-level, not high-end. If you really want that Hollywood (in your face) sound in the mix, you need to step up to something like the BLUE Bottle or Kiwi (or similiar caliber AKG C12, Neumann U67, or other similiar mics). There is a big difference in presence and clarity with the high-end mics, and that is what you are hearing in a lot of those mainstream albums. You don't pay several thousand for those mics for nothing.

    The other part that really has effect is the preamp. I always recommend for best quality something at the Focusrite Red series quality minimum. There are many good companies like Summit, Manley, Avalon, Neve, and others, usually starting around $1000 single channel. Likewise a good preamp can really bring the vocals out in the mix, add presence and punch.

    As far as getting grit without distortion, the best way is to slightly overdrive a nice preamp. A good tube preamp will create pleasant even harmonics with proper saturation.

    I am not saying you cannot work good recording with mid-level equipment, recording is a subjective thing. Sometimes the SM57 through a fat preamp will give you that awesome gritty but present sound. And gear doesn't make up for engineering, still need that placement, room, etc. Always be sure to get the gain structure set good and hot, with the vocalist as close as plausible.. Then there is compression and the normal processing afterward. If done right you should have to do minimal post-processing. I rarely have to EQ or do much anything beyond a little compression maybe de-esser once the vocals are recorded.

    So if you are looking for that mainstream rock sound, that amazing presence and punch you hear on the big label recordings. A lot of the secret is in the gear. Espceially the preamps, the right preamp can make even a mid-level mic shine.

    Many cannot afford a $4000 microphone and preamp, so what then? Try to meet half way. I have found with close A/B tests working in the past with pro audio sales. Many of the mics have a drastic S/N ratio and presence change in the $700-800 price range. The ol' standard AKG 414 is a classic, nice clean present sound, much more then any others in the price range. One of those with a nice $1500 tube preamps can make all the difference from there (add more flavor). I personally like the BLUE Blueberry for under $1000, that mic has great presence.

    If you invest $2000 for example in something like the Blueberry mic ($999) with the sinlge channel BLUE Robbie tube mic pre ($999). You would be set for getting some great vocal recordings with decent acoustics and a clean recording system. Another more economical approach, would be like the AKG 414 ($799) and the Avalon M5 tube pre ($1499). It is not any of those exact pieces that matters though, it is that range of equipment. That is the idea.

    For your situation maybe try upgrading to a nice outboard preamp, first. Then if you are still not getting what you want go with a better mic. As one friend says, when it comes to electronics, you don't always get what you pay for, but you almost never get what you don't pay for.
  3. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    He really nailed that one on the head. I have every Sevendust album ever. They kick ass! And I've seen them live twice!
    To get a good vocal sound, you really, really need a killer pre-amp.
    If you purchase a good one, expect good results
    but, it you buy an awesome one, then expect awesome results
    Read up on what a Neve is and how they are looked at in this industry. There are many, many Neve clones. So you could go that direction, or the Avalon M5 is a real safe bet, soundpure.com has M5's selling for $1199.
    Not cheap by any means, but you gotta pay for quality.
    Don't think that you can buy a killer pre-amp with almost no money!
    You CAN'T. Maybe try the Sebatron, or a Chandler, or a Great River.
    They all make single channel pre-amps and also multi channel pre's.
    The mic could be a Shure SM57 to start with. (about $100)
    And if you have more money in the future, then upgrade your mic collection.
    But 1st get a killer pre-amp. You can use it on everything. Guitar, bass, vocals, drum's, ect, ect.
    I would also like to add about Sevendust vocals...they use high quality reverb, so that would be where you are going to be looking at "down the road" in the very near future.
    Try a Lexicon PCM series, or an Eventide harmonizer
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Prince George, BC
    Home Page:
    Wow, couldn't have said this better. Excellent Thread!

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