Plain truth about recording vocals and acoustic instruments

pcrecord

Quality recording seeker !
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Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Location
Quebec, Canada
I'm in a few Facebook groups and what to buy to start is the most asked question, so I decide to make this video.

In this video I explain where it count the most to invest. If you don't get the basics right there ain't nothing you can buy that will make you sound good.


 

Tony Carpenter

The Minstrel
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Aug 20, 2014
Location
Keighley, England
@pcrecord Good video Marco. I think the turning point for me, only about 4 years ago!!, was when I went with the M/S setup you've seen/heard me use now. Until then my acoustic guitar and voice never sounded how I want, I had the 40% down I think ;). Mic type placement and knowing where to start with a quality input (talent) are the most important parts of acoustic recordings. The rest take it up the level needed for a more professional result. If only we could convince modern generations that autotune is not how we should sound :).

Tony
 

pcrecord

Quality recording seeker !
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Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Location
Quebec, Canada
I see your X-Factor is equally as bad as ours!
All those contest/reality TV shows turn as popularity contests and not talent contests. My girl friend and me listened to The voice (a quebec / canada version names La Voix) for a while but got tired of all the gimmick of which one had the saddest story... That's what sells publicity today I guess...
 

kmetal

Kyle P. Gushue
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Jul 21, 2009
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
At one point in time people were probably saying overdriven amps "aren't how guitars should sound" lol. If the kids were doing stuff the adults liked, they'd be doing something wrong. :)

I don't care for the audible tuning sound myself, but whatever reverbs were huge in the 80s. Its just another sound/ technique to me. Id probably have to google how to even use tuning to that extreme!

I have hammered plenty of vocals right to the tuning grid in DP7 and it was fine for demos. Not obvious but fixed shaky vocals.

There is a disjoint though because the type of emphasis and emotion someone has on an in-tune great vocal is different than what you get with transparent pitch correction. It fixes pitch but the vocals can still sound a bit flat or uninspired. But still better usually when pitched properly.

Even portable speakers are getting decent. So the earbud generation will know what bass sounds like.
 

Davedog

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Joined
Dec 10, 2001
Location
Pacific NW
Like any other tool, there's a level of competence that solves the 'apparently' used rule.

I use Melodyne5 and it is the best I have found to tune a vocal so it sounds natural and like it was a performance (which it is). There's more to making a vocal sit in a production and allowing it to remain untarnished sounding.

Some of it isn't even electronic in nature. A producer can go through the song with the vocalist and help them choose phrasing as well as avoiding certain lyric mistakes such as consonants and vowels in the rhythm not working or being sonically masked by the instruments. Breathing properly is another great help in getting the best takes from a vocal.

Now imagine the work of a Pop Producer who is dealing with 30 or more vocal tracks and each one of them tuned and timed.

Timing a vocal is very important. There will always be the "right" feel of the words with the music.

All of this before any tuning can be accomplished.

After all, music with vocals and lyrics are a really a failure if you can't hear the vocal or distinguish to some degree the lyrical content and at least have some nuance and passion to the performance.
 

pcrecord

Quality recording seeker !
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Feb 21, 2013
Location
Quebec, Canada
There is no program better than simply slice and move. Generally I will complete this task by using the finished drums/bass/primary rhythm tracks as my guide. After all, this is the heart of the matter.
You're right, I do it by hand all the time.. Or better even, record it over and over to get it right..
but with a customer on a budget, Vocalign seems interesting.
 

Davedog

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Joined
Dec 10, 2001
Location
Pacific NW
I get the need for speed at times. But....Just watching that video, the sound of the results in Logic were kinda fake sounding in general. As the video progressed I found that the use of the program through the Audiosuite in PT seemed to sound 100% better. I don't know whether it's using it in smaller segments or what, but it does sound better what little he played back.

Using the track on screen as an example, in my work, there are several other factors at play in these backing tracks that I would tend to work over to improve and bring out the best of. A lot of the velocities in those captures would have to be considered as well as simple volume matching throughout all the backing tracks.

And , of course, they all need proper tuning.

I would think that with a project like this example, I would not be on the clock with this client in the post. So "speed" would be unimportant. This would all be on a fee structure which in the end, frees up my time to work on it at my leisure and at the clients benefit.
 

paulears

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Feb 7, 2014
Location
Lowestoft - UK
I'll share this one - it will kill the rockers - but it's what I do. This gave cubase a bit of a heartache. The singer has a nice voice, but she slides up to most notes when they start from silence. She doesn't do it inside the phrases. Cubase does pitch and time alignment really nicely I think - but I had to manually sort this one. Cubase shows on the graphical screen each notes as a separate pitch in a colour band, and can break each note into sections, normally syllables, or pitch changes on a single word. With this one I had to deliberately start some notes a semitone flat, so it sounded right - I'd end up having the second 70% of the word dead in tune, but allowing a bit of slide up at the start. There are also huge amounts of BVs - I think maybe 20 or 30 in places - often five different notes in a chord, and these split between two voices, the main singer's and mine - and sometimes to stop them being 'individual' but a wash of sound - each one recorded three times and panned mid left, mid right and centre. One of each part selected as master and all of that line time aligned to match the master. The ends of each phrase left a little different in some places, but in others, tidied up and then faded out at the same time. I think if you know what to listen for, you can probably pick these little things out - you can hear where an odd notes has been recreated with stretching and tuning. I think Cubase did pretty well at this though. No doubt with more time it would have been better, but this she is happy with, and I am too - when it's actually built from one guide vocal and all the good and bad backing vocal takes. It took hours and hours. I've got another, but the guide vocal is just not good enough to repair.

The failed one is Goodbye to love, I'll stick it up if you want to hear how the mistakes are quite exposed, so it must be re-recorded, and of course it has that guitar solo that kind of reveals how I suck at guitar playing - which is why I play bass.
 

kmetal

Kyle P. Gushue
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Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
as odd as it may sound i actually enjoy vocal editing, or at least don't mind it. Ive never had to do stacks of 30 bv vocals. I find its a really powerful part of production. Actually most timing editing doesn't bother me. I find tho i need to either fix just the clams, or edit the entire thing. Otherwise things feel disjointed.

I've not used melodyne yet (i have the free version included w samp) but the polyphonic capability on the big version seems reallt great in concept at least.

Ive read some criticism of melodyne leaving artifacts, and a tip to work around it. You duplicate the vocal and only melodyne the sections that need it, this way the entire track isn't run thru the algorithm.
 

Davedog

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Joined
Dec 10, 2001
Location
Pacific NW
as odd as it may sound i actually enjoy vocal editing, or at least don't mind it. Ive never had to do stacks of 30 bv vocals. I find its a really powerful part of production. Actually most timing editing doesn't bother me. I find tho i need to either fix just the clams, or edit the entire thing. Otherwise things feel disjointed.

I've not used melodyne yet (i have the free version included w samp) but the polyphonic capability on the big version seems reallt great in concept at least.

Ive read some criticism of melodyne leaving artifacts, and a tip to work around it. You duplicate the vocal and only melodyne the sections that need it, this way the entire track isn't run thru the algorithm.
So do I. When you are working the vocals into a mostly finished mix, you begin to really hear the landscape of the song.
 

Link555

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2007
Location
North Vancouver
I also prefer manual edits, but if I had to pick...I think Melodyne is still me favourite. I sometimes use it on vocals, but I love it on Midi instruments. You can make midi instruments sound more human. Certainly a cool bit of code.
 
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