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Hi guys,
I recorded vocals lately, and cannot get rid of aggressive high frequencies that weren't there before...
You can hear the main nasty frequency around 3-4Khz and some other ones from1 to 3 kHZ ( audio: Creep_VXREC_WA87ChorusAnnecy 1&2 )
I recorded the same vocals 1 month ago in another flat, and it was fine ( see audio "Creep_VXREC_WA87ChorusDundee").

So I tried to insolate the room ( see pics ), move things around, different gain staging ( always in the green), covered the windows, different mics (see recording with the SM7B), and the frequency is still there ( more or less)
What do you think could it be? It doesn't sound like such a frequency could be emitted by the singer...

I know this is fixable in the mixing stage but I would like to get the cleanest recording possible before reaching for any EQ.

Wa-87 mic
basic pop filter
scarlett Focusrite 2USB interface
recorded on Ableton Live

Any help / thoughts will be highly appreciated as I totally ran out of ideas...

Have a great day everyone!




Attached files Creep_VXRECSM7BChorus.mp3 (525.3 KB)  Creep_VXREC_WA87ChorusAnnecy.mp3 (531.8 KB)  Creep_VXREC_WA87ChorusDundee.mp3 (429.8 KB) 


Boswell Sun, 08/02/2020 - 03:47

Hi - and welcome!

The clips you posted sound fairly good, especially if they are going to have a complex backing added to them. The recorded level is low, but that's not going to have any effect on the problem you are chasing.

When you talk about the "aggressive high frequencies that weren't there before", what has changed since then? Is it the same vocalist, exactly the same chain of recording equipment, same mouth-microphone spacing and done in the same room and acoustics? Can you post a clip from the previous session that you judge does not exhibit the problem?

theo Sun, 08/02/2020 - 05:44

Thanks a lot for your reply!!

So I recorded the same vocals, once in Dundee ( this is the file called Creep_VXREC_WA87ChorusDundee.mp3) and one in Annecy ( where I 've got the high-frequency problem
Creep_VXREC_WA87ChorusAnnecy.mp3 ).
So the room changed, but the singer, mic, position to the mic remained the same. Those are dry recordings.

The room in Annecy is DIY (over?)acoustically treated, in Dundee I had just put some mattresses behind her.

pcrecord Sun, 08/02/2020 - 13:44

I don't hear anything too harsh as it is.. You say everything is the same but the room but it isn't exact. the gain is different meaning that you drived the preamp differently.. for some preamps it could have a good incidence on the sound.
Other things : the signer could be better warmed up of fatigued. it changes a lot on the result.
In the end, what you seemed to suspect : the room.. Well of course it does a difference. one un balance room may boost some mud in the vocal which is masking other frequencies.. some frequencies are absorbed more in one room..
All in all.. on thing that people do is to boost HF when mix time comes.. but the forget to narrow problems or freq they like less.
I'd like to hear the vocal in context of the song.. for sure ! ;)

paulears Sun, 08/02/2020 - 13:45

Dundee sounds better. Warmer, more mellow - more eq-able. If you're adamant the mics, singer and distance/position were the same, then it's the room. I'd go back to the matresses. (which I suspect you mean duvets, as a mattress is bloody huge and unwieldy to carry around!)

However I really can't hear any aggressive high frequencies, just a lack of lower ones being honest. I'd have guessed that the distance was changed. This voice is one of those that really needs cardioid proximity effect as it's frankly, rather an effected, rather than natural voice. Perfectly contemporary - I don't mean it's a bad voice, but she's not really a conventional singer. Mostly head voice - so lacking in natural, or practiced depth. The warmth comes by manipulation of the person and the mic and helped or annoyed by the room.

Boswell Sun, 08/02/2020 - 13:56

I've had the chance to have a good listen to the recordings from the two locations. It seems to me you may have overlooked an important factor: the singer is performing differently in the two locations. I'm sorry to say I don't find her voice and style very pleasant to listen to, but at Annecy, she is more nasal and more angry. It may be as simple as that.

PS Paul's post appeared just as I had finished typing the above.

theo Mon, 08/03/2020 - 23:52

Thank you all for your replies!

This is definitely not the room because I ran some test in other rooms and in the same room in a booth.
I agree that Dundee sounds much better ( and yes, there were mattresses! ^^). I really start to also believe that it comes from the singer who is just starting and don't know how to provide with consistent performances... That s the only explanation.

paulears Tue, 08/04/2020 - 00:28

Probably not her fault, because she's kind of developed a singing style modelled on what she hears and likes, but the control needed for that kind of singing is incredibly difficult - and she's not learned the support she needs from her core. Oddly, I have a bad back - dodgy lower back from humping too many heavy flight cases - and it's under control now because I found a decent experienced chiropractor. The doctors and physiotherapists were pretty useless for this one. Instead of tackling the damage, she went for my support and core strength, and during our chats she mentioned that people can get bad backs from singing when their muscle control over their diaphragm is poor. They try to sing, and holding the singing 'position' thats best is bad for the back!

Not sure how well you get on - but a few sessions with a proper singing teacher to get the muscles working and develop some control could really work for her, and perhaps stop her developing too many bad habits. Most modern singing teachers realise that the old fashioned styles are out, so have moved on to helping the weirder modern singing styles.

My bad back was made tons better by one thing my chiro suggested. I'd been useless at doing exercises she prescribed, and she remembered something I'd said at a session and asked other chiros - she prescribed playing my double bass that had sat around for years and years unplayed. She asked me to play for a week and report back. I was amazed! So much less pain and stiffness. Turns out the playing position for a double bass, with the arms, is exactly the same muscle groups that were weak in me, but needed strengthening to take the weight off my lower spine. Since doing the bass playing, my back is a lot better and my music too!

theo Wed, 08/05/2020 - 04:56

Exact! She just starting singing 1 year ago and I think she has great potential. This song doesn't suit her voice and she struggles with it, mostly because she lacks support indeed...
That s good advice thanks!! she did take 4 or 5 lessons but she s thinking of changing teacher I think. We'll see!