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Question about vocals

Hey just want to know how can I fully make my vocals sound like a professional song for Cool Edit Pro. What is the best settings to make it sound like or almost a pro, your song? Thanks in advance..


Pro Audio Guest Tue, 11/07/2006 - 07:05
I would agree with everything Metalgod has stated above, I record in a home studio environment and I had all sorts of trouble with vocals, but I just found the best solution is always trial and error, if you have several parameters you can alter on your machinery, try all of em at different settings, you may find a setting suddenly does it for you and your voice.

Also it goes without saying what Scoobie said, you cannot indeed polish a turd, there is software available to correct pitch I believe on some home studios but to sound like a pro, you've either got it or you aint ! And it depends what sort of material you are recording as Metalgod also mentioned, sounding as pro as Slipknot is gonna be a lot easier than trying to be as pitch perfect as Celine Dion !

Pro Audio Guest Sat, 11/04/2006 - 06:14
Ok, simple answer - you can't. There is no magic "setting" to make your recording sound better in Cool Edit or any other software. If there was, sound engineers would be out of a job :)

Complicated answer - yes, you can probably get your vocals to sound almost pro, but it depends on a lot of things. It depends a lot on what you want really, what is your gold with these recording, what do you want to do with them? Are you making a demo to show people what you can do? If so you can probably get ok results in a home studio.

First, what kind of microphone are you using and what kind of pre-amp and sound card? Where are you recording, what's the room like, shape, size etc? Is there a lot of outside noise, traffic from the street outside etc?
First step to getting a good result is to have a good, clean signal in, as loud as possible without clipping, and with as little noise as possible. This can be quite difficult if you don't have a proper recording studio with good acoustic properties and sound insulation (believe me, I'm recording in my home office and it's almost impossible to get a perfect recording in a "normal" room due to bad acoustics and noise, but it's good enough for my needs).

Second step, applying processing and effects to your recorded vocals. Here's where you can begin to make it sound "professional". This is where it gets tricky. ;)

Let me first point out that I'm not a sound engineer myself, just a happy-go-lucky amateur, and there are lots of experienced people on this forum who can give you better advice than me (and correct any mistakes I make), but I can give a bit of a starter.

Getting a pro sound depends also on what you mean by "pro". What kind of music are you recording? Pro sounding vocals differs quite a bit between say, rap, pop music, heavy metal and opera for instance.

The first thing you want to do is to listen to your clean recorded vocals together with the music. What does it sound like? Is it weak and thin? Is it bassy and in-your-face? I'm not so familiar with Cool Edit, so I don't know what tools you have available, but one of the first things I would try is to apply a compressor. Nothing to heavy, maybe 2:1 or 3:1 ratio and then play around with the threshold setting, just to even things out and try to get it to "sit" in the mix. You might also want to add a EQ to balance things out, cutting frequencies that are too prominent, boosting the ones that are too weak.
After that, well it's almost impossible to say since I haven't heard your recording. Depending on the music style and your voice you may want to add things like reverb, chorus, echo, exciters etc. It all comes down to what type of sound you're after. It's not a simple process, and there are really no simple templated solutions. There is no end to the number of effects and tools available.
Reading this and other forums on the web is a really good start. Another way to learn how to do it is to go into a professional recording studio to record your vocals, and while there study what the pro's do, maybe ask them some questions and so on.

So, there's a starter for you. I hope it helps a bit (and that I didn't too many things wrong :-) ). Good luck.

Scoobie Sat, 11/04/2006 - 08:00
Make sure your vocals are done by a professional singer. That's the frist place to start. If the vocals aren't recorded by a professional singer, there is nothing you can do to make it sound like a pro. You can only make them sound better.

As they all say, you can't polish a trud!