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Many thanks everyone, for your feedback and your advice. You have been most helpful! Hopefully we'll be back with better quality soon enough. :)

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CrazyLuke Sun, 07/20/2014 - 01:39

I hear a lot of raw talent, and energy. but the instruments sound like they were recorded with a blanket over them, and the vocals remind me of a trumpet player (a good one, albeit) playing a solo 3 inches from my face. I'm hear Amy Winehouse, Jack White, and Daniel Johnston influence here. Love how your keeping it raw, rootsy, and nasty, now just clean it up with small sonic improvements of each instrument. BTW, what are all those clicking noises.

RemyRAD Sun, 07/20/2014 - 19:29

No the clicking sound is not your keyboard. I think it's some kind of an attempt of someone trying to play bongos? And here's your problem:

I hear that imitation C-12 on the vocal. I hear the ribbon microphones on everything else. Now reverse that LOL. Put the ribbon microphone on the vocalist. And the C-12, on the piano. Then put the ribbon microphones closer to the bongos and turn those up. Because the vocalist on the C-12 is not flattering. In fact it's quite annoying sounding. Really brash, ugh. This could sound so much better if ya just reverse your microphone selection.

Take two
Mx. Remy Ann David

Lama876 Mon, 07/21/2014 - 07:40

There are no bongos or any kind of percussion on the record.)
That's a single girl singing playing and songwriting this.
Mics were only used for vocal recording, while keyboard (a combined preset of acoustic bass and piano from Sampletank VSTi) was routed directly to the mixer.

BTW on "Run!" and "Sweeter than nothing" tracks only ribbons were used, while the "Strom King" is a blend of C12 clone and ribbons, maybe vocals level is set too "hot" on the Storm King? The peaks are really high on that track and there might even be some digital clipping (my fault not having the compresser atm).

The artist sounds really awesome in the room and it is pretty hard for me (as a beginner in audio recording) to capture that powerful voice without compromising character and dynamic range. These are home live demo recordings - we will surely be back with some studio recorded stuff soon enough.)

anonymous Mon, 07/21/2014 - 08:10

"No the clicking sound is not your keyboard. I think it's some kind of an attempt of someone trying to play bongos?"

If you are referring to "Sweeter Than Nothing" it's obvious that there are no bongos anywhere within a city block of this recording. It's either the sound of fingers on a keyboard, or the sound of the slap on an upright bass, maybe?...or something.

You can hear it playing the exact same rhythm as the piano/bass. There must have been a hot mic in the room somewhere in proximity to the instruments... or, the vocal mic was picking it up because it was in too close proximity to the instruments.

I do agree that the vocals sound a bit harsh, but not because of your mic(s).
She has an inherent "brassy" sound/style ( a bit reminiscent of Janis Joplin) inherent to her vocal timbre/style that is, well, a bit overwhelming frequency-wise.

You want to look at controlling that a bit through the use of EQ, or EQ and Gain Reduction. Off the cuff, I'd say to listen in the 600hz to 1k region to attenuate that a bit.

I'm not a huge fan of Band Sensitive Compression, but this might be one of those scenarios where you may want to consider it, in the frequency range I mentioned above.

IMHO of course.

Lama876 Mon, 07/21/2014 - 08:38

There are indeed keyboard finger clicks on all three records, due to the mics being placed right over the keyboard - since artist is singing and playing the keyboard simultaneously.
Thanks for pointing to Band Sensitive Compression, that's might be the thing to consider, if we won't be able to adjust that with room fitting or mic selection placement, as I initially wanted to keep it raw and un-EQed unprocessed as possible.

When you are listening to her voice live in the room - the perfomance delivers as it is and sounds just right, so now it is all about getting it right "on tape".
BTW I have an idea of trying analog recording with real tape compression saturation clipping trick - it also should smooth out peaks, which are pretty hard to control, since the source is really loud.

anonymous Mon, 07/21/2014 - 12:58

I would guess that she has nails that may be longer than what a guy would wear? I can hear the fingernails tapping the keys... if you really wanted to get rid of that sound, consider the source - and buy her a set of nail clippers. LOL. Barring that, maybe band aids or medical tape covering the tips of her fingers?

Your room is an important quotient in this equation. How far off the mic is she when she is singing? Is she in close proximity to any walls or surfaces that would contribute to reflection/kickback?
remember, you're using a condenser with that C12 clone on her vocal, so it will be far more sensitive to room sonics - both good and bad - than a dynamic would... speaking of which, have you considered trying her on a dynamic like an SM7 or an RE20? It might help to alleviate some of the room reflection, and they will take the obvious heavier SPL's that she's performing at.

You might want to consider putting her in proximity to a BB absorber if you are going to continue to record in the same space... personally, I'd be going for as dead as possible (because the room doesn't really sound complimentary to her voice in this case) and then add some reverb or reflection through the use of a good digital device, or perhaps, consider room simulation with a convolution impulse...?

just kinda thinking out loud, here. ;)

Lama876 Mon, 07/21/2014 - 15:45

That is the sound of a pretty light synth action midi-keyboard button mechanism (Fatar VMK-88) under intensive press-load.)

As for the room, yep, you are right again - unfortunately, there was a wall in front of the artist, and mics had to be placed pretty close - about 40cm from the source.
I don't have any decent dynamic mics at my disposal at the moment, but will certainly try one when I'll have a chance.

BTW I've just got some nice convolution impulse reverbs and will try them asap, and hopefully we will get to the right room hall eventually :)

anonymous Tue, 07/22/2014 - 03:56

well, I'm not sure you should use any more reverb now at this point, when you already have quite a bit of natural reflection present on the track top begin with.

I was suggesting that perhaps the next time you record her vocal - if you were going to use the same room - you might consider placing a broadband absorber close to her - perhaps on that wall, which appears to be the culprit. Track her vocals as dead as you can. Then, after you track the vocals in as dead of a space as possible, you could add the convolution to simulate a room... but adding it now, when you already have quite a bit of room sound built in, would probably not be the best idea.

Hard surfaces of any kind in close proximity to a vocal mic should be avoided, unless that is the particular sound you are intentionally after.

There are some studios that will even go so far as to treat the music stands that singers use while recording... they will place a piece of absorbent material on the face of the stand to avoid potential reflections bouncing off of the surface.