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Recording punk/ska vocals

Member for

21 years
I'm going to be recording for a punk/ska band and I need to know what effects/eq to use on the vocals. The singer does a lot of screaming and most of the singing he does, if not screaming is in a very raspy tone. I would be much appreciative if someone could give me a hand with the recording. Thanks!

And it may help to hear the vocals on previous recordings so you can listen to them at: myspace.com/stst

Comments

Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Fri, 03/07/2008 - 00:19
You see, on most but not all microphone preamps, the sensitivity or gain trim generally adjusts a highly specialized feedback loop. So the sensitivity of the microphone preamps is adjusted by taking some of the output and feeding it back to the " inverting input". Because this input is 180° out of phase to the input, turning up the gain or sensitivity is actually lowering the amount of the output signal fed back to the input. Because of the 180° phase shift, signal is canceled or reduced. With less feedback more gain is generated. This higher gain sensitivity setting can provide a more open sounding quality because of the lowered inverted feedback. At the same time, distortion will be produced by the excessive gain. This is reduced by engaging the microphone "pad" and frequently knocks the input sensitivity down by about 20 DB.

As I said, not all microphone preamps are built this way. A perfect example would be Mackie. You won't find a pad on those. This is because Greg realized he could create a more consistent and pad free microphone preamp. This was accomplished by creating a microphone preamp with a fixed gain setting of only 20 DB. That's not enough as up to 70 DB is sometimes required. So, a second stage "buffer" amplifier is used to provide an intermediate stage of additional gain, post microphone preamp. This type of preamp does not produce quite a difference in tonality with radically different gain settings. A cute and effective trick for less than accomplished engineers. Still good sounding and more than usable. But not as variable as an old-fashioned design.

Old-fashioned kind of girl
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

13 years 8 months

BrianaW Tue, 03/04/2008 - 22:17
Hi,
Record them completely dry with 3 mics. 2 in front of the singer and 1 in the room. Mix the room into the choruses and drop it during the verses. You want it to sound tighter and closer when the rest of the band gets more percussive and staccato. They should sound good almost totally dry for the most part. Just compressed. The recording they have (Miss Fortune) has too much room (probably from using too much compression bringing the tails up). I do like the analog tape sound it has. If he's switching between screaming and singing a lot, you could do seperate takes, or use a dynamic mic and ride the gain.

Anyway, Punk and Ska usually have dry vocals. You may be able to get away with vocal doubling in some parts. Compression, Desser, and Eq is all you should need, but that's your call. Just record them dry and experiment to see what fits the mix best afterward.

Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Wed, 03/05/2008 - 13:33
You simply want to use an SM58 with an additional big foam pop filter on it.

What is not mentioned here is proper gain settings. Since he is a screamer, I recommend that you engage the microphone preamp pad first and foremost. Then you can tweak your gain setting. This will also help to give you a more open quality since the preamp will be running with more gain, it'll produce a more open sound. Don't worry about the extra noise as it's really not a factor.

Screw using a condenser microphone.

Screaming Mimi's
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

21 years

Member Wed, 03/05/2008 - 17:58
Thank you to everybody who has contributed, this is all very helpful. I am quite new to recording so I might need clarification on some points. I believe you are saying to turn up the gain on the preamp, but should I also activate gain as an effect? If so, what levels? Thanks!

Member for

13 years 9 months

Codemonkey Wed, 03/05/2008 - 18:14
Gain as an effect? What? RemyRAD's comment about gain setting is the gain knob on the preamp/mixer/interface/control surface/whatever volume knobs are in your recording setup.

"Does your DAW come with a gain plugin?" isn't something I've read on these forums very often.
There's dynamics processing (a compressor) which involves modifying output volume based on input level and some parameters but these can only be worked out once you record the voice.

Member for

13 years 9 months

Codemonkey Wed, 03/05/2008 - 18:34
Newb nothing. Until last week I genuinely wouldn't be able to describe how a tom sounded.
Everyone here starts at some point. As everyone says, learning how to use EQ, reverb, mic placement is critical to the sound.

eg. I was using a compressor badly, and ruined an entire concert of mixdowns before realising how lousy it sounded and doing everything again.
That was 2 weeks ago.
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