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Very strange Vocalist...any advice? (with wave sampels...)

Hi there...Last year I recorded a full album for a Hard-core punk band...they had a guest vocalist which screamed in a very strange way (in the room you could only hear the very very high frequnsize) anyway- next week he is coming back to studio to recored his own Hardcore trash band...and I realy don't know how to handle his strange vocals...
here is a sample of last years CD...
(His line is- "so don't, don't count on me...etc...)
any ideas on making the vocals sounding more full and normal?...
thanks a lot
hope the qustion is clear, sorry about the bad english.


RemyRAD Thu, 02/15/2007 - 09:36
noamlev5, well see, you faked me out really well. I was quite impressed overall. You've learned your craft well.

The vocal harmonizers that you have heard about are available both as software and hardware. However, they are designed for people who sing, not for screamers. I really don't think he'll work on that? And of course, this should not be confused with the original Eventide Harmonizer H910/949, etc.. These were pitch shifters and not necessarily designed for vocal harmonies as it was a fixed pitch change, which really doesn't create harmonies.

In harmony with the world
Ms. Remy Ann David

moonbaby Thu, 02/15/2007 - 09:44
A 'harmonizer' is a digital processing unit that can add an extra harmony to the voice you've recorded. Eventide actually owns the trademark on "harmonizer", but everyone and his brother (mis)uses the term to denote a device that will shift the voice up/down in pitch. These can be a real tool or a real pain, and if you don't know what you're doing with it, I wouldn't do that on this voice. Your friends were probably suggesting that you add a LOWER pitch to the vocal to give it some bottom end...maybe?

JoeH Thu, 02/15/2007 - 10:13
Like it, hate it, fix it or change it; com'on! This vocal style is a gimmick, and few can pull it off properly anyway. He's heading for permanent vocal chord damage at the rate he's going. Treat him very gingerly if he's not interested in creating a good, usuable sound in FRONT of the mic; otherwise you're only going to make yourself nutz in the end.

Mises' list of coaching tips is commendable, but when does it stop being a recording session, and then starts becoming a vocal coaching session? (either way, that kind of singer should be paying dearly for the info and lessons. Anyone with a decent recording rig can do this, but they have to know how to listen and critique themselves dispassionately.)

Few singers really have that kind of natural rasp (Rod Stewart, the guy from AC/DC, and many other metal headbangers who I've barely been able to stand for more than a few minutes at a time), and when the good ones do, it almost comes naturally. This guy doesn't have that, and it's painful to listen to. (Reminds me of a bunch of football fans somewhere around third quarter, when the beer is running out and the voices are getting hoarse.)

I saw two "Death-Metal" bands last October at an outdoor Haunted Hayride/Trailer concert; one was trying pitifully to sound like this (just getting hoarse in the process), and the other was downright FANTASTIC. This guy knew how to project, how to hold pitch, and how add that "affected" sound of raw screaming when necessary. BIG difference, IMHO. (It was almost operatic, if that doesn't sound too weird.) Vocally, the enjoyable singer was gifted to begin with; he could handle the melody with strength and power, and his band was solid, while the screecher was pathetic; no pitch, no dynamic range, and totally, completely hoarse/inaudible by the end of the set. The band with the good-rasp singer ROCKED, and as it turned out, I enjoyed the hell out of their set. (I'm NOT anti-anything, I just hate bad stuff, period.)

And no matter what you're trying to do to help engineering-wise, if the singer comes in with bad technique and no real talent, your role then simply becomes diplomatic till its over.

Bad is bad, and no amount of shinola is going to change that, so be careful in your approach.

Metal and THERE's an unholy alliance.....mmmmmmmmmm.

RemyRAD Thu, 02/15/2007 - 12:03
JoeH! I think you're reading my brain damaged mind! I've never liked Rod Stewart, Kim Karns nor any of those back of Chesterfield's and fifth of Jack Daniels type voices. I particularly don't like death metal screamers, that don't possess the qualities that you indicated. Some are quite talented and can scream a good scream. While others sound like they are Marine Corps drill sergeant wannabes or are trying to dispose of their vocal cords as quickly as possible. And they do.

I had one guy in the studio who wanted to sound like one of the good screamers. Like Steve Tyler. But he didn't project, didn't open his mouth wide enough, didn't breathe enough and sounded like a joke, since he had no support and made very little sound! He was disillusioned with the way his vocal sounded. He thought he sounded like Steve Tyler? NOT! You can't do anything with those guys.

Screamed at regularly
Ms. Remy Ann David

Cucco Thu, 02/15/2007 - 12:10
RemyRAD wrote: You can't do anything with those guys.

Sure you can!

You can listen to them (neigh...encourage them to) scream even more and louder! Then, sit back with your favorite single malt and watch as their singing career (however big of a joke that it is) goes down the toilet in flames! (how's that for a mixed metaphor?!)

Sipping patiently,

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 02/14/2007 - 14:01
Re: Very strange Vocalist...any advice?? (with wave sampels.

Man, I can't deal with that crap. I have a brother that is obsessed with that kind of "music".... even if I was getting paid to.... forget about it.

S.I ---> S.O.

Theres only one proper thing to do with people like that. Unfortunately the answer is not particularly conducive to making all parties involved happy.

The one thing my studio does is deals with vocalists.... extensively... and boy.... we've had some doozies, I'll tell you. We do a lot of our recording pro bono, because we cull singers, and train them at our own expense and time, and in return we use them as session singers for our own projects.

When it comes to people like this... the only thing you can do is train them to sing properly. That takes, at a minimum, a weeks time, in some cases... literally a year or two. Seeing as the latter scenario is not compatible with what your doing, you then might want to consider giving this singer a 1 week crash course on how to change the way he sings. It really is amazing what can be done with an astoundingly crappy singer when you dog and hound them and break them mentally and physically for long durations of time....

Next... Again. Do it over. Nope. Cut... do it again. Wrong again... No. Your doing the same thing again. Nope. You did it again. Come in here and listen to what your doing. Stop doing that. You did it again. Get back in here and listen to how its done. I'm not hassling you... but your douing it again... stop the vibrato crap and just do what I said... Do it again. Over and over and over and over. You hound people enough, you can make them sing right.... its amazing what persistance and stress and mild coercion can do to unscrew a lousy situation.

As far as what miracle effects to apply to remedy that situation... I would not even consider answering that until that persons voice is corrected on a permanent basis.... at least, for that particular song.... then you have to repeat the whole process over again for eacch song.

This singer needs a producer to ride his ass. Barring that.... the engineer can either ride his ass to get it right (which he isnt really getting paid to do.... unless the customers are willing to pay the money to spend as much time as necessary to make it sound right), else you just let it pass because if it sounds crappy its not your problem. Its the musicins job to make it sound good.

pr0gr4m Wed, 02/14/2007 - 15:08
I would imagine that the singer likes his voice just the way it is and does not want to be subjected to any vocal training because he feels that it is perfect for his musical style and taste....and it is and he's right.
Do I like it? Not particularly.
If I could change it would I? Yes, but we aren't always in a position to do so. As a producer or band member, I may have some say in it what the singer sounds like. But as an engineer, I don't have that sort of power. I'd make suggestions where I could try to get the best sound/performance possible.

To me, the recording of his voice in that snippet of audio is's got no ballz. I think it needs some more low end, but maybe that's his sound. From your description, I get the impression that his voice is like a screaming wisper. Lots of high end, lots of agression but maybe not a lot of volume and not a lot of low grumbles.

If it were me, I'd try to find some mid-low end in the vocal either by using different mics or EQ or pre-amp or some combination therein. I've never really worked with a "singer" with a voice like this, so it would be experiment time. I worked with a guy who did a lot of this sort of recording and he would let the singers hold their mic (the relatively cheap dynamic mics...not the expensive ones). He said it made them feel more comfortable and because of that he could get a better vocal.

I recorded one screamer using a Marshall MXL 57 and it sounded pretty good...but the vox were also being distorted all to hell so it didn't make too much of a difference. What I did like about it was that it didn't have a lot of high end and as such muddied up the vocals from the get go...which was a good thing in this case.

multoc Wed, 02/14/2007 - 18:11
I would tell him to learn to scream better, comp the hell out of the voice (AVOX helps a bit), it sounds like this guy throws his head back and forth towards the mic, so make him move further back so that emphasis isn't so apparent, tell him not to drink milk on the days he records (helps clear flem) and if it still sounds shitty tell him to not quit his day job

RemyRAD Thu, 02/15/2007 - 00:38
I dunno'? I think his vocal sounds perfectly wonderful? While he is a screamer, I detect no condenser microphone or Mike preamp overload. It sounds like a small diaphragm condenser was used on him with the bass cut filter engaged with copious amounts of limiting. The Mike had a nice high frequency edgy quality without it sounding over-the-top and I've personally felt, he sat really fine within the mix, which I also thought sounded pretty bitchin'? It definitely sounds like he was tracked through a quality preamp/console?

And so what about the vocal do you not like? But it's great that plenty of other people agreed with you in their estimation that the vocal wasn't as good as it could be? I don't see how one would change or improve this vocal? His delivery, is his delivery and the extra high-frequency edge from the condenser microphone I think, helped it cut through better?

Quality as it should be
Ms. Remy Ann David

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 02/15/2007 - 02:02
Firstoff thanks everyone for the edvice/ answers!...
ramyrad...thanks for the nice words :) was actually recorded on some pritty-low budget equipment (a mackie vlz1202 with a a digi002) thanks thogh it made me happy :lol: the problem was that THAT WAS HOW HE SOUNDED in the first place...yes there is a large amount of filttering/compression/limeting on the track but no-there is no lowcut/hi-frequency sounds pritty nice when its just 20 secounds of 1 track from a full 12 track album, but a full EP with that??...some one told me something about a harmonizer?...I have no idea what a harmonizer is or what it does...can anyone explain me?/
thanks again