vocal settings for the nirvana sound
hi there ,,,ye are more then likely sick of these questions but im trying to get full,crisp,aggresive vocals like MR cobains and i am finding real problems in doing so ,,, it never seems to sound right
what have you tried so far? Also, what kind of gear are you using?
I can say that, in general, a good compressor is needed to get the skreaching loudness as well as the soft undertones. Try playing with the room your in as well,...no matter how often I listen to dear ol Kurt it always sounds like he is in a much larger space than a vocal booth (drum room maybe?). He also seems to sit a ways back from the mic,...not nearly as close to it as one would assume. I think he managed to "use" the room he was recording in to add to his voice,...if that makes any sense at all :?
i think a lot had to do with his natural voice too, that 'crisp, aggressive' part was something he just had....actually there was interview from '92 where he said smoking cigarettes actually added a raspiness and fuller aspect to his voice over time that he liked alot.. i miss that voice, oh well
p.s. the Making of Nevermind DVD deals with some aspects of his vocal recordings and Butch Vig (producer of Nevermind) explains alot
95% of Kurt's vocals on Nevermind were from his natural ability. According to the Subpop executive they had on there (Classic Albums: The Making of Nevermind), "He had a unique voice, definitely wasn't clean, but the girls loved it."
They also did most of the vocals in a fairly large live room. They had some that were cut in the control room ("Something in the Way" guitar and vocal were recorded on the spot in the control room.)
most of the equipment i use is budget range but it gives me good results with a lot of twicking,, recording unit is a all in one yamaha aw16 little bit messy and compresor and effects are behringer with other bits and bobs ,,,,the sound of kurts voice seems to be nice and simple through the clean parts,,, but through the heavy parts screams and certain phrases the sound seems to be doubled or even tribled with certain vocal tracks detuned to add great power and aggression like a crowd chanting
yea he was doubled and even tripled sometimes on Nevermind ...get that Nevermind DVD , it might be helpful to you
Another tidbit from the DVD: Kurt was reluctant to double vocals, but all Butch had to say was "John Lennon" did it and Kurt would do it. Also, everytime they doubled Kurt's, they doubled Dave's. The chorus on "Smells Like Teen Spirit" has both of them doubled.
You need to smoke a pack of Chesterfields and drink a 5th of Jack Daniels. It's that easy!
Although a classic album..
man, is there a LOT of high end on that album..hurts my ears!
I guess in the early 90ies they thought that sounded cool..
'Twas the "Sound Du' Jour"
Early Grunge = No lows, "analog sounding" highs. (Not what I would call good analog, but many feel that the high-frequency of a poorly maintained turntable is what analog sounds like!)
I read somewhere that kurt told butch to nock all the highend off before they started recording on the console, I am guessing butch turned an aux knob instead of the high end shelfing. The album does have a lot of high end.
as far as I know the vocals were doubled, and trippled, but I don't think they detuned anything, atleast I can't hear it.
as far as the vocal sound goes its him, listen to in utero, different producer (steve albini) and supposedly he only uses elderly tube mics, so its all kurt, he was just raspy.
I read somewhere that he used to just sit and scream to try to get his voice to the right point, the more he abused it the better it got, * I am not suggesting do this *
I 'remastered' the album for my ipod..took like 6db's off from 6k or something, added a db or 3 at 80..Now it sounds pretty nice. Although it's pretty whimpily(?) mixed..I want the guitars to be LOUDERRRR!
i have noticed that there are also alot of vox parts on their records. 3 part harmony on alot of choruses and such mixed in fairly low. doesn't hurt that it was amazing writing either...
tonybran wrote: i think a lot had to do with his natural voice too, that 'crisp, aggressive' part was something he just had....actually there was interview from '92 where he said smoking cigarettes actually added a raspiness and fuller aspect to his voice over time that he liked alot.. i miss that voice, oh well
I recall a lot being said about him being a super-unhealthy singer.
Near the time of his death, I understood he had nodules like basketballs - that's what he means by alcohol and smoking "adding to his voice". I had heard that uncertainties of his vocal future were one of the things that made it hard for him to carry on.
I've always loved screaming/raspy vocalists, but there are different techniques to accomplish it. From my experience, vocal technique is probably the most important part to considering your sound.
ie. If you want Kurt's sound, you'll probably have to risk your vocal cords the same way he did. Personally, I'd rather stick to a more sustainable style, assuming you or your singer is in this for the long run.
A slamming pre amp. Tube or not. Something nice like a Great River, or API, or whatever? Then drive the gain high and use a good mic. I don't really like SM57's for screaming, I get better results with a 58.
Or maybe a Studio Projects C1. Or a Shure KSM. Something that "happens" to sound real nice on screaming vocals.
It doesn't need to cost more than say $200 bucks or so.
Obviously a $2000 mic is gonna sound like a $2000 mic, but never the less...
Sing with good technique (like audiovisceral said) and sing with confidence.
When doubling your vocals use different mics and different preamps. This will help when it comes time to mixdown and blend the vocal tracks.