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Need advice for recording rock vocals

Greetings all,

I got an Apollo Twin MKII Solo (all stock plugins) running into a Shure SM7B with a Trace Audio mod (+25dB clean boost) and my mic is inside a Kaotica 7B since I can't really treat this place well.  I can do that after we buy a house but for here, I need to occupy as little space as possible.

My recordings sound really boxy and I've played around with running some stuff on my Apollo Twin to make it sound better but I spent so many hours looking at mixing videos that making a really good recording has eluded me.  I can't seem to find good videos of recording with chains set to print to a DAW.

What do you guys do?

Comments

paulears Sat, 08/20/2022 - 12:17

First thing we need is a short clip, showing the problem. I must say that I'm always wary of devices like your Kaotica. The blurb contains some quite strange advice - things like "We recommend using Cubase, Protools, Luna, Logic, Ableton, Reason or Studio One to record your vocals. We have found that the processing engines in other software are not adequate in reproducing a high-quality sound." - that is, quite frankly, tosh! It mentions that it's for vocals not instruments because the full range will include room sound? Hmm we have foam and fabric - they suggest rugs and 'things between the mic and the walls".

I suspect strongly that you have the usual boxy room issue, and your mic is simply capturing it. After all, if the foam does what foam normally does, it works at the top, so boomy sound, reflections of your voice via parallel walls will still be there. Foam on the walls doesn;t do much, and bringing this foam to the mic cannot do any better.

It could be wonderful, but your problem, plus the feeble Q&A section on their website dealing with poor sound questions suggests to me it's an amazing looking foam windshield, doing what foam windshields do - cut out wind noise and plosives.

It's easy to check - string up the classic duvets where the SM7B has it's most sensitive pickup - so behind and either side of the mic and see if you can detect what they are doing. My bet is that the duvets will work better than the clever shield.

I'm personally not a lover of plugins on record, I prefer to record the mic output raw. Recording with pre-record chains needs sonically good spaces, or you will be recording material that is flawed and then you're trying to fix it. Nice sounding spaces rarely need these plugins at all. A nice transparent interface, a nice room to record/mix in and decent monitors. I note you decided on an SM7B - are you sure it suits your voice? I assume you're woking it close and hot? Maybe that for you is wrong? 

If you put a sample up of unprocessed capture - we'll know straight away.

boydwgrossii Sun, 08/21/2022 - 14:19

paulears wrote:

First thing we need is a short clip, showing the problem. I must say that I'm always wary of devices like your Kaotica. The blurb contains some quite strange advice - things like "We recommend using Cubase, Protools, Luna, Logic, Ableton, Reason or Studio One to record your vocals. We have found that the processing engines in other software are not adequate in reproducing a high-quality sound." - that is, quite frankly, tosh! It mentions that it's for vocals not instruments because the full range will include room sound? Hmm we have foam and fabric - they suggest rugs and 'things between the mic and the walls".

I suspect strongly that you have the usual boxy room issue, and your mic is simply capturing it. After all, if the foam does what foam normally does, it works at the top, so boomy sound, reflections of your voice via parallel walls will still be there. Foam on the walls doesn;t do much, and bringing this foam to the mic cannot do any better.

It could be wonderful, but your problem, plus the feeble Q&A section on their website dealing with poor sound questions suggests to me it's an amazing looking foam windshield, doing what foam windshields do - cut out wind noise and plosives.

It's easy to check - string up the classic duvets where the SM7B has it's most sensitive pickup - so behind and either side of the mic and see if you can detect what they are doing. My bet is that the duvets will work better than the clever shield.

I'm personally not a lover of plugins on record, I prefer to record the mic output raw. Recording with pre-record chains needs sonically good spaces, or you will be recording material that is flawed and then you're trying to fix it. Nice sounding spaces rarely need these plugins at all. A nice transparent interface, a nice room to record/mix in and decent monitors. I note you decided on an SM7B - are you sure it suits your voice? I assume you're woking it close and hot? Maybe that for you is wrong? 

If you put a sample up of unprocessed capture - we'll know straight away.

How do I put up a sample recording here?  I am not sure the SM7B is the best for my vocal but it's what I got within $400 at the time.

audiokid Sun, 08/21/2022 - 21:48

boydwgrossii wrote:

How do I put up a sample recording here?

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paulears Mon, 08/22/2022 - 01:39

I didn't mean to infer the SHure isn't a good mic - after all, millions of podcasters can't be wrong, but I find it a pretty good 'do anything pretty well' type mic, and you can yell into it happily. It's just kind of er, boring. Depending on the voice, I'm not that convinced it's special in any measurable way. It doesn't sound very different to an SM57 really. Not at all a bad purchase. I'm not convinced the clever and expensive windshield was value for money - for the price of that, you could have done some useful room treatment that would let you record other things too? What SM7Bs are good for is recording very close in, and then the room is usually so far down in the capture that it's less important. In your fancy gizmo, how close are the singers lips to the Shure foam? I'm wondering if the windshield makes the lips to mic distance greater, which reveals the room sound, and then the foam reduces just the top end a bit? That seems possible, but you're the first person we've met on here with one.

boydwgrossii Mon, 08/22/2022 - 04:46

I was standing about 8” away.  I was doing some research and it recommends that I right up on the mic with lips practically touching it.

I did a song under the monikor Arms Like Trees called Trust Is Used.  I had to use some really deep cuts and a big high shelf to get it to sound good enough.

I will see if I can track a dry vocal this evening.  I work in construction and my ears, even with protection, aren’t always accurate after a day on the job site.

paulears Wed, 08/24/2022 - 13:36

boydwgrossii wrote:

I was standing about 8” away.  I was doing some research and it recommends that I right up on the mic with lips practically touching it.

I did a song under the monikor Arms Like Trees called Trust Is Used.  I had to use some really deep cuts and a big high shelf to get it to sound good enough.

I will see if I can track a dry vocal this evening.  I work in construction and my ears, even with protection, aren’t always accurate after a day on the job site.

 

8" is quite a way away if you want to minimise the room sound, SM7Bs do need quite severe EQ when you work in close and loud but that's normal and you can usually get it sounding great. I hated them, but a couple of months ago I discovered I liked them used at a distance in a good sounding room, which isn't what most people do, but for me, it works pretty well.

boydwgrossii Thu, 08/25/2022 - 05:07

8" is quite a way away if you want to minimise the room sound, SM7Bs do need quite severe EQ when you work in close and loud but that's normal and you can usually get it sounding great. I hated them, but a couple of months ago I discovered I liked them used at a distance in a good sounding room, which isn't what most people do, but for me, it works pretty well.

how do I get a good sounding room in a place that is very noisy?

boydwgrossii Fri, 08/26/2022 - 06:05

First should be dry vocal with my Kaotica Eyeball on.
Second is using the UA 610b Preamp in the UNISON slot on my Apollo Twin MKii Solo and putting a big shelf in.
Third is the second with some processing and in the context of the song.

The dry feels off.  I have watched a lot of mixing videos and unboxing videos where someone gets a song and the vocal doesn't sound anything like that

paulears Sat, 08/27/2022 - 00:36

I’d do a comparison with the pre out of the mic and record just a bit with your lips touching, but, you might have a problem. Why did you get the modded version? Is it switchable? That mod is useful when you use the SM7B six inches from your mouth and speak in a normal voice, or perhaps a little quieter than a normal voice. You’re yelling into it, and I was going to suggest doing it again touching the foam, but can your whizzy internal preamp cope with that kind of level. The mic can, that’s what it was designed for. You don’t need any gain let alone 25db. Your preamp level will be virtually off! The hardness could simply be the internal preamp weeping! Switch it off so it’s back to stock, then re-record a bit I bet that makes a big improvement. The voice is ideal for the track. The track you did by mistake reveals a way too loud snare, by the way. He he.

Davedog Sun, 09/04/2022 - 09:42

Stock the mic as per Paul. Get it OUT of that shield. That mic doesn't need a shield in ANY environment since it really isn't sensitive enough to pick up flutters or anything else you might be hearing in an untreated room. The preamp sounds pinched like it's not enough gain going to the track. With your voice and your UAD, you should have a fast compressor first (1176) and a slower compressor second (LA2A) without much compression on either. The fast comp to catch the immediate overs and the second to smooth the delivery to the track. Experiment with the input levels and again don't use much. Also....read about the controls on the 1176 if you are unfamiliar with how it works.

Davedog Sun, 09/04/2022 - 17:46

Yes. Whatever Unison pres you have. If you have the stock ones then you have the 610's. They are great. Remember it's about the FAST comp being first in the chain. If it's an 1176 then you want the 8 button and just a little bit of input and output. Fast attack fast release. The 1176 controls are different than most. The input not only sets the amount of signal coming into the unit but also how much of the compression is applied. Output sets the the final amount of signal passing. Set this unit first and get your levels correct with it in place before you add the LA2A.  Use the LA2A to define the amount of color by balancing the gain and peak reduction. Your metering should show a very steady amount going into the track but never deep into the yellow. You will probably like the 610B for your voice as the pre.

Davedog Mon, 09/05/2022 - 16:59

boydwgrossii wrote:

The 1176 is backward, right?  The right side is fast and left side is slow?

Not exactly. The input control not only controls the amount of signal being sent into the unit but also how much compression is being applied. Fast and slow are attained with the attack and release controls and the ratio is on the buttons. Using the '20' ratio effectively makes this a limiter. The output is how much of the affected signal is going to the track. So in a stacked compressor setting, the first compressor ....in this case I'm laying out, the 1176, works as more of a "limiter" to take out the heavy transients that in your vocal mode you demonstrated will always be prevalent. The harder you hit the mic with your voice, even the SM7, the more peaky and boxy it will sound. So this is where you use a higher ratio and fast attack- fast release on the first comp and them smooth things out adding back in the dynamics and tonal qualities you might be looking for in a production like the one you have left as samples wit hhe second compressor which in this case is the LA2A which is a slower device without a ton of ratio.

Davedog Tue, 09/06/2022 - 14:20

Boswell wrote:

I think he was asking about the attack and release times, Dave.

Fully clockwise on these two controls is the fastest setting.

I see that now! Thanks Meister Boswell. And YES  more is faster on these. 

 

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