$3,000 budget to improve heavy metal vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by AliveatmyFuneral, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. I only record one guy- he sounds like static-x singer Wayne Static- go listen at http://www.myspace.com/aliveatmyfuneral . Listen to Lord of Worms and Flies. I know that these vocals can sound better- They were recorded through an Audio Technica AT4040, using a Presonus TubePre preamp, straight in to the computer. I have $3,000, and I want to spend it ALL on improving this vocal track. What do I need? New Preamp? Better Mic? Better effects? Singing Lessons? (I used that joke first, now you can't). Please Help Me!!- BTW, I record in a room with complete acoustical dampening.

  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    AliveatmyFuneral, just what exactly do you mean make this talent free croaking and throat cancer wannabe "better"?? You don't sing. You have nothing to say. You have no talent and so there is nothing to improve upon. It's perfect just the way it is, AWFUL. Which is the way I think you want this er um music to sound? You wouldn't want it to sound good because then it wouldn't be AWFUL, which I think is the desired result. When it comes to um er (cough) music (using the term lightly, very lightly) this ain't music. It's the recording of an angry nuclear reactor meltdown with sprinkles of molten lava, ready to barf. And what is the purpose of this kind of " entertainment"? Trying to cough up your vocal cords makes understanding the lyrics so much more difficult. It doesn't matter how much better you make it sound, nobody will ever comprehend your Marine Corps drill sergeant delivery. Think about it. Your question is really quite idiotic. To make something this awful sound good? Take some music lessons.

    Have you actually considered studying music to find out exactly how beautiful it can be?

    Beautiful recording engineer, engineering beautiful recordings
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. You're a close minded dyke RemyRad- I didn't ask what your opinion of the music was- I asked for opinions about the equipment to use for this style of music. What are your credits anyway? I'd like to know what you call music- probably something from the lesbian community, I'm sure. Just shut the hell up, ok?
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    No, not from the lesbian community. From the music community.

    Narrowminded? Yup, if I can't sing it, play it, remember it, it ain't music. Don't flatter yourself in thinking that you are an artist. You sound like an angry hobbyist, wannabe uninspired beginner.

    In order to give you a professional recommendation for equipment, it IS BASED UPON THE MUSICAL CONTENT! The Cleveland Orchestra will utilize different equipment from the " Cough Our Vocal Cords Out" band. So what kind of piece of crap were you barfing into for your sample recording? How was it miserably manipulated? What horrible microphone preamplifier was utilized? Did your engineer make it through high school? Do you know which end of the microphone to scream into?

    Your music is what it is, there is no better because it can't be better because it isn't real to begin with. You don't even have the intelligence to verbalize in what way you think it should be "better". Perhaps you need an enema before you do your vocals?

    So? How do you think this can be improved upon? What is it that you are looking for to be improved? High frequency response? Low-frequency response? Greater intelligibility (if that were possible)? Lower signal-to-noise ratio (which would be of no benefit) A broader bandwidth to make your vocal distortion even more excruciating? Adjustable polar patterns? Cardioid? SuperCardioid? HyperCardioid? Omni-directional? Figure of 8? Tubes? Transistors? Hybrid circuits? Discrete electronics? Remote control of polar patterns? Small diaphragms? Large diaphragms? Ribbons, dynamics? What's better?

    Better performance? Better vocal placement? Better support? Deeper breaths? Breathing through your nose? Better intonation (if there was any discernible intonation) WHAT??? WHAT SHOULD BE BETTER??

    Now who is the idiot? Your question is like, "when I point to the right my left arm hurts. What makes it better?"

    The best Straight and Lesbian engineer on the forum.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. Vincebus

    Vincebus Guest

    That's a little over the top don't you think Remy? He asked a question politely and not only did you not give him any help or advice, you made a fool of yourself. If you do not like somebodie's stye of music, then keep your goddamn cock funnel closed. If you have something positive to say, then say it.

    I didn't realize the role of a moderator on this forum was to be a huge bitch.
  6. You have quite the ego, you really do. Why do you even get on this forum? People are on here to share / receive technical info about recording, not give their own personal opinions about different styles of music- nobody cares about your personal opinion, it's nothing more than a disruption. You must be extremely bored if all you can find to do with your time is get on a technical forum and yell at people you don't know, like they are your own disobedient children. Grow up already. I'll ask you again, what are your credits, and what is music to you?

    "Narrowminded? Yup, if I can't sing it, play it, remember it, it ain't music."

    -This line from your response tells me that you have no instrumental talents at all, so you're just the tag along that records people, always wondering what it would be like to be able to actually play an instrument.
    Let's hear some music that you have written, performed, recorded, engineered, the whole bit. Oh, don't have any? Not surprised. The only people that typically get on this website and trash other people, for nothing, are the ones that wish they could do half of what everyone else is able to do. You're bitter- take it out on one of your cats.
    Unless you have something constructive to say Remy, get off of this post. Thank you.
    P.S.- You're not impressing anyone with all of your "big" words. 1. All of the things you said are rudimentary, and are only impressive to beginners. 2. You probably did a quick Google search to find them.

    Now- Does anyone have an opinion that is worth while?
  7. Thank you Vincebus. I agree, total bitch. And a moderator!! What the Hell!!
  8. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    From a very quick listen before I left for work this morning, I would say that the room acoustics would need improvement, maybe a "mic shield" (such as Ethan Winter's "portable vocal booth" - http://www.realtraps.com/products.htm). To my groggy ears, the vocals had quit a bit of room coloration and boxiness.

    Sweet as ever, now aren't you?... Such a totally off-topic hate/flame post as your first should have the mods giving you at least a warning. No, wait, you are the mod... Can you please give a warning to yourself?
    Although I do respect your experience, you do come off as being a stuck-up, righteous and discourteous AE, and I remember reading a few posts in recent times that reprimanded you because of this. But such a silly hate post as this one seemed to be beyond you until now.

    @Vincebus, AliveatmyFuneral:
    More or less subtle suggestions to RemyRAD's sexual orientation or canine behavior aren't really helping. Behave.
  9. cathode_ray

    cathode_ray Active Member

    May 3, 2007
    West Palm Beach
    ...most amusing thread I've encountered in days!

    Look at "it" this way. Remy's reactions is the desired result of this kinda stuff(I reserve the term music), isn't it? So where's the problem?
    If a person glorifies ugliness then what respone more appropriate?

    I always thought there was enough ugliness/hate/violence in the world naturally and my time was best spent conteracting it, but hey, to each his own!
  10. Mandachuva

    Mandachuva Guest

    First of all, I wouldn't care less if he was singing about the second coming of Jeebus in the twenty-third circle of hell, over a 19/47 drum rhytm, and a sitar loop - this is a home studio advice forum, not a song critique forum, as far as I know. He asked a simple question (albeit without enough information to properly give an answer), and got flamed regarding the music he plays as a response. I somewhat understand your point of view - I'm not into that kinda music myself (and yes, it's music - there is even such a thing as NOISE music, which doesn't have a structure or harmony... it's still called "music"). But then, would it be OK to only speak nicely to people who ask questions about recording songs that contain at least 2 of the following words: nice, cute, sweet, bunny? Each to their own, as they say.
  11. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    What was it that Rodney King said? "Can't we all get along?" Anyway, there is no need to use crude sexual slurs. Maybe in other parts of the world where women are treated like pigs, but not here.
    Anyway, there is nothing wrong with the mic you are using, the AT4040 will pick up all the growl and spit that you can throw at it. The PreSonus TubePre is a joke, a whimpy-assed excuse of a pre. Look at a Brick preamp which is raw high-voltage tubes and nothing more. A perfect match for your AT4040 (or even a 58) to get the message out. And try a little bit of delay to "widen" the image, maybe 60 ms. Sounded too dry.
    And you opened yourself up with the "joke" to get some vocal lessons. That's a no-brainer.
  12. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    I have to say, reading Remy's comments certainly make this board worth visiting! I do somewhat agree though. What do you really want to sound better? I think it sounds fine. It's grungy angry and doesn't sound produced. Isn't that what you want? Anyways, to me the vocals sounded a little low. I mean, I can't understand them anyways, but maybe it would give me a better chance. Have you tried double tracking it? Maybe copying the track and altering the 2nd a little bit to make it sound a little different, maybe giving it a fuller sound? These are theoretical, but I think you can find some cool things through experimentation. I actually did pick out "Lord of worms and flies" in the song. Then it disappeared in the ocean of yelling. Maybe instead of having to spend 3 grand you can get a book to see how vocals are recorded. Though you obviously have the general idea maybe it will give you some other ones. Getting recording books is my next step. Google is also your friend! It's a bad artist who blames his tools, so you can probably get what you're looking for with what you have now. Just gotta learn more about it. Another suggestion, so we can better judge, is to use soundclick.com. Myspace compresses the hell out of the songs and the quality comes through terrible.

    As far as metal music goes...
    My friend plays in a metal band, and I like about 1 or 2 of their songs. The reason that I have a lot of respect for the band is because as a whole they come together very well. All of their songs use CONSTANTLY changing time signatures, and while it may throw me off (I'm a 4/4 kind of guy) they all are talented and know what they're doing, and the music is actually very technical. Metal in 4/4 timing is like... I can't play rock! Dammit! Hey, that's cool. III CAANNN'TTTT PLAY ROCKKKKKK!!!!!!! Of course then they will somehow relate those words or killing someone into a message from god and how it's ok. Or write about how ^#$%ed up the world is while their main goal is to have their fans charge eachother in a frenzy (Lamb of God's Wall of Death) Hope I can come back from golfing and read another Remy response haha!
  13. mark02131

    mark02131 Active Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Hire a studio musician / singer should get the results you are looking for. You could try and contact some studios so see if they know any rock singers for hire that could lay down the VOX track for you.

    If you need to use the current singer, maybe push it into the background and bring out the guitars and drums basically play with the mix, I don't think more equipment is necessary.

    Good Luck.
  14. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    I don't pretend to "Get" what you're trying to do musically; but I'll avoid Remy's tactic and try to offer some honest advice. (It would be easy to join in the fray and make nasty comments about music I don't personally enjoy or work on, but in this case I don't think you' deserved such a beat-down; you asked nicely, professionally, and without any BS in your first post, and you seem like a nice guy, despite the sound of your um, vocals. ;-)

    I think you've gotten some good tips already on improving things, but I'm hard pressed to think what $3k will also do to improve them outright. (REALLY trying to avoid the easy jokes - including the one you already mentioned: Practice!)

    I think perhaps placement of the vocal in the mix itself will do some good. I'm only listening on little crap speakers here on the computer, but my first impression is that the track itself is cluttered, frenetic and over the top, overall. (Yes, I realize that's it's SUPPOSED to sound that way, due to the style & sound of the genre, but it does tend to get in the way of the vocal message much of the time.) You've probably heard this before, but you can get great vocals out of even an SM-57 or 58; it's not so much the technology as what's going on in FRONT of the mic, and how it's all mixed together.

    Her insults to you aside, Remy's questions about "what are you looking for" have some merit, and while I'm NOT picking on your style of music per se, with the way things are sitting in the mix right now, I doubt it would matter much if you used a Neumann U87 or an AT 4040 or less.

    That said; I think you have some serious potential here, (assuming these tracks aren't just a bunch of mashed-up loops - are these real musicos playing on these tracks?) My guess is that the effort you put into this stuff (as spooky and annoying as it may sound to some folks, me included), will drive you onward to more things, each one better and more interesting than the thing before it. Even though I don't like the music genre represented here, a lot of work clearly went into your tracks.

    I don't know the workings of your mind and why you gravitate to this kind of spooky/unnerving material (in such a niche market?), but may I humbly suggest you take that $3k and use it for a class, a trip, or vacation or some time of educational experience to broaden your musical palette, listen to something else besides just this genre, if only for the sake of argument here? (I'm NOT telling you what to do or how to live your life, but sometimes you find what you're looking for by looking elsewhere. Sometimes when you're NOT looking for something, the answer appears in a different way...)

    So perhaps the real question is: Are just looking to throw money at a single problem ("Better" vocals in an arguably limited genre and style) or you want to be a better overall musician/enginner/producer? No offense, but I don't think you're going to grow or improve your musical or engineering chops by going down this very narrow path, sonically, musically, thematically.

    To look at it another way: while no one's telling you how to live your life or make music, perhaps you'd learn something about THIS particular problem by working on something different, from another angle. What you learn from one style may apply to the one you're currently trying to fix.

    Not sure if that makes sense, but in the end, it all kinda melts together anyway, IMHO.

    Good luck with the vocal thing, however you go.
  15. Ok, I get it- you all think my vocals suck- I'm OK with that. From the sound of it, no one here is big in to this genre anyway. Ok, case in point. Now, Slayer, Static X, Lamb of God, Cannibal Corpse, Arch Enemy, Daath, Children of Bodom, Bohemoth, etc. are all currently making money in this "niche" market, and ALL of them sell out their shows, meaning that this is not an entirely worthless style of music to market. I'm not saying that my vocals are equally as good as any of these bands, but I think that if you look them up, and have a listen, most of you will find that they are just as ugly as mine, and personally, I think Slayer's are worse. I want you all to imagine the following scenario, and use this to answer my original question about equipment:

    You are at your studio, the studio you mostly work in. A heavy metal group is scheduled to record at your studio today- a younger group of guys, who play speed metal. You finish recording the band, and it is time to record the singer. You listen to the singer ahead of time- his voice sounds like Alive at my Funeral's- you chuckle to yourself at first, but then you realize that there is a job to do, and that job is to make this band sound Great. Your personal opinion aside, which mic do you pull out? Which preamp do you hook the mic to? What effects do you add to the vocal track when mixing?

    As a studio engineer, it is not your job to judge the material going in to your console, it is to solely to make the material coming out of your console sound good- it's also not the job, or function, of a forum moderator.

    I don't care what people's personal opinions are about my music, or my vocals (yes, they are my own vocals), I just want help, and I'm being humble enough to go out and ask for it. If I know studio tech-ees, I know that they Love to sound smart, and share their knowledge, so give it to me, and let's hear some adult, professional opinions about the hobby we all adore.

  16. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    Props for keeping your cool even after those responses. Most people would say **** this forum! Anyways, I listened again and I still think the main problem is that the vocals are way too low. Even in the part where you're not screaming I cannot hear what you are saying. The reason it probably sounds right to you is because you know the words and everything. I don't know anything about frequencies and certain sound ranges like many of the more knowledgeable members do, but that might be another reason that your voice is getting lost in the mix.

    This is what I think you should try (still don't really know, im not a professional)

    Increasing vocal volume
    Double tracking vocals
    Copying the vocal track you have, adding one with a slight chorus effect, and panning them slightly

    These IMO would help the vocals stand out a bit. I only know one static x song that i like - The Only. Listening to that it sounds like there might be a slight chorus effect on the voice. If he were to scream in front of me alone I'd throw down $5 it wouldn't sound like that! Also listen to how low the guitars are compared to the vocals. But if you still got money burning a hole in your pocket then go ahead and spend! Do you do the instruments as well?
  17. Yes, I do the instruments also- Everything Alive at my Funeral, is me alone. I like your comment about throwing $5 that Wayne Static doesn't sound like that in person, or in front of you- Even in concert, they leave his vocals completely wet when he's talking, delay and all!!, and I mean, It is Wet!! I noticed the same thing about Ozzy Osbourne- they leave his vocals completely chorused, even when he's talking. I'll try turning up the vocals, I see what you mean- thanks for the first real response on this post- you rock!
  18. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA

    Sorry. I'm a foggy too. Mixed a few metal bands live, So I know the current state of the genre a little. My general reaction is that I played/covered this stuff Sabbath, etc. in 1973 so I fully understand why you are doing this. Just don't want to do it again myself. BTW, when I played the clip my son went wild and couldn't believe that his dad was finally listening to some good music. .... You don't want to hear about my son.

    Anyway, I have not recorded this kind of stuff, so this is just a guess, but here goes. Three possible places to put the money
    1. Acoustic treatment.
    2. Mic.
    3. Preamp.

    Acoustic treatment is always a good idea - makes any mic and preamp sound more realistic, but treatments have lower resale value and are not always easy to transport, so it depends on your situation. This would be my first suggestion in the right situation.

    I can't see paying big bucks for a mic for this type of material. (You aren't trying to get across subtle nuances.) Try out an EV RE20. (at < $400) One of the best dynamic mics you can buy. Will take your high spls and spit them back at you. (Perhaps literally.) (You are using a good mic already.)

    A preamp is a great idea, but I have nothing specific to recommend in the 2K$ range that would help your specific music more than any other pre in that range. The Brick would be an improvement for not too much money. I has a lot of headroom, but the higher buck pres have more. Problem is I don't really know if you are looking for headroom or distortion.

    Good luck, Cheers.
  19. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    Jul 18, 2006
    Itasca, Illinois
    Home Page:
    All of the bands you just mentioned: listen to their vocal tracks closer. Almost every single line is overdubbed, especially LoG. Can you duplicate your vocals effectively? That is, can you scream it the same way every time? Because every syllable(sp.) must match up almost dead on.
    Production wise, try to pan them slightly but also turn one down completely (usually the secondary overlay) and slowly turn it back up just enough until the overlay does it's job of filling out the gaps. Note that the secondary fader will probably be different from the primary even by -10 dB. The track is merely meant to fill in gaps to make it more full sounding, not to double the track completely. This will help make the vocals sound more wet.
    The other thing, as someone else mentioned, is to add a bit of delay. Barely audible with probably only once repeating should do it nicely. However, mess with the delay time because some songs may require faster or slower response based on how fast the lyrics are being versed. One thing that I have learned is a taboo with screaming is the addition reverb. I have found that on normal speakers (car, mini-hifi systems, etc) the reverb makes the vocals sound like they are in a closed box. This is in opposition to the delay which actually tends to open up the "room" that the vocals are in. Just my opinion on what I have experienced.

    I personally like the way that it is sounding for the mics and pres you are using. I say thumbs up for that. I hope what I told you helps a bit. Remember to use the delay in GREAT moderation. Same for the volume of the overlay track. You only need just the right amount to get the desired result; too much and it will sound like you tried too hard to make it sound professional, or whatever. You know what I mean. Good luck!
  20. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    Aug 9, 2005
    From LV but Army brought me to TN
    If you would kindly check your PM's you will see a great oppertunity.
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