general advice on improving my quality?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by MisterE, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. MisterE

    MisterE Guest

    heres a preemptive thank you to anybody who takes the time to read all this, and offers advice. i'm very grateful for any help i can get :D

    i've been recording hip hop vocals for almost 8 years, and have yet to find a sound im satisfied with. probably from a lack of knowledge and research

    if you want, you can hear a recording example here "Peaceful Harmony" was done on my current set up. i record on a Sterling ST55 mic($150), which runs to a M-Audio FireWire Solo($200) which runs to my PC. i listed prices to give a relative quality estimate. i use Adobe Audition to mix. i have the Diamond Wav Bundle, and my mixing consists of adding the "comp - presence exciter" compression setting, boosting the mids and highs to 2 or 3, then cutting the lows about reverb, no limiting, no noise reduction....i record in a 12x14 room with no booth or foam at all

    i generally record one layer of main vocals, and then 1 or 2 layers of overdubs(layering on specific words for emphasis).....i magnify in multi track and align each layer to the main vocals.

    and thats pretty much it. ive heard alot of tips and critique like "record more layers" "build a vocal booth" "buy mattress egg crate and section off a corner of the room" . i've had a few equipment upgrade suggestions too, preamps/mbox's/better mic's, but they were from amature artists as well....i dont want to spend more money if i can get great sound with better mixing!! . i'd like to get some advice from pro's for once, or at least people who have more experience. once again thank you to anybody who drops any advice or help, its appreciated!
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Hey, you need and some serious limiting to your vocal. Nobody wants to hear that kind of dynamic range out of a rap vocal. And after you limit, you can add some more equalization to beef it up some more. Otherwise, you're there man.

    I'm too old to get wrapped
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Try to work with what you've got for now, no need to buy more stuff when there are alternatives. Learn to work your mic and the room you're in and you're set. Don't use presets, especially compression or EQ presets. Use your ears to judge what sounds best and use it. Most of all, don't rely too much on the software, get the sound right going in and you shouldn't even have to edit anything, just sweeten a bit. A good pair of studio monitors goes a long way to improving every mix you will ever do. If you can't hear it, you can't mix it.
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I agree that you can do a lot better with the equipment you have. Learn your way around a compressor and limiter. There are plenty of guides to using a compressor on the internet, including in the archives. Do a search.

    As far as your room goes, you have been given bad advice. Going to a smaller room/booth usually sounds worse, not better. Studios have booths for isolation, not better sound. Ideally you want to record you vocals in the best sounding room in your house - often where you listen to music/watch movies. To improve the sound you don't want "egg crates and mattresses." You want bass traps as a first step. The studio construction forum here is a good place to start learning about this. If you are able to record in your living room (or wherever you listen to music/movies) you can make that room better sounding and more pleasant at the same time.
  5. MisterE

    MisterE Guest

    you guys are awesome, thanks!

    couple questions

    when you refer to limiting, are you talking about hard limiting? thats the only limiting i know of so im just making sure

    and as far as compressor, are you talking about adjusting the compression in mixing software? i remember seeing some kind of tubular hardware on here called a compressor too

    thanks again! :D
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Yeah, limiting is really just a form of compression with (essentially) an infinite ratio. You might as well call it all "hard." But different limiters have different algorithms or circuitry, so the same settings will sound different on different limiters.

    Again, within the software you own are several compressors and limiters that can really help your music. Once you know the basics of threshold, ratio, attack, and release you can go on to the subtle differences between units. Loop a single phrase and work on the settings. Experiment. Sweep through settings and exaggerate what you are hearing.

    This is a good recommendation for EQ as well. Loop a phrase of vocals. Put a narrow 6 dB bump in the EQ (turn down your monitors) and slowly (do the phrase twice for each octave) sweep through the frequency range. Now do the same with a 6 dB cut. Cheap education.
  7. MisterE

    MisterE Guest

    thanks alot man, i really appreciate it.

    i will be putting all of this to use.

    upping for any more suggestions on recording rap vocals

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