Sheryl Crow Wildflower - Track 10, they got the vocals right

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Hawkeye, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Active Member

    Sep 26, 2003
    Aurora, ON, Canada
    I don't know if this is the right forum for this thread, but here goes.

    I'm enjoying the new Sheryl Crow albumn "Wildflower". As usual for her CD's, her vocals tend to sound a bit thin, slightly grainy and a bit reedy.

    Certainly a part of that sound is her actual voice, and Sheryl is not known for having a powerful (from the diaphragm) kind of singing tone.

    However, in track 10 "Where Has All the Love Gone" the sound of her voice is completely different. I know it is a ballad style but there are also other ballads on the album. Track 10 is mixed more up front, and almost dry with little reverb, but it sounds fuller, more intimate, closer, more natural, less processed, more real than all of the other tracks. I think they've made a different mic / pre choice.

    Anybody who's heard the album and made this comparison got a clue what the engineer did / used?

    I just thought it was interesting to see how a decision made in the recording chain can result in some noticeable differences in the finished product.

    To me, it almost sounds like they have left the voice track alone and not processed it (messed with it) as much as some of the others. The result is very pleasant.
  2. tomtom

    tomtom Guest


    I hope we are talking about the same song, "Where has the love gone", because on my (european) copy of the cd, it is track 11.

    Anyway, yes you are right it is very upfront, intimate.
    You'll probably have a hard time finding out what was done considering the impressive list of studios she worked in for that album.

    From what I hear and my humble experience, I can tell you that great amounts of compression were used.
    Listen how the voice nicely distorts when she sings harder.
    It sounds a lot like the classic combination of a LA2A/LN1176.
    There's quite some HF boost as well, but how much depends on the combination of voice/pre/microphone used.
    There must be gain riding as well.
    Listen how dense the arrangement gets right after the intro. Without processing, her voice would be lost in the mix or would have to be above everything else. Her voice does not have ANY dynamics.

    With presets carefully chosen, the vocals get that sort of quality.
    There's very little or no reverb on the vocals. Compression does bring the soft acoustics of the studio higher up in the mix. You don't hear much "air" around her. She might have recorded that song in an iso booth.
    Once the song kicks in,when she sings "Where has the love gone" her vocals were doubled. It takes great sound engineers and work to get that sound. And Sheryl' voice of course.
    I think that's why it feels so intimate.
  3. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Active Member

    Sep 26, 2003
    Aurora, ON, Canada
    By George I think he's got it

    Hi Tom-om,

    I think you have articulated a few of the things I heard but was unable to pull apart. Yes the compression, lots of it, the dynamics are pretty squashed which allows the voice to ride over the mix. Sounds like you are able to understand the "Cause and Effect" a little better than I.

    I like how there is less I don't know what to call it but "electronic grain" in her voice. Sound more liquid, less arid, and breathy, more solid. Could very well be a nice classic tube pre / comp like you suggested.

    I guess I'm getting into some fairly subjective terminology here, but I just like that it sounds more natural than most of the other cuts.

    In retrospect, she does sing a bit more in her lower range which seems to open up the tone, sounding less constricted. A great many vocalists sound pinched or constrained when they sing near the upper part of their ranges. The tonal colour can completely change with some singers depending on what octave they're singing in.
  4. satyr607

    satyr607 Active Member

    Oct 8, 2005
    Home Page:
    This might be waaaay of topic, I have not heard the CD (not a big crow fan) bit I had the EXACT same stress listening to the new Lorretta Lynn Album. After Listened to it over and over I realised that there were no effects on the voise (reverb, delay, etc). I am sure there was compression and EQ and what not but no post effects...Have we finally come 360?

    Would sure as hell take some stress offa' me if that is the way music is going...teeheehee
  5. MistaG

    MistaG Guest

    A Neve 1073 preamp will break up like that if pushed a bit.

Share This Page