tracking without cans?-advice

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by took-the-red-pill, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Jan 10, 2005
    Near Clagary
    Home Page:
    I seem to be having more success lately, while tracking my own vocals, in listening through monitors turned low instead of a set of cans. For some reason I'm able to get more control over the old voice(I don't claim to be a pro vocalist). when monitoring, I just use a minimum of instrumentation.

    Anyway, I'm wondering about placing a baffle between the mic and the monitors to minimize the bleed coming throught the back of the mic(it's a cardiod). Can that work to keep bleed down? If so what is a good thing to use? Something massive like a 8 X 8" steel/lead plate or something? Should it maybe be convex on the mic side so my voice doesn't just bounce back into the back of the mic?

    Also I'm thinking it would minimize the bleed to heavily EQ those monitors so they share a minimum of frequencies with the vocals, so they can sort of be dropped out and be even less noticable? Does that make sense, or is it a waste of time.

    I'm also assuming it's a good idea to minimize the sound bouncing off the wall behind me, so I'm taking steps for that.

    anyone with experience in this?

    Many thanks, and a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    An old trick that can work well in a non-reverb room

    mono mix to the cue

    two Auratones (small speakers) set up on stands in a equilateral triangular arrangement with the mic ... on a stand

    connect one with reversed polarity
    yes it will sound strange and not every one will like trying to sing to it

    the idea here is that the mono cue mix with one side flipped ... will cancel at the back of the mic.

    second thought
    the 'Sade' method
    not her method at all but a 80's mag article just brought it to prominence
    Same speakers on stands
    record a take with NO vocal
    this is a recording of the cue mix and room reverb
    don't change anything now
    Record the vocal take
    add the two together with no-vocal flipped

    the idea is that the no-vocal take will remove the room and make of the mic from the take WITH the vocal.

    as an experiment and run two no-vocal takes ... flip one and see if they cancel.

    learn to use cans ... or use IEM (with a room mic in with the cue mix)
  3. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    I just had an artist that could not use the cans. I put a mini speaker in front of him about 5 feet and played the track low..without much of the bass as you normally would get from a "good" speaker. The level of it...coming into the mic was -70dB so their is no way it would be audible that far down. He sung beautifully.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Back in the late seventies I recorded some big-time jingle music in South Florida. Strings, brass, woodwinds, they would all come in at different times, about six people to each section. I would record each section. Then I would record a second take of that same section. (I would however, have them play musical chairs by switching positions without altering the microphones) I would then go through this process with each of the 3 different sections I would have 6 tracks. I would then combine each same section together to mono. One channel would be normal phase. The other channel would be flipped phase. It really didn't matter how loud the studio monitors were for their monitoring/tracking purposes, as long as the microphones and the speakers did not get moved! The background of the LOUD SPEAKERS would magically disappear!! So you do not have to worry about playing the speaker at a low volume level just make sure you do not move the microphones with reference to the speaker otherwise you will not get total cancellation. If you want stereo sections, you'll have to do the above times 2. It works great!

    Remy Ann jingle David
  5. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Jan 10, 2005
    Near Clagary
    Home Page:
    Many thanks. Excellent advice. I shall try the phase flipping things.

    As for getting used to cans, my mic sgnal goes through Cubase before it comes back to me and therefore there is a few millisecond delay added before I hear it. I think this messes me up a bit.

    My signal goes directly from the pre, through my Delta 1010, and in. I don't have a mixer so I can't play back the music and then monitor the vocal directly through the mixer, which would avoid the time delay.

    I don't suppose there's a trick there I'm missing as far as monitoring the music and getting the vocal without delay?

    Thanks guys.

  6. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    :? ??
    you have said you already use hardware monitoring

    " ... getting the vocal without delay? "
    don't use the word delay if you meant latent ... yes I know it is anal but it can be very hard to work out what is happening if you are not very specific and we all define the words we use.
    (Delay is a specific audio effect.)
    then again we could stop using the word delay and go back to the old term of Echo.
    and use delay when we are talking about latency ...
    shut up Kev and get back to the point

    as you have said, with Cubase (or any DAW) there is a time shift of milliseconds before you hear it. This is latency and it cn happen at various stages when dealing with thesa serial devices.

    BUT when you say delay above, do you mean there is a main vocal AND a delayed vocal on the recorded track ??
    or is it that you can still hear the latent vocal while recording.

    just mute the output of the track being recorded and only listen to the hardware return.
  7. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    Here's a trick I've used to record a choir: record a take with the backing track playing back on monitors in the room. Now, taking great care not to move the monitors or mics, record another take. Invert the polarity of one of those takes, and mix them together: the spill should be reduced in level by a suprising amount, while the vocals will just sound double tracked. 8)

    I was lucky in that the choir had been weeded down in numbers to the strongest singers, and wanted me to fake it so they sounded more numerous :D but (assuming you have a reasonably quiet recording environment) you could always record a "silent" take of just monitor spill..

    Incidentally a musician friend of mine once pointed out an interesting phenomenon: listening to loud music on enclosed headphones changes the pitch :eek: try it! Its only by a bit (at the least at the volume I tried it) but it doesn't need to be off by much to throw a singer out..
  8. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Jan 10, 2005
    Near Clagary
    Home Page:
    okay, I guess I reveal a lot more about myself than I'd like to when I use one recordign term and I really mean another :oops:

    Anyway, I'm not sure where exactly I gave you the idea I was monitoring "through the hardware." Maybe that's another term I'm misusing. Here are the specifics of my signal chain while tracking:

    -Condenser microphone
    -Phantom power unit
    -Altec 1567 pre
    -Delta 1010
    -Into computer
    -through Cubase, at some point here we have picked up a few milliseconds of LATENCY
    -back through the Delta 1010
    -headphone amp
    -brain, etc.....

    So when singing while using cans I hear ONLY the version of my vocal that has gone through Cubase, and is a few ms behind.

    I suppose the common method is to run the music through a mixer, and also run the vocal through another channel in the mixer, so one can hear the non delayed version of the vocal along with the music. I, however, don't have a mixer. Maybe it's time to get one?

    (BTW, while using a set of speakers to monitor while tracking, I don't run my voice to those speakers. I go only off the ambient sound of my voice, since it's more natural than the headphones. I hope that was obvious, but one never knows.)

    Thanks again
  9. chundle

    chundle Guest

    i can't remember what it's called in cubase but there should be some setting somewhere for "direct monitoring" using ASIO drivers or something like that -- this should run the audio straight from the delta to your ears so you won't get the delay at all.

    i *think* this is the problem you're finding and it should be solved by "direct monitoring" of some sort. then you can use headphones; but of course it might be just that you don't like headphones at all in which case i'll shut up......
  10. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    about pitch

    USing Cans...

    If the vocals are too loud on cans, teh singer will sing sharply
    If the vocals are too low, the singer will sing flatly
    If the overal headphone mix is low, the singer does not get the groove/vibe.

    I am talking for my own experience on a daily job for the past 10 years.

    Kev, great idea about the Sade "method".
  11. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    Another simple way is to use a figure 8 mic with the blind side pointed at the loudspeaker...keeping the speaker turned down (and bass light) just helps even more....
  12. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Sorry if this is already mentioned. I didn't see it?

    Try using just one "can" or "part" of one can or a little "earpiece" or something? I, almost never, cover both ears and generally not even one ear, entirely - I just want to hear my cues, not "me" - I KNOW what I sound like, I hear "me" all-to-well in my own head(And I've had my ears pinned-back by too many engineers -- "Ooh! Did that feedback!?!? Sorry..!" "What???" I like to leave the studio with at least one partially intact.)... I'm sure you can do this "studio monitor speaker" thingey(Used to be done at radio stations once-in-awhile), but it would be too much trouble for me to do most of the stuff the posters have, so far, recommended...... Yeah, I'm lazy.... "What??? Say again? My bad ear......"


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