Vocal sound that translates on lo fi speakers

Discussion in 'Monitoring' started by Badger123, Jul 12, 2009.

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  1. Badger123

    Badger123 Active Member

    Sep 15, 2008

    I'm recording a singer with a beautiful low silky voice which sounds great on NS10s, sounds great on Mackie HR824s. There's no acrobatics or breathy performance expression, it's quite bluesy and understated.

    The difficulty I'm having is that this understated performance doesn't translate to lo-fi speakers over the rest of the mix. The performance is perfect on good speakers but on speakers that are slower to react it's a challenge to make this subtlety exciting.

    Adding top end to compensate even with a decent mic pre sounds too abrasive back on studio monitors. Reverbs or delays just set the sound back. I'm beginning to think that doubling her voice via an effect might be another approach but I really like the sincerity that comes across with just a dry vocal. Any ideas for making the translation to crap hi fi successful with this kind of material?

    Many thanks
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    If it doesn't translate, it's tough to say it's perfect.

    Post a sample here and we'll try to give you a heads up as to why it's not working.

  3. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    Mar 27, 2007
    NY, USA
    Home Page:
    many people mix on crappy speakers as well as great sounding monitors.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Depending upon the stylistic nature of her performance, you are correct, utilizing needless equalization only makes things sound nasty. What you really need to do is to squish her performance dynamically i.e., using a compressor/limiter and quite judiciously I might add. A lot of good compression will sound much better than just a little bit of crappy compression. I personally like to compress these kinds of vocal performances when recording as opposed to on mix only. I prefer it this way as it has a tendency to improve the overall resolution & density of the sound. When done on mix down only, while it can be just fine, I tend to perceive less sweetness in that configuration. But if that is your only option? Then adding the compression on mix down will still make her vocal not only sit better within the mix, it will sound consistent regardless of how large or small good or bad the speakers are.

    Hardware compressors such as the lower cost DBX varieties can be set to 20: 1 & utilizing up to 20 DB of indicated gain reduction can still sound quite natural and not necessarily highly squished. That's primarily because those lesser expensive units don't give you the options of changing the attack and/or release times. High transient attacks are not as restricted with RMS sensors and their programmed release times are far less noticeable than too fast or too slow a release time. That's where many of the software dynamics processors fail. Too many choices, too many tweaks not enough goof proofing.

    If you know how to utilize adjustable attack & release times properly you can tailor the sound of most anything to your liking. If you don't understand the concepts of attack & release times your dynamics processing will sound like bad dynamics processing and you don't want that. Superfast attack times are really only needed for transmitter over modulation protection, not for recording purposes. Incredibly fast release times will make things sound louder than loud with a gritty character. So there you go. Now you know what to do.

    You have passed compression/limiting 101
    Ms. Remy Ann David

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