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Old 08-23-2013, 05:22 AM   #1
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Talking Vocal Recording Help.

Hey, so i've never recorded vocals before, but i'm a good singer. I've recorded an acoustic instrumental for tears don't fall, by bullet for my valentine (Love singing this). And I have no idea where to start, I've got Reaper for DAW, M-Audio fast track, mic (Condensor I believe, one with a perfectly round head, Shure). It sounds great recording acoustic anyways.
Now I have no idea how too record, so questions would be..
Should I sing really ridiculously loud and a good distance from the mic, or soft and close. Or medium all around. I don't understand what my own singing volume should be.
What is aa good effects chain for vocals? Specifically on an acoustic song. Reverb obviously, and guessing compression (But I don't understand compression). And is there any way to reduce the nasality in vocals with maybe effects? Or keeps myself a certain distance or volume? I have great control of my voice and whatnot, but as I hit higher notes, you can hear the nasality more than i'd like -.-
Sorry for all the noob questions :b and i've been playing guitar for 6 years, and been using reaper for 3 of them, and amplitube. And I have 5 songs recorded pretty well. So i'm not a beginner when it comes to mixing and EQ's, just this is my first attempt at vocals. All help appreciated (:
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Old 08-23-2013, 05:38 AM   #2
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Great questions!

For your style I would suggest being pretty close to the mic (no more than 1ft away probably) and adjusting its gain to make sure it doesn't distort. Do you have a pop shield? If not, a coathanger with tights stretched over it will do the job pretty well. This will stop all your p's and b's etc making a massive boom on the mic.

The best thing to do in recording is to get it right at the source. You can't polish a turd and all that. So with the nasality rather than EQing it later try moving the mic. My first suggestion would be to put it just above your nose and angle down. If that doesn't work try putting the mic off to one side of your face, and generally just experiment! If you've tried loads and still can't totally fix it, then you can use the best position you found and EQ later.

For post processing, some things you might want to consider are:
- EQ: Obviously this can shape the sound a little bit. It's always worth doing a high pass filter right off the bat to cut any LF rumble or noises. The best thing to do is to experiment. Play around with it to understand which parts of the frequency spectrum your voice occupies and how you can lower parts you don't like so much

- De-Esser: This is something you can use if your sibilants sound really loud. EQing might not do the job as it would disrupt the normal sound of your voice, so this cuts the frequency band when it senses lots of activity i.e sibilants

- Compression: Most important effect for pop vocals. It's really worth looking online and learning what they do and how to use them. You'll want to slam it pretty hard.

hope that helps!
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:54 AM   #3
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Great, thanks for all the tips, that's pretty much everything I needed to know.
Appreciate you taking the time for explaining all that stuff to me.
I'm gonna get started right away :b
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:09 AM   #4
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Glad it helped! Do post the finished product
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:29 AM   #5
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Just to add to what Tim said, automating the vocals is a fantastic way to make the vocals feel more natural without and stops the compressor overworking!
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Old 08-23-2013, 09:06 AM   #6
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Alright thanks for all the tips, greatly appreciated, and this is gonna take a while for me to get the hang of, but i'll definitely post when it's finished (:
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:55 AM   #7
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If the microphone works without phantom power too, turn it off.
That means your microphone is dynamic and don't need a power source.

Your singing volume should be the one you're most comfortable at, the distance between you and the microphone should be used in order to achieve the "proximity effect", which basically is a thing that makes your voice sound fullier and bassier the closer you get.

The pop filter is a thing you want, so if you don't have one, or don't want to buy one, do as suggested and make your own.

A compressor is a signal processor that basically lowers the volume of a certain selectable ammount (ratio) when the recorded volume excedes a certain, again selectable level (threshold).
You can also set how fast the compressor will affect your sound (attack) and how long it will last (decay).

At the end, it is a way to have your singing volume more even.

You might wanna double track your voice in some parts at least, you decide.
To do that, you record two takes of the same part, and then separate them a bit by panning them left and right, or lowering the level of some frequencies in one track, and raising the ones you lowered in the other.

About the signal chain, I'd go - Signal > compressor (soft, you still want your sound to be dynamic) > saturation (as much as you like) > delay (just a bit, and just if you don't double track anything) > reverb (at your disposal, just not too much).

You probably will not even need the de-esser if you're using a pop filter.

And, the best way to reduce the nasal sound is to sing better, but you can make it more dubtle by tweaking the eq a bit.
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