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Old 12-03-2012, 01:46 PM   #1
vivalaheerey
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Help with vocals

So I have this track i'm recording for some friends and i foolishly agreed to use a cheap condenser microphone. It was simple to get rid of all the rubbish frequencies, but I don't know how to polish it off to make it really stand out in the track.
Initially, I used a HPF at 80Hz, Eq'd the crap outta it, De-essed and compressed it. Can anyone give me a hand?

https://soundcloud.com/vivalaheerey/anomaly-demo
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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PS most my eqing was subtractive as I know thats 'healthier' for a track
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:15 PM   #3
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Well, the vocals are honestly the least of your worries, in my opinion. The whole mix is really thin and fatiguing. It's no wonder you're having issues getting the vocals to fit nice when the guitars and cymbals are both overpowering your high mids and highs. Also, is there some sort of stereo imaging effect on the lead vocal? It's really confusing my ears for some reason... they can't tell where it's coming from.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:19 PM   #4
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The guitars are a preset i've used before in my mixes, but i took some low end off and some mids to help the vocals sit, so I'll push those back in. Most levels are rough since i've been trying to find a way to fit them in. The bass guitar is a preset that i toggled with, I dropped the mids out for the guitars and vocals to fit in. On the vocals just reverb i believe. Will it help if i posted the processed vocal file?
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:23 PM   #5
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F-ck, this recording sounds loud and silent in the same time... It might be used for some prog stuff, but unless that's what you want, DON'T remove mids from the recording.

Talking about vocals, I think a bit of reverb should make them nice enough.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:29 PM   #6
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I've found you really don't need to scoop doubletracked guitars very much, if at all, to make room for vocals. The panning should be enough unless there's some real abrasive stuff going on in either the vox or guitars that is clashing.

A small bit of reverb and delay can go a long way towards helping a vocal sink into a mix. I'd recommending bringing up the guitars and drums, especially. The vocals themself don't sound too bad. General rule of thumb: do as little EQ as possible because vocals don't take particularly well to heaving EQ. I'd personally get your instrumental mix sounding good, then turn on your unprocessed vocals and decide where to go from there. This is how I mix and is by no means the best or only way to do it.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:37 PM   #7
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Guitars rely heavily on the mids. Yes, vocals sit in the same range, so it can be difficult to mix the two of them, but if you take out all of the mids from the guitars, your vocals take a hit as well. So you took out the mids of the bass to make room for the guitars, but also took out mids from the guitars? Push those mids back in. Without them, the entire mix just sounds thin, including your vocals. Every part of a mix has a great influence on every other part of the mix. I've found that a lot of times, thin guitars make vocals very difficult to mix.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:55 PM   #8
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Where are the vocals in regards to the stereo spectrum? I agree with the guy who says it sounds really confusing... just put them front and center.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:59 PM   #9
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I agree with what people are saying about the vocals. It sounds like the left and right channel are reversed phase.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:26 PM   #10
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Vocals are centered, I did double track vocals but I have turned the fader off/down as it didn't mix well. Applying recommended changes
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:17 AM   #11
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Here's a better attempt. I gave my ears a break for a couple of hours and had some fresh ideas. I included the vocal double this time, only selecting bits i thought were of use, some of it is out of time but shall retrack this when i get the chance.

Opinions?

https://soundcloud.com/vivalaheerey/anomaly-rough-demo
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Old 12-04-2012, 04:12 AM   #12
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How are you processing the vocals?

I'm not sure what's happening, but there's something going on there that is almost painful to listen to. It's like it's too centered, though I can tell it's spread out a bit at the same time. Not really sure how to explain it, but there's a certain frequency that's just hitting dead center that is not pleasant at all.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:21 PM   #13
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When i recorded, the vocals were slightly to the right, so I panned like 4 to left to compensate, the double vocals are panned hard left and right but they are only playing at certain points. The centered main vocal line is running through eq, compression and then being sent to a reverb auxilary
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:21 PM   #14
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Ok, here's the deal: you're overprocessing everything.


That vocal is disorienting - you've stumbled upon some mysterious fifth dimension of phase and it sounds like the vocal track is trying to claw its way out from inside my eyeballs.

  • Strip back, remove all the plugins and inserts off every single channel. If you're using soft synths, virtual guitar amps, or drum VSTs, commit to the sound you've got and bounce it down to audio.
  • Anything that was recorded in stereo, convert it to mono (except stuff like drum overheads, of course).
  • Limit yourself to the bare minimum.....one EQ and compressor per track, max, and a single reverb bus. I recommend Pushtec 5+1A and ThrillseekerLA, they're both reasonably simple and sound fantastic.
  • Pan the guitars maybe 75/75 instead of 100/100. Get rid of any artificial double-tracking or stereo effects. Keep it natural.
  • For the vocals, just use some light compression and EQ, then try a stereo delay set for a short slapback (100-150ms, low feedback, around 20% wet). That'll give you a nice full stereo feel whilst still keeping the vocals front and centre.
  • Your profile says you're using Superior Drummer. In that case, why does your percussion sound like a loop off a cheap Tascam drum machine? Reduce the stereo spread on the kit, get rid of the reverb and give the kick a bit more thump.

Honestly, there's the makings of a sweet production in there, it's all just too artificial. Some of your other stuff sounds a lot beefier, so it could just as well be a monitoring problem.

What are you monitoring with, by the way?
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Last edited by kyle62 : 12-04-2012 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:14 PM   #15
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Since I posted this thread, I have stripped off everything form the lead vocals and narrowed the vocals down to one EQ and one compression, My compression is pretty hard though so I'll soften it up.
Regarding the guitars, I had used amplitube and have committed already and bounced them out as it was taking up too much RAM. I bounced the guitars out as stereo, so now i'll mix them into mono and pan them. On logic we can only pan a max of 64 either side, so I'll pan it to around 45 as that is roughly 75%.
There are no artificial double track or effects.

Yeah I'm using superior drummer, it is Nolly Getgood's metal preset https://soundcloud.com/nolly/nollys-metal-drums-preset) I've used this on my beefier tracks like Fade Away and it worked like a gem, so i have no idea why it isn't working in this.

I'm using the same monitoring techniques, I use my audio-technica M50 as I have with my other tracks, and i've used my casual monitors that are definitely not meant for mixing, but I used them once i had bounced the track out to see how it sounded. On my headphones and monitors the song sounds fine, but on the laptop and phone speaker, the vocals are barel audiable and the reverb is very loud.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1hlo5ga06...%2021.10.45.png

Here's a picture of the effects I currently have.
First track = lead centered vocals
second and third = left and right panned vocal double
fourth and fifth = gang backing vocals
6 and 7 = guitars
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:51 PM   #16
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I think you're trying to mix this like a metal track when it's a rock song. Everything is too processed and thinned out. I'd use Muse or something as a reference mix.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:09 PM   #17
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http://dl.dropbox.com/u/53631407/Vocals.aif

This is now mono i believe, vocals only, I think I haveto re-record it because of the background noise, what do you guys think?
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:13 PM   #18
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I like the ideas behind the sound and there could be a good track in there, thanks for sharing it. The two thoughts I had were: 1 use the best mic and acoustic setup you can and don't try to correct for any shortcomings there by mixing posthoc; 2 is there maybe a case of less is more, ie strip things back and go for a cleaner simpler sound initially with the vocals to address the phase/overprocessing issues maybe then you can overdub another layer of vocals to improve the mix incrementally but starting from a more solid foundation?
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:14 PM   #19
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I would re-record. The signal to noise ratio is pretty bad and will only get worse if you compress it.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:18 PM   #20
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Ok thats cool, retracking this saturday. Learning from my mistakes at least! do you think an SM57 will be good enough? Yeah I'll definately doing multiple vocal tracks, one for the main, one for doubling, and a little bit of gang vocals and some harmonies so i have plenty to play with.

Thanks for everything guys
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