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Old 04-07-2013, 10:38 PM   #1
ChemicalFire
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How can I make my vocals "pop"

Okay here's the deal, working on mixing my bands EP, I'm pretty happy with the mix of the actual music, but the vocals, well they just don't sound that great; they refuse to pop.

A few reasons for this must be the source material:

- Cheapish Mic (AT2020)
- Singer admits himself that he's not great
- No pop shield (rookie error)
- Not an ideal recording space (A basement room, but it is well insulated, but that don't stop dem reflections; the other songs on this EP have a shit tonne of reflections which will be fun to fix when the time comes, polishing a turd etc.)

Here is a clip; my current mix, including my vocals (one down the center and one on each side), which are eq'd and compressed with delay and a reverb send and a little bit of saturation on the global vox bus. Every track in my mix is sent to a fake room to try and keep a natural feel.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/19504966/A...cals%284%29.mp3

What can I do?

If you need any other clips or info, just let me know.
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Last edited by ChemicalFire : 04-07-2013 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:32 AM   #2
lockwolf
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Go buy a pop filter, it'll improve quality greatly in recording. If I can find the tracks, I've got a few recorded with & without a filter and the differences in the waveforms are very noticeable. Its a lot more controlled with the filter (at least that's how I'd put it).

I know I may take some flack for saying this but his vocals fit the song well. Maybe drop the volume down a few db to match the rest of the song and add some auto-tune.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:37 AM   #3
DreamGate
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I think the the vocals sound flat, which may be due to the lack of 'pop' effect you are talking about. I havent done any (good) vocal recordings as yet, but my friend does it all the time, and I've seen him add some vocal effects like some ambience and what not. Try searching for some of those.
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:22 AM   #4
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i didnt download the track, but maybe youre adding too much verb and delay, which is making them sound too distant?
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:45 AM   #5
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The inconsistencies from the doubled parts make the it all sound pretty amateurish. I'd worry about getting the single lead vocal down the center sounding right and then worry about mixing in the layers for the chorus.

It's possible that it's just a lackluster performance that lacks that 'wow' factor and 'pop' that a lot of professional vocals have.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:35 AM   #6
ChemicalFire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockwolf
Go buy a pop filter, it'll improve quality greatly in recording.


I will be getting one but since the singer lives in Wales and I recorded this at Uni I dunno whether I'll get a chance to re-do them

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Originally Posted by Odirunn
It's possible that it's just a lackluster performance that lacks that 'wow' factor and 'pop' that a lot of professional vocals have.


Very possibly, I may just have to make the best of a bad situation. Ah well. The band was just for a bit of fun anyway.

I'll run the vocals through Melodyne and try mixing again.
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Last edited by ChemicalFire : 04-08-2013 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:30 PM   #7
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Honestly it doesn't sound THAT bad. A lot of times when we are mixing our own stuff we tend to be much more anal about any imperfection which ears of a third person might not even perceive. Give yourselves a break.

The singer is not perfect but I think that he's good enough. Nothing some autotuning can't fix. I hear some slight timing problems too. Apart from that, the vocals sound to be nicely compressed. In such a song I would personally compress them hard, almost limit them...I like using 2 compressors in series rather than one which does all the work. The song sounds fast paced so I'd prefer to add minimal ambience effects. A bit of reverb or some slapback echo. I also think that this particular performance has a bit more sibilance than I'd like. Did you use a deesser?

I don't think there's much else you can do. If it still sounds weak to you then try experimenting with some distortion on the main or a parallel track to fatten it a bit or consider adding some backing vocals.

In my opinion, some gang vocals would work nicely in this song. I'd get 2 or 3 people in a room and have them yell (not really sing) the song while sitting far from the mic and then I'd try layering some takes.

Last edited by Sethis : 04-08-2013 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:28 PM   #8
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I think it's mainly in the performance, I'm afraid - listened only on gf's laptop (not a great tool for mix critique, I know ) and the tone didn't sound too bad, but the timing between the two takes is off noticeably in places, and the pitching isn't amazing (not 'bad', but certainly not big star quality) so maybe would benefit from a light-handed touch of 'tuning

The performance of a vocal can show up a lot more noticeably than other instruments, because it is a very emotional tool... the tonality/style of the delivery, the music behind it, and especially the lyrics (word choice and meaning behind them). As a result, if something isn't quite right it often stands out like a sore thumb.

A good vocal is 95% performance and 5% mixing/polishing, and that's probably flattering the workload of the mix engineer in most cases
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:18 PM   #9
ChemicalFire
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We luckily that singer is only the chorus, the other singer is far more subdued and more in tune on the verses. Far less melody.

Thanks for the help guys.
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