#1
Hey guys
I have been listening to a lot of acapella tracks from actual songs lately and have noticed that a lot of vocals actually have a reverb/delay/echo kind of effect that is pretty subtle but adds a fair bit to the vocals.

I'm currently recording some vocals with my band in a home studio and am looking to replicate that kind of effect, or at least experiment with something similar.

Any advice?

Cheers.
#2
A LDC and a room with good acoustics.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
Last edited by ChemicalFire at Apr 2, 2012,
#4
Quote by ChemicalFire
A LDC and a room with good acoustics.



What would you say is the best solution for someone who can't practically have a 'room with good acoustics'? I.e. I record everything in my living room, and I don't really fancy having big bass-traps etc. banging about the place!
Fender 60th Anniversary Standard Strat,
Epiphone Les Paul ES,
Line6 Flextone III,
Laney VC15,
Some pedals,
Some recording gear.
#5
That your not gonna get "the perfect vocal recording".


Sad but true.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#7
Quote by ChemicalFire
That your not gonna get "the perfect vocal recording".


Sad but true.


I feared that would be your reply! There must be certain things you could do though?

For example, some people have suggested things like sticking the Mic in a corner of the room, or something like a reflection shield etc.?
Fender 60th Anniversary Standard Strat,
Epiphone Les Paul ES,
Line6 Flextone III,
Laney VC15,
Some pedals,
Some recording gear.
#8
That kinda thing would help. I'd also recommend watching that Newsgrounds video that was posted. It's pretty useful.
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



Quote by DisarmGoliath
You can be the deputy llamma of the recordings forum!
#9
Aye I will do when I get the chance, thanks for the help mate!

But this isn't my thread so I'll let TS carry on :p
Fender 60th Anniversary Standard Strat,
Epiphone Les Paul ES,
Line6 Flextone III,
Laney VC15,
Some pedals,
Some recording gear.
#11
get it right at the source. many, many singers are verbed, delayed, chorused, etc. as it can provide a number of things: ambience, correction, effect, etc.

the passion of the delivery should be your main focus
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#12
That actually IS a decent video. I will suggest, though, that backpacks, carpets, teddy bears, and suitcases all stacked up against your wall will both be less effective than proper absorption that you can build yourself fairly inexpensively and look crappier than proper absorption panels.

You're sort of heading into that territory of wanting better quality, but being faced with the reality suggested by the question, "how badly do you want better quality?"

I built a very small studio in my basement (control room is 8x9.5). I'll tell you three things:
1. I never would have imagined how much a difference treating your room could make.
2. My room looked a damn site "nicer" before I put those panels up. My wife comments to this regard every time she comes down.
3. It cost me a little over $200 to make my room less visually pleasing but more aurally pleasing.

If you want better quality, are you prepared to make it better quality?

If you really, really, really can't do anything about that part, then your hands are pretty much tied. Your best bet from there is to find a spot away from the dead centre of the room (the absolute worst place in a room to listen or to record), and away from walls and corners (the second most worst place in a room to listen or to record). Obviously, without treatment, anywhere in the room represents a compromise between "too close to center" and "not far enough from the walls or corners." From there, get some absorbent material and stand it up in front of and around three sides of the mic - or think of it as a triangle open on one end. It will need to be high enough to absorb any reflections before they get to the walls, and for those that do get to the walls, high enough to absorb them before they come back to the mic. It won't be pretty, but you can build something portable.

A great mic makes a world of difference. The mic I used for the last ten years was okay, but the one I just upgraded to makes everything sound SO much more "three dimensional", and the tracks take EQ and stuff SO much better. Another feature of a great mic is how well it matches to the voice you're recording. Case in point, most people would not describe an SM58 as a great vocal mic for recording. In fact, it would in most studios, represent a "bottom of the pile" choice. I had one singer who sounded strident on a whole bunch of mics I threw at her, including a large-diaphragm dynamic mic (like what they use to get that "big radio announcer" voice). Finally, in desperation, I had her try the SM58 and it was unbelievable. I'm not a wine person myself, but it does provide a great analogy. Just because some vintage Chardonnay from the South of France is reputed to be a great wine doesn't mean it will go with any meal.

From there, great preamps help a lot. And, if you're using plugins like reverb, compression, etc., your final product will be dependent upon the quality of those to some degree also. But again, like wines, different reverbs or whatever are better for different things. I have some good software ones, but I often go to one of two hardware ones I have. They all have a different character, and I still haven't been able to intuitively match the best reverb for a given sound source. I have to try them. I love them both on some things, but rarely do both of them deliver excellence on any given source. For instance, my Yamaha reverb might be perfect for the drum sound I recorded last week. For the drums I recorded yesterday, it sounded like @ss and I went for the TC Electronic one instead, which was wonderful. On a singer I recorded a few weeks ago, neither of them really did it for me, and I went with a software one.

That said, my "starting point" for any given vocal channel is:
-compressor - just enough to get it to sit in the mix. I don't like squashing the sh!t out of vocals like I would a snare drum. I'll do a lot of manual edits and adjust the volume on those if a word or two or a phrase here or there needs to be louder or quieter.
-delay - I use delay more than I do reverb. I have a dynamic delay on my TC Electronic M300 that I really dig on vocals. The intensity of the delay is dependent upon how loud or soft the source track is that is feeding it. It's a really neat effect.
-reverb - usually a little, but so little that you don't hear it in a mix. In fact, you only hear a hint of it even with the track soloed. Just enough to "lift it out of the box" and place it in a space. Vocals tend to smear with too much reverb, more than they do with delay, from my experience.

Another neat effect, used sparingly, is this:
1. Copy and paste a duplicate of the original vocal. So, now you have vocal1 and vocal2
2. Take vocal1 and pitch-shift it up a couple of cents or so, and take vocal2 and pitch-shift it down a couple of cents or so.
3. Take vocal2 and nudge it forward or back in time a few milliseconds or so.

If you do this lightly, it will be a great thickening effect without it even being noticeable that you have done anything identifiable to it. Take it too far, and the disaster will be obvious.

I did this in the song "Unsaid" in my profile.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#13
^^ Good post.

I might suggest, though, looking into a plugin or piece of rack gear. There are plenty of reverb units and plugins to choose from, and a fair amount are available used or as trial versions, so no need for piracy.

Treating a room is complicated and unless you know what you're doing, then you might be spinning your wheels.

Speaking of spinning your wheels... I track vocals in a 2001 Honda Civic. I park in a quiet parking lot when traffic is slow and track in a small "room" with a TON of absorption and practically no noise (because the car is off, and Hondas are pretty solid chunks of steel.)

If you take tracks recorded in a closet full of winter coats or in your car and then apply a quality reverb plugin to a track in your DAW you might get closer to the results you seek.

A mic will help. Better mic preamps will help (tube helps), and having a better voice helps, so practice!

...sing LOUDER! Wherever you sing this will increase the signal:noise ratio, so you'll get a better recording of a louder voice than a quieter one EVERY TIME. Practice is free.

Watch YouTube videos of how to project your voice, and learn some songs that present a challenge to you. Expand your range by building the muscles in your larynx.

If you do have a couple hundred bucks then go ahead and find a music store and buy a professional-level plugin. Don't reinvent the wheel (unless you want to, and it might be fun/rewarding). Buy or download or do a search on Ebay for a wheel that's already been invented!