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NOLAGuy

Controlling Low Bass Vocals

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Just found this forum, so looks like the right place to ask....

I have a low Bass voice, with an effective range that extends to Note E1 (8 notes below C2; 20 notes below Middle C).

When recording, I have a problem in that the lower notes come out stronger/louder than other parts of the vocal. I've tried to control my vocal on the lower notes, but it's hard to do and sound pleasing. I guess the underlying problem is that the voice puts out more air on low notes, which results in more volume(?).

Trying to avoid editing the wave file to "soften" the low bass notes, in favor of a plugin solution if there is one.

So, looking for the preferred technique(s) of reducing the volume of these lowest 4-5 notes without affecting the rest of the vocal. I've been playing arounf with an equalizer, but I'm a novice in effective EQ use. Tried low-shelf curves, but not getting it to reduce the volumes correctly. I typically set the High-pass filter to 60. Perhaps, an EQ that has narrow specific freq range settings? (need recommendation).

Also wondered about if compressors that can target a specific freq range might work. Also would need a plugin recommendation.

Appreciate any advice and suggestions.

 

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Melodyne 5 does this somewhat automagically.  

10 minutes ago, NOLAGuy said:

Trying to avoid editing the wave file

Yeah, but...

The clip volume automation is very quick and easy once you get used to using it and the results are usually more precise than any plug-in.

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What you're dealing with is what's known as the "proximity effect". Basically, it just means that many microphones are overly sensitive to low frequencies when they're close to the source. Such mics typically have a high-pass filter built into them, with a switch. They're typically set to 80Hz, although there is no standard and some mics have two settings. Always use that filter if it's available.

There are several ways to address the proximity effect:

  • Sing further away from the microphone, not always practical if you don't have a well-treated room.
  • Apply a high-pass filter in the DAW, not as effective as treating the problem at the source.
  • Using a bipolar ribbon mic that doesn't have a proximity effect, which can cost some serious $$.
  • Using a multi-pattern microphone such as a Shure KSM-44 or AKG C414. Again, serious $$.

The most cost-effective solution is to create a dead space in which to record vocals, surrounding this "vocal booth" with rigid fiberglass panels, and maintain a distance of at least 10" when singing. This solution works best if you have a quiet room and a quality microphone. 

If you're trying to mitigate the problem in an already-recorded track, a dynamic EQ can do the job. Wait for a sale on Meldaproduction's MDynamicEQ, which was something like 50 bucks last time it went on sale.

 

 

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1 hour ago, bitflipper said:

What you're dealing with is what's known as the "proximity effect". Basically, it just means that many microphones are overly sensitive to low frequencies when they're close to the source. Such mics typically have a high-pass filter built into them, with a switch. They're typically set to 80Hz, although there is no standard and some mics have two settings. Always use that filter if it's available.

There are several ways to address the proximity effect:

  • Sing further away from the microphone, not always practical if you don't have a well-treated room.
  • Apply a high-pass filter in the DAW, not as effective as treating the problem at the source.
  • Using a bipolar ribbon mic that doesn't have a proximity effect, which can cost some serious $$.
  • Using a multi-pattern microphone such as a Shure KSM-44 or AKG C414. Again, serious $$.

The most cost-effective solution is to create a dead space in which to record vocals, surrounding this "vocal booth" with rigid fiberglass panels, and maintain a distance of at least 10" when singing. This solution works best if you have a quiet room and a quality microphone. 

If you're trying to mitigate the problem in an already-recorded track, a dynamic EQ can do the job. Wait for a sale on Meldaproduction's MDynamicEQ, which was something like 50 bucks last time it went on sale.

 

 

Thanks for the detailed response, which should be helpful in this forum where folks are seeking solutions. I will first try using your suggested  dynamic EQ as a solution. Looks like I recently missed a Meldaproductions sale event.

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2 hours ago, Base 57 said:

Melodyne 5 does this somewhat automagically.  

Yeah, but...

The clip volume automation is very quick and easy once you get used to using it and the results are usually more precise than any plug-in.

Yeah, I typically do the clip volume decrease either directly in CW, so I can tinker with the vocal track going forward, or use Audacity if I just want to alter a WAV file before uploading or burning on a CD. If there's a trial option on Melodyne 5 and it proves useful in general, might have to fork out the $100 for the basic version. I already used up the trial on the Melodyne that came with CW, and I use Waves Tune plugins for vocal work, which work well for pitch correction, but don't do note volume control.

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Might be useful to separate this issue into whether the solution lies in the 'recording' stage, or the 'mix' stage, or both. 

Standing further away from the mic may help the recording process. 

As for the mix, Fabfilter have dynamic EQ controls which are really useful for compressing certain frequencies, at a location and threshold of your desire. If you're a newbie to EQ, this will involve some learning and patience however. 

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I’ve tamed proximity effect using a multiband compresor before. Throw a low cut EQ from about 250 Hz with a 6db curve and then add multiband compression. Pull the threshold down on the low band (not the subs), give it a 4:1 compression with a fast attack (5-10 mls) and a quick release (<50 mls) and leave the rest of the frequencies untouched on the multiband compresor. You can always add other instances of comp and EQ after this depending on what you want out of the mix. 
 

No one setting is good enough for an entire vocal track so you gotta automate the volume BEFORE the effects-In other words, the effects have to be post fader. 
 

Good luck 🤞🏼

Edited by Miguel Carzola
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As many have said above, mic technique / placement is probably a better solution than trying to fix it afterwards ☺️

However I can recommend Gullfoss which is an auto EQ plugin that continuously adjust itself , I think it's 1,000 times per second to keep the spectral balance flat

I think you can still get a trial version

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