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greg54

low end boominess in vocals

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When I record vocals, on certain low notes (A, C, D...and a couple of others) there is a lot of boominess.  The rest of the vocals are fine.   I tried putting the mic in different places in the room, facing different directions.   Nothing worked.  I changed microphones.  No difference.   Changed cables.  No difference.   (I've been using a vocal isolation shield. )  I was also using a Golden Age mic preamp.  I disconnected it and went direct.  No change.  

So I decided to make myself a vocal booth in my closet.   I put up all acoustic panels so that it was all covered from top to bottom.   It's a nice vocal booth.   No difference.  The low boominess on certain low notes is still there.  Nothing has changed it.

Maybe I'm not seeing something obvious, so I thought I would see if anyone has any suggestions.

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Perhaps your vocals sound boom-ie because of your listening environment.  You might have frequencies that boom out in your room.  Try headphones and mixing down and listening to mixes in other places. 

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Read up on "proximity effect ". All directional microphones exhibit this behavior to some degree. The closer the source is to the mic, the more pronounced the low frequencies become. And it is exponential. A few inches of distance can make a big difference. 

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For vocals you may also want to consider using a hi-pass (Iow-cut) filter.  Start at 80-100Hz and work your way up until you hear a difference, then back it off a little.

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1 hour ago, Jimbo 88 said:

Perhaps your vocals sound boom-ie because of your listening environment.  You might have frequencies that boom out in your room.  Try headphones and mixing down and listening to mixes in other places. 

That could very well be true.  My room is not treated as well as it could be.

42 minutes ago, bdickens said:

How is your listening room treated?

Not well.   It's a room with a huge sliding door and is perfectly square.   There's not a lot of wall space.  Windows and doors mainly.

36 minutes ago, Base 57 said:

Read up on "proximity effect ". All directional microphones exhibit this behavior to some degree. The closer the source is to the mic, the more pronounced the low frequencies become. And it is exponential. A few inches of distance can make a big difference. 

I'm about at least 8" away, if not more.

4 minutes ago, msmcleod said:

For vocals you may also want to consider using a hi-pass (Iow-cut) filter.  Start at 80-100Hz and work your way up until you hear a difference, then back it off a little.

I will try that.

Thanks for everyone suggestions!  I will try them and see what happens.

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I used the low cut filter on the mic, and it sounded a lot better.  I had heard that low cut filters on mics make it sound worse.  But it sounded good. 

Thanks!!

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When I read "low end boominess in vocals" I assumed your issue was with the proximity effect. Standard mitigation tactics are a) use a low-pass filter, preferably one that's built-in to the microphone, and/or b) sing further away from the mic. Or use a different kind of microphone, e.g. a ribbon ($).

But then you said that you could identify specific notes that boom, which points to possibly being an entirely different problem. One that's caused by room acoustics, and for which mitigation is not a simple process. First step is to experiment with different mic positions, but you've tried that already without success, suggesting that the room may just not be a good place to record vocals. Even applying acoustically absorptive materials may not help because you probably don't have enough space to apply the kind of treatment that absorbs low frequencies.

Assuming, then, that the vocals won't ever get a whole lot better, we're down to fixing them in the mix. It sucks, because filtering resonances is a tricky business and rarely works well. But it may be where you need to start. The magic plugin you'll use for that is a dynamic equalizer. The best one I've found to date for fixing vocal resonances (yes, even better than FabFilter ProQ3 for this application) is MDynamicEQ from Meldaproduction. It's $84 but often goes on sale for half price. Get on the Melda mailing list so you'll get notified when it does, and snatch it up. (Skip the fancier MAutoDynamicEQ, you don't need it.)

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bitflipper:  In a perfect world the vocals would sound good when recorded.  Although they sound "better" with the low cut filter on, the vocals could still sound better.  I'll check out the MDynamicEQ.  Thanks for the suggestion!

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