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Johnbee58

Vocal Take (What Am I Doing Wrong)

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Please listen to this tid bit and tell me why it sounds soooooooooo crappy.  This is typical of my raw vocal takes.  To me this has a very dirty sound and it's not even at the mixing point yet.  I can't get good mixes if I can't lay down a good sounding track.  I'd like to polish this up and make it sound as clean as some of you people seem to be able to get on your recordings.  I don't expect a professional sound, but at least as good as most of you get and this garbage is nowhere near!   And before you ask what mic I'm using, I'll tell you that it doesn't matter.  I have 4 microphones from a cheap $80.00 Apex 435 condenser (that's what this is from) all the way to an Avantone CV 12, which is a $500.00 mic.  I get the same crappy results and dirty pathetic sound with either!  It's not the mic.  It's another factor which I've been ripping my hair out of my head for 4 years now to solve to no no joy.  My room is acoustically treated as per the advise I got from Auralex back in 2016.  Anybody who can help me resolve this I will be your best friend forever and you will be my all time hero (at least musically).  😁

Please let me know if you can give me hope.  This is my biggest concern in my recordings.

 

https://soundcloud.com/john-bowen/vt-1

 

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Posted (edited)

have you tried the VX-64 vocal-strip? i use it for my vocal tracks

EQ is your friend..

to me your vocal track sound good to start with!

Edited by martins

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I am hearing a very dry vocal. Which when you go to put it in a mix is what I would be looking for.  Try rolling off the low end with a high pass filter (on the cure EQ) around 100-150hz. Then add Breverb Plate with a short time and then mix in the sound. Don't over do it. If the plate is too much, try the room verb. This will help in getting a more lively sound to the vocal.

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Consider your vocal's characteristic, it's not bad for the raw take actually. It's fine. There's a way to make it better, but could you please tell us more about the preamp, soundacard, setting and the routing?

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, James Argo said:

Consider your vocal's characteristic, it's not bad for the raw take actually. It's fine. There's a way to make it better, but could you please tell us more about the preamp, soundacard, setting and the routing?

The preamp and soundcard are a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 interface.  The setting, if you mean room characteristics is a rather tiny (5' x 12') dedicated room with Auralex panels, placed where Auralex recommended according to a picture I sent them in a pre evaluation.  I know the room is small but it's the best I can do.  The routing-Not sure what you mean, but I go by the usual routing one would take to go into Cakewalk by Bandlab, although there may be several different ways that I'm not aware of.  I don't use an external mixer, if that's what you mean.  I just go through the interface.  I also have a Pod Studio UX2 interface that I still have and it's still usable, but about a year ago I tried re connecting that but only got roughly the same results I get with the Focusrite.

martins & Grem-Thanks for your suggestions.  I'll try them.  I like the fact that you gave me EQ settings to work with.  I'll most definitely try them.

😀JB

 

Edited by Johnbee58

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11 minutes ago, Johnbee58 said:

Johnbee58

can i download your track? i will experiment with it using  (VX-64 vocal-strip)..

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32 minutes ago, martins said:

can i download your track? i will experiment with it using  (VX-64 vocal-strip)..

Yes.  Please tell me what you do with it when you get a satisfactory result.  Thanks.   VX-64. Is this in with CbB?

😀

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Johnbee58 said:

Yes.  Please tell me what you do with it when you get a satisfactory result

ok Johnbee58 thanks,i will upload your track later,today

28 minutes ago, Johnbee58 said:

VX-64. Is this in with CbB?

i think it come from an older version of SONAR

Johnbee58 can you look if you have this plugin (VX-64 vocal-strip) pls

 

thanks

martin

Edited by martins

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Posted (edited)

Johnbee58

(your vocal-track sound already good & natural)

i make a MP3 of your Vocal-track,tell me what you think(im not a Pro)using (VX-64 vocal-strip)

thx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

47 minutes ago, Johnbee58 said:

(VX-64 vocal-strip)

can you look if you have this plug please(if you dont have it i will do another mix)with stock plugins

Edited by martins

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For a raw vocal, I think it sounds fine. Nothing a bit of EQ and general processing can't sort out. 

Maybe try taking a step back from the mic which should naturally roll off some low end, you could be inducing proximity effect. It's also important to judge and mix your vocal recording in context with the song, rather than on it's own. 

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Posted (edited)

martins-I checked and I don't have that plugin.  I looked in the plug in manager and I don't see it.  Might it be someplace else?  I listened to your sample and I'm sure you did your best but to my ears it still has that dirty distorted sound.  It sounds almost as if I'm singing right up against the listener's ear.  Maybe Light Grenade is onto something when he says that I'm too close to the mic.  I do record about 6 inches away from the mic using a popper stopper.  I always feared that if I back up further there would be too much white noise to deal with.  If I upped the input gain to compensate for the distance, I'd only wind up with a "quieter" version of this mess. 

Light Grenade.  Thanks for your observation, but in the context of mixes. this example is typical. This sample is from a work in progress so I didn't actually do any mix on it yet.  I just recorded this line this morning and I sent you this example.  I'd be willing to bet that any of your recordings, dry or in mix context would sound 20 times better than what I get.  Better and cleaner.  There's just something so dirty and gritty in my track(s).  If I could get rid of that dirt/grit I would be much happier with my tracks.  My finished mixes sound the same.   It's so hard to balance the vocal track like this into a mix because I find myself having to try to "clean it up" and it doesn't work too well.

🙂JB

Edited by Johnbee58

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I can't hear anything 'dirty' or 'gritty' in this snippet.  🤫  As for EQ, how I would adjust it would depend entirely on the context of the vocal.

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on my speaker(cheap speakers) the sound of your track does not sound 'dirty' or 'gritty' at all..

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Well then maybe it's just me.  Maybe I'm too critical of my own sound, or my ears need to be tweaked. 😁

Thanks for all you insights. I appreciate your help.

🙂JB

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9 minutes ago, Johnbee58 said:

Maybe I'm too critical of my own sound,

i know what you mean!

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John, I think the recording of your voice is fine. It is a little thin and dry, but could be fattened up with the use of a little eq and put into a space  with some light reverb. I don't hear any distortion or other sonic problems.

I think perhaps you may need to come to terms with the reality of that is how your voice sounds. I have yet to meet anyone who is entirely happy with how their voice sounds, even good singers. As someone said in an earlier post, it's about context. It's amazing how perceptions change when you hear a voice as part of an ensemble.

Don't sweat it too much.

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1 hour ago, Optimus said:

John, I think the recording of your voice is fine. It is a little thin and dry, but could be fattened up with the use of a little eq and put into a space  with some light reverb. I don't hear any distortion or other sonic problems.

I think perhaps you may need to come to terms with the reality of that is how your voice sounds. I have yet to meet anyone who is entirely happy with how their voice sounds, even good singers. As someone said in an earlier post, it's about context. It's amazing how perceptions change when you hear a voice as part of an ensemble.

Don't sweat it too much.

It's kind of weird.  I go through this stuff every new project.  I hate how it sounds in the recording (tracking) process,  and struggle to get it right in the mix, but after I give my ears a break of several hours (ie OVERNIGHT) I re listen and with fresh ears, it sounds fine.    When I take morning walks I take along my Walkman and my Beats by Dre headphones and my mixes sound better on them than anything else.  I still hear what I defined as dirty even with fresh ears, but after a long break and a new perspective it becomes more tolerable and eventually doesn't bother me anymore.

I've never recorded in a professional vocal booth, but always wondered what the experience is like.  Would I hear what I hear on my voice in a pro booth with a pro engineer?  Has anybody here had that experience?

🙂JB

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Posted (edited)

The voice has been recorded fine, it is an accurate recording of your singing voice. You are singing from your neck and not from your stomach or diaphragm. You are not a trained or experienced singer.

This results in a nasally, thin, strained sound which gets worse as you raise the pitch of your voice, this is what you are getting. If you are going to do vocals on your recordings then my advice would be to take some singing lessons and learn to sing from your diaphragm, you will have to unlearn everything you are doing now. It would only take a few lessons and then you would get it, otherwise do not sing on your recordings, let someone else who knows how to sing do it. Would you let someone who cannot play guitar or keyboards play on your recordings? Why do so many people see vocals, which is the main focus of the whole song, as an afterthought.

Seriously John, as a vocal teacher and long time vocalist, I can hear straight away what is wrong with your voice, and also know how much you can improve, get a local teacher and your vocals would improve immensely. The breath has to come from your diaphragm and be mediated by your vocal box, there is a constant pressure on your abs and diaphragm which pushes the air up then you control it with your vocal box, mouth, sinuses, nose etc. The first time you do this it feels all wrong but then eventually you get it and then your world changes.

You might get some improvement by singing "up", that is, putting the microphone above your lips and pointing down to your mouth and chest area, so you have to stand straight up and sing up. That posture might feel a bit weird but it will reduce the nasal sound and force you to breathe differently, more properly. This is what most professional solo singers do, it's a bit hard if your playing an instrument at the same time but level or up is ok, singing down with the mic below your lips is not good. Mic technique by moving your mouth closer to the mic on the quieter passages to take advantage of the proximity effect might also improve it. But you have to have a closed monitoring system to do this properly, the 280's will be fine for that.

The Sennheiser 280's are fine for vocal monitors and the mics sound fine, the interface is fine, the recording is fine. Try pitching practice by singing into a wall with your hand cupping your ear to hear the sound from the wall. Do you practice your vocals dry, without the headphones, recording etc. Just you and your voice with a piano key or guitar to initially pitch the song.

Edited by Tezza
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