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Recording:  Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips?


28-Feb-03 (right thru time)
28-Feb-03 (FIZMO100)
28-Feb-03 (FIZMO100)
28-Feb-03 (right thru time)
28-Feb-03 (SpeckO)
28-Feb-03 (SpeckO)
28-Feb-03 (FIZMO100)
28-Feb-03 (meriphew)
28-Feb-03 (Giant Robot)
01-Mar-03 (Spectralab)
01-Mar-03 (mindcurve)
01-Mar-03 (mindcurve)
02-Mar-03 (phraggle)
02-Mar-03 (shelfman)
02-Mar-03 (shelfman)
02-Mar-03 (C Infinity)
03-Mar-03 (FIZMO100)
03-Mar-03 (sauce)
04-Mar-03 (Rt.Hon.Beerma§ter™)
05-Mar-03 (FIZMO100)



right thru time.... Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (28-Feb-03  06:58PM )

- get her drunk

right thru time

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Original Message
FIZMO100.... Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (28-Feb-03  07:01PM )

- My g/f wants to make a CD, cos she's too shy to sing in front of loads of people. She's got a really great voice, but I want to do a good job here, because if it sounds shit (due to poor quality recording etc) this could damage her confidence.

I'm thinking of getting a Rode NT-1, which will be recorded using a Terratec DMX 6-fire soundcard (with a bit of luck!). From what I've read, this is a very good mic. Any opinions on this? What are the pros and cons of other mics around this price, and what do other people here use?

Also, any other tips to try out when recording these vocals that might make them sound 'professional'? This is just asking for jokes isn't it?!?

Cheers,

Danny

FIZMO100

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FIZMO100.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (28-Feb-03  07:03PM )

- I knew someone would beat me to it lol

I was typing at superspeed to get that post done, but no, some bugger nipped in there first! What do you recommend RTT? Vodka or beer?

FIZMO100

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right thru time.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (28-Feb-03  07:15PM )

- beer aint bad but liquor is quicker

right thru time

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SpeckO.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (28-Feb-03  08:04PM )

- indeed;)

The Rode is a great mic (and manufactured not far from my home here in OZtralia).

Check out the NT2 as well. I really can't see you having any probs with it. We have a couple in at work, and a lot of the guys prefer it to the (far) more expensive AKG c414 's.

Because she's your girlfriend, you may already be adept at making her feel comfortable.

As far as sounding pro, use 24/96 if possible. This will give you more headroom, and you can track a decent way below 0dB to avoid peaks. Also compress while recording to avoid further peaks. Perhaps you could look up mic technique for singers in Google or another search engine, as It's definately an important factor. It makes it easier if the singer knows how to combine their singing style wit a certain amount of mic technique (e.g increasing distnce from the mic when getting louder and things like that. Also. in her headphone mix, consider sending an amount of reverb to her while she's singing, it'l help her with her confidence (I know I sing better when I've got a nice wash of reverb over my voice! Try it yourself to get an idea.

De-ess her vocals when mixing down compress, consider experimenting with reverbs and pitch shifts (mixing a tiny amount of the ptch shifted vox in with the original Vox can fatten it up).

Hope this helps........

SpeckO

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SpeckO.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (28-Feb-03  08:11PM )

- Oh yeah: Antares Autotune. I've never used it but i hav consistenty heard it sort out all tuning problems, as well as adding some vocody effects (some of which could be used more subtly than 'that vocoded cher/madonna' sound that everybody has only just stopped using thank god!) You could g for some of those effcts just to get her sounding more pro. If she sounds like what she's heard on radio, the she may be more impressed with herself .

Also, experiment with delays on mixdown, tiny amounts of shorts delays for thickeneing, and chunky amounts of tape delay used in classic DUB fashion (you know the delay that loses its hi frequencies as it evolves, and increases feedback until you pull it back.

Good luck

SpeckO

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FIZMO100.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (28-Feb-03  08:52PM )

- Cheers SpeckO - that's great. Speaking of Antares stuff, I was in a studio a while back and the bloke used Antares Mmic Modeller software - that was pretty damn sweet. Might have a look about for that.

Another thought I had was similar to something you mentioned earlier about the pitchshifting. I was just gonna double track her singing, and play the second track a lot quieter to see what that did - I could add more tape saturation to that lower track. As you say, experimenting sounds fun!

I also have some Waves plugins that look quite nifty - 6 voice pitchy harmoniser type things.

Keep the ideas coming - this is really good!

Danny

FIZMO100

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meriphew.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (28-Feb-03  09:02PM )

- Make sure it is a good atmosphere including mood lighting - dim light or no light with candles. Have her not face you or be in another room while she's recording. Also, give her a lot of positive feedback (focus on the positive points instead of the negative ones) to get her pumped up. Good luck.

Link: http://www.meriphew.com

meriphew

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Giant Robot.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (28-Feb-03  11:07PM )

- I'd much rather double a track then use pitch shifting. But that's just me.

The NT-2 is a great mic for the money, but it won't sound like an expensive tube condenser. BTW I don't like 414's for vox much either but they make great overheads for drums, and aren't bad with acoustic guitars either. You could rent a nice mic for the session, if it's that important. Also the mic pre used is almost as important to the sound as the mic, might be worth renting one too.

I'd say if you are thinking about compressing on the way in, don't do it unless you have a nice compressor, because plugins like the Waves Rencomp will be much nicer to the vocal than a cheap outboard compressor. Plus, if you don't have the settings just right you can't change it once it has been recorded. Just record at a level where it won't clip and it'll be fine.

I don't like to autotune vocals if I don't have to- hate the sound, so what I do is play a little trick on the vocalist sometimes- what I'll do it take the best take, autotune it, and play it back through the cans and say "Here, sing along with this take to get the feel of it, you did an awesome job here so all I want you to do on the next take is sing like you did here and give it just a little more."

The trick works the best when the vocalist doesn't know the take has been autotuned because it doesn't hurt their self confidence. Many times when they hear themselves singing in tune the next take they're more in tune so you don't have to deal with that autotune sound messing up your nice vocal.

Good luck

Giant Robot


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Spectralab.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (01-Mar-03  12:20AM )

- liquor in the front, poker in the rear. if that doesn't get a good vocal, nothing will. ;-)

no, I'm kidding.

seriously though, it's all about the atmosphere. make her feel comfortable in the room by whatever means necessary.

another thing that I found helped in working with shy vocalists, was to tell them I just wanted to get as many takes as I can, so there's more material to pull from later. of course, you end up chucking 90% of it, but they don't need to know that. it gets them warmed up, into the groove, more comfortable with the whole process, etc... eventually you do get some good takes, enough to comp from if you don't get one solid good one.

most importantly: be prepared to spend whatever time is necessary to do the session, and take breaks whenever she wants to. you don't want her to feel like she has to get it done within a certain time frame, cos that kind of pressure does nothing to improve the morale of a vocalist who isn't confident.

Spectralab

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mindcurve.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (01-Mar-03  12:27AM )

- If all else fails, beat her like Ike & Tina..

...oh sorry joke time is over.

When I was mic shopping some of the mics I listened to were the NT1, NT2, and NT1000. To me the NT1000 blows the other two away, but it's a litte more costly. I ended up buying a Blue Baby Bottle. One thing that sold me on it was the unusually hot output of the mic, without any degradation of sound quality. With the hot output, I don't have to turn up the levels as loud, and that reduces noise.

mindcurve

...live and die every day...

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mindcurve.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (01-Mar-03  10:57PM )

- I just got a Guitar Center catalog in the mail. For the month of march they have a "green tag" sale going on. I don't know if these are good deals but they've got:

• Rode NTK and Groove Tubes GT66 tube mics for USD499.99

• Rode NT1000 for 299.99

• Groove Tubes GT55 condenser bundled with mic stand, shockmount, Blue Kiwi mic cable, and Sennheiser HD280pro headphones for 399.99

mindcurve

...live and die every day...

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phraggle.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (02-Mar-03  08:26AM )

- I've heard a lot of good things about the Studio Projects C1 - I think if you shop around you can find it for about $200 or less.

phraggle


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shelfman.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (02-Mar-03  12:42PM )

- Me, the fourth earl of North harrow, in a studio with Danny's girlfriend, giving free advice about aural techniques, with my reputation...

seriously, tho' I aint got much to add to Speckos post...

def a drink, not too much.

good luck...mrs shelf has threatened to sing for me on occasions but the urge always wears off with the effects of the wine. Shame.

shelfman

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shelfman.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (02-Mar-03  12:47PM )

- if its a fragile nervous type voice..have a few vocal takes/tracks going in her ears to "fill" it out for her and hopefully give her the confidence to experiment with slightly differing melodies each time..rather than her listen to each take with one voice, and then feel pressured to do it again, but better next time.

it worked for me once.

shelfman

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C Infinity.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (02-Mar-03  01:46PM )

- Hey everyone. I just read through the whole post and I have learned quite a bit. I too have a topic pertaining to this and don't want to start a whole nother thread so here it goes...

My friend had this crazy idea for me to make a Freestyle song and then like 3 of my friends will sing in it. And usually, we just say ideas and never go through with them. Well, I decided to start making it and then he came over yesterday and we finished it. And it seriously sounds REALLY good. Now, we will be recording vocals soon and they really can't sing well (well I havn't heard them sing, but I doubt it =). I record onto my Aw4416 and all I have is an Oktava Mk-319 and use the stock Pres on my Aw. What is the best possible way to get the BEST possible sounding vocals. Remember, they are all male vocals so they won't be at high frequencies. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

C Infinity

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FIZMO100.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (03-Mar-03  09:55AM )

- Loads of good advice! Cheers guys! I'll let you know how it goes - it's not gonna be for a while yet, but it's always worth starting research early!

FIZMO100

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sauce.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and (03-Mar-03  05:51PM )

- i have the antares vocal producer, and it's a dream come true. also, getting her drunk truly is the best advice!

sauce


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Rt.Hon.Beerma§ter™.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (04-Mar-03  08:02PM )

- Drunk - means false confidence, Lazy tongue ( fnar Fnarr ! ) and bat intonation - only a tiny bit of booze to take the edge off

Spectralab nailed it for me

You can have the best vocal mic and signal chain, but if your artist isn't 100% relaxed and calm - you'll never get the results

Forget Antares - It makes voices SO sterile and emotionless - and if the singer is that out - it will start sounding robotic

A little bit of drift is organic and human

Set the mood - drop the lights - give lots of praise, If you need to do a few takes - always explain why the previous take needs re-doing

LIE - Tell her that the last take 'Was Great' even if it was sub standard - she'll feel more confident and give you a better take next !

Don't play back untill you've got quite a few takes

Get the cans balance sorted before she needs to sing

When doing stacked BV's drop all hard 'T's , 'C's and 'D's from the end of phrases except on the first layer ( this avoids multiple clicks and tttttttss

Keep telling her how much better each take is

Rt.Hon.Beerma§ter™

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FIZMO100.... Re:Recording a shy female vocalist - what mic and any other tips? (05-Mar-03  06:04PM )

- Cheers! This is goin to be fun! If all else fails, I could stick it through a vocoder, and tell her that's how she sounds naturally, it just sounds different to her cos she's singing it muhahahaha!

Seriously though, this is all great! Thanks a lot B-)

FIZMO100

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