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Author Topic: Terry: About Vocal Production  (Read 22611 times)

Bob Olhsson

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Re: Terry: About Vocal Production
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2005, 02:19:49 pm »

Why try?

Seriously, there's never any point to performances that are less than outstanding. Great recording engineering is all about solving these kinds of problems and ALWAYS keeping the recording process out of the way of an outstanding performance.

rush909

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Airy/Breath Sound of Vocals.
« Reply #31 on: February 19, 2005, 03:32:35 pm »

I've been looking for an answer to this for a while:

how can you get that air/breath sound consistantly that's on a lot of R+B vocal Hits- where there is this constant high frequency breath sound whenever the vocal is heard?
It almost sounds like someone is triggering a constant breath sound to turn on when the vocals are on. It's on most R+B vocal group hits- but I hear it on pop/rock records as well... it sound like white noise is coming out of the singer's mouth... For the longest time I thought it was the Never 1073 pre adding that color, but I then heard some productions done with the 1073 that did not have that...

not sure if you know what I mean... but I thought I'd take a shot...

best

r.
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compasspnt

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Re: Terry: About Vocal Production
« Reply #32 on: February 19, 2005, 06:41:57 pm »

Adam Tal wrote on Sat, 19 February 2005 09:13

Hi ...
when you record those great vocalists, how many  
takes does it usually take to get the "right one"?
Do you stack up lots of takes, and then spend hours choosing the best parts? or do you only keep 1-2 (or 3-4) takes that you think would be good?
Also - do you deal with a lot of bad takes (pitch\rhythm\other problems), or does the vocalist get it right from the first time, and just try to get better takes?


This will vary greatly from any one vocalist to another.  I have worked with some who can sing the song almost perfectly the first time, or any number of times after that.  In those cases, I would usually just do 2 or 3 takes, and only make a composite track where an obvious "best" bit occurred on one of the takes.

Others are equally great vocalists, in that although they might not be technically perfect at hitting the notes, or even in timing, they are able to convey the emotion to the listener.  In a case like that, there might be several more takes performed, and a more rigorous comping job ahead.  Always this would be done with a sense of the "big picture" and the emotional meaning of the song.

Then there are those who really aren't so great, but can be made to appear so (almost, perhaps), by multiple takes and/or punches, and massive comping and tuning.  But, do whatever one has to do to get the best recording possible.



WhyKooper wrote on Sat, 19 February 2005 12:16

I've run into singers who do outstanding performances ..but only when singing to monitor speakers.  They can't nail it with headphones no matter what I try.  Which doesn't work most of the time because of the leakage.  Have you ever run into this?  How do you handle it?


I agree with Bob...nothing should get in the way of a great performance.  If there has to be bleed, then so be it.  I mentioned in another post that I have, on occasion, used two small monitor speakers in the studio in front of the vocalist, and had the two wired out of phase.  The theory here is that the speakers' sound reaching the mic would roughly cancel itself out, and you could get a fairly low level of bleed along with the vocal.  Of course, the sound reaching the vocalists' ears might also be more or less out of phase, so that could possibly affect them adversly.

I work a lot with an artist that I think is a great singer, but we never overdub vocal only.  He sings the best when playing his acoustic guitar while singing.  Of course, this means there is bleed in both the guitar mic and the vocal mic, and it mitigates the possibility of tuning notes or adding certain effects.  BUT, the performance is much better this way, and that's the important thing.

TM
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: Terry: About Vocal Production
« Reply #33 on: February 19, 2005, 09:57:33 pm »

I once chased a singer into the bathroom at Motown! He cracked up and came back and sung his heart out. I also gave up and did the lead vocals and two passes of backgrounds on Rare Earth's "I Just Want To Celebrate" using a single hand-held Shure SM53 in the control room with a pair of 604s running at ear-splitting volume with lots of EMT on the vocal mike.

Curve Dominant

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Re: Airy/Breath Sound of Vocals.
« Reply #34 on: February 20, 2005, 01:26:57 am »

rush909 wrote on Sat, 19 February 2005 20:32

I've been looking for an answer to this for a while:

how can you get that air/breath sound consistantly that's on a lot of R+B vocal Hits- where there is this constant high frequency breath sound whenever the vocal is heard?
It almost sounds like someone is triggering a constant breath sound to turn on when the vocals are on. It's on most R+B vocal group hits- but I hear it on pop/rock records as well... it sound like white noise is coming out of the singer's mouth...


Try this:

1) Make a duplicate track of the lead vocal.
2) Run the dup through a hipass filter set to 7KHz
3) Compress that, a lot. Crush it.
4) Now, very carefully blend that track into the mix.

I learned that trick from Mike Shipley, and have since been using it a lot to satisfying effect. That track becomes like a "presence" knob on the original vocal which you can raise or lower depending on the need for the vocal to stand out in the mix.

howlback

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Re: Terry: About Vocal Production
« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2005, 05:45:57 am »

compasspnt wrote on Thu, 10 February 2005 02:23


I've tried to use speakers instead, and put two together out of phase, so that the live sound would more or less cancel out at the mic.  Worked OK, but most find it strange.

TM


Hi Terry,

Thanks for sharing so much on this forum.

I have heard that a good solution to the problem above is to record vocal passes with the loudspeakers in polarity, then record a "bleed track" with the singer in place (not singing). Subsequently, reversing the polarity on the "bleed track" gets rid of almost all the leakage, due in part to including the reflections from the singer's face.

I have never done this, but I know of at least one platinum selling Canadian signer who likes to have her vocals recorded in this way.  

Best wishes,

Kent
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Andy Simpson

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Re: Terry: About Vocal Production
« Reply #36 on: February 20, 2005, 07:11:11 am »

With regards to 'white noise' on the singer, I would say that it's a close-mic'd by product of the husky, experienced (tired) voices of the old school singers. Those guys sung (screamed) long (smokey club) shows every night of the week, which if you try yourself, you'll find to give you a husky, textured vocal sound (even if you don't want it!).

The same 'effect' is present on alot of earlier beatles records, where they tracked the whole album in a day or two....very tired voices with pleasing husky sound....

Wink

Andy
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Etch-A-Sketch

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Re: Airy/Breath Sound of Vocals.
« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2005, 04:03:32 pm »

rush909 wrote on Sat, 19 February 2005 12:32

I've been looking for an answer to this for a while:

how can you get that air/breath sound consistantly that's on a lot of R+B vocal Hits- where there is this constant high frequency breath sound whenever the vocal is heard?
It almost sounds like someone is triggering a constant breath sound to turn on when the vocals are on. It's on most R+B vocal group hits- but I hear it on pop/rock records as well... it sound like white noise is coming out of the singer's mouth... For the longest time I thought it was the Never 1073 pre adding that color, but I then heard some productions done with the 1073 that did not have that...

not sure if you know what I mean... but I thought I'd take a shot...

best

r.



i've had to engineer some stuff that had this sound on it.  What the producer made me do is this...

Have the singer go back after the lead part is comp'd and do a "Whisper track".  The singer has to be really good at doubling himself, but if they can pull it off, they whisper-sing the whole track in unison with the comp'd lead.  

I didn't mix it so I'm not sure how the mixing engineer would handle it.  I'd image you'd pull out  from around 300Hz up to about  2KHz (too keep it out of the way of the lead vox) and then maybe boost a hair at around 8KHz and up to bring out the airy-ness in the whisper.  Then you blend it in the background.

Just dup'ing the track and running  a high pass set at 7K can create some phase shifting (depending on the EQ you use) and may make the vocal brittle instead of brilliant.  

The Whisper track did the trick perfectly.  I guess you could use vocalign if the singer can't double him/herself that well.  But after tracking that, I now notice it a lot in Hihop/R&B tunes.  I'm not sure if that's what they are doing, but it's the same sound we got by doing the whisper track.

Try it and see if it gives you what you're looking for.
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rush909

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Re: Terry: About Vocal Production
« Reply #38 on: February 20, 2005, 05:59:12 pm »

cool... I've been doing the whisper trick for a many years now, but never really went all out with it... I almost always have it in the choruses to thicken and make the chorus special but never really went all out and done it on the verses... hm...  I think a good combination of the two techniques - whisper & careful EQing could be the trick...

thanks for the idea...

r.
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jwhynot

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Re: Airy/Breath Sound of Vocals.
« Reply #39 on: March 12, 2005, 09:41:16 pm »

Many moons ago Eric Vincent hath inscribed



Try this:

1) Make a duplicate track of the lead vocal.
2) Run the dup through a hipass filter set to 7KHz
3) Compress that, a lot. Crush it.
4) Now, very carefully blend that track into the mix.



It's worth adding here that setting the hi-pass a little lower works very well too - as does using a bandpass filter such as the GRM tools one.

JW
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Curve Dominant

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Re: Airy/Breath Sound of Vocals.
« Reply #40 on: March 12, 2005, 09:59:46 pm »

jwhynot wrote on Sun, 13 March 2005 02:41

Many moons ago Eric Vincent hath inscribed



Try this:

1) Make a duplicate track of the lead vocal.
2) Run the dup through a hipass filter set to 7KHz
3) Compress that, a lot. Crush it.
4) Now, very carefully blend that track into the mix.



It's worth adding here that setting the hi-pass a little lower works very well too - as does using a bandpass filter such as the GRM tools one.

JW


Thanks, John, I'll experiment with that.

The 7KHz was something Mike Shipley mentioned, and I just ran with that. Depending on the voice, one could indeed vary that.

jwhynot

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Re: Airy/Breath Sound of Vocals.
« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2005, 11:22:46 pm »

yeah of course it's an idea on which to build...

I found just now that setting the hi pass at 3500 felt more human, and at 7k the effect was more of a process, more "metallic".  Definitely depends on the voice I guess...

BTW multing signals out like that is something that can work on lots of different things, including the whole mix.

JW
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Tomás Mulcahy

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Re: Airy/Breath Sound of Vocals.
« Reply #42 on: March 13, 2005, 10:24:26 am »

I HATE that whispery sound Smile ! I hear it on almost all LD condensers, without any processing, so I must be a freak.

Very interesting thread though, thanks to all.

Curve Dominant

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Re: Airy/Breath Sound of Vocals.
« Reply #43 on: March 13, 2005, 11:07:48 pm »

jwhynot wrote on Sun, 13 March 2005 04:22

I found just now that setting the hi pass at 3500 felt more human, and at 7k the effect was more of a process, more "metallic".  Definitely depends on the voice I guess...


There are some nuances to consider when using this technique:

Bill Mueller

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Re: Airy/Breath Sound of Vocals.
« Reply #44 on: March 19, 2005, 10:02:02 am »

Eric,

I have used this trick for years. It will allow you to use less compression on the main vocal as well because as it falls in gain it gets brighter and more distinct. The whispery parts get even more whispery without gettting harsh. This also keeps the track from getting harsh when louder. Mike Shipley gave you a real gift with this one.

Lucky guy,

Best Regards,

Bill
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