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Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:31 pm
by trumphodge
Last year I recorded my sister singing some charming children's songs, just voice and piano. The piano is a high-quality Yamaha digital; we played the accompaniment first and ported that into Live, then recorded the vocal with one mic, mono, as the piano accompaniment played back. There is a low background volume of piano audible if only the vocal track is listened to, but the primary piano sound is contributed by the actual piano track. So the whole recording is mono. It's nice, no issues.

But I have two good mics for recording two singers at the same time, and am wondering if the overall sound would be improved by recording my sister singing with both mics simultaneously, resulting in stereo? Does this make sense? If so, how would I place the mics (sing into one and the other to the side?)? Do I set them to mono Left and mono Right--or stereo? I'm not looking to add room "ambience"--and don't want two distinctly different left/right sounds--just wondering if having the vocal come from two slightly different sources would improve it.

I appreciate advice on this--thanks!

Pat

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOIocOJqKq0 This is a one of the songs we recorded last year in mono, as a sample.

Re: Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:38 pm
by evernaut
Generally speaking, it's not the best idea to record a single vocal in stereo since the resulting image is spread too wide across the sound-field and sounds unnatural. Normally, one would only record a group of singers in stereo.

But there are no real rules, and if it sounds good...do it. You may get away with it if the mix is just piano & vox anyway.

Re: Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:43 pm
by 3phase
nothing speaks again using two mics on one source.. but stereo on a voc you only do when you like the room sound... what you usually try to avoid.. and by using a real stereo mic.. evrything else sounds sick...


so forget about the stereo.. a double mono recording can make sense when the sound of the mics goes good together..

but you have to eliminate for phase differences.. or have the 2 mics precisly on the same distace to the singer...

so if you not really know what you are doing just go for the better mic and live the other for a dirt track

Re: Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:48 pm
by evernaut
hehehe...just listened to the recording. That's begging to be sampled :)

Sounds great technically for what it is btw...I wouldn't really change much there.

Re: Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:56 pm
by trumphodge
Thanks, 3phase and evernaut. I'll leave the setup as it was. Appreciate your input!

Pat

Re: Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:51 pm
by monobeach
as a recording beginner, I learned a lot from these sites:

http://www.tweakheadz.com/how_to_record_vocals.htm

some good adcive here, also:

http://www.remix64.com/faq_tut_recordin ... g_fun.html

Re: Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:02 am
by ilia
the recording sounds great, no need to change the setup I think. The singing is excellent as well.

What mikes are you using? From the videos looks like the RFT AK47 and Shure KSM32 on the stands, but it's a bit hard to tell from the picture.

Re: Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:08 am
by Tone Deft
FWIW...

a while back I was wondering the same thing for mic-ing a guitar. what I ended up doing was hitting record then I'd talk out loud about where I was standing and where I put the mic then I'd play the guitar. then I'd move stuff around, dictating what I was doing. did this for a while then hit stop, went back and listened to it. I learned a TON about my own mic placement. it was interesting to hear the sound change too.

edit - yeah, cute song. :D

Re: Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:21 am
by flippo
there is also the kode 9/spaceape ultimate rude-boy option or recording two different takes in mono and hard panning them left and right, haha.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgtcT4YJMkc

Could go down a treat for charming children's songs!

Re: Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:43 am
by yearlongyeti
You can always place the 2nd mic away at a distance to try and capture a natural reverb (gotta watch phasing of course) Bowie did this quite alot.

Re: Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:26 pm
by evernaut
yearlongyeti wrote:You can always place the 2nd mic away at a distance to try and capture a natural reverb (gotta watch phasing of course) Bowie did this quite alot.
True. But Bowie was at the legendary Hansa Tonstudios in Germany and not, as we generally are, making do with a bedroom :lol:

Re: Best vocal recording approach? 1 mic or two?

Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:38 am
by 3phase
evernaut wrote:
yearlongyeti wrote:You can always place the 2nd mic away at a distance to try and capture a natural reverb (gotta watch phasing of course) Bowie did this quite alot.
True. But Bowie was at the legendary Hansa Tonstudios in Germany and not, as we generally are, making do with a bedroom :lol:

a dirt channel works in any room that sounds interesting..
bedrooms can be nice.. as more bed and less room as better..

some heavy curtains around the singing place can be a nice thing..
and with directional mic you also can focus crtain body parts.. so mixing chest with mouth sound or fore head can be nice..as long the singer dont bums again the mike that can be a very decend and close by add on..

or for the rock guy.. you can give them a hand mike to chew on and a well distant condensor and make an automated mix to blend the signals...

its usualy better than when the guy trys to chewon your condensor, and the chewing has usually performance quality.. but often heavy distorted parts
that can be to bad without backup mic..

let say that i never record vocals with a single mike..if possible... an alternativ track can save so much stress in the mixdown.. and filterig on voice is anyway a sensible task..layering can be the stronger sculpting tool..

of cause it helps when you have your secret weapon pair of mics ;-)

In reality ther are not too many singers out there that have a perfect microphone technique and work properly with the distance....

so can go close with out pops and get loud while getting distance...