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Advice please - vocal production

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:31 pm
by umbrellasky
Hello everyone I'm new to the forum and new to Ableton and making/mixing music, recording vocals etc.

What do you think would be the best process when it comes to adding vocals to mixes?

I bought an expensive microphone thinking that I could record my vocals at home not realizing (duh!) just how difficult it would be to edit out reflections and background noise - this mic picks up sounds outside my house!! I'm thinking the best process might be to create the music first, perhaps adding in rubbish vocal recordings purely for placement and to help with composing, then removing them, going to a recording studio to record the vocals and adding them back in after.

I'm just worried that because the clean vocals aren't there during the composition process they might not fit with the music when I finally add them in...but this is where mixing comes in right?

Any advice would be much appreciated :)

Re: Advice please - vocal production

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:26 pm
by CheekoStick
I always add the vocals last. I have tried adding them at different times throughout the workflow process and I get too involved with it and forget about the music itself. Just my process, others might have differing opinions.

Re: Advice please - vocal production

Posted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:18 pm
by jlgrimes
If your problems is just reflections, this can be tamed a bit. Look up duvet vocal booth.

Main thing is to pick a corner and place duvets along the corner walls. When singing get in the corner and stand away from the corner. This will reduce a lot of the problematic reflections behind you. This solution is designed for a cardiod mic as it minimizes reflections behind it as well, so in essence you should get a recording pretty free of reflections. You will have to track with headphones or with the speakers low.

Re: Advice please - vocal production

Posted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 7:15 am
by mrdelurk
If you have a laptop and a good USB mike, you might have a first class insulated vocal booth already without realizing. It's called a car.

I'm just checking the vocal takes I recorded in my car today, crooning/yelling my a** off with the windows up. It was a vocal performance I wouldn't feel comfortable doing at home within neighbors' earshot, reshouting twisted passages dozens and dozens of times. (Someone might call the padded wagon...) The recordings came out great!

I was worried I might get some short slapback echo from the tight car space but nope, the interior muffled reflections very nicely. Good job, Suzuki...

Re: Advice please - vocal production

Posted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:05 am
by jestermgee
I am not a vocal artist but I record a few and also have a collection of mics from cardioid, shotgun and XY mics. Cost of a mic will not dictate the quality of the end result, just quality of the mic. As you have learned if your recording environment has flaws this will be evident in the mic.

There are small portable anti-reflection booths you can get which work ok in a stretch and you can achieve half decent results with $100 worth of acoustic treatment foam and a small corner of the room to record in. I have a walk in robe room that has treatment and thick curtains around the edge. This works to make the recording room pretty neutral but not fully sound proof so loud enough sounds will filter in (car doing a burnout, kids screaming in the street etc). Most is covered with music.

The artists I work with I record when we have a completed idea. I typically churn out ideas, they take the ones they like and rough cut them to fit their content, we record then I redo the original idea to fit the structure THEN start doing all the fiddly stuff but a basic melody and idea is always done first and written too.

Experimentation is key. Get a long ass XLR cable and move your mic to different areas or rooms and test it out. Convert a pantry or closet to a makeshift recording booth or even get a big cardboard box and line the inside with thick blankets or acoustic foam if you can. The idea of a car is a good one but that may have it sound a little flat because you will still get reflections from a very small space instead of scattering the reflections.

Posted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:43 am
by lovelight

Re: Advice please - vocal production

Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:06 am
by mrdelurk
jestermgee wrote:The idea of a car is a good one but that may have it sound a little flat
An exciter, etc. thrown on top and any flatness is solved.
The car singing was more of a psychological step for me. Three sessions with closed windows, sweating like a horse in a sauna, and now I don't give a frigg about neighbors anymore. I belt my vocal at home so loud the gecko fell off the wall. :lol: