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Set up for recording vocals

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Anonymous
February 17, 2005 2:20:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I don't usually record vocals (rock in this case), so I'm not equipped with
an iso-booth or anything with good all-round absorption. I have only a small
sized room (13ft square approx), but I have a few slabs of 4" OC703 I can
move around at my leisure. Also it's a half-buried basement so most of the
walls have thin-plastic covered fiberglass starting midway up the wall going
to the ceiling (should give some midrange, though not broadband,
absorption). As far as mics go, no large diaphragm condensers, just a
vintage c451 and a sm57.

I'm pretty green in all aspects of recording, but logic told me to try the
c451 in one corner of the room facing towards the center with the insulation
mostly in that corner (and the walls on either side of the corner). This way
the pickup pattern of the mic combined with the insulation's absorption will
kill most early reflections. Is it usually better to use the center of the
room? I generally avoid sm57s, but I guess it might be a good option if the
room acoustics won't cooperate?

I haven't had a chance to try anything out yet, but was hoping people could
give some idea of what to expect, or other ideas to try.

Thanks,

Dave

More about : set recording vocals

Anonymous
February 17, 2005 8:35:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"David Grant" <NO_SPAM_PLEASE_jmd_2003@msn.com> wrote in message
news:EZUQd.56$UX6.26@read1.cgocable.net...
>I don't usually record vocals (rock in this case), so I'm not equipped with
> an iso-booth or anything with good all-round absorption. I have only a
> small
> sized room (13ft square approx), but I have a few slabs of 4" OC703 I can
> move around at my leisure. Also it's a half-buried basement so most of the
> walls have thin-plastic covered fiberglass starting midway up the wall
> going
> to the ceiling (should give some midrange, though not broadband,
> absorption). As far as mics go, no large diaphragm condensers, just a
> vintage c451 and a sm57.
>
> I'm pretty green in all aspects of recording, but logic told me to try the
> c451 in one corner of the room facing towards the center with the
> insulation
> mostly in that corner (and the walls on either side of the corner). This
> way
> the pickup pattern of the mic combined with the insulation's absorption
> will
> kill most early reflections. Is it usually better to use the center of the
> room? I generally avoid sm57s, but I guess it might be a good option if
> the
> room acoustics won't cooperate?
>
> I haven't had a chance to try anything out yet, but was hoping people
> could
> give some idea of what to expect, or other ideas to try.

Go with your idea of using the corner as you described to minimize
side-to-side flutter echos, but don't stuff the mic right into it, back off
a few feet, but keep the back end of the mic "aiming" towards the corner, so
that the main (front) pickup pattern isn't getting equal reflection
amplitudes off the side walls. Your biggest problem might be the ceiling,
though - how low is it? You might find it helpful to lay down some carpet or
old blankets underneath the singing position if you've got a concrete floor
in that basement... anything you can do to reduce flutter and/or
comb-filtering between the ceiling & the floor will be helpful to you.
Finally, I'd probably use the -57 as my first pic over the 451 for tracking
lead vox, but you never know what will work best for you (or whoever you're
recording), so try both & see.

Neil Henderson
Anonymous
February 17, 2005 9:00:26 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

David Grant wrote:

> I don't usually record vocals (rock in this case), so I'm not equipped with
> an iso-booth or anything with good all-round absorption. I have only a small
> sized room (13ft square approx), but I have a few slabs of 4" OC703 I can
> move around at my leisure. Also it's a half-buried basement so most of the
> walls have thin-plastic covered fiberglass starting midway up the wall going
> to the ceiling (should give some midrange, though not broadband,
> absorption). As far as mics go, no large diaphragm condensers, just a
> vintage c451 and a sm57.

Into what will you be plugging the mic(s)?

> I'm pretty green in all aspects of recording, but logic told me to try the
> c451 in one corner of the room facing towards the center with the insulation
> mostly in that corner (and the walls on either side of the corner). This way
> the pickup pattern of the mic combined with the insulation's absorption will
> kill most early reflections. Is it usually better to use the center of the
> room? I generally avoid sm57s, but I guess it might be a good option if the
> room acoustics won't cooperate?

> I haven't had a chance to try anything out yet, but was hoping people could
> give some idea of what to expect, or other ideas to try.

The C451 is very sensitive to plosives; you probably can't work it
closely, and depending on your singing technique you might need to put a
pop screen together from some pantyhose and an embroidery hoop. The SM57
can actually work well for rock vox, depending on what preamp it's
paired with. An RNP with it, for instance, offers an affordable combo.

--
ha
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Anonymous
February 17, 2005 9:00:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>
> Into what will you be plugging the mic(s)?
>

> The C451 is very sensitive to plosives; you probably can't work it
> closely, and depending on your singing technique you might need to put a
> pop screen together from some pantyhose and an embroidery hoop. The SM57
> can actually work well for rock vox, depending on what preamp it's
> paired with. An RNP with it, for instance, offers an affordable combo.
>

I've got a pop screen that I purchased a while back but haven't tried yet...
it was really cheap but seems to stop a fair bit of airflow while remaining
transparent

RNP is what I'm using actually. Looking at the 57's freq response it doesn't
seem especially flat over the vocal range, and I was wondering if the
comb-filtering part of the response would make any later eqing in those
frequencies problematic (I'm thinking de-essing specifically which is higher
freq in nature as I understand it). Am I being too finicky considering these
are rock vocals? I'm not sure I'd be so concerned if this was really heavy
stuff, but a number of the tracks are more low key where the vocals seem
like they should stand out.

I'm guessing it's not gonna be worth concerning myself much with room
acoustics or mic positioning within the room if I'm using the 57 up close?

Thanks,

Dave
Anonymous
February 17, 2005 9:00:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"hank alrich" <walkinay@thegrid.net> wrote in message
news:1gs3j3k.l9f16r1iez77zN%walkinay@thegrid.net

> The C451 is very sensitive to plosives; you probably can't work it
> closely, and depending on your singing technique you might need to
> put a pop screen together from some pantyhose and an embroidery hoop.

Or pop for one of the many commercial equivalents, including the one from
Shure. About $25 from Markertek.

Foamies work, too. The nylon screen arguably does less to FR over most of
the audible range, but foamies aren't that bad. Sometimes the tiny high end
droop is a good thing.

> The SM57 can actually work well for rock vox, depending on what
> preamp it's paired with. An RNP with it, for instance, offers an
> affordable combo.

Hank, you said something about that other mic being sensitive to plosives?
The 57 too, right? I've never been able to get away with the 57 as a vocal
mic without some kind of external pop filter.
Anonymous
February 17, 2005 10:33:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

David Grant wrote:

> RNP is what I'm using actually. Looking at the 57's freq response it doesn't
> seem especially flat over the vocal range, and I was wondering if the
> comb-filtering part of the response would make any later eqing in those
> frequencies problematic (I'm thinking de-essing specifically which is higher
> freq in nature as I understand it).

It's hard to judge the sound of a mic by looking at its published
frequency response. There's so much more to it. In the case of the 57
you're seeing that it has a stout presence peak and that can work for or
against you dpeending on voice and song. But don't be wary of trying it
due to what you're looking at; coupled with the RNP it might be the
ticket.

> Am I being too finicky considering these are rock vocals?

Not too finicky, but maybe over assumptive. <g> And there's no need to
denigrate the work just because it's "rock vocals" - nothing wrong with
that - it's worthy of your best shot.

> I'm not sure I'd be so concerned if this was really heavy
> stuff, but a number of the tracks are more low key where the vocals seem
> like they should stand out.

You can use one mic for some tracks and another for others. You might
find the louder and harder tracks work with the 57 and the lower key,
dare we say more delicate tracks better with the the C451. Just keep in
mind that you can't work those two mics the same way; they are different
instruments, if you will.

> I'm guessing it's not gonna be worth concerning myself much with room
> acoustics or mic positioning within the room if I'm using the 57 up close?

Guess again. <g> You were right-on there in the first place and your
concerns about early reflections and such are warranted regardless of
the mic you choose for any particular track. Neil gave you some good
advice about that.

--
ha
Anonymous
February 17, 2005 7:37:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Arny Krueger wrote:

> "hank alrich" wrote

> > The C451 is very sensitive to plosives; you probably can't work it
> > closely, and depending on your singing technique you might need to
> > put a pop screen together from some pantyhose and an embroidery hoop.

> Or pop for one of the many commercial equivalents, including the one from
> Shure. About $25 from Markertek.

Sure, though an embroidery hoop is usually less than a buck and the
pantyhose scrap free. A little strip of latigo or heavy neoprene, a
leather punch, the salvaged portion of a mic clip (it's "always" <g> the
mic clip part that breaks), a very few minutes easy work and you're home
cheap.

> Foamies work, too. The nylon screen arguably does less to FR over most of
> the audible range, buYept foamies aren't that bad. Sometimes the tiny high end
> droop is a good thing
> > The SM57 can actually work well for rock vox, depending on what
> > preamp it's paired with. An RNP with it, for instance, offers an
> > affordable combo.

> Hank, you said something about that other mic being sensitive to plosives?
> The 57 too, right? I've never been able to get away with the 57 as a vocal
> mic without some kind of external pop filter.

The C451 is really far more sensitive to vocal wind than is the SM57. My
singing daughter can actually get away with working a C451 within a few
inches, but most of us don't have her natural gift for vocal control.

--
ha
Anonymous
February 17, 2005 7:37:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Some great advice on recording vocals in a non-ideal room.

I'd just like to add one more thing. One of my pro audio engineer friends
came to my home to see my recording setup and give me some advice. I was
set up much the same way that has been described in this thread (small
room, mic close to a treated wall, pointing to the middle of the room,
vocalist/instrumentalist in the middle). He had me swap the positions of
the mic and the musician.

His explanation was that the mic picks up what it is pointing at (at least
the two cardioid pattern mics you have do). With the microphone positioned
the way it was, it was pointing at and picking up me, but also the
untreated wall behind me. It was mostly ignoring (off-axis rejection) the
treated wall behind it, thus reducing the effectiveness of having wall
treatment. If I stood in front of the treated wall and had the mic in the
middle of the room pointing toward me, it would pick up my voice and the
reduced reflections of the treated wall behind me, while rejecting most of
the early reflections from the untreated wall behind me. In practice it
worked pretty well.

I'm not saying that the suggestions of the other contributers are not
valuable (on the contrary). I'm just trying to provide you with more
options.

Also, if the room is rectangular or square, I wouldn't put anything
(musician or microphone) exactly in the middle of the room or directly in
the corner (imagine two lines running across the room from pairs of
opposite corners and avoid both of them). That's some advice based on the
principles of physics of acoustics. In this case, off-center is a good
thing.

James
Anonymous
February 18, 2005 9:31:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"James_Jonasson" <mail@jamesjonasson-nospam-.com> wrote in message
news:ffba4142003b0cd21dffa76ebbde8550@localhost.talkaboutaudio.com
> Some great advice on recording vocals in a non-ideal room.
>
> I'd just like to add one more thing. One of my pro audio engineer
> friends came to my home to see my recording setup and give me some
> advice. I was set up much the same way that has been described in
> this thread (small room, mic close to a treated wall, pointing to the
> middle of the room, vocalist/instrumentalist in the middle). He had
> me swap the positions of the mic and the musician.

IOW, he pointed the mic at the treated wall, right?

> His explanation was that the mic picks up what it is pointing at (at
> least the two cardioid pattern mics you have do).

I hear they call those cardioids directional mics. ;-)

> With the microphone
> positioned the way it was, it was pointing at and picking up me, but
> also the untreated wall behind me.

This is either good or bad depending on how off-the-wall you want the sound
to be. (OK, I couldn't resist ;-))

> It was mostly ignoring (off-axis
> rejection) the treated wall behind it, thus reducing the
> effectiveness of having wall treatment.

Yeah.

> If I stood in front of the
> treated wall and had the mic in the middle of the room pointing
> toward me, it would pick up my voice and the reduced reflections of
> the treated wall behind me, while rejecting most of the early
> reflections from the untreated wall behind me. In practice it worked
> pretty well.

Certainly, I've seen situations where the fact that the mic was picking up
the wall it was pointed at (or worse, a large corner) was highly
significant.

Personally, I find talking (I make a rule of not singing except in large
groups) at a highly absorbtive wall to be kinda distressing.
!