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Vocals - What Happened Here?

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Anonymous
February 28, 2005 1:52:09 AM

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

Please see the relatively small (500K) WAV file at
http://www.azwebpages.com/Download/VocalCheck.wav.

Our garage band is making a demo CD of a few covers in attempt to get a gig
here and there, so the issue is not how good the vocalist is. He is what he
is.

The problem is that this short clip is distorted as if it clipped on the way
in. I was not there when it was recorded to a hard disk recorder using a
condenser mic without a pop screen, but they insisted it never clipped. I
took the tracks out of the portable recorder to CD, then brought them into
Sonar. The level is well below zero, but that is probably just a factor of
how it was transferred to the external CD recorder.

To my amateur eye (yes, Ghost, I'm an amateur posting in a Pro group), it
doesn't seem clipped. When zoomed out the clip looks like it hits a straight
level, but when I zoom in the samples still show some variation. I
deliberately clipped a vocal myself, reduced it by 3db, then zoomed in. That
wave is obviously (to my eye) clipped.

Can some explain to me what I am seeing? It doesn't sound good and needs to
be redone. If it's not clipping, can someone explain how we can avoid this
the future?

All advice is appreciated.

More about : vocals happened

Anonymous
February 28, 2005 1:52:10 AM

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

You're right, there is definately distortion on this track.....it sounds
like digital distortion which leads me to believe that your soundcard is set
up to expect a -10db line level, when it should be set to +4db for
professional line level that your preamp/mixer is feeding it.....also, just
because one meter shows that your mic isn't clipping, doesn't mean it's not
clipping at some other gain stage/meter....check the input meters in your
soundcard's control panel as well as on your software channel strip, master
fader and inserts (ie. effects)...also make sure your EQ isn't cranked....if
you are running your mic through a mixer, you could be overdriving the
signal at the channel fader, master fader, submix faders (if you're using a
submix) or most likely at the trim knob ....watch the peak meters on your
mixer or outboard preamp as well as the ones on your computer screen.....In
other words, it's easy to overdrive the hell out of a signal with the trim
knob and channel fader cranked all the way up, and then turn the master
faders way down to send just a tiny little quiet amount of heavily distorted
singal to your computer....this is the same way you get distortion out of a
guitar amp by cranking the "pre gain" way up and the "post gain" way
down....anyway, i'd suggest you do a google search for "unity gain" .....not
only will this solve your clipping problems, it will help you greatly
minimize unecessary noise

</end novel>

--

Jonny Durango

"Patrick was a saint. I ain't."

http://www.jdurango.com



"Jim Carr" <jim@azwebpages.com> wrote in message
news:RhyUd.27810$Tt.3954@fed1read05...
> Please see the relatively small (500K) WAV file at
> http://www.azwebpages.com/Download/VocalCheck.wav.
>
> Our garage band is making a demo CD of a few covers in attempt to get a
gig
> here and there, so the issue is not how good the vocalist is. He is what
he
> is.
>
> The problem is that this short clip is distorted as if it clipped on the
way
> in. I was not there when it was recorded to a hard disk recorder using a
> condenser mic without a pop screen, but they insisted it never clipped. I
> took the tracks out of the portable recorder to CD, then brought them into
> Sonar. The level is well below zero, but that is probably just a factor of
> how it was transferred to the external CD recorder.
>
> To my amateur eye (yes, Ghost, I'm an amateur posting in a Pro group), it
> doesn't seem clipped. When zoomed out the clip looks like it hits a
straight
> level, but when I zoom in the samples still show some variation. I
> deliberately clipped a vocal myself, reduced it by 3db, then zoomed in.
That
> wave is obviously (to my eye) clipped.
>
> Can some explain to me what I am seeing? It doesn't sound good and needs
to
> be redone. If it's not clipping, can someone explain how we can avoid this
> the future?
>
> All advice is appreciated.
>
>
Anonymous
February 28, 2005 12:29:04 PM

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

Jim Carr <jim@azwebpages.com> wrote:
>
>To my amateur eye (yes, Ghost, I'm an amateur posting in a Pro group), it
>doesn't seem clipped. When zoomed out the clip looks like it hits a straight
>level, but when I zoom in the samples still show some variation. I
>deliberately clipped a vocal myself, reduced it by 3db, then zoomed in. That
>wave is obviously (to my eye) clipped.
>
>Can some explain to me what I am seeing? It doesn't sound good and needs to
>be redone. If it's not clipping, can someone explain how we can avoid this
>the future?

He's probably overloading the preamp, or something else before the converters.
So the clip light is never coming on, but it never COULD come on because
the preamp is overloading before he gets to full scale.

>All advice is appreciated.

Tell him to listen to what he is doing. There's no way you can do this
and not hear the effect on the monitors.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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Anonymous
February 28, 2005 12:37:20 PM

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

Jonny Durango wrote:

> You're right, there is definately distortion on this track.....it sounds
> like digital distortion which leads me to believe that your soundcard is set


It's not digital; the flattened tops look like they've been through some
analog circuitry because they aren't perfectly flat (the tiny peak on
the leading edge looks like a slight HF boost), and they don't go to
full scale which is where the A/D clips.
Anonymous
February 28, 2005 10:25:04 PM

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

"Jim Carr" <jim@azwebpages.com> wrote in message
news:RhyUd.27810$Tt.3954@fed1read05...
> Please see the relatively small (500K) WAV file at
> http://www.azwebpages.com/Download/VocalCheck.wav.
>
> Our garage band is making a demo CD of a few covers in attempt to get a
> gig
> here and there, so the issue is not how good the vocalist is. He is what
> he
> is.
>
> The problem is that this short clip is distorted as if it clipped on the
> way
> in.

Never clipped *where* on the way in : in the mic itself, in the mic
preamp/desk, or in the A-D ? Clearly it did somewhere....

geoff
Anonymous
February 28, 2005 10:34:47 PM

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

"S O'Neill" <nopsam@nospam.net> wrote in message
news:D 5adnWNK8_xMy77fRVn-3w@omsoft.com...
> Jonny Durango wrote:
>
> > You're right, there is definately distortion on this track.....it sounds
> > like digital distortion which leads me to believe that your soundcard is
set
>
>
> It's not digital; the flattened tops look like they've been through some
> analog circuitry because they aren't perfectly flat (the tiny peak on
> the leading edge looks like a slight HF boost), and they don't go to
> full scale which is where the A/D clips.

That's what had me curious. It didn't look like what I *knew* to be digital
clipping. So, my guess now is that he overloaded the preamp. Sound
reasonable?
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 12:46:38 AM

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

Jim Carr wrote:

> "S O'Neill" <nopsam@nospam.net> wrote in message
> news:D 5adnWNK8_xMy77fRVn-3w@omsoft.com...
>
>>Jonny Durango wrote:
>>
>>
>>>You're right, there is definately distortion on this track.....it sounds
>>>like digital distortion which leads me to believe that your soundcard is
>
> set
>
>>
>>It's not digital; the flattened tops look like they've been through some
>>analog circuitry because they aren't perfectly flat (the tiny peak on
>>the leading edge looks like a slight HF boost), and they don't go to
>>full scale which is where the A/D clips.
>
>
> That's what had me curious. It didn't look like what I *knew* to be digital
> clipping. So, my guess now is that he overloaded the preamp. Sound
> reasonable?


Set the input attenuator, not the channel fader, about 10 dB less
sensitive and I'm thinking you'll have no problem.

I mean, yes that sounds reasonable.
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 12:57:41 PM

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

In article <OuQUd.31940$Tt.6584@fed1read05> jim@azwebpages.com writes:

> That's what had me curious. It didn't look like what I *knew* to be digital
> clipping. So, my guess now is that he overloaded the preamp. Sound
> reasonable?

Yes. This is common when the following converge in a recording studio:

A loud vocalist
A close-placed microphone
A fairly high ouput mic
An engineer who doesn't understand gain structure



--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
March 1, 2005 11:17:12 PM

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

On 3/1/05 9:57 AM, in article znr1109680389k@trad, "Mike Rivers"
<mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote:

>
> In article <OuQUd.31940$Tt.6584@fed1read05> jim@azwebpages.com writes:
>
>> That's what had me curious. It didn't look like what I *knew* to be digital
>> clipping. So, my guess now is that he overloaded the preamp. Sound
>> reasonable?
>
> Yes. This is common when the following converge in a recording studio:
>
> A loud vocalist
> A close-placed microphone
> A fairly high ouput mic
> An engineer who doesn't understand gain structure
>

....and/or some input channels where the mic hits a gain stage designed-in
AHEAD of any level control... The only answer here is move the mic back or
get an inline pad.
!