Vocal eqs

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

I don't understand why when i mic up my vocalist, not matter what they
end up sounding like a child or a little girl. when they sing in
person, they do not have feminine voices. is there something i'd doing
wrong with the eq. I'm using a pretty basic condenser mic, but the
same thing happens with my sm57. and suggestions? thank you!


Disclaimer: I'm a beginner in this whole recording thing!
12 answers Last reply
More about vocal
  1. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Mmmm, my guess is that the mic is not grounded correctly and is doing odd
    things. Just a guess...
    Steve.

    "gretsch27" <Gretsch27@gmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1115001559.115992.175020@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
    >I don't understand why when i mic up my vocalist, not matter what they
    > end up sounding like a child or a little girl. when they sing in
    > person, they do not have feminine voices. is there something i'd doing
    > wrong with the eq. I'm using a pretty basic condenser mic, but the
    > same thing happens with my sm57. and suggestions? thank you!
    >
    >
    > Disclaimer: I'm a beginner in this whole recording thing!
    >
  2. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    You didn't say if the vocals you record have any music accompanying
    them.

    I'm willing to bet that these vocals DO have music with them, and that
    is where your problem is.

    The vocals--in fact, just about everything in your mix--must be EQ'd so
    that they FIT INTO THE MIX AND STILL RETAIN THEIR ORIGINAL SOUND
    QUALITY.

    Listening to the vocals by themselves is NOT the same as listening to
    the vocals with the rest of the mix.

    You must learn to EQ the vocals to compensate for what the other
    elements in the mix are doing. The other elements in the mix are
    "competing" with the vocals, causing the vocals to sound drastically
    different.

    Getting a good vocal EQ is very tricky, but it is one of the most
    important parts of your mix. And the thing that is frustrating (or
    exciting, depending on your point of view) about mixing and EQ'ing
    vocals is that it can be wildly different from song to song--even if
    you are EQ'ing the same vocalist on all songs!
  3. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "gretsch27" <Gretsch27@gmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1115001559.115992.175020@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
    > I don't understand why when i mic up my vocalist, not matter what they
    > end up sounding like a child or a little girl. when they sing in
    > person, they do not have feminine voices. is there something i'd doing
    > wrong with the eq. I'm using a pretty basic condenser mic, but the
    > same thing happens with my sm57. and suggestions? thank you!
    >
    >
    > Disclaimer: I'm a beginner in this whole recording thing!

    A few questions:

    1) What's the whole chain, from microphone to recorder/computer? Include
    brands, please; they may not tell us anything, but ya never know.

    2) How far away are you placing the microphone?

    3) What kind of processing are you doing to the vocal tracks in the mix?

    Peace,
    Paul
  4. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    > A few questions:
    >
    > 1) What's the whole chain, from microphone to recorder/computer?
    Include
    > brands, please; they may not tell us anything, but ya never know.
    >
    > 2) How far away are you placing the microphone?
    >
    > 3) What kind of processing are you doing to the vocal tracks in the
    mix?
    >

    I'm using a MXL 990 condenser (not that bad) plugged into an m-audio
    firewire 410.

    I'm placing the mic about a foot away

    using compression on the vocals, and some slapback delay and an 8th or
    16th note delay.

    The music accompalying the vocals is rock, so there's some distorted
    guitars. I like to put a -3db notch in the music tracks between
    700-1.8 khz to give the vocals room to breath. I then put a
    corresponding +3db boost on the vocals in the same range. this has no
    effect on the problem i'm having, but it does allow the vocals to sit
    without overpowering the mix.
  5. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Producing Lead Vocals


    There are many types of singing and various methods of recording
    vocals, from classical, crooning, rock etc. You will discover that you
    need to develop personal styles and techniques of capturing and
    enhancing their performance.
    As a producer or engineer you need to know what is required of your
    talents to effectively fulfill your role in capturing a good take and
    sound.
    Listening to various successful recordings will provide you with not
    only a reference point but also with a framework to further enhance
    your goals and objectives in capturing a solid quality performance.
    Audition some CDs of vocalists sounds that can be related to what you
    require. On a reference monitoring system, this should give you a
    starting point in where to go with Equalization, processing, and
    balance in a mix.
    You will require a good quality microphone (Condenser), a preamp that
    can amplify a very dynamic performance and maintain a quiet noise
    floor, a versatile equalizer and a transparent compressor/limiter.
    Because recording vocals is often a sensitive and emotional issue for
    singers, it is a good idea to consistently give the singer positive
    feedback of words of accomplishment and encouragement.


    Microphones

    For most vocalists a high quality large diaphragm condenser microphone
    is often the choice. If you have access to a tube mic, even better. The
    tube mic will sound warmer and if there is any distortion, it will be
    less offensive to the ear. U-47, U-67, C-12, M-49, C-4000B are often
    found in better studios and work remarkably well. U-87, Akg 414, Rhode
    will be found in about every studio and often work quite well. The U-87
    will have an even frequency response, where the 414 will accentuate the
    high end. If recording a rock vocalist try a Shure SM-57 you will get
    an enhanced mid-range sound with no distortion.
    Ribbon mics like the RCA models are very good but most have a high
    noise floor.
    When recording bed tracks change the mic from song to song to get a
    general idea of which mic sounds the best. Also when ready to record
    final vocals, line up 3-4 mics and quickly have the vocalist go from
    one to the other to see which mic is the most desirable. Remember to
    check all the dynamic parts of the song; certain mic's sound good in
    verses but might be to thin sounding in the choruses.

    Microphone placement

    For a lead vocal place the mic around 3"-6" from the singer. A pop
    filter may be required. In choosing a pop filter, make sure it stops a
    lot of wind transmission (blow at the filter and place your hand on the
    other side to check) and does not affect the frequency response too
    much. (Place the pop filter between your ear and a speaker and move it
    in and out of the way and listen for any sound degradation). Place the
    pop filter as close to microphone as possible for vocalist do not like
    singing close to a pop filter. If the singer is too bassy from the
    proximity effect, either change the pattern from cardiod to omni,
    insert a high pass filter or simply have the singer stand a couple of
    inches further back from the mic. Take note that when a vocalist is
    moving back and forth from the mic in an area from 1"-3", the low
    end will drastically change and become very hard to control. Make sure
    the microphone is suspended in a cradle to remove or to prevent
    unwanted rumble coming through the mic stand. Make sure the acoustics
    of the room do not influence the desired vocal sound, which occurs when
    the vocalist stands too far back from the microphone. If the room is
    too live try to have the singer move in closer to the mic or dampen the
    room with blankets or baffles usually close to the singer. If there is
    a music stand involved for the singer to read lyrics make sure it is
    dampened down and the stand doesn't ring sympathetically with the
    vocal performance.

    Creating The Right Environment

    Before recording vocals, ask the singer what they need to feel
    comfortable in the studio when recording. Remember singing is an
    emotional and mental experience, so having the singer feeling relaxed
    is very critical. Try to set up baffles covered in quilts and blankets
    close to the vocalist, this makes the studio seem more comfortable and
    helps reduce the room acoustics on the sound of the singer. Keep the
    lighting tapered with a lamp or candles. You might need a small lamp to
    place on the music stand so the lyrics will be seen easily. Have a
    comfortable chair and table to place things on and a pitcher of water
    and a glass for vocalist's throats dry up quickly. Make sure there
    are pencils on the music stand for singers have a habit of changing
    lyrics at the last minute. Also place them in an area of the studio
    that they will be in a position to not have to look at the control room
    all the time. Standing in the middle of a big studio with bright
    lighting and people staring at you can be very intimidating for a
    vocalist, so creating a very comfortable and relaxed environment is
    very important.

    Equalization

    Male Vocalist:

    High pass filter at 50hz
    Low end 100hz-200hz
    Low mids 400hz-800hz; med "Q"
    Mid range 3khz-5khz
    Top end 10khz and up

    Female Vocalist

    High Pass filter at 80hz
    Low end 200hz-300hz
    Lo mids 400hz-800hz
    Mid range 3khz-5khz
    Top end 10khz and up


    Limiting and Compression

    A good vocalist will work with mic distance in relationship to
    dynamics. During soft and loud passages they will intuitively move back
    and forth from the mic. This will lower the effect of the dynamic
    control function and maintain a high quality sound. However, when
    starting out as an engineer or producer you will most likely not have
    this luxury or feel intimidated to solicit advice to the vocalist. Even
    with a good microphone and good mic preamp, recording vocalists can be
    a major problem if various processing is inserted in the wrong
    sequence. For example: if you insert a compressor or limiter with too
    slow of an attack time what ends up happening is the dynamics of the
    vocal performance expands. This is caused by too slow of an attack time
    on your comp limiter whereby the initial transient passes through the
    comp limiter unaffected and the remaining vocal dynamic is affected. If
    inserting EQ that enhances the mid range or high end, before this type
    of setting on the comp limiter it will exacerbate the problem even
    further. You could also introduce sibilance problems into the sound. To
    play it safe I would suggest this technique:

    First limit the vocal with a quick attack and quick release time - this
    will allow you to manage the transients of the vocal. This will make
    the vocal more suitable for compression, if desired. Do not EQ the
    vocal before limiting. Insert the EQ directly after limiting but before
    compressing. With compression the limited vocal will allow you to use a
    medium to slow attack time and medium to slow release time. This
    affectively compresses the tonality or vowel sounds of the vocal, which
    often require level management. A ratio of 2:1 to 4:1 should suffice.
    An attack time between 25-100 milliseconds and a release time of
    200-500 milliseconds, or better yet use your ears to get the right
    attack and release settings. Make sure the release time is slow enough
    to prevent pumping and breathing yet fast enough to not affect the next
    part of the signal that might not need to be compressed. When
    dynamically processing a vocal try to have the vocal go back to unity
    gain as often as you can for example: with a 4:1 ratio the meter should
    be moving from 0VU to -4VU. If you see the meter moving from -8VU to
    -4VU you are over-compressing and corrupting the quality of the vocal.
    Remember, the more you dynamically process a signal, the thinner the
    sound will get. Dynamic processing does not process evenly over the
    frequency range, especially in low-priced compressor/limiters. When
    EQing do this before the compressor. For example if the vocal has too
    much low-end and is not EQed the compression will be triggered by the
    low end which will only thin out the sound leaving dynamic problems
    untouched. Also, if you are EQing mid-range into the vocal the
    compression will factor in the EQ and compress effectively.


    Sibilance

    Sibilance can be very frustrating in trying to get a vocal sound that
    will be intimate and present sounding. This is caused by various things
    like the characteristics of the singer, over compression, the wrong
    type of compression, too much EQ, etc.
    To really control sibilance problems it is best to use a de-esser or
    selectable Eq compressor. Using fast attack and fast release times and
    bandwidth on the target problem frequencies will greatly improve the
    quality. Most de-essers let you monitor the type and amount of
    de-essing through side-chain monitoring so you can focus in on the
    problem area. Sibilance problems range from 4khz-8khz. De-essing the
    vocal reverb send also helps to keep the reverb warm and not too noisy
    with a lot of high frequency splatter. When inserting de-essing place
    it before any equalization or dynamic control for it will allow you
    maximize its efficiency.

    Headphone Mix

    It is very important that you take the time to provide an excellent
    headphone monitor mix to the vocalist for singing. Most vocalists will
    need to hear a clear band mix with sufficient harmonic and rhythm
    content. If the vocalist is getting ahead or behind the beat you will
    need to send more drums or instruments with a rhythmic component. If
    the song when finished will have only a lead vocal and a solo
    instrument for the intro and first verse, you might suggest to the
    drummer to keep time by playing the hi-hat softly so it can be used to
    keep everybody in time and then can be removed for the final mix. Note
    that most singers do sing ahead of the beat.
    If the vocalist's pitch is a problem then you might need to send more
    harmonic instrumentation to the headphone mix. If there is not enough
    there you might put down a synth pad guide track for the vocalist may
    reference their pitch too and then not use it in the final mix. If the
    vocalist has to come in before the downbeat insert a pitch reference a
    couple of seconds before the song starts. This works especially well if
    there are key changes in the song and you always have to back to the
    beginning. This is also a good time to experiment with reverb settings;
    compression, Eq and effects for singers love to hear an enhanced sound
    in their headphones. If you find the singer projecting too much or
    singing too softly then they are not hearing themselves properly in the
    headphones and this will cause numerous technical and performance
    problems. Try to set up to record at least 4 tracks so you can have 4
    takes to choose from to make a master take.
  6. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    that mic has a big presence peak. try something flatter
  7. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "gretsch27" <Gretsch27@gmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1115037354.293495.141690@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
    >
    > I'm placing the mic about a foot away

    Have you tried moving the mic to about 6"? Any improvement?

    > using compression on the vocals, and some slapback delay and an 8th or
    > 16th note delay.

    I assume the compression is in mixdown rather than tracking?

    Peace,
    Paul
  8. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Just curious, does the mic sound normal in the headphone mix? If so
    disregard the rest of this because Matrixmusic may have already
    helped...
    If not, are you using the same mic cable every time? The cable could
    be the problem; it sounds one legged. By that I mean the wire to pin
    2 or 3 may be broken resulting in a thin, phasey sound.
  9. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    gretsch27 wrote:

    > I don't understand why when i mic up my vocalist, not matter what they
    > end up sounding like a child or a little girl. when they sing in
    > person, they do not have feminine voices. is there something i'd doing
    > wrong with the eq. I'm using a pretty basic condenser mic, but the
    > same thing happens with my sm57. and suggestions? thank you!

    Stop pumping helium into the vocal booth.


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

    > "gretsch27" <Gretsch27@gmail.com> wrote in message...
    > > I don't understand why when i mic up my vocalist, not matter what they
    > > end up sounding like a child or a little girl.

    > > is there something i'd doing wrong with the eq.


    "Matrixmusic" <kevindoylemusic@rogers.com> wrote in message news:1115064101.289959.197090@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

    > Equalization
    >
    > Male Vocalist:
    >
    > High pass filter at 50hz
    > Low end 100hz-200hz
    > Low mids 400hz-800hz; med "Q"
    > Mid range 3khz-5khz
    > Top end 10khz and up
    >
    > Female Vocalist
    >
    > High Pass filter at 80hz
    > Low end 200hz-300hz
    > Lo mids 400hz-800hz
    > Mid range 3khz-5khz
    > Top end 10khz and up


    Kevin,

    Did you post this dissertation because the original poster stated that they
    were new to recording, or because it directly addressed his question with
    reference to EQ?

    Is this really Kevin?

    As to the quoted portion of your text having to do with EQ, what exactly
    is it that you would do with the above figures to remedy the poster's
    problem or answer his question?

    --
    David Morgan (MAMS)
    http://www.m-a-m-s DOT com
    Morgan Audio Media Service
    Dallas, Texas (214) 662-9901
    _______________________________________
    http://www.artisan-recordingstudio.com
  11. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "gretsch27" <Gretsch27@gmail.com> wrote in message news:1115001559.115992.175020@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
    > I don't understand why when i mic up my vocalist, not matter what they
    > end up sounding like a child or a little girl. when they sing in
    > person, they do not have feminine voices. is there something i'd doing
    > wrong with the eq. I'm using a pretty basic condenser mic, but the
    > same thing happens with my sm57. and suggestions? thank you!
    >
    >
    > Disclaimer: I'm a beginner in this whole recording thing!


    What sort of preamps are your mics being plugged into ?

    Have you checked the cables ?

    How would anyone know what you might be doing wrong with EQ if
    you don't describe what it is that you've done with said EQ ?

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

    David Morgan \(MAMS\) <mams@NOSPAm-a-m-s.com> wrote:
    >"gretsch27" <Gretsch27@gmail.com> wrote in message news:1115001559.115992.175020@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
    >> I don't understand why when i mic up my vocalist, not matter what they
    >> end up sounding like a child or a little girl. when they sing in
    >> person, they do not have feminine voices. is there something i'd doing
    >> wrong with the eq. I'm using a pretty basic condenser mic, but the
    >> same thing happens with my sm57. and suggestions? thank you!
    >>
    >>
    >> Disclaimer: I'm a beginner in this whole recording thing!
    >
    >
    >What sort of preamps are your mics being plugged into ?
    >
    >Have you checked the cables ?

    Nobody has asked the big one.... ARE YOU RECORDING AND PLAYING BACK AT
    THE SAME SAMPLE RATE?
    --scott

    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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