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CF_Mono
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:21 pm
Posts: 1501
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:48 pm 
 

Hey guys, I'm in the process of recording vocals to finish my band's album. Thing is, me and the other bandmates don't know what we're doing, all of us sound pretty horrible taking on vocals. We mainly have concerns about mixing, but improving amature vocals is really our main goal here.

Here's me on a couple of takes:

1
https://soundcloud.com/vincent_wisehoon/pblsample1

2
https://soundcloud.com/vincent_wisehoon/pblsample2

So here's the thing: My voice is obviously not that great, but I felt it at least fits the theme of weakness and sounds frail enough for a doom album. But there are still things I could do to capitalize on that effect. So for both takes, there is a boost in the high-mids for that radio'd type nasally sound, which I'm okay with I guess, but is there a way to get the vocals to sound more dry and up front without making it painfully obvious that my technique isn't good?

Second, I like the tone of the first take more, but I barely sung on that, it was really more of a loud talking. When I put the real power into my voice in the second take, I don't think any of it came through. I was obviously more prepared the second time, and it shows in the rhythm and intonation, but when I was sloppier, it sounded nicer. Do I not have to necessarily belt out all my singing?

Finally, for both takes (I believe), I mildly reduced the volume of some of the guitar tracks at periods where I was singing. Is this a good idea? Someone told me I don't want my vocals to fight with the frequencies making up the guitars and distortion (obviously), but that makes me wonder how a band like Electric Wizard can have tons of loudness and distortion and still lay vocals on top of that. That's why I went with the school of just making them sound thin and frail, but they're still pretty unclear. Basically I don't know whether or not I should be messing with the volumes of everything else to make the vocals pop out.
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Arkhane
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:39 pm
Posts: 1614
Location: South Texas
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:21 am 
 

There is no mixing trick to cover up poor vocal technique, first of all. Second, the same old notes in about 8 different bars is very repetitive, so I would actual experiment with low growls to see if that sounds any better (to yall, of course). When putting vocals into a song, you ideally want to keep the raw tone of your voice that the microphone picks up without messing with the EQ. You can do some minor adjustments to get rid of any super low end bass or bring out your voices natural attributes, but you don't want to edit your voice into sounding not like yourself. If you like the telephonic tone, you can more than likely accomplish that with simple low/high pass filters.

The way I keep my vocals from clashing with the guitars is just to put the guitars on separate sides and put the vocals in the middle, so the vocals have their own space in the sound wall and the guitars help to carry them along. To put it simply, just saving the center space for the voice and bass. So when listening it kinda "looks" like this to the ears:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - You are here - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



--Guitar 3----- -----Guitar 2----- ---Vocals--- ------Guitar 2------ --------Guitar 3-- <-- Soundwall

....\______________________/ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . \_______________________/.....
. . . . . Left Speaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Right Speaker. . . . . .


Guitar 2 is non-solo lead guitars and Guitar 3 is general rhythm guitars or backing guitars (guitar 1 is what I refer to as the solo guitar or spotlight guitar, which usually goes right around the vocal space when there are no vocals at the current spot). But this is my personal method, some other people may have different mixing techniques. And no, you shouldn't have to fade back the guitars in the middle of the song to make room for vocals.

The instrumentation is very nice, by the way. Nice and heavy doom.
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Mixing and Recording

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Syntek
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:14 pm
Posts: 618
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:57 am 
 

Lot's of DAWs come with manual tuners that you can adjust the pitch of your voice with, without significantly changing the tone itself (unlike how a pitch-shifter would).
Worst comes to worst, you can subtly dab some of that on.

EDIT: That said, the slightly off-keyness of the vocals really works well with the instrumentation. You could project a little better, however.
Another thing worth using is a little bit of compression which will even out the volume of the vocals pretty nicely.

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CF_Mono
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:21 pm
Posts: 1501
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:09 am 
 

Arkhane wrote:
There is no mixing trick to cover up poor vocal technique, first of all. Second, the same old notes in about 8 different bars is very repetitive, so I would actual experiment with low growls to see if that sounds any better (to yall, of course). When putting vocals into a song, you ideally want to keep the raw tone of your voice that the microphone picks up without messing with the EQ. You can do some minor adjustments to get rid of any super low end bass or bring out your voices natural attributes, but you don't want to edit your voice into sounding not like yourself. If you like the telephonic tone, you can more than likely accomplish that with simple low/high pass filters.

The way I keep my vocals from clashing with the guitars is just to put the guitars on separate sides and put the vocals in the middle, so the vocals have their own space in the sound wall and the guitars help to carry them along. To put it simply, just saving the center space for the voice and bass. So when listening it kinda "looks" like this to the ears:

...

Guitar 2 is non-solo lead guitars and Guitar 3 is general rhythm guitars or backing guitars (guitar 1 is what I refer to as the solo guitar or spotlight guitar, which usually goes right around the vocal space when there are no vocals at the current spot). But this is my personal method, some other people may have different mixing techniques. And no, you shouldn't have to fade back the guitars in the middle of the song to make room for vocals.

The instrumentation is very nice, by the way. Nice and heavy doom.



Thanks, that was actually a little helpful.

Only thing is, much of this isn't in fact already mono. The kick/snare are like 30%/40% right. The bass is 30% left. Almost everyone says leave them in the center, but I've heard QOTSA pull off just the opposite really nicely, and I carefully listened to Candlemass's From the 13th Sun, and the kick, snare and bass also are not centered perfectly. The guitars I recorded were pretty conventional, two high shelved at 100% L/R and two cleaner but crunchy tones 70% L/R.

I've been putting the vocals at like 20%-30% either direction.

Syntek wrote:
Another thing worth using is a little bit of compression which will even out the volume of the vocals pretty nicely.

I actually compressed both a lot.
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Doom or be doomed...
My current band. Wretched doom trio from NY.

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Arkhane
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:39 pm
Posts: 1614
Location: South Texas
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:22 am 
 

DOH! How did I forget compression? Yes, you should add enough compression to make your vocal levels more consistent, but not so much so as you can't tell the difference between soft singing and belting.
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