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Recording Technique
September 11, 2014
4:34 pm
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Felipe Carvalho
Brazil
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Hey guys, I just made a blog post about Recording that I believe is relevant for a lot of us, that are recording our voices and want to sound good on it, I am talking about what I would describe as listening technique, going to cover various aspects like monitoring and room acoustics, in the practical sense, on the follow ups. Please let me know what you think of it and if you would like to have any particular direction explored.

Trying to keep it directed to the technical side rather than gear specifics, I will talk about it too but on a more generic point of view.

http://thesingershub.com/2014/.....-matching/

Felipe Carvalho
Singer and Voice Teacher in Brasil - São Paulo

September 12, 2014
10:44 am
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quentin
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Nice post.

"However next morning you turn the stereo on to take a listen to the recording you made, while eating breakfast, and for your surprise, the godly voice you dialed in the night before became a shrill, distorted and strange thing, and you wonder what the hell is going on with your gear."

It happened to me, and that was uite frustrating. I have also remarked that after too much time spent on editing, i start to lose my lucidity. The next day, i will generally be completely disenchanted and wonder how could i mess it up so much!

September 15, 2014
1:16 pm
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Felipe Carvalho
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Hey quentin thanks for reading and for the reply man.

Yes that happens too, there is only so much our brain can take, if you think about it, it's a lot of focus and processing that we need to do to edit audio. You need to hear what is wrong, how it's wrong and then imagine how it should be and what to do to correct it... Sometimes within the context of multiple instruments playing at the same time, etc.

I had a studio for a while and preparing the tracks for mixing could be a real pain depending on the tracking session.

Felipe Carvalho
Singer and Voice Teacher in Brasil - São Paulo

September 15, 2014
8:02 pm
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Phil Moufarrege
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Spaced time is the best concept that will help you quentin. Rather than trying to slam something down in one session, re-listen to it over a week and you will start to hear things that you couldn't hear before. We need time for hte sound to become fresh to our ears again.

@PhilMoufarrege
Online Vocal Coach, Singer/Songwriter
Grow-The-Voice.com | PHILMOUFARREGE.com

September 15, 2014
9:42 pm
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wabba_treads420
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Awesome post. I'll definitely have to check this one out!

September 16, 2014
11:08 pm
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Marnell Sample
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Great article, Felipe!

September 17, 2014
12:54 pm
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IAm
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You're spot on here Felipe!

Subtractive EQ is definitely the way to go in my opinion; not only due to the loud/better phenomenon, but also due to the fact that additive EQ practices can eat up headroom in a mix like nobody's business. Keeping good headroom is absolutely imperative, especially in today's age of DAW-dominant recording practices. And whether DAW or analog, if you send in a mix for mastering that's sitting right at ~0DB, you're going to get an earful from your mastering engineer!

"There is still a future with music, because people want music." - MJK

September 17, 2014
9:52 pm
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Felipe Carvalho
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Thanks guys!

Phil is quite correct on what he said too. And in fact, we learn a lot doing this kind of listening.

IAm That´s true! I pretend to talk about what IS a mastering process in the future, if I get to go that far that is haha. If you have any ideas to share and what to talk about it would be great :).

wabba and Marnell thank you guys :)

BTW, I just sent the next part, talking a bit about headphones, monitors and their importance. Also how to choose it and a few personal suggestions.

http://thesingershub.com/2014/.....onitoring/

I will follow up with Room Acoustics, as soon as it is done :).

Felipe Carvalho
Singer and Voice Teacher in Brasil - São Paulo

September 18, 2014
6:05 am
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quentin
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Thanks for all the imput guys, it is really helpful.
I think i will wait until i showcase a recorded song again because i need to boil down everything that has been said.
Since i have been recording myself (i do it once a week, usually on saturday afternoon), i have remarked many subtelties about my voice, many little bumps and mistakes that i neglected because i spent one year singing live and never had the occasion to truly listen to my voice.

Condenser mics make my voice sound fuller but there is no room for mistakes. You can hear the tiniest bump.

About headphones, i have a question. How are you dealing with the loss of hearing directly your own voice? Even when i was singing in a studio, with return of my singing in my headphones, i couldn't do it without having one ear uncovered to listen to directly to my voice. I think i have picked a bad recording habit doing so because sometimes i lose a bit the backing track and end up singing out of rythm.

September 18, 2014
7:43 am
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Felipe Carvalho
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Hi quentin.

I think this question has more to do with singing than with the headphones itself, but anyways haha.

There is a certain learning curve to use headphones as monitors when singing in my opinion, both in live situations and in recordings, first because of the change in what you hear, second, because it can affect pitch perception in a considerable way.

The first problem best solution is building strong references of the sensations, and training it so that it is on the same place/sensations all the time. There is no way to make the monitor mix reflect what would be hearing naturally without the head phones. Maybe there is, but you won't be having it :P.

The second problem is both a matter of defining the melody very well on your head and learning how pitch perception works like with the headphones on. You can compare easily, first record with the headphones on, then place it away from you and play it back. When placed at distance you will be able to identify a note that is out of pitch, then put it back on and pay attention to the note that is out of tune until you can perceive it being so.

I personaly rather use a reference mix on the speakers even if it bleeds a little on the vocal line, it's no big deal.

Felipe Carvalho
Singer and Voice Teacher in Brasil - São Paulo

September 18, 2014
9:03 am
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IAm
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Felipe Carvalho said

The first problem best solution is building strong references of the sensations, and training it so that it is on the same place/sensations all the time.

This! Definitely huge, totally agreed. We're going to want to reach a point with our song(s) that we'll need consistent performance, influenced as little as possible by monitoring situations. If this doesn't happen in studio (sometimes there's no time, or what we're recording is a brand-spanking-new vocal arrangement) then we're going to want it to happen prior to taking the tune(s) out for live performance.

quentin said
About headphones, i have a question. How are you dealing with the loss of hearing directly your own voice? Even when i was singing in a studio, with return of my singing in my headphones, i couldn't do it without having one ear uncovered to listen to directly to my voice. I think i have picked a bad recording habit doing so because sometimes i lose a bit the backing track and end up singing out of rythm.

I would suggest to get very used to the sound of your voice through various monitoring systems. Kicking one earmuff backward when recording demos or just references for your own purposes is fine, but I know of several pro engineers that would not allow for that amount the headphone output bleeding into the condenser mic signal (once you take that thing off of your ear, your ear is no longer catching that huge portion of the output it once was and the condenser mic is going to eat it up like candy). I would suggest spending as much time as possible singing with both side of the headphones on. Start with some songs you know you're comfortable singing, songs that you totally smash when singing with no mic, and start to become familiar with how that sound translates through a signal path (I.E. from the mic to the interface to the headphones to your earholes). Once you start to feel at home without the raw-voice reference, and with both headphones on, you'll come to find it quite liberating. So long as you are loud enough in your reference mix to hear all dynamics of your voice relative to the rest of the mix, you will find yourself relaxed and free with the song.

Not sure what kind of gear you have at your disposal (either that you own or otherwise have access to), but if possible, it's good to do the same type of thing with monitors. The same concept applies well to spending a lot of time in a rehearsal space singing through a PA! Each signal path will have its own unique qualities that will react a bit differently to your voice, and spending time to gain comfort with those effects is certainly worthwhile.

Aside from that, definitely take the time upfront to make sure your reference mix is such that you can hear your entire vocal dynamic range clearly. Throwing a compressor in the signal path will most certainly aid you with that, and time should be spent dialing in a knee/threshold/ratio/etc. that agrees with the way you sing.

"There is still a future with music, because people want music." - MJK

September 18, 2014
7:13 pm
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OwenKorzec
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I record with one earphone off probably 97% of the time. I would say it's good but not perfect.

The idea of listening to my voice in headphones only, not hearing the real thing, (same with adding reverb on the monitor mix, I can't believe some singers like that!) just makes me feel weird and the one headphone approach feels closest to singing along with a track on speakers (which is how I usually practice full songs), so I've always just stuck with that.

Most important I think though is 1. Using the direct monitoring sound, not a monitor playback with latency and 2. The right volume of the music in the headphones. which will often have to change depending on what/how I am singing.

September 19, 2014
6:24 am
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IAm
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OwenKorzec said
The idea of listening to my voice in headphones only, not hearing the real thing, (same with adding reverb on the monitor mix, I can't believe some singers like that!) just makes me feel weird and the one headphone approach feels closest to singing along with a track on speakers (which is how I usually practice full songs), so I've always just stuck with that.

I'll still practice full songs just singing along to speakers in situations where that's what I have available... for instance, morning/afternoon commutes in the car. But at home when I have access to a good mic and and interface, I practice the songs in a DAW so there's as little disconnect as possible in feeling/manner of performance from my rehearsal to my recording.

"There is still a future with music, because people want music." - MJK

September 19, 2014
8:29 am
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Felipe Carvalho
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And, part 3 is out too, this time about Room Acoustics, something that goes hand in hand with the last part!

http://thesingershub.com/2014/.....acoustics/

Felipe Carvalho
Singer and Voice Teacher in Brasil - São Paulo

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