Author Topic: Vocal mixing - advice, tips on how to, software, tools etc  (Read 376 times)

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Offline DavidP

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Re: Vocal mixing - advice, tips on how to, software, tools etc
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2017, 11:08:58 am »
LoL

LB, I think David is struggling with both as well  :)  But keep on trying and am getting better, albeit slowly.

Agree with you ... both is what I call "live & unplugged" and separate "studio production".  Good to work at both.

And yes, it was me who shares the PC  :)  Wouldn't I love a music room like Omar has  8)  OTOH ... all the editing and mixing in the world doesn't help if my playing is way off, so I spend more time practising between recording sessions which is working fine for me.

And I always remember that I am doing this for fun and the love of music, so I don't get to bent out of shape when things are maybe as good as some of the other folk who share in the Community.  It is my journey and I have never been happier ...

Offline MrBumble

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Re: Vocal mixing - advice, tips on how to, software, tools etc
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2017, 11:59:53 am »
OTOH ... all the editing and mixing in the world doesn't help if my playing is way off, so I spend more time practising between recording sessions which is working fine for me.

And I always remember that I am doing this for fun and the love of music, so I don't get to bent out of shape when things are maybe as good as some of the other folk who share in the Community.  It is my journey and I have never been happier ...

Very true statements.

A performance which relies on excessive editing and magic effects to make it sound good is not the one you started out with.

The whole purpose of this music thing is to enjoy it. That should always come first and if you don't enjoy it, stop it a do something else. Life is too short not to get the most out of it.

I would always prefer a sincere performance, with all its flaws, over tweaked perfection!

Keep doing what you do, it certainly give pleasure to this old fart who can only aspire to your ability.

Offline LBro

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Re: Vocal mixing - advice, tips on how to, software, tools etc
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2017, 12:37:35 pm »
All very true guys....

But it also depends on your perspective. Somewhere around 7 or 8 yrs old I  developed a love for recording. Back then (52 some odd years ago) it was of course reel to reel. Oh, how I wanted one so bad. So imagine my delight when I got one as a gift from my Dad. Well, the  excitement soon turned to despair when I recorded something off the radio with it. Probably the Beatles new song or something.  This recorder had no capstan, so the wow and flutter were enormous and of course we are talking a mono rig. But it gave me a taste of recording. From that point I knew I wanted something better that could record music. Alas Dad came through again a few years later with a stereo deck that could record music. I was in heaven. But the GAS in me wanted more channels so I could over dub and what not. One day someone gave me a 4 track reel to reel. Oh wow, then I found out why it was free as the heads were worn so badly it recorded horribly. Well all that history to say that now a days we can have 100 tracks if we want and oh so clean.

So I suspect most on here are here to play guitar and learn to get better at it as their primary goal. Mine is a bit different. I play to have something to record. I also have  3 singing daughters and one you likely know as NaNa that gives me more to record.

So my "having fun" is recording first and playing guitar second. I am not as dedicated as I should be if I am honest on guitar.  That of course holds me back on it. My banging of head on the wall so to speak is more wrapped around recording and mixing, how to do and the tons of aspects that go with it. But I also find this drives me to play more guitar. I have written at times songs where I can't quite play the guitar part on rhythm. Sometimes I practice it a month to get it down. I do a lot of recording of those sessions to check progress and learn from it. In the end I do the same as you, have fun. In addition I hope all the head banging leads to a sharper mind that can resist some of the aging of the mind my family & genetics  has had.

At any rate for what it is worth that is why I am into recording as much as I am... mixing is just an extension of that. Then we have vocals and trying to sing which another animal in itself.... lol

Thus I guess it just means some have differing ways to have fun! Now about that gammer. If he is anything like my son who can play non-stop for days on end. Your going to get a lot of guitar practice in!
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Rock on, play well and capture it when you can,
LB
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Offline DavidP

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Re: Vocal mixing - advice, tips on how to, software, tools etc
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2017, 01:04:48 pm »
I would always prefer a sincere performance, with all its flaws, over tweaked perfection!

Keep doing what you do, it certainly give pleasure to this old fart who can only aspire to your ability.
Thanks for the encouragement, MrBumble

And I can only say that 10 months ago when I began the BC, I had aspirations to play better.  But I didn't have any aspirations to be recording and mixing and didn't have high expectations as to how much better I might play.

Read my Roadcase ... beginning of January I could stay in time with Justin teaching the chord changes for Three Little Birds at whatever extremely slow BPM that is.  But I have persevered and made progress beyond my dreams.  So I guess if I can then you can achieve more than you may imagine is possible right now if you are patient.  And while I have always loved music, nothing in my life before BC suggested I had in special talent or ability.  And not sure at what age one earns the "privilege" to call oneself "an old fart" ... I am considered a "grumpy old man" at work  :) ... I am now 52, so don't have to be a youngster to be able to learn and get better ...

So you keep at it, enjoying it and progress will come.

Offline DavidP

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Re: Vocal mixing - advice, tips on how to, software, tools etc
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2017, 01:14:53 pm »
Thanks for the tales, LB

About 8 years old, 1973, my brother and I were given a small red cassette player.  Remember recording ABBA's Waterloo off the TV and other songs over time.  The start of the love of music ...

Recording ... well that started at the end of Feb this year and quickly led to mixing ... now I am absorbed in both, though would probably rather be a player and singer than the engineer, but love working on the DAW and learning the dark arts of mixing.

May never ever reach the levels of Kasper and Roman, but not concerned by that.  As my brother said to me over the weekend, after listening to my latest recording of Hallelujah and the cover of My My Hey Hey ... if this is what you are doing now after a few months, imagine what you'll be doing in a few years if you maintain current levels of effort ... and I can't imagine ... just ready to rock on and enjoy the trip !!

« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 03:57:22 pm by close2u »

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Vocal mixing - advice, tips on how to, software, tools etc
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2017, 04:29:09 pm »

And tool wise, I suspect I can do a lot better using the EQ, compressors, reverb, delay etc that came free with my Ableton DAW supplemented with all the free VST plugins I got from Reaper site.  In particular, I have barely begun to be able to apply EQ.


Consider that a blessing.

FIFY
Quote
I suspect I can do a lot better by not using the EQ
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Offline DavidP

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Re: Vocal mixing - advice, tips on how to, software, tools etc
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2017, 04:49:05 pm »
Now I am curious, TB-AV, since all I have read and watched about mixing tends to place importance on EQ.

That said,  all tend to emphasise importance of benefits of cuts first before boosts and subtlety ie 2-3 DBs and managing output level to maintain volume ie not being decived into thinking better due to being louder.

And my struggle has been to actually hear the differences.  That I attribute to untrained ears that need to develop greater sensitivity to subtle differences and the quality of my playback. So have tended to just use HPF so far on low end,  which I can hear.

So would appreciate some elaboration on your comment, to share your thinking and experience.

Thanks

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Vocal mixing - advice, tips on how to, software, tools etc
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2017, 06:52:45 pm »
A lot of digital EQs have issues that can add undesired information into your track.

A lot of what you hear people talking about is related to outboard gear.. $$$

If you find yourself -needing to EQ a lot, then it was recorded wrong to begin with.

You can't 'out-hear' your monitor system... well you can, but you would first need a reference. So if you can't hear, meaning you can't find the frequency that makes things sound good, it's probably your room and your speakers. Unfortunately, unless you were able to spend a lot of time with your recording in a great environment to translate it back to your less than desirable situation, then you will never get it right except by accident.

When you see people making big cuts and such two things can be happening.
1. They are fixing poorly recorded tracks - that can and should be fixed the next time such that the 'repair' is not needed.

2. They are being creative. Sort of like the 'telephone' sound or 'radio sound'.

As an analogy, say you were painting. Someone says paint an apple, a yellow balloon, a pretty cloudless sky. Now if the only yellow you have is actually ocher, and the red you have is a shade with a lot of orange in it and your blue is navy blue.... Well, you are kinda screwed if you want to paint a kid holding a yellow balloon and eating an apple at the county fair.

Same with the music. Your intent is to sound like what you have heard. You might pull off some Sonic Youth sounds but you can't pull off Chet Atkins sounds.

So.... again, if you can't record and monitor accurately, your ability to mix in that same environment, or any environment is really diminished.

So forget the EQ after the fact. Get a good sound going in. Use all the EQ you want going in. Turning the mic is a massive EQ, so too are your pickups, tone pots on your guitar, amp settings, location in room, quality of room. So instead of reaching for a DAW EQ with your eyes. Use all the natural EQs around you with your ears FIRST as you record tracks.

There are many many master tracks of big name bands and historic recordings out there to compare to.

Find a guitar track or whatever, then record yours. Set them on two tracks and compare. Get yours to sound as much like the reference as you can going in.

Otherwise you very likely will end up with an EQfestation in your DAW and a mix that sounds like noisy one dimensional mud.

1. Treated room
2. Speakers that actually allow you to hear truth in the room
3. Good tracking technique - get the good sound going in.
4. Use mix EQ sparingly if at all OR for specific reason that you are not guessing at.


Extra Credit Food for Thought:
Assuming ITB digital EQ...
About your "high pass every track" ... not saying HP doesn't have it's place.. but consider this.

You have an SM57 stuck in the grill of an amp that is blaring the most beautiful sound you have ever recorded. Why would you want to HP that 'just because the rule book says so'?. How could that mic even pick up 'the low stuff down there'? Maybe in silent parts, but you can take that out with volume. Why EQ it when .... [read first sentence]
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Offline DavidP

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Re: Vocal mixing - advice, tips on how to, software, tools etc
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2017, 07:15:21 pm »
Thanks TB-AV

Appreciate you taking the time to explain. All makes a lot of sense. Will keep at it and work at making my recordings hopefully sounding better, without getting to carried away.

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Vocal mixing - advice, tips on how to, software, tools etc
« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2017, 07:49:23 pm »
And my struggle has been to actually hear the differences.


There is one other aspect of not hearing it I should mention.

You know when you speak of a dB or 2 and not hearing a difference.

Well, let's just say your room and speakers are such that they will tell you the difference. The subtle changes compound upon themselves. Also a lot of mixing is about feel. You will feel good when you hear a good mix.

So here is something you can try. Just throw a bunch of tracks up. Doesn't have to sound great. Jsut be sure they are dry.

Now, take each track and put some reverb on it. Dial up the verb until you can just hear it, then dial it back ever so slightly. So now technically you can't hear it right?. Do that to about 20 tracks.

Now mute the reverb from the whole mix. Then switch it in.
Then out. You should get a different feel overall and hear it a bit differently.

Sooo... you can't hear the change you are making, but ALL your changes made a discernable difference.

Now you can probably imagine that happening even before you do it. BUT, back to the above post... imagine if those 20 tracks all needed repair work? Like not a little touch up of lipstick and finger nail polish but reset a couple of broken bones. Can you imagine now that the reverb, although proven to work, would probably just make things overall worse in that context? IOW, you can't fix it with EQ or verb or whatever.

The EQ, verb, comp is used to make 'really good' become emotional and animated. Then the mix will move and have dimensions but still have the basic sounds you recorded. Not some patched up Frankenstein and raggedy Mummy tracks.
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