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The_BPP
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Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please!
      #1034470 - 21/02/13 09:04 AM
I normally record music for other people, but there's a song I've wanted to cover for some time, which none of my vocalist contacts will touch.

Therefore, I've bitten the bullet, and decided to record the vocals myself. I'm not a singer. I don't pretend to be, but I can pitch a note.

Are there any tips you can give me (other than Melodyne) for self-recording? There must be others out there doing this. I'm not expecting great results, tolerable at best.

Thanks in advance!

--------------------
Touch & Go


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The Elf
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Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1034485 - 21/02/13 09:45 AM
Record one vocal and tune it to death (I use Cubase's VariAudio, but Melodyne will do). Now sing to that horribly tuned vocal as a guide.

It's not always going to work, but with some vocalists I work with this has improved their performances beyond all recognition.

--------------------
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.


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The_BPP
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Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The Elf]
      #1034498 - 21/02/13 10:38 AM
I would have never thought of that. Good tip, Mr Elf!!!!

--------------------
Touch & Go


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Dave Rowles



Joined: 28/02/08
Posts: 1460
Loc: Isle of Man
Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1034501 - 21/02/13 10:48 AM
Be prepared to take quite a few takes. I always find that when I'm recording my own vocal it takes ages for me to sing it right. If someone else is recording it I can get it done quite quickly.

--------------------
www.manninmusic.com Bandcamp
Sound Engineer, Music Teacher, Isle of Man


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Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1893
Loc: lincolnshire government experi...
Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The Elf]
      #1034508 - 21/02/13 11:51 AM
Quote The Elf:

Record one vocal and tune it to death (I use Cubase's VariAudio, but Melodyne will do). Now sing to that horribly tuned vocal as a guide.

It's not always going to work, but with some vocalists I work with this has improved their performances beyond all recognition.




That's good advice. If Melodyne shows pitch discrepancy live, like old versions of Autotune do, you can also use that as a guide, too.


>

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


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ConcertinaChap



Joined: 20/07/05
Posts: 2688
Loc: Bradford on Avon
Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1034537 - 21/02/13 02:50 PM
Quote The_Big_Piano_Player:

I would have never thought of that.




Neither would I, but it's a good thought to tuck away in the back of the mind. Thank you (even if the Elf does look like Elric of Melniboné).

CC

--------------------
Remember: Tidy wires are happy wires!
Mr Punch's Studio


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Madman_Greg



Joined: 07/12/06
Posts: 729
Loc: The back of beyond
Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: ConcertinaChap]
      #1034563 - 21/02/13 05:22 PM
My advice as follows

Sing the song a numbers of times straight, i.e. no emotion / vocal theatrics, just to learn the notes / timing.

From time to time record against the basic chord structure to check your timing, tuning, pitching etc…. – use melodyne if needed.

Repeat until you have learnt the basic tune properly.

So now you know the notes…..

Move on the adding you to the song, delivery, expression, emotion etc…..

Record, assess and improve, repeat as required.

No comment as to how many times you need to do this, depends on your experience as a vocalist I guess.

--------------------
Madman_Greg


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Dynamic Mike



Joined: 31/12/06
Posts: 2035
Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The Elf]
      #1034790 - 23/02/13 01:34 AM
Quote The Elf:

Record one vocal and tune it to death (I use Cubase's VariAudio, but Melodyne will do). Now sing to that horribly tuned vocal as a guide.

It's not always going to work, but with some vocalists I work with this has improved their performances beyond all recognition.




I do this a lot. Especially with harmonies. Sometimes I use it as a guide vocal, but lately I find just singing along to it in the car prepares me for a (half) decent take. I also find taking a break between tracking & appraising what I've done helps to keep me objective.

--------------------
Disclaimer: The views or opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of the poster by the time you read this.


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alexis



Joined: 10/01/03
Posts: 1821
Loc: San Antonio, TX USA
Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: Dynamic Mike]
      #1034791 - 23/02/13 01:47 AM
Quote Dynamic Mike:

Quote The Elf:

Record one vocal and tune it to death (I use Cubase's VariAudio, but Melodyne will do). Now sing to that horribly tuned vocal as a guide.

It's not always going to work, but with some vocalists I work with this has improved their performances beyond all recognition.




I do this a lot. Especially with harmonies. Sometimes I use it as a guide vocal, but lately I find just singing along to it in the car prepares me for a (half) decent take. I also find taking a break between tracking & appraising what I've done helps to keep me objective.




Me too, all the time. If my car became sentient, and developed a grasp capability, the first thing it would do is shoot me.

--------------------
Alexis -Cubase7.5.20 64bit;i5-4570 3.2GHz,16GB RAM;W7SP1 64bit on Samsung SSD840 Pro256GB;Seagte 1TB SATA600 Audio;UR28M;Motif8;UAD2Solo;Jamstix 3.3;BCF2K;TC Helicon VoiceOne;RevoicePro2.5


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The_BPP
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Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1035094 - 25/02/13 10:57 AM
Oh well, I've now recorded my singing, and I have to say, there's mixed results. The tuning was okay, but the overall tone wasn't too pleasant.

It does make me respect decent vocalists a lot more.

--------------------
Touch & Go


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
Posts: 5831
Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1035159 - 25/02/13 03:52 PM
Quote The_Big_Piano_Player:

Oh well, I've now recorded my singing, and I have to say, there's mixed results. The tuning was okay, but the overall tone wasn't too pleasant.





That's EVERYONE'S opinion of their own voice. What do other people say? Don't fall into the usual trap of swamping your voice with too much reverb and effects will you? :-)


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A. AuCr



Joined: 12/02/12
Posts: 144
Loc: NEW England
Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1035168 - 25/02/13 04:57 PM
Tip: Send it to someone else to mix. Have them document the EQ and processing used for your future reference, because none of us are objective when it comes to our own voices.

Well, unless you're confident enough to be able to quickly dial in exactly the sound you want, which doesn't seem to be the case quite yet...

I should have sent one out,(actually I did, but then the gent wouldn't tell me what he did) I've been eight months going through vocal technique, placement, mic choice and processing to get to where I think the results are trending towards "acceptable" and I'm able to dial in something close to the warm baritone I've been chasing.

Heh. My car is sick of my voice too!


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CS70



Joined: 26/11/12
Posts: 420
Loc: Oslo, Norway
Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1035172 - 25/02/13 05:34 PM
My first post here - hello everybody! - and my $.10 (all pretty simple stuff, but there you go).

First, what makes a song to me is the level of emotion that it carries and inspires; so think ahead of the feel you want: it's drama? Joy? Excitement? And so forth. Doing so, you can put yourself in the "right" state of mind for the song.

Second, comping is your friend. However, I find it hard to keep feelings flowing for more than a couple takes at a time. So do your couple takes, wait a few minutes, then go back at it and repeat until you have 6-8. Keep everything, especially the first ones can contain pretty inspired moments. You can also play with accents, attack, timing and so forth - everything to make it fun. Don't stress - make sure you have a comfortable space and time aplenty. Keep gain, volume etc at the same level between takes (since you record others that goes without saying I guess) but also take care of recording the takes using approx. the same distance from the mic. If you are good and notice your takes tend to be quite similar to each other (and correct ;-) you may also go down to 3 or 4, but never less - there's *always* something in a take that gets noticed only when all the recoding kit has been stored away.

If you can, memorize the lyrics instead of reading them - so you can focus on the feel of the song instead of the "where the heck was I reading"?

Then split and comp.

Once you've found the best bits, then if you can pass them to another pair of ears for a bit of EQing, telling them how you would like it sound. This will get you an idea on how your voice can sound on the final track. If you do it yourself, have frequent 3 minute breaks to reset your hearing.

I wouldn't be over focused on pitch - I mean, if you *are* a singer the whole point is that you can sing somewhere near pitch (or you may just look very hot, actually, but that's another matter) and whatever isn't is part of your character - often that "near" is what gives some soul to a vocal line. If something is terminally wrong in what turns out to be your most inspired splice, then of course it's worth trying to fix it.

Have water available between takes.

And just stop worrying and go at it. :-)

--------------------
http://www.silver-spoon.org - It's just music
..and the FB page


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shufflebeat



Joined: 09/12/07
Posts: 3285
Loc: Manchester, UK
Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1035183 - 25/02/13 06:48 PM
I wish I'd seen this before you'd done the recording but, for future reference:

If at all possible get somebody else to hit the record/go back/recon buttons. Do not underestimate the psychological difference this will make even for experienced recordists. Not everyone will feel this way but I've found it very useful and I've discussed it with quite a few folks.

Let your voice decide the key of the song, not your piano playing skills. Even a semitone either way can make a huge difference physically and psychologically (this is a word I find myself using frequently when talking about singing).

It often takes a long time to 'find' your voice - to figure out exactly what you're capable of, what direction you're heading in your development and to get to like the end result.

Get a second opinion from someone who will tell you straight if you're capable of better.

Good luck.

--------------------
Onward and outward


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The_BPP
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Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1035242 - 26/02/13 08:22 AM
Thanks for your advice. I did use comping to create two tracks (one main track, and one for doubling)... and I did ask one-or-two singers what they thought. The general consensus was an "Okay, but..." or "Alright, if..." kinda thing, and pointers were given from a performance, point-of-view.

If one of them had agreed to do the song prior to this, I wouldn't of recorded my singing in the first place - angry emoticon!

--------------------
Touch & Go


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GlynB



Joined: 26/09/03
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Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1035554 - 28/02/13 01:50 PM
Maybe it's not the right song for your voice tone. Just because you like a song and wish to cover it, doesn't mean it'll suit you.

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The_BPP
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Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1043169 - 13/04/13 11:22 AM
Thanks for all your advice. I have finally bitten the bullet, and recorded my own vocals.

The results are here...

https://soundcloud.com/the_pianoman/no-regrets

Please advise if there's anything else I haven't thought of, for tweaking the vocals.

Once again, thank you for your input.

Andy

--------------------
Touch & Go


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
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Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1043176 - 13/04/13 12:15 PM
The singing's fine. In the first section the instrumental sound isn't "listening" to the vocal, it fights rather than supports. Put it in the gaps, or leave it out.


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The_BPP
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Joined: 13/05/04
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Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: Exalted Wombat]
      #1043182 - 13/04/13 01:24 PM
Quote Exalted Wombat:

The singing's fine. In the first section the instrumental sound isn't "listening" to the vocal, it fights rather than supports. Put it in the gaps, or leave it out.




i guess the piano is a little busy

--------------------
Touch & Go


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Exalted Wombat



Joined: 06/02/10
Posts: 5831
Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: The_BPP]
      #1043265 - 14/04/13 09:59 AM
Quote The_Big_Piano_Player:

Quote Exalted Wombat:

The singing's fine. In the first section the instrumental sound isn't "listening" to the vocal, it fights rather than supports. Put it in the gaps, or leave it out.




i guess the piano is a little busy




I like the piano! I meant the sound that comes in with the voice on "too long...".


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The_BPP
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Re: Producer, recording his own vocals. Advice please! new [Re: Exalted Wombat]
      #1043318 - 14/04/13 05:46 PM
Quote Exalted Wombat:

Quote The_Big_Piano_Player:

Quote Exalted Wombat:

The singing's fine. In the first section the instrumental sound isn't "listening" to the vocal, it fights rather than supports. Put it in the gaps, or leave it out.




i guess the piano is a little busy




I like the piano! I meant the sound that comes in with the voice on "too long...".



Ah, the guitar. I getcha, now. That's all I needed - another pair of ears. Thanks!

--------------------
Touch & Go


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