Main Forums >> Recording Techniques
        Print Thread

Pages: 1
alexis



Joined: 10/01/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: San Antonio, TX USA
What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? new
      #926334 - 14/07/11 12:15 PM
Hi -

Until my outboard compressor arrives, I've been experimenting with singing with the preamp on my mic turned quite low, so that I can fit the very loud parts in along the soft ones without clipping.

Then, when it's recorded in my DAW, I just gain up the audio waveform (the softer portions of the singing being very soft, indeed!).

It doesn't sound "good", after I do that. Can someone explain please ... is that the sound of the poorly treated room being amplified? Or does what I do bring out the noise of the preamp itself?

In THEORY, should recording at a very low level, then gaining up in the DAW bring out more, or less, of the room sound ... preamp sound?

Thanks!

--------------------
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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Martin WalkerModerator
Watcher Of The Skies


Joined: 28/02/01
Posts: 17550
Loc: Cornwall, UK
Re: What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? new [Re: alexis]
      #926362 - 14/07/11 02:16 PM
Hi alexis,

The balance of room sound to your vocal is set by how loud you are singing and how close you are to the microphone - if you sing softly then the ‘room tone’ will be louder once you’ve raised the overall level of your recording, and using a hardware compressor won’t help this.

To get ‘less room’ you either need to put in some acoustic treatment (even hanging a duvet nearby can help damp down the reflections) or sing louder or closer to the mic.

What a hardware compressor may help with is avoiding clipping when you sing unexpectedly loudly


Martin

--------------------
YewTreeMagic


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21832
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? new [Re: alexis]
      #926366 - 14/07/11 02:33 PM
Quote alexis:

I've been experimenting with singing with the preamp on my mic turned quite low, so that I can fit the very loud parts in along the soft ones without clipping.




Okay -- that's a pretty sensible approach.

Quote:

Can someone explain please ... is that the sound of the poorly treated room being amplified? Or does what I do bring out the noise of the preamp itself?




Increasing the level of the recording by increasing the gain will, inevitably, make everything louder... and that includes the preamp's noise contribution and the room's acoustic character (tonal colourations and reverb).

This is inevitable, and the relative balance between your voice and the preamp noise and room tone is set the moment you press record. I doubt the preamp noise is much of an issue, but the room tone often is, and if you want less of that you'll have to address the room's acoustics and/or work at less distance from the mic (if that is practical).

Quote:

In THEORY, should recording at a very low level, then gaining up in the DAW bring out more, or less, of the room sound ... preamp sound?




It makes no difference -- 'gaining up' just makes everything louder in the same proportions. What it will do is make the room sound more obvious.

The quick and easy way of reducing the amount of room sound significantly is to hang a thick double duvet behind you. This soaks up any room reflections that would otherwise bounce off the wall behind you straight back into the mic. If you can extend this duvet around the sides of you and the mic, so much the better. A Reflexion filter (or similar) can also be helpful once the duvet trick is in place.

Finally, a word of warning: a compressor will make this room sound problem worse. In reducing the level of the loud parts of your singing, it will also effectively bring up the quieter parts by the same amount. So it's well worth sorting out your room acoustics first.

hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
ElecTrika-MixTek



Joined: 26/01/10
Posts: 414
Re: What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #926371 - 14/07/11 03:35 PM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:



The quick and easy way of reducing the amount of room sound significantly is to hang a thick double duvet behind you. This soaks up any room reflections that would otherwise bounce off the wall behind you straight back into the mic. If you can extend this duvet around the sides of you and the mic, so much the better. A Reflexion filter (or similar) can also be helpful once the duvet trick is in place.




Just one for Hugh there... When I put the old duvets behind and to the side I always throw the mattress in front of the vocalist. I never analysed this acoustically, I just felt it dampened the vocals and where there are duvets there are sometimes mattresses. Hugh, do you have any feelings on mattresses?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21832
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? new [Re: ElecTrika-MixTek]
      #926373 - 14/07/11 03:44 PM
Sure, matressess have some useful acoustic properties, and anything that helps to damp down room reflections is usually a good thing.

I tend not to use matresses much myself partly because they're big and bulky and too much like hard work to move about, and partly because of the rather more significant disruption caused in completely stripping the beds!

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
alexis



Joined: 10/01/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: San Antonio, TX USA
Re: What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? new [Re: alexis]
      #926379 - 14/07/11 04:14 PM
Thank you everybody! I have a reflexion filter in front, and a double duvet behind me, would love to do more for the room, but that is how life is at the present!

I appreciate everyone's help and comments -

--------------------
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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
ef37a



Joined: 29/05/06
Posts: 6794
Loc: northampton uk
Re: What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? new [Re: alexis]
      #926442 - 14/07/11 11:15 PM
I am slightly suprised that no one has mentioned that so long as you are running 24bits and averaging around -18dBFS you should have no need of compression.

Dave.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
The Elf
active member


Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 9449
Loc: Sheffield, UK
Re: What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? new [Re: ef37a]
      #926469 - 15/07/11 07:31 AM
Yup, if the levels are set properly them you shouldn't be even *close* to clipping, no matter how loud the source. A hardware compressor is not the answer - it's a distraction.

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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Dave B



Joined: 03/04/03
Posts: 5640
Loc: Maidenhead
Re: What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? new [Re: alexis]
      #926600 - 15/07/11 10:15 PM
Agreed - one of the best changes to recent recording practices was the loss of the compressor on the way in IMHO.

--------------------
Veni, Vidi, Aesculi
(I came, I saw, I conkered)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
solaris
new member


Joined: 27/10/03
Posts: 12
Loc: UK
Re: What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? new [Re: Martin Walker]
      #926621 - 15/07/11 11:32 PM
Quote Martin Walker:



To get ‘less room’ you either need to put in some acoustic treatment (even hanging a duvet nearby can help damp down the reflections) or sing louder or closer to the mic.


Martin




Hi, if less "less room" means less reflections then what we are interested in, is the direct signal to room reflections ratio. Is that going to change if the someone sings louder or softer? I would assume that a louder voice will just have louder room reflections.

Have I misunderstood something?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Urthlupe
member


Joined: 20/09/02
Posts: 488
Loc: West Midlands, UK
Re: What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? new [Re: alexis]
      #926670 - 16/07/11 06:24 AM
Hi Alexis

Just for completeness sake, thought I should mention that of course the sensitivity and directional characteristics of your mic will also profoundly influence the balance of direct and reflected sound captured in any particular situation.

Loopy


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
ef37a



Joined: 29/05/06
Posts: 6794
Loc: northampton uk
Re: What goes wrong when recording vox with preamp too low? [Re: Urthlupe]
      #926672 - 16/07/11 06:35 AM
Quote Urthlupe:

Hi Alexis

Just for completeness sake, thought I should mention that of course the sensitivity and directional characteristics of your mic will also profoundly influence the balance of direct and reflected sound captured in any particular situation.

Loopy




Good point and peeps are wont to say " Oh! Capacitors mics pickup too much room" They don't pickup anymore than an SM58 it is just that you have to suck the latter unless you have extraordinarily good pre amps.

Dave.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Pages: 1

Rate this thread

Jump to

Extra Information
0 registered and 19 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  David Etheridge, James Perrett, zenguitar, Martin Walker, Forum Admin, Hugh Robjohns, Zukan, Frank Eleveld, SOS News Editor,  
Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled
Rating:
Thread views: 4403

October 2014
On sale now at main newsagents and bookstores (or buy direct from the
SOS Web Shop)
SOS current Print Magazine: click here for FULL Contents list
Click image for October 2014
DAW Tips from SOS

 

Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help

 

Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26

         

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2014. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media