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Poor singer yet great vocals..

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Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby Mayday » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:38 pm

Hello,

On the topic of poor singers sounding great on tracks. How does Calvin go about doing this? I am a better singer then him (have heard him live) yet have gotten insignificant results with my vocals on tracks. Is it a question of trial and error with microphones or improving processing/layering? I don't have the ear to listen to what is going on here. Please, if you know how it is to be stuck and can offer me some help on how to move forward It would mean the world.

My setup is Studio Projects C1 Condenser Microphone, Cardioid running into a UA 25 ex

Examples:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8TPXFoXO5A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7tMbM7qDWM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi9SGixzrzs
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Re: Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby The Elf » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:05 am

This guy can deliver a vocal that hits an emotional nerve. Lead vocals are more about emotion than accuracy, technique or how 'good' you are. If you hit that nerve (even better if you can do it consistently) then nothing else matters.

Don't just sing the notes - TELL THE STORY.

(Pity about the first link above falling into cheap Euro-pop after the vocal intro - it was going so well until then...)
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Re: Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby Shambolic Charm » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:16 pm

Totally agree, too much focus on pitch these days at the expense of feeling.
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Re: Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby Mayday » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:23 pm

The Elf wrote:This guy can deliver a vocal that hits an emotional nerve. Lead vocals are more about emotion than accuracy, technique or how 'good' you are. If you hit that nerve (even better if you can do it consistently) then nothing else matters.

Don't just sing the notes - TELL THE STORY.

(Pity about the first link above falling into cheap Euro-pop after the vocal intro - it was going so well until then...)

This is great advice, something I really have been neglecting in pursuit of the sound. Taking this into account, my vocals still sound "separate" and recorded in my tracks. It doesn't glue and mesh bringing the attention to that instead of the feeling of the vocal.
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Re: Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby The Elf » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:42 pm

Mayday wrote:my vocals still sound "separate" and recorded in my tracks. It doesn't glue and mesh bringing the attention to that instead of the feeling of the vocal.
This is not uncommon and can be the cause of one thing, or the accumulation of many - technique, mic position, mic choice, too much/little mic gain, unflattering EQ/compression/de-essing, poor choice of effects... it's an endless list.

It could simply be that the vocals are well-recorded, but the backing isn't mixed to complement the vocal. I hear many disastrous attempts at adding vocals over 'beats' and the result often sounds like karaoke rap night down at the local pub. A mix needs to support the vocal, and it can be an exacting process to achieve this - involving a lot of multing and automation to get it just right.

As a vocalist you can get bogged down in all of this. If you're just having fun then experimenting can be good, but if you are wanting commercially viable results you might be better heading to a professional to get you the result you're after - it can save you time, heartache and money.

How about letting us hear some examples?
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Re: Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby alexis » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:34 pm

It amazes me how often the great songs of the 60s have lead vocals that are not strictly in tune, noticeable without having to run it through Melodyne or Autotune. I listened to some of those tracks a while back just to focus on that, and off the top of my head I can remember being amazed at how often Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, whoever the lead singer of the Yardbirds was, and even the lead singer of the Hollies (when doing solo lines) had out of tune notes, especially ending/starting notes. (Re: the Hollies lead singer - despite the solo out-of-tune notes that aren't that hard to notice, somehow when singing as part of the harmony trio it always sounded fine, how did he do that I wonder ... though there's a section of King Midas in Reverse where someone is way off!).

But I can't recall any of the Beatles singing out of tune in their early records, especially Paul McCartney (except in one song, "Hold Me Tight", ouch!). Blessed with great voices from the beginning, it seems.

The main point being, those great songs didn't seem to suffer from a lack of Autotune. I wonder if they would have even made the finals in any of these "So You Want to Be a Superstar Singer"-type TV shows there are now! "Nice emotion, but too 'pitchy' ... so sorry, but we're afraid you lot are destined for a life of working as bakers and pipefitters".
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Re: Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:01 pm

But I can't recall any of the Beatles singing out of tune in their early records, especially Paul McCartney


Not sure about that, one that spring immediately to mind is Things We Said Today.
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Re: Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:40 pm

The Elf wrote:This guy can deliver a vocal that hits an emotional nerve. Lead vocals are more about emotion than accuracy, technique or how 'good' you are. If you hit that nerve (even better if you can do it consistently) then nothing else matters.

Don't just sing the notes - TELL THE STORY.

(Pity about the first link above falling into cheap Euro-pop after the vocal intro - it was going so well until then...)

And let's not kid ourselves that his bad tuning somehow IMPROVES the track :-) I only listened to a little of the first example. It's rather painful.
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Re: Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby awjoe » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:04 pm

The Elf wrote:Lead vocals are more about emotion than accuracy, technique or how 'good' you are. If you hit that nerve (even better if you can do it consistently) then nothing else matters.

Don't just sing the notes - TELL THE STORY.

I don't think it's that simple, actually - I think you have to square the circle. Actually, I think you have to square the triangle. You have to sing in time, in tune, and get deep enough for it to count.
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Re: Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby Wiseau » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:59 pm

I am a better singer then him (have heard him live)



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Re: Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby Shambolic Charm » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:35 pm

awjoe wrote:
The Elf wrote:Lead vocals are more about emotion than accuracy, technique or how 'good' you are. If you hit that nerve (even better if you can do it consistently) then nothing else matters.

Don't just sing the notes - TELL THE STORY.


I don't think it's that simple, actually - I think you have to square the circle. Actually, I think you have to square the triangle. You have to sing in time, in tune, and get deep enough for it to count.


Ahh well that's Lou Reed out then, funny that being as he is considered on of the people who has furthered the development of modern music!

.....I guess it's not even THAT simple
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Re: Poor singer yet great vocals..

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:35 pm

Shambolic Charm wrote:
awjoe wrote:
The Elf wrote:Lead vocals are more about emotion than accuracy, technique or how 'good' you are. If you hit that nerve (even better if you can do it consistently) then nothing else matters.

Don't just sing the notes - TELL THE STORY.

I don't think it's that simple, actually - I think you have to square the circle. Actually, I think you have to square the triangle. You have to sing in time, in tune, and get deep enough for it to count.

Ahh well that's Lou Reed out then, funny that being as he is considered on of the people who has furthered the development of modern music!

.....I guess it's not even THAT simple

There's the Lou Reed/Randy Newman approach, and it works very well for them. But the guy we're listening to here seems to be aiming for "singing" but missing by a mile!
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You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont. Go fishing instead.



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