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Correcting 'nasaly' vocals?

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Correcting 'nasaly' vocals?

Postby 6120 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:37 pm

I'm normally a backing vocalist but have started recording lead vocals on my own acoustic songs. I've used a Rode NTKv1, AT4040, SM58, and SM57, on the guitar, and the NTK, 4040, and SM58 on vocals into my RME FF400 and then into Cubase 6.5. The acoustic guitar recording sounds fine but my vocals sound very 'nasally' so I'm assuming I've got a bit more mid-range in my vocal range than I'd like.
I've been trying to take out some of the mids using Cubases own EQ and also NI's Passive EQ but not too good at identifying what I should be cutting or boosting so would appreciate any help in what I should do.
Thanks in advance
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Re: Correcting 'nasaly' vocals?

Postby Dynamic Mike » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:27 am

Are you compressing the vocal? I get a similar effect which is exagerated whenever I compress my voice. I've tried blaming the mics, the room, the positioning, my diet, the time of day etc. but had to admit it's just how I sound. However I've recently found that by using multi-band compression & simply excluding a fairly narrow band generally somewhere around 2k it's a huge improvement. Like you I had no joy trying to correct it with EQ, but whilst I haven't eliminated it, it's a massive improvement.
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And of course there must be something wrong. In wanting to silence any song.


Re: Correcting 'nasaly' vocals?

Postby The Elf » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:06 am

Mic choice can make a big difference to the nasal quality of a voice. Sometimes I want to emphasise this aspect, and I'd head for an SM57/58, or an MD421. At other times I want to play it down and my mic of choice for that is the MD441. Aiming the mic up or down can also have a significant effect.

The room can also play a part. Home-made 'booths' are often culprits for adding an ugly 'honk' to vocals.

Don't overlook vocal technique, though. I can often improve a vocalist's tone by reminding them to sing from the pit of their stomach, rather than from their chest.
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Re: Correcting 'nasaly' vocals?

Postby Guy Johnson » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:34 pm

Try keeping the back of the tongue down... part of singing techniques.

Best way to hear yourself is by hearing recordings. As an experiment you could try singing (outside or in a good acoustic) about a foot or two away from a condenser mic to make sure you have the close but blended sound of your voice.

Mixing-wise, a big wide cut at around 350 Hz can help.
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Re: Correcting 'nasaly' vocals?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:45 pm

6120 wrote:I'm normally a backing vocalist but have started recording lead vocals on my own acoustic songs. I've used a Rode NTKv1, AT4040, SM58, and SM57, on the guitar, and the NTK, 4040, and SM58 on vocals into my RME FF400 and then into Cubase 6.5. The acoustic guitar recording sounds fine but my vocals sound very 'nasally' so I'm assuming I've got a bit more mid-range in my vocal range than I'd like.
I've been trying to take out some of the mids using Cubases own EQ and also NI's Passive EQ but not too good at identifying what I should be cutting or boosting so would appreciate any help in what I should do.
Thanks in advance

You can do a little with mic choice, a little more with mic positioning. But it's really about singing lessons.

Remember that EVERYONE hates the sound of their own voice! A singer/recordist often over-processes his track, in a hopeless quest to make it sound like someone else. Concentrate on your strengths, and record your voice as it is. Everyone else is listening to the words, the tune and the emotion, not criticising your vocal quality.
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Re: Correcting 'nasaly' vocals?

Postby 6120 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:54 pm

Thanks all for your comments.
I must admit it's been very revealing to hear your own voice as the lead vocal and I'm sure a combination of bad mic technique and bad breathing (I couldn't make the notes last consistently and was short of breath on some) probably has more to do with it.
My studio is quite small (about 3m square) and I've got some good bass traps and absorbers on the walls and in the corners so I think I've covered the essentials quite well. My acoustic guitar sounds very good (a really good quality Santa Cruz dread) with the same mics so I'll look at my technique again.
I recently bought the NI Premium Tube series of effects in their half price deal and I'm still learning how to use them as well as exploring the in-built Cubase processors. I'm not too good at using compressors at the moment so will look at cutting some of the ranges in the EQ as you suggest instead.
Thanks again!
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Re: Correcting 'nasaly' vocals?

Postby RegressiveRock » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:46 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote: Remember that EVERYONE hates the sound of their own voice! A singer/recordist often over-processes his track, in a hopeless quest to make it sound like someone else. Concentrate on your strengths, and record your voice as it is. Everyone else is listening to the words, the tune and the emotion, not criticising your vocal quality.

Yup. That's pretty much the thick and the thin of it.

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Re: Correcting 'nasaly' vocals?

Postby BJG145 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:59 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:Everyone else is listening to the words, the tune and the emotion, not criticising your vocal quality.

I'm not sure if that's entirely true - for me, the vocal quality is a crucial aspect of a song's appeal.
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Re: Correcting 'nasaly' vocals?

Postby RegressiveRock » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:06 pm

BJG145 wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:Everyone else is listening to the words, the tune and the emotion, not criticising your vocal quality.
I'm not sure if that's entirely true - the vocal quality is an important aspect of a record's appeal.

I think that observation is highly dependent on genre. The point being made is that the artist is often the worst person to making value judgements about vocal quality.

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Re: Correcting 'nasaly' vocals?

Postby BJG145 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:20 pm

RegressiveRock wrote:The point being made is that the artist is often the worst person to making value judgements about vocal quality.


That's true enough.


Geoff Emerick wrote:That was typical John Lennon. Despite the fact that he was one of the greatest rock 'n roll singers of all time, he hated the sound of his own voice and was constantly imploring us to make him sound different. "Can you make it sound nasally? No, I'll sing it nasally - that's it." Anything to disguise his own voice.
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