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First mix instruments than record vocals or i can record vocals with a non mix of instruments

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First mix instruments than record vocals or i can record vocals with a non mix of instruments

Postby dennisgamalej » Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:01 am

HEy guys,
in 2 days i have to record a group (friend of mines group) and i have a question about it. Do you need to mix instruments (plugins...) before recording vocals? Or I can let play for the vocalist the raw version of the instruments?
Thnx!
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Re: First mix instruments than record vocals or i can record vocals with a non mix of instruments

Postby The Elf » Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:25 am

There are absolutely no rules! :)

It could be said that a vocalist will be more inspired to perform better with a more refined mix, but I will also manipulate the mix to encourage a vocalist to maybe sing louder, or quieter, by pushing elements of the mix to fight with them, or leave more room for them. Lifting or lowering their vocal in their monitor mix will help with this too.

What I would say is that, if you are going to have the band perform all at the same time, then have the vocalist provide a guide vocal for them, perhaps from the control room, and record that guide - it's surprising how often guide vocal parts make it to the final mix. Often a vocalist will want to perform in the room with the band - you must be malleable to what the band themselves want, so always put their need to perform above your own desire to seek perfection.
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Re: First mix instruments than record vocals or i can record vocals with a non mix of instruments

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:29 am

Hopefully you'll be able to build up a rough monitoring/foldback mix of the instrumentation as you go along that will suffice for your vocalists's cue feed.
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Re: First mix instruments than record vocals or i can record vocals with a non mix of instruments

Postby CS70 » Tue Oct 27, 2020 5:42 pm

dennisgamalej wrote:HEy guys,
in 2 days i have to record a group (friend of mines group) and i have a question about it. Do you need to mix instruments (plugins...) before recording vocals? Or I can let play for the vocalist the raw version of the instruments?
Thnx!

What the Elf says! And the tip is awesome, it's incredible how much we let go and sing better (me included) when not under the stress of "being recorded" :D

But if you aren't recording everybody together, my advice would be to do the best base guide that you can. I've learned that by direct feedback from the band - you may have in mind what you want, but they don't so you want to make a guide that "guides" them as well as possible.
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Re: First mix instruments than record vocals or i can record vocals with a non mix of instruments

Postby shufflebeat » Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:30 pm

Depends on the style, situation and expectation.

Some folks like to immerse themselves (hide within?) a busy mix while others, including me, get distracted by too many elements competing for attention.

I find when I'm singing the sound in my ears gets slightly attenuated and masked by the sound of my own voice in my head. It's much more effective to have a sparse mix and let myself imagine the final context.

This has the added bonus that subsequent instrumental performances can react to the dynamic of the vocal.
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Re: First mix instruments than record vocals or i can record vocals with a non mix of instruments

Postby dennisgamalej » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:29 pm

Thnx guys! i have one more question. My mixes sound good in my monitors but sounds like sh**t on phone devices,laptop speakers...... Do you have any tips on mastering which eq frequencies I have to cut off,compression...? thnx!
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Re: First mix instruments than record vocals or i can record vocals with a non mix of instruments

Postby CS70 » Wed Oct 28, 2020 9:33 pm

dennisgamalej wrote:Thnx guys! i have one more question. My mixes sound good in my monitors but sounds like sh**t on phone devices,laptop speakers...... Do you have any tips on mastering which eq frequencies I have to cut off,compression...? thnx!

You probably need to detail a little more type of s**t you're talking about :D

But in very general terms, the most common reason is that your monitors are lying to you. And that's because either they aren't good or you placed them in an untreated room, or both. Usually the main culprit is the room: the greatest monitors in the world won't do any good in a bad room, because you won't hear them.

That said, assuming you have a decent mixing environment:

- headphones presents the stereo image in a different way: check your panning and reduce any "stereoizer" effects
- the reverbs are much wetter on headphones - back down the reverb tails until you find a reasonable compromise; stereo reverbs can sound different.
- devices like phone laptop speakers are often very high passed (i.e. they roll off the bass) so the bass disappears: here you need to EQ-boost a bit of brightness in the bass (or use an exciter to create some and then boost if the bass is only low frequencies. For a real bass it's usually a good idea to record both DI and a microphone to have both).
- portable speakers often sum to mono, so any phase issues will kill your mix and if your mix is very "stereo" and peaks near 0dbFS, the level increase when summed can simply be too much and lead to distortion. Check your mix in mono and verify how it peaks.
- the "physical" depth is controlled both by reverbs and HF shelfs and the latter will also sound different on headphones, so certain elements that sound good on monitors will sound too forward on headphones and vice-versa. Here the trick is a judicious use of space reverb to keep things glued, and going back and forth to find the right spot for the high frequencies until all sounds good on monitors.

But my money is on the room :)
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