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Help with mastering and bad record quality.

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Help with mastering and bad record quality.

Postby Rubino » Sun May 13, 2018 3:44 pm

Hi. If you have time, I would be realy thankfull for your help. I have new home studio. I am old rapper but I am new in making music at my own.
Here is my components: Macbook
Software: Logic Pro x
Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nt Gen
Mic: RODE NTK
Headphones: SONY MDR - 7506 ----- this headphones cost 125 euros, but I realy dont like them. But everybody says they are so great so ... I always telling myself, maybe i hear wrong, maybe I have bad ears or what, but for me .. they sounds very very bad :/

So, I am learning from youtube videos. Almost every video is same for mastering voice. Same steps. But my voice always sounds like a sh..

Here is my logic records:
https://imgur.com/7ibp2p3

PROBLEM NUMBER 1: I had to double my voice record because its recorded very quiet and I cant do nothing with it. My mic gain is set on interface around 8 (from 0 to 10 scale) but after compressed and gain some more DB its okey

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and here is my voice record (clean) --- without any changes:

https://vocaroo.com/i/s0KCbH1GrKcu --- with music

https://vocaroo.com/i/s0MmWZOj76ZS --- without music


PROBLEM NUMBER 2: As you can hear, my voice is very very bad quality. Yes its clean record ( mic cost 500 euros) , but my voice is so deep frequence. Like closed behind the doors , you know what I mean? Dont know how to better explain in english. Just listen it.
All other people on youtube have first record without plugins so clean. Yes they need EQ and compresor but they sound much better then my record.


So, I add some EQ and compressor, Deesser and some reverb.

https://imgur.com/Pmf3SOb---- my EQ
https://imgur.com/GQAFUJw---- Compressor
https://imgur.com/HcBzbkh ---- reverb
https://imgur.com/6DTXALj ---- deesser

in most of the videos they do this and their vocal sound great. But my voice is .... ugh

Here is my vocal after these adding:

https://vocaroo.com/i/s0FPvop3sZUH --- with music
https://vocaroo.com/i/s0f2pmstap4H --- without music




I realy need your opinions, your help. I dont know what to do with it. In all learning videos they add EQ, Compressor, some reverb, and deesser and they sound great. But I cant move because I sounds always like a sh..
I dont know what is wrong.
Why my records sound so bad without adding plugins. It is because of mic? Interface? But they are good quality, brand new, I have expensive cables. I spent days and days learning, Im doing exacly what they do in videos, but nothing helps.

Thank you for your time
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Re: Help with mastering and bad record quality.

Postby CS70 » Sun May 13, 2018 7:13 pm

Just to get it out of the way, you positive that you record on the front side of the mic?
It does sound a bit like it's recorded the wrong way. :-)

If you are recording on the correct side of the mic... difficult to say why it gets that way without knowing where and how you record... I wouldn't worry about the level - you need to increase your playback volume, not the recording gain.. but yeah, the vocals sound tubby and almost light low-passed..

I assume what you posted is the raw recording without processing. If it is with processing, pls. post the one without.

I've never used a NTK but from what I know is a respectable mic and should give you good results. My first thought would be to look at room where you record (and how it's treated) and how you record, especially the distance you keep from the mic. Then, the NTK is a tube mic, so it could be a defective tube - try another mic to see if you get better results - if yes, you could look at replacing the tube.
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Re: Help with mastering and bad record quality.

Postby blinddrew » Sun May 13, 2018 7:55 pm

I'm no expert, but I don't think it's as bad as you think it is, though it's a bit hard to tell from the MP3. It's not really my genre (reminds me of MC Solar :) ) but here's a few things to check (starting from the basics):
Firstly, are you recording at 24bit?
Where is the microphone positioned when you're singing? I find about 20-30cm from my mouth but high up (in line with my eyes) pointing down to my mouth is best.
I can hear quite a bit of 'room' in your recording, does your room have any acoustic treatment? If not, hang a couple of duvets over mic stands, one behind you and one behind the mic works for me.
What level are you getting when you're recording? You want the general level to be around -18dB, with peak up to -12/-10dB - no higher.
It's not ususual to have your preamp up between 6 and 8 on the dial if you're giving yourself some space from the mic.
That should give you a good signal with that mic and that interface.

Your EQ setting looks quite complex, especially around the low end.
I would start with a High Pass Filter (HPF) at about 100Hz, ignore the low shelf. Instead of doing two peaks at 390Hz and 3200Hz, I would do one broad cut at about 1kHz. In general it's always best to cut rather than boost. But listening to the solo track I'm not sure that's necessary.
The levels showing on the compressor screen shot look perfectly good, if anything the output is a bit higher than you might want.
I'm not familiar with the reverb you're using but it looks like you've got a big peak in the mid-range? That's going to make things a bit muddy. If i'm eq-ing reverb I'll generally have a HPF at around 100-200Hz and then a broad cut centred around 400-500-Hz.
Your de-esser frequency is very high, I don't think it will be doing much, listening to your take I'd bring that down to around 6700Hz, you could do a second pass at around 3900Hz if you thought it was needed.

I'm still a beginner here as well, but I think you might need to go back to basics and ask yourself why you're adding these effects. Not every track needs them, only use what you need, not everything you have available.

I'm sure someone more experienced will be along shortly to offer some good advice.
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Re: Help with mastering and bad record quality.

Postby James Perrett » Sun May 13, 2018 9:10 pm

As others have said, there's quite a bit of ambience on the recording so you need to either get closer to the mic or deaden the room (or possibly both).

The other thing I noticed is some slight popping. Are you using a pop shield? This can also be reduced by singing across the mic rather than straight into it - a technique often used by radio DJ's who want a really close-up sound without popping. The easiest way to do this is to have the mic off to one side of your mouth and resist the temptation to turn and face the mic.

The voice does sound quite bassy but could do with some extra presence in the 2-3k region.

I'd also say that you're not the only person who dislikes those headphones - other engineers say that they're too harsh sounding.
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Re: Help with mastering and bad record quality.

Postby Rubino » Sun May 13, 2018 9:48 pm

Thank you for respond.
I builded small cabine in my room. Cabine is around 1,5 meters all sides. All walls there are acoustic foam. I have original Rode pop filter. I sing maybe 10 -15 centimeters from microphone. Audience in my records are from headphones. I had too loud music and mic is too sensitive on that gain.

Rode NTK is conencted to original Rode Power Supply box and that is conected to my interface, and that is usb conected to Mac.
I tried another mic. Much cheaper Shure, but is was worst. I tried another m-audio interface. But no change.

And yes :D :D :D I recorded to good side of mic :D ... I know what I am doing there, I recorded in many studios. And now I build my own, but this is happening, and nobody know why are my records so bad quality. I bought expensive cables (20 euros one).

First uploaded record is raw, without procesing. Just recorded and bounced in mp3 without normalize.
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Re: Help with mastering and bad record quality.

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon May 14, 2018 8:15 am

Your small 'cabin' (we'd probably call it a vocal booth) with acoustic foam on all surfaces will tend to absorb high frequencies effectively but not so the mids and lows leading to a low mid emphasis. As suggested you need to HPF the lows and to address the HF you could benefit from some reflective surfaces in there to keep some high end 'sparkle'. A search of the mags 'Studio SoS' articles should give you some help but it used to be common to stick a load of old CDs on the foam to reflect some HF back into the space.
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Re: Help with mastering and bad record quality.

Postby CS70 » Mon May 14, 2018 9:48 am

Rubino wrote:Thank you for respond.
I builded small cabine in my room. Cabine is around 1,5 meters all sides. All walls there are acoustic foam. I have original Rode pop filter. I sing maybe 10 -15 centimeters from microphone. Audience in my records are from headphones. I had too loud music and mic is too sensitive on that gain.

Rode NTK is conencted to original Rode Power Supply box and that is conected to my interface, and that is usb conected to Mac.
I tried another mic. Much cheaper Shure, but is was worst. I tried another m-audio interface. But no change.

And yes :D :D :D I recorded to good side of mic :D ... I know what I am doing there, I recorded in many studios. And now I build my own, but this is happening, and nobody know why are my records so bad quality. I bought expensive cables (20 euros one).

First uploaded record is raw, without procesing. Just recorded and bounced in mp3 without normalize.

Cheers - it's just a mandatory question to get out of the way:-)

However, your booth likely explains it. The acoustic foam kills a lot of high frequency (you can have a look at the properties of different materials at http://www.primacoustic.com/wp-content/ ... erials.jpg for example), effectively acting as a low pass filter and resulting in the sound you hear.

As Drew wrote, you could give it a try simply recording outside the booth but using a heavy duvet on your back to absorb excessive reflections. Chose a place in the room where, clapping your hands, you don't hear too many ringing echoes, and place the mic where your ears are.

Good luck!

EDIT: saw Sam beat me to it - great advice to go look for SOS vocal recording articles where the duvet technique is exaplained well.
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Re: Help with mastering and bad record quality.

Postby RockvilleAudio » Thu May 17, 2018 2:29 pm

Hey Rubino,

After checking out your vocals with and without the processing effects, I think you should maybe reconsider your recording setup. The room does sound a little ambient, but I would actually suggest taking a step or two back away from your microphone. It sounds like there's heavy proximity effect being recorded (meaning that there is increased bass response when you are too close to the microphone).

Here are a few tips for mixing your vocals as well:

-Cut a few dB in the fundamental frequencies of your voice. Maybe cut like 4-6dB around 300Hz-600Hz. Also get rid of that dramatic low shelf EQ, it makes your voice sound unnatural. I would do a high-pass filter at 12dB/octave starting at 200Hz instead, it will give you a nicer rolloff without taking away from your voice too much.
-Cut at 250Hz maybe like 3-4dB (this will get rid of some of that boxiness sound)
-Also cut a little bit around 1kHz, maybe 2-3dB, just to get rid of some the nasal-sound.
-Do subtractive EQ BEFORE compression, and then do additive EQ AFTER Compression. Meaning do all of your EQ Cuts before the compression, and wait to do any boosting in the EQ after the Compression, that way your compression doesn't affect the boost and cuts in weird ways. It really does make a difference.
-For your compression, I would give it a faster attack and slower release, so that your whole voice sounds more compressed overall, for rapping/hip-hop, that's what really makes it shine through. Also lower your threshold a little bit so that the compression acts quicker and at a lower threshold. You essentially want your vocals to be compressed the entire time.
-For additive EQ, I would bump your voice around 4kHz maybe like 3dB and some more around 6-8kHz a few dB.

Of course this is all speculative from just listening to your track, but try some of these changes and see what happens. Let me know how it goes!
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