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How to get "that" sound....

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How to get "that" sound....

Postby smalltown joe » Mon May 18, 2020 6:50 pm

Hi all,

I make singer/songwriter videos for YouTube and my website, and while my mix is "alright" I guess.....I just can't seem to get "that" sound.... for example, I follow Carson McKee on YouTube, here is his sound:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SktroQWweVI which I think sounds fantastic, warm, full, and here is mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrKWY1LmP2g which to me sounds "hollow" for want of a better word.....

How do I get his sound? Any ideas what he is doing that I'm not?

Here is another, "Boyce Avenue", although I think he has a million dollar studio behind him so no use comparing, but I would love to get this kind of pro sound.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1XpJ2iGj4Y it's like it's covered with a beautiful warm silk glove

Any tips to sound like either of these would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks a million!
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby blinddrew » Mon May 18, 2020 7:36 pm

Listening to the Carson Mckee intro you can hear that he's got a pretty long old reverb on there, but the main difference between his and your recording is that he's standing well away from the walls. You're right in the corner so you're getting loads of early reflections - couple this with the fact that you're using two mics and you've got a recipe for all kinds of cancellations and comb filtering.
So I'd start by getting out of the corner and try a single mic.
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby smalltown joe » Mon May 18, 2020 7:46 pm

Hey man thanks for the reply, I had to be in the corner for that song, refurb work in my room was happening, I'm usually away from the wall as you can see in my other vids. As for the mics, he is using two as well, (his guitar mic is just slightly out of shot) and the Boyce Avenue one with the best sound is using two as well..

I don't think having a mic for vocals and a mic for guitar is the issue...

Cheers for the reply man!! Appreciated!
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby MOF » Mon May 18, 2020 8:48 pm

I’ve listened on my iphone, so not a great way to compare and analyse but I think it’s your voice that’s different, not worse, just different.
You can compensate to an extent with mic’ positioning for the guitar and your voice (more or less proximity effect), eq, effects and acoustics to get closer to their sound.
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby smalltown joe » Mon May 18, 2020 8:51 pm

Cool ok thanks!
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon May 18, 2020 9:19 pm

We only have the mix here. What does your voice sound like with just the voice mic, or the guitar with just the guitar mic? Without hearing that I'd just be guessing. In the second track of Carson the finger picked guitar seems to be overdubbed which could explain both the clean voice and clean guitar sound. Live voice and guitar with separate mics is always tricky.
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon May 18, 2020 9:31 pm

I hear a huge difference in the room sound, yours sounds like it's recorded in a small, sparsely furnished, living room, Carson McKee's sounds like it's recorded in a well treated studio. His reverb does not come from an untreated domestic room, it's added in post. So, maybe he record the whole thing in a 'proper' recording space and synced it in post. Or maybe he has several duvets hung just out of shot to sort out the room reflections. Either way I'd put money on the difference being acoustic treatment where the actual audio was recorded and some well thought out post production processing.
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby MOF » Mon May 18, 2020 11:06 pm

I've just listened on headphones. It's overall a little bright (this might be partly due to the exposed walls).
Try pointing the guitar mic' to the same point i.e. 12th fret, but from the other side so you get less of the sound hole boominess and get in a bit closer, then try and get the vocal mic' closer too, this will allow you to put more reverb on the voice but leave the guitar clearer and if it's a cardiod mic' you will warm up the tone with the proximity effect.
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon May 18, 2020 11:43 pm

My $0.02 worth...

So the two videos you're referencing here seem to me completely different. The Boyce Avenue one is very 'produced' with lots of studio effects, vocal harmonies, piano and so on. (Personally I think it sounds horrible but you know what they say about one man's meat being another's poison.)

By contrast the Carson McKee one is much more raw and natural and more like something you could aspire to recreating at home... So, as others have said, one difference is that he's obviously recording in a very different-sounding space. You're always quite dependent on the room with this sort of stuff, so it's really worth moving around the house and experimenting with different spaces.

Another is that I think his guitar mic is a ribbon mic (it looks like an sE Voodoo to me). That will have much greater rejection of the vocal than the guitar mic you're using, which is why he can have it positioned so far from the guitar. In your shoes I think I'd try to get the guitar mic a bit closer to the guitar, and if you have a pickup that you can record too, blend a bit of that in. Again experimentation is the key here, but I think one of the issues with your recording is that you're capturing too much vocal on the guitar mic.
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby smalltown joe » Tue May 19, 2020 8:32 am

Thanks very much for all the answer guys! Some real interesting stuff for me to think about!!

Last video I made I used the "Warren Huart method" with the guitar mic, close in and facing the bottom corner of body. (The Libertines cover) Even there the mic picked up some voice (this mic is UBER sensitive!! it even picks up breath, hence I have a foam shield on it, it's a Lewitt LCT 140 Air) but for this song I was trying for a massive acoustic sound, that's why I had it far away. Will definitely move it closer as has been said!

You're right about the mics Carson uses, SE Voodoo! His vocal mic is also SE, and miles away from his mouth!? (you can see I'm an amateur with that comment....)


I was using a dynamic mic on my vocals, yes, right again! A Lewitt MTP, I love dynamic mics, don't know why! Wow I didn't think I could get it much closer! Will have a go!

Thanks a lot for the constructive help, much appreciated! I'm playing guitar after two strokes, my second was just 6 months ago.
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue May 19, 2020 9:02 am

Personally I think your vocal mic is probably fine where it is -- with this sort of recording the problem is nearly always vocal spill onto the guitar mic rather than the other way around.

But one of the reasons Carson can get away with having the mics further away is that he's recording in a nicer-sounding space, which means the spill just sounds better anyway. It sounds to me as though most of his sound is coming from the vocal mic, because the guitar is noticeably more ambient and less up front than the vocal.
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby smalltown joe » Tue May 19, 2020 9:39 am

Thanks a lot Sam!
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby Arpangel » Tue May 19, 2020 9:41 am

Completely different voice and guitar characteristics, chalk and cheese. I’m not talking about the recording, just your voice, and the guitar.
If you were to sing in there rooms, and they were to sing in yours, you’d still all sound the same musically. On that basis you can’t apply one recording technique to very different singers, and comparing like this is not productive, you just have to start over and just concentrate on you.
One glaring "fault" that is plainly obvious, and it would annoy the hell out of me, is hat your room doesn’t sound good, in fact, it’s really bad for what you’re trying to do.
You need to find a different room, or try and set-up in a different place, it really does sound like a small bad domestic living room.
If it’s possible, you need to make some changes, with acoustic treatment, there are plenty of people here who are very knowledgeable about this whole subject, at the very very least you could try a reflection filter, but they seldom cure stuff like this, the answer to me is either ditch this room, or invest in some decent treatment.
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby smalltown joe » Tue May 19, 2020 9:49 am

Cool yeah been thinking the same! In fact that's why I was in the corner for that video, I was putting up sme treatment, hope my next videos are better with all the tips I've got from you guys! Thanks a ton!
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Re: How to get "that" sound....

Postby Caliko » Sun May 24, 2020 4:38 pm

Right away I hear your walls and your recording sounds thin in the low end compared to Philips'.
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