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vocal level issue...

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vocal level issue...

Postby pax-eterna » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:35 pm

I do a solo show playing live keys and bass with backing tracks. I set up the vocal and music mix using the PA speakers and, to me, it sounds like a great mix BUT, when I record that mix the vocal is too loud. If I turn down the vocal, which then sounds fine in the recorded track, it gets buried when playing the song live.

Any thoughts or solutions to this?

Thanks
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby ef37a » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:43 pm

What are the relative SPL levels between the PA sound and the recorded monitor output?

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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby Wonks » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:08 pm

It's hard to go by recorded sounds (from the mixer I presume?). In a live show, you probably want the vocals to cut through more than in a proper recording.

The best thing is to get feedback from friends you trust who have listened to your performances.

Maybe you simply sing louder or closer to the mic when performing than when setting up?
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:46 pm

It's because you're rightly setting a balance/mix for the room which is almost always completely wrong for a recording. And the more elements you introduce the worse it gets!

The only realistic solution to recording live amplified performances is to make a multi-channel recording of the event - one channel per mic/instrument (or two for any stereo sources) - and then mix that to a two-channel/stereo recording at a later time. If you need more info on the ways of achieving this then come back! :)
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:02 pm

I was going to post a reply and then saw Mike's last paragraph which is exactly what I would have said.

A mix that sounds good live will rarely work when recorded unless you record the room as well.
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:05 pm

And we are assuming the OP has no separate backline for the keys, bass and tracks. He will need some form of foldback at the very least. That will necessarily mean the vocal, which goes through the PA only may be over hyped loud in the desk mix. Of course this may not be the case and I can see scenarios where it will not be but it's something to consider.....
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby pax-eterna » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:15 pm

Thanks guys...@ Sam spot-on! No backline, all goes through the PA and I use in-ears for monitoring (haha, rightly or wrongly!)

I get what the other guys are saying but no capability for multi-recording at a gig.

I guess what I am asking is there something I am doing wrong when I do a straight MP3/WAV recording of what I am performing where the vocal (to me) seems a bit OTT.

Should I simply try and get used to a lower vocal in my mix and jsut make sure the FOH is correct?
Ummm, or is the vocal out front actually ok, as some of the other posters suggest as it is a liveroom? People I know say that the vocla is nice and clear, but they have no music/recording experience, they are listeners/dancers only. I respect their opinion of course, but now I have strarted to record the songs it has me worried now haha!
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby pax-eterna » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:17 pm

Just to add, the reason for the recordings is to post to a webpage for promtional purposes.

I guess I could just record direct into Sonar at home the instruments parts and then over dub vocals, but to me that's sorta kinda cheating a bit and possible clients are nto really getting exactly HOW it will sound for them at their gig. If you get my drift there.
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby ef37a » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:29 pm

If your voice is panned pretty dead centre I bet these clever recording people here could suggest a plugin that would allow you to adjust the level in the mix?

And I wouldn't worry overmuch about the recording being 'not quite what come across live'?
I bet that changes venue to venue, song to song.

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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby James Perrett » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:27 am

pax-eterna wrote:I get what the other guys are saying but no capability for multi-recording at a gig.

If this is for a demo to get you paid work it might be worth borrowing/hiring something for one gig.
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:45 am

pax-eterna wrote:Thanks guys...@ Sam spot-on! No backline, all goes through the PA and I use in-ears for monitoring (haha, rightly or wrongly!)

I get what the other guys are saying but no capability for multi-recording at a gig.

I guess what I am asking is there something I am doing wrong when I do a straight MP3/WAV recording of what I am performing where the vocal (to me) seems a bit OTT.

Should I simply try and get used to a lower vocal in my mix and jsut make sure the FOH is correct?
Ummm, or is the vocal out front actually ok, as some of the other posters suggest as it is a liveroom? People I know say that the vocla is nice and clear, but they have no music/recording experience, they are listeners/dancers only. I respect their opinion of course, but now I have strarted to record the songs it has me worried now haha!

If you are recording from the mixer main (or monitor mix), you could be missing the ambience and the reflections. The vocals tend to be the highest level and in a mix and the reverberation and reflections from a room with flat surfaces will affect their timbre and level quite a lot due to interference. That's a well used trick to change the timbre of a vocal track in a regular studio mix, but when you mix in micro-delays and reverb, you often have to raise the volume a little bit.

A room mic in the right position in a live club is difficult to set up, but you could try and add a little artificial reverb to your recordings, and see what happens.
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby pax-eterna » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:23 am

Cool, thx CS70 and James Perrett :) and thanks too of course to other contibutors here.

I think I'll just have to settle for doing a studio mix/recording of the songs. As others have said when live there are a lot of other things happening.
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:51 am

If you're using properly set up IEM's, and all you are hearing is through the IEM's, you should hear the balance very well. Imagine if you had recorded that mix live. Then after performing a number, stopped, immediately played it back to yourself where you are through your IEM's with nothing changed. I would have thought it should sound pretty much the same. So I'm puzzled that you notice a change. Any chance of a sample audio file?

Another possibility is more perceptual. When we are performing we are busy with that performance and tend to concentrate on getting the performance right - including our visual appearance to the audience. When we listen at leisure to a recording of it - or any recording- we are freer to listen more attentively to the mix and can pick out mixing flaws that might escape us when busy actually performing to a watching as well as listening crowd.
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby pax-eterna » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:22 am

Cool TIm, thx heaps for that - you make good points there. Spot on too. In the IEMS the mix is nice...just whenI play back the recording it is too loud, BUT it may very well be more a perceputal thing as you say.

I'll experiment a bit more with it and try to more objective.
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Re: vocal level issue...

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:59 am

No worries. Another thing is the needs can be different. When we're singing live, we specially need to hear our own voice well so we stay consistent in the mic, sing on pitch, etc. So we may need a little "more my vocal" in our monitor mix. But when playing back that is no longer required. We're only listening to it the same as everybody else is.

This can be an even worse problem for bands when performing live if they dont understand this. For the mix that each musician and vocalist needs might be different. No wonder there can be arguments, and no wonder there can be an escalation of sound level onstage as everyone (perhaps quite reasonably) wants "more of me".

You're probably lucky to be a solo performer and using IEM's. You might consider having a somewhat different mix for your IEM's (more vocal) compared to what the audience hears.
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