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Make recordings clean

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Arpangel » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:58 am

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:Keep your recording levels down around -18db too. Can transform the clarity and 'cleanliness' of your recordings in a jaw dropping manner.

Yes, I’ve falling foul of overloaded preamps, but noise problems can be an issue with cheaper mics, that combined with a mixer preamp that hasn't got enough gain.
Mic placement is also important to try and get the best s/n ratio.
My advice for clean vocals is always try and use the best possible mic for your voice, don’t waste money elsewhere, put it towards a decent mic, and try and get your room as clean and flat as possible.
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:15 pm

but you can’t say that the high end mic is equal to simple mic in 200$ the 3000$ have a fuller sound compare to the cheaper and analog EQ is voltage change and not only db louder like plugins.

I'm afraid this simply isn't true. I'm guessing you're quite new to all this and we've all fallen into the trap of "If only I had xyz bit of expensive gear my tracks would sound like the pros". The hardest thing to come to terms with is that it's all about experience and listening carefully, tedious as that may sound.
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:19 pm

noise problems can be an issue with cheaper mics, that combined with a mixer preamp that hasn't got enough gain.

Hmmm, I honestly don't think this is a very common issue with today's gear. If you're using an SM7 or something, yes you might suffer with level, but any half-decent mic will work with any half-decent interface in my experience. Could you give us some examples of mic/interface combos that gave you this issue?
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:28 pm

It's funny, an SM7 does provide the perfect example of a cheap(ish) mic being used for top class releases as well as being a perfect example of something that might show up the weaknesses of budget gear.
There's a kind of irony in that which appeals. :)
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:18 pm

blinddrew wrote:It's funny, an SM7 does provide the perfect example of a cheap(ish) mic being used for top class releases as well as being a perfect example of something that might show up the weaknesses of budget gear.
There's a kind of irony in that which appeals. :)

True. I’ll sometimes use it instead of a U87 for certain voices.

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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Tim Gillett » Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:38 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:
aviorrok wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:Quite a few hit song vocals have been recorded with an SM58.......
SM58 connected to NEVE 1073 and LA-2A :)
Can you share a hit song that recorded with SM58?

I think Bono of U2 regularly recorded with an SM58 - which perhaps indicates he was recording in a very good acoustic space.... ;) ...


The SM58 is designed for close work and used that way is actually a good mic in a poor room or noisy space.
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Re: Make recordings clean - Gate is all I use...?

Postby sleekitwan » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:02 pm

Hi, one more thing I didn’t mention...

In GarageBand, my DAW of choice don’t laugh, I noticed on the song I released on iTunes recently, the vocals bit I did recall hearing hiss in between the spoken words, and used the built-in noise gate to block that out.

Never previously used a noise gate - no really. I heard and saw lots of guitarists who wouldn’t be without one, but had no need until I did this vocal, and during the time in production I refer to as ‘Quietude’ where I listen to individual tracks of the project, for exactly this sort of non-obvious noise, realised in-between spoken phrases gating was needed.

Never used a hardware one, but in GB iOS, you just play the track involved, and can adjust the dB at which the Gate permits audio to pass, as you listen. I think there was one occasion in the four minutes, I had to use judicious ‘Volume Automation’ to drop one troublesome peak down to zero dB, but the gate handled the breathing etc for the rest.

That’s my last advice, try a Gate, for the reasons many have used it, and you will know, the noise in background, sure sounds noticeable when nothing else is happening! The need for this has not gone away, I swear I put my iphone next to a power source, when an effects simulation was running (Tonestack) and the hum increased. Must be my imagination surely. That would really be quality simulation - no, can’t believe it, more likely psychosomatic. :thumbup:

Best.
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Arpangel » Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:36 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
noise problems can be an issue with cheaper mics, that combined with a mixer preamp that hasn't got enough gain.

Hmmm, I honestly don't think this is a very common issue with today's gear. If you're using an SM7 or something, yes you might suffer with level, but any half-decent mic will work with any half-decent interface in my experience. Could you give us some examples of mic/interface combos that gave you this issue?

Yes! Basically an SM57/58 into any budget mixer preamp, always not enough gain, and always the knob is up around 5 o’clock, along with the noise.
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:02 pm

Budget preamps typically only provide 60dB of gain, and some only 40dB, so the combination of an insensitive microphone, a quiet sound source, distant mic placement, and a budget preamp are never going to work well.

However, stick a SM57 in front of a guitar cab, or sing directly into an SM58, and 40dB of gain is probably enough and 60dB is quite generous... and electronic noise really won't be a problem!

Horses for courses and all that... You can't blame the equipment when its being used inappropriately.

And about that electronic noise. Any active amplifier will introduce some noise. The very best will only add a decibel or so, while most will add 3 or 4dB of noise. It's a pretty grim design these days that adds 10dB of noise, but they do exist!

But most of the noise you hear from a low-sensitivity mic is actually from the mic's own internal source impedance, and the reason it appears to come only at high gain is usually because of the way the preamp's gain control introduces gain more rapidly at the higher settings.

The theoretical self-noise of a plain 200 Ohm resistor at normal room temperature (and measured within the normal audio bandwidth) is about -130dBu. A good quality preamp will have an EIN (equivalent input noise) value of -127dBu or better -- so it's adding 3dB or less of electronic noise. If the EIN figure is worse than -124dBu I'd want to look elsewhere!

If a manufacturer claims an EIN of -130dBu they have either found a new form of physics, or they are cheating in some way (usually by measuring with a dead short or unfeasibly low source impedance).... or just plain lying!

H
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Re: Make recordings clean - Gate is all I use...?

Postby The Elf » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:39 pm

sleekitwan wrote:That’s my last advice, try a Gate...
...as a last resort.

A gate is a very blunt tool. It's good to understand how they work, and they can be used creatively, but they should be avoided as a cure-all for problematic audio. Better to sort out the source of the trouble than hide it with a gate.
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:31 pm

realised in-between spoken phrases gating was needed.
I never gate vocals (or anything else tbh), it's too easy to lose something important, a little breath, a bit of throat noise that adds feel or emotion. I simply go through the track in solo, sometimes with headphones on, and manually edit out the noises I don't want. It's trivial to do and takes no time at all.
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:56 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:
aviorrok wrote:
Yeah here’s a clean:

https://youtu.be/Y30pfWIQfoo

And here is my:
I know the mix is not good enough

https://youtu.be/J5o-izwzFrw

I just hear a different arrangement and mix. There are spots in the 'clean' one with complete silence. I also hear how everything lines up on beat and crisply decays on beat too.

Your mix has reverb tails, less upfront vocals, and more going on arrangement-wise behind the vocal, sloppier entries and exits of sounds. Not in a bad way, just that you are comparing to something that has been aligned and edited to have everything locked onto boundaries.

You should tighten up your arrangement and make all the sounds come and go on the beat if that is what you are after. Sounds artificial to me, but that may be what you are after.

Fascinating couple of links as a comparison, and a genuinely helpful response from DC-Choppah :thumbup:

Sometimes, to create music like the 'clean' 1st example, I suspect you need a 'perfect performance', because with so few mix elements and little or no reverb, the performer is totally 'exposed'.

Yes, a little clever editing may clean up such a performance a little, but often it's best to leave it as it is, even with slight imperfections, to retain the human element.

So as is often quoted here, the performance is the most important element, followed by good recorded acoustics, far more than choices of microphone or other gear in the chain.


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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby aviorrok » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:49 am

Martin Walker wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:
aviorrok wrote:
Yeah here’s a clean:

https://youtu.be/Y30pfWIQfoo

And here is my:
I know the mix is not good enough

https://youtu.be/J5o-izwzFrw

I just hear a different arrangement and mix. There are spots in the 'clean' one with complete silence. I also hear how everything lines up on beat and crisply decays on beat too.

Your mix has reverb tails, less upfront vocals, and more going on arrangement-wise behind the vocal, sloppier entries and exits of sounds. Not in a bad way, just that you are comparing to something that has been aligned and edited to have everything locked onto boundaries.

You should tighten up your arrangement and make all the sounds come and go on the beat if that is what you are after. Sounds artificial to me, but that may be what you are after.

Fascinating couple of links as a comparison, and a genuinely helpful response from DC-Choppah :thumbup:

Sometimes, to create music like the 'clean' 1st example, I suspect you need a 'perfect performance', because with so few mix elements and little or no reverb, the performer is totally 'exposed'.

Yes, a little clever editing may clean up such a performance a little, but often it's best to leave it as it is, even with slight imperfections, to retain the human element.

So as is often quoted here, the performance is the most important element, followed by good recorded acoustics, far more than choices of microphone or other gear in the chain.


Martin

DI box can make sound "cleaner" with less noise? (for vocals and guitars)
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:13 pm

You would not use a DI for vocals, it's function, usually, is to take an unbalanced signal from a guitar (or other 'instrument level' device), reduce it and output a balanced mic level signal.

It may make the guitar signal quieter/cleaner but it may do the opposite. What are you feeding the guitar into now and what is the pickup system in the guitar?
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby aviorrok » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:46 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:You would not use a DI for vocals, it's function, usually, is to take an unbalanced signal from a guitar (or other 'instrument level' device), reduce it and output a balanced mic level signal.

It may make the guitar signal quieter/cleaner but it may do the opposite. What are you feeding the guitar into now and what is the pickup system in the guitar?

For acoustic guitar I recording with mic.
Electric guitar I connect to my interface (UR242) with TS (TRS make noise with my guitar) and amp simulator.
I want to reduce noises in my studio so I replaced my PC and add a carpet
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:39 pm

IMHO you don't need a DI box then, your interface has a HiZ input option, make sure that is on when recording an electric guitar straight in and that will be as good as you can get with your present kit and workflow.

Carpet alone will do little to improve the studio acoustics, search for the many acoustic treatment threads and articles for more detailed info.
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Re: Make recordings clean

Postby Andy Wason » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:54 am

I'm new here and just an amateur, but it sounds to me that on the second track, the instruments and backing vocals are stepping all over the main vocal. I'd consider changing the eq's ( and possibly instruments) to get out of the way of the vocals. Also, IMHO gain staging and eq is the biggest culprit when recording in my home studio.
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