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Vocal sounds...distant?

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by SoupKitchenRecords, Jul 16, 2021.

  1. SoupKitchenRecords

    SoupKitchenRecords New Metal Member

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    Hello friends.
    Unlike usually, I'm having a female Pop-singer in next week and was doing some test recordings todays with my U87-style mic for it but the result felt "distant" and far away and I was hoping for some pointers. I was about 6 inches / 15cm away as recommended, had 15dB of preamp going to peak around -12 with a little bit of compressor (th: -8, soft knee 2.5:1). Signal looks great, no noise whatsoever but I'm having a hard time controlling it. I have to gain it up and throw sort of hard comp on it, like 8:1 and add air to it to get more it to sound less distant but now it sort of "going in and out" of the mix. Where am I wrong? Do I need to compress it harder going in?

    It's a problem I've had for a while in several styles of not-so-hard vocals and thought, maybe someone here has had the same troubles .
    I was hoping to achieve a sound sort of present, close by and intimate. When I watch videos of singers like such in the studios, they don't seem to sing closer to the mic, so doesn't seem to be proximity effect. Or am I just way too timid with my compression going in?
    Or can something like this be caused by reflections? For testing today I had the mic and myself placed directly facing the bulletproof glass out to the console, so it's possible the sound reflected directly back into the mic. But it's a cardioid, so does that matter?

    Edit1:
    I have started over remixing it and am now going through:
    DeEsser->EQ->RVox Vocal Comp->Another "regular" comp to catch the peaks from turning it up->Fresh Air to add high end back in->Reverb
    and am achieving something more along the lines but still not quite there.
    How would y'all compress a vocal like that going in? More preamp and controlling it with more comp?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. C_F_H_13

    C_F_H_13 Protools Guru

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    Reflections can definitely cause a lot of issues with vocals, and glass is basically one of the worst ones for it.

    Having said that, the "in and out" thing is probably a combination of performance and not enough compression. I would scrap your whole chain, grab and 1176 style compressor (literally any one will work) set the attack and release to about the 3 oclock position (on most 1176's this would be "6"), and then turn up the input gain until you get about 10-20 db of compression. I often just completely bury the needle.

    Once you've done that, generally you just need a high shelf for brightness and you're done. De-ess if necessary.
     
  3. SoupKitchenRecords

    SoupKitchenRecords New Metal Member

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    Hello and thank you for the reply!
    I made a trip to the studio to try out your suggestions. I have the Waves CLA76 and set them up according to your suggestions.
    What ratio would you suggest for relatively dynamic female vocals?
    Other than that it's a nice sound that I can play around with. It's definitely sitting better, but it's still sounding a little distant. I'm getting the hunch, that maybe for the sound I'm looking for, I'd have to leave the recommendation of 6 inches and just go a little closer. It's not written in stone, is it...

    Also, what's your suggestion regarding the compression on the way in? Bad practice?
    I feel like going a little hotter and a being a little more aggressive on the comp, thus sacrificing a little bit of dynamics, may be worth it. I just don't know if it's a good idea and would be interested to get some more opinions. Maybe including good starting points for threshold and ratio if possible.
    Have a nice weekend
    Greetings
    Stefan
     
  4. C_F_H_13

    C_F_H_13 Protools Guru

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    [QUOTE="SoupKitchenRecords, post: 12212265, member: 178104
    What ratio would you suggest for relatively dynamic female vocals?

    it's still sounding a little distant.

    Also, what's your suggestion regarding the compression on the way in? Bad practice?
    [/QUOTE]

    1 - I almost only use 4:1.

    2 - Could be an EQ thing? Without hearing it it's hard to say what the problem is, but look at where your midrange is at on the vocal. Try boosting 1,2,3, or 4k and just see what happens and see if you get more of that forwardness you're looking for.

    3 - Personally I compress very little on the way in, and focus more on having the singer sing consistently. Some singers have really bad dynamic control and I think a compressor just hides that a bit.
     
  5. SoupKitchenRecords

    SoupKitchenRecords New Metal Member

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    Thanks for answering. I'll try to get to the studio to do some more tests before they arrive but I'll test and try all the things.
    Have a nice week!
     
  6. CatharsisStudios

    CatharsisStudios trcksngsrpbngs

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    izotope de-reverb that jawn and use spiff to bring them either closer or further, if you find your self eqing the reflections more than the artists hit with soothe and try to cool down those build ups, thats always what i am doing in pop vocals
     
  7. SoupKitchenRecords

    SoupKitchenRecords New Metal Member

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    Hey, wow, that was like a lot of info in one sentence :D
    I'll go through it and check out soothe and spiff.

    Thanks man!
     

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