Community Tip - Advice When Recording Vocalists 2

09-15-2013 10:00 AM

With the support of iLok, more tips & tricks from the community. Here is one from Kyle Manner….

This is in response to “Advice When Recording Vocalists” from Steve Murray. Definitely some good advice but I wanted to offer some advice on recording a close miced vocal performance. A lot of the vocals you hear on modern country, pop and rock records are recorded with a close micing technique. This is a great sound but as Steve pointed out this creates certain issues.
Distance - Place the pop filter half an inch to 2 inches from the mic and have the vocalist stand 1-2 inches from the pop filter. At this distance you get a great present, intimate and articulate performance from the vocalist.
Proximity Effect - This is not a bad thing. When the bass boost from proximity is relatively consistent it gives the vocal a warm, round sound. This coupled with the articulation makes for a hi-fidelity broadband performance. With proximity effect increasing your lows and low mids consider making an EQ cut in the low mid range (300-600Hz) to reduce muddiness.
Compression - Use compression sparingly when recording the vocal. Use a low ratio (2:1-4:1) and minimal gain reduction (3-5 dB in the louder sections).
Plosives - Close micing definitely increases the possibility of plosives but its worth it for the results you get. This issues can be taken care of using one or a combination of the following solutions.

  1. EQ - Use a high-pass filter starting around 100Hz for a male vocal and slightly higher for a female vocal. This will generally decreases the effect of plosives but does not eliminate them.
  2. Pop Filter - Find a filter that works for you, fabric, metal, pantyhose on a wire hanger, etc. Fabric filters tend to stretch out over time making them less effective so make sure it is taut. If one pop filter doesn’t work use two.
  3. Edit - If plosives make their way to tape/hard drive a few edit tricks can easily take care of them. Locate the plosive and use automation, Pro Tools clip gain or a gain plug-in to reduce the gain anywhere from 4-20dB. I prefer to use the Amplitude tool in Melodyne.

Mike - With most mics using a blast shield is essential because although you can filter out the low frequency effects of plosives, if the mic diaphram has hit the end stops, the sound will be distorted until it recovers. If you have iZotope RX2 or RX3 you can use Spectral Repair to remove any plosives that find their way through.
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