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How do I get vocals to sound crisp?

 
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Pianoboy



Joined: 10 May 2018
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:33 am    Post subject: How do I get vocals to sound crisp? Reply with quote

I currently am using a SHURE SM58 straight into the Kronos for my vocals. My voice is not as crisp as recordings you hear on the radio or just mp3 you hear in general. If someone does vocals through the Kronos and gets really clear sound, can you tell me what IFX you used, and what all your knobs were at on the EQ for the Mic, I have tried a lot and can't get a crisp vocal sound. Do I need to use an actual pre amp? OR will the FX on the Kronos suffice? I tried adding a Stereo compressor effect and it did help the sound clear up a lot. Even if you do not use my exact mic, any advice would help me, thanks.
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geoelectro
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The SM58 is a live mic more than a recording mic. Those crisp vocals you hear in recordings are captured with very expensive mics.

However, try this. Unscrew the pop filter from the 58 and try again being very careful not to blow on the mic element. It will perform more like the 57.

Geo
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CharlesFerraro
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

geoelectro wrote:
The SM58 is a live mic more than a recording mic. Those crisp vocals you hear in recordings are captured with very expensive mics.


Hate to step on your toes but I definitely can get a better sound out of a 58 and a Kronos than anyone can get out of a Neumann alone. The Kronos has EXCELLENT sound sculpting tools that can do wonders for any signal.

For starters Pianoboy, de-ess your vocals with the multiband compressor. I say do that first because you don't need sibilance going into the saturation stage.
To de-ess simply
-Bypass bands 1-3
-Set the crossover of bands 3-4 anywhere between 8-12k. Solo the band and use your ears to find what works best. You're not trying to capture any tonality, you're just trying to target any sizzle and air.
-Use a hard-knee
-Put your attack and release settings as fast as they'll go. Or you can give yourself some release if you want to clamp down on sibilance but the 58 isn't giving you much top end anyway so you don't really have to worry about it.
-Put your range parameter on -24 to set the band into compression as opposed to expansion mode
-Then simply lower your threshold till you start ducking those highs
-Don't use makeup gain.
The De-essing will be subtle, and it's supposed to be. You're not trying to kill the high end clarity of your voice. If you're not a trained engineer then you might want to skip it entirely.

Next shape your voice with a mic modeler. Route IFX1 into IFX2. Choose 038 Mic Modeling +PreAmp. You're going to want to do this whether you decide to de-ess or not.
-Choose the Vocal Condenser which models a U87 (There's your $3k dollar mic)
-Experiment with the Position parameter to find what works. Closer positions will increase the 'proximity effect' which can give your voice more low end definition. Or use further positions if your voice is too boomy.
-Leave the low and high cuts on thru since it's okay to saturate the whole signal. or use the low cut as a makeshift highpass filter.
-Turn saturation up to 100% and then boost the gain till you feel like you've given yourself enough top end... then back off the saturation percentage to find a sweet spot. Bias will increase the amount of even order harmonic distortion.

Compress your voice! Use the Stereo Compressor in RMS mode with lookahead OFF. Unfortunately a vocal compression tutorial will take too long lol.

Use a Parametric 4 Band EQ to finalize your vocal (all the better if you make these EQ adjustments while listening to your voice in the context of a mix). Lastly try using a reverb send. You did it!

Again if there's any single tool to use in this signal chain to boost the "crispiness" of your voice it's definitely the Mic Modeler+PreAmp.
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Gunnar
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In addition to CharlesFerraro's excellent answer, I would add that you might need to high-pass filter your vocals. I always do this as the very first step in my vocal effects chain.

It might be that what you are hearing is accumulated "mud" in the low-end, so start by cutting out anything beneath, say, 100Hz, and adjust up as needed.
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CharlesFerraro
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gunnar wrote:
In addition to CharlesFerraro's excellent answer, I would add that you might need to high-pass filter your vocals. I always do this as the very first step in my vocal effects chain.

It might be that what you are hearing is accumulated "mud" in the low-end, so start by cutting out anything beneath, say, 100Hz, and adjust up as needed.


True, doing this early on can effect the rest of the signal chain. You can use the multiband compressor for this purpose actually. In fact the crossover point between bands 1-2 is conveniently set to 100Hz by default. Take bypass off of band one and simply turn it down -18db. Have Range set to 0 so you're not actually doing any dynamics processing. You might want to experiment with different slopes but you're probably best off with the default 2-pole.

EDIT: I guess if you wanted you could set range to -24 for band one... fast attack long release. Should be fine without it though.
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Last edited by CharlesFerraro on Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Gunnar
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CharlesFerraro wrote:
Gunnar wrote:
In addition to CharlesFerraro's excellent answer, I would add that you might need to high-pass filter your vocals. I always do this as the very first step in my vocal effects chain.

It might be that what you are hearing is accumulated "mud" in the low-end, so start by cutting out anything beneath, say, 100Hz, and adjust up as needed.


True, doing this early on can effect the rest of the signal chain. You can use the multiband compressor for this purpose actually.

...


Yes, indeed. I've only recently started to use Multiband compression myself, so didn't consider to combine de-esser and highpass into one. What EQ has going for it is that is dead simple. One wrong tweak on the Multiband compressor and your mix goes all over the place :p
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Pianoboy



Joined: 10 May 2018
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Thanks Charles! Very detailed answer. I don't know how to do half the stuff you said though lol. I'm not nearly as experienced with Audio recording as most people on here. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually. Thanks.
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Pianoboy



Joined: 10 May 2018
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Charles! I actually was able to figure out how to do it, by following your instructions, it sounded alot more complicated than it turned out to be. Thanks again! I'm still playing around with the settings to get the sound of want but it's way better than before.
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CharlesFerraro
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to hear it! Did you end up using the multiband compressor?
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Pianoboy



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I did! Audio sounds super clean now. Only problem I'm having now is. When I pull the wave file off and listen to it on my computer, it's not as loud as I want it to be (the instruments and vocals) I'm assuming I can just raise the gain but then it clips. Is there another effect I can add to boost the volume without clipping the vocals?
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CharlesFerraro
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pianoboy wrote:
Yes I did! Audio sounds super clean now. Only problem I'm having now is. When I pull the wave file off and listen to it on my computer, it's not as loud as I want it to be (the instruments and vocals) I'm assuming I can just raise the gain but then it clips. Is there another effect I can add to boost the volume without clipping the vocals?


Ooo boy, that's a job for the Stereo Mastering Limiter! Effect number 008. The manual has a pretty good tutorial on how to use it. Set the output ceiling anywhere between 0 and -3dB. Then just bring the Threshold parameter down to pump up the volume! If you have the release on it's fastest setting (0.65ms) then you might hear what sounds like distortion. Increase the release time to smooth out any compression artifacts.
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Hal2001
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know this is totally non-pure as an approach but this Kush Audio Clariphonic
Parallel High‑Frequency Equaliser works like magic to add a kind of clarity that is different from just a regular equalizer for recording. I've used the software plug-in version of it (at a fraction of the cost) on instruments and voice with nice results in postproduction when I was not totally happy with my mix after trying other options. Here's a short YT video on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya74RQhFOIk
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Pianoboy



Joined: 10 May 2018
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for your input. Charles thank you especially. I have my vocals sounding really good now. The stereo mastering limiter worked great. I think I understand how to clean up my vocals now.
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Windsofsoul
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:17 am    Post subject: Piano Man and Charles Reply with quote

Thank you, and thank you again for this discourse, It has been extremely informative!

Rog
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