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Thread: Recording vocals at home

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    Question

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    I'm looking for a small place to rent so I can set an improvised studio and then do something more professional down the road....Until then, I'm going to do this in my house. Any ideas on how to record "decent" vocals at home? I live in a kind of noisy area...Call me crazy, but I heard people sometimes use room dividers to make improvised booths....

    Necessity, mother of ideas...:eek:

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    What microphone(s) do you use ? And how much place can you use in concreto ? And are there many disturbing elements like windows / furniture (possible noisy vibrations) / etc. in that place ?

    In any case I would recommend everybody condenser mics (I have a Rde NT-2 and the mic pleases me 100%) BUT in your case that would be the worst idea I guess. The mic is s sound-sensitive that you would record the background-noises ("noisy area") too.
    I feel MOOG'ed today...
    http://www.myspace.com/thmsynthfreak

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    Apart from the noise from the outside world you also need to consider the 'sound of the room'. What I mean is does sound tend to bounce around your room as well? If you are recording in your bedroom you may find that you have all kinds of issues with the reverb on your vocals, which will give you less control as you mix down. If there are lots of hard surfaces (concrete walls - as opposed to plasterboard - windows etc), this may well be the case. Building a booth from room dividers might be a bit over the top - I have images of some poor singer being shut into a tiny dark booth, (with a roof!), built entirely out of office screens - however they might be useful for damping down some of the reflections in the room. You could place them in a V shape behind your singer. Make sure that your floors have rugs on if they aren't carpetted. Another trick is to hang bedding down the walls. Obviously this looks weird so I hope you're singer knows you! Basically you need to come up with some methods of cutting down reflections from hard surfaces in your room.

    As for noise from the outside, following the above may help a bit. If it's very loud, like you're in the flight-path of your local airport there really isn't much you can do about it! However there are a few things you can do. I would recommend using a condensor mic, just because they sound so much better (it is actual singing you're doing, right?) Maker sure that you hit the low pass switch on the mic or your mixer - this will ensure that you cut out traffic rumble and the like. Try to get your singer to be fairly close to the mic (don't forget a pop-shield!) so that you don't have to turn the gain up too high. Possibly use a noise gate so that in silent parts any extraneous noise is cut out. If you're recording through a compressor be sparing! If your ratio is too high you will end up pulling up any noise as well.

    Hope some of this helps.
    KasioRoks

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    thanks a lot guys

    This is great advice and I know this is a "extreme" scenario, but that's how I can roll right now. I understood everything you guys said and believe I'm going for the carpet/bedding thing....BUT...

    What exactly will be a noise gate?...I'm kind of new to this compressing & processing thing... I'm going for a Mackie board (maybe 1604 VLZ Pro) so it's all good...

    Is the Alesis 3630 & the ZOOM RFX-1000 good units to start off in this field?


    Hahaha, my people (artists & friends) are used to this **** by now...

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    Also testing recording

    Get a 3630 (or similar) I use it and recommend it.
    Eventually, I'd like to get about 2 more. In the meantime, I just read the Bellari LA120 tube compressor manual and it was pretty good to be just four pages!

    They briefly explain the use of compression/limiters and even give some sample settings. I have been misusing this box. I think I need a pre-amp for the mic (how do you know?), or I'll just put the LA120 into the mixer TRS style/like the 3630.

    Anyway, thanks for the tips/info KRoks.

    One

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    Originally posted by DJ Promo
    What exactly will be a noise gate?...I'm kind of new to this compressing & processing thing
    Check this link for more a beginners guide to gating. Check here for a good start on compression.

    KasioRoks

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    Thanks

    Great website, kind of like SonicState.

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    kasioroks..
    I kinda understand how compressors and noise gates work.. Correct me if I am wrong, as far as I've seen, things such as noise gates, compression, and eq are added as the vocal or instrument is being recorded. Right? The normal recording setups include recording to a multitrack such as the Tascam DA-88 or something.

    My question is .. What if you have an all digital setup with plug ins' and stuff. (I have cool edit pro) How can you insert efx to the signal as it's recording??

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

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    Cool hermetic vocals

    I've tried it myself in my teens(many moons agooo..!)
    i bought a headset with mic and headphones and redecorated the wardrobe inner cell with egg cartons -speakers through the walls-the reverb is fab if you've got the bigger style wardrobe!
    P.S. fit one of those fire alarm gizmos to the interior facing outwards in case of fire whilst your away from your new studio workbench.......
    .... and blast out those long awaited vocal chords..
    Have fun.....
    eerie2me!!!!

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    A couple of quick adds to the generally very good advice:

    You'll probably want to use a high pass filter to cut the lows (it passes the highs, see -- which is the same as saying it cuts the lows. It's way easy to slip when talking about these and get that backwards).

    With regard to gating -- it's almost always best to gate after the fact -- when you can. That's especially true on a computer. If you gate as you record you are assured of chopping off the first few fractions of a second of your signal. However, on a DAW if you apply a gating function after the track is recorded the software doesn't have to respond in real time and you can preserve everything above the threshold you set (and of course set the envelope tail just like a real-time gate). It's also possible to use the track offset on your DA-88 and a "lookahead" gate (which uses an internal digital delay to avoid chopping the beginning of the signal) you use the track offset to "make-up" for the real-time delay that the lookahead gate creates. (You can also set up something similar yourself).

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