About the vocal recording

I don’t know whether I should ask questions about vocal recording in this page but I really want to get some inspirations.

I am using a condenser mic (Focusrite CM25) for vocal recording.

When I stand far from the mic, it seems to pick up everything in my room in addition to my voice.

It is noisy as if I am using a cell phone to record.

But when I stand close to the mic, the frequency around 200-250 Hz would suddenly become boosted.

Turns out the sound was too much bass.

I searched on the internet and found this is what they call the proximity effect.

I tried to use EQ to lower down the frequency but it ended up with unacceptable distortion.

What should I do? Do other mixing techniques help? Or is it intrinsically the problem of the mic itself?

Plus, I am using the Elements version so there is nothing much I can do with vocal processing :unamused:

First different mics will flatter (or not) different voices. So it can take awhile to find a mic that is best for you - although most vocal mics should sound OK on most voices. It can be worthwhile to shop locally for mics so you can test drive how they sound on your voice (go when the shop isn’t busy). If you have friends with different mics see if you can borrow some to evaluate.

On a lot of voices the proximity effect can improve the sound giving it more body. You might experiment with finding a good distance where the effect isn’t too much nor is the background noise. Using EQ to reduce the frequency is the normal way to compensate for the proximity effect. I’m surprised that when you tried using EQ you got distortion. Using EQ to cut frequencies should not introduce any distortion (but boosting definitely can cause distortion). So you might want to review how you are setting up the EQ ( https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=how+to+use+EQ )

It’s also quite likely that some of the boominess is caused by the combination of your room and speakers during playback. Try listening on headphones that are reasonably flat and not intended to color the sound (e.g. not Beats). You may find it sounds more normal on them.

Your main problem would appear to be a lack of a good dead (acoustical) space to record your vocals in. There is plenty written about this on the web. eg. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar04/articles/computervocals.htm

Check this out: https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun06/articles/reflexion.htm

For me I had to find a mic and preamp that I could stand the sound of my own voice.

The only way I could do it was to own it for a while and get using it, then put it on ebay if I didn’t like it.

Took some years but eventually got something that suited me.

Vox is the only time I use hardware compression to help keep the levels in check.

Just wondering, if all you want to do is keep the levels in check, why not turn down the preamp trim so the peak vocal is around -10 to -20 dBFS? That way there is zero chance of being unhappy later if you wished there had been more dynamic range at any point.

Really, it’s just for my own info/learning that I ask … always hoping to pick up on a new perspective/new tips!

Thanks -

Yeah, I never use compression on the input for vocals. There is so much headroom in digital that you don’t need it to get enough level without risk of overages. And it’s easy to manage level variation later on. When I do compress while mixing all my options are still open.

A lot depends on the singer and the compressor, in a commercial studio where you get every type of singer through the place, then some sort of compression is almost mandatory. One of the best general front end compressors for this is an La2a (type) as it’s very transparent, forgiving and easy to set. The worst thing you could do is to over compress with a nasty compressor, there is little chance of saving things after that.

Nothing wrong in not using one though if you’re careful :slight_smile:

I use a FMR RNP and RNC combo tracking vox.

It’s more of a safety thing where it wouldn’t get used at all except really loud signal. Might make something usable that wouldn’t have been straight in.

Also when you want really up close vocals there’s a super mode that make it sort of like a 1176 with all button mode.

Now I have another question.

I tried to export only the instrumental tracks and found even the VSTs, especially the piano ones, have various extends of proximity effect. It is fairly acceptable when hearing via headphone but too “heavy” when using speakers. I don’t think working on EQ could help because it’ll just make more distortions. Any comments?

Too much low frequency, using high pass filters and various EQ strategies when mixing is how it’s done (generally).
Having a good monitor setup and knowing the acoustics of your room helps, along with a lot of experience.