Metronome and Mic leak

Guys, when we recorded a song, the vocalist’s microphone picked up the Cubase Metronome.

What’s the best way of handling this situation? If I turn down the metro in the headphones the vocalist complains. So maybe I need to invest in better closed headphones. I’m using Sennheiser 280hd pro headphones for the vocalist.

Please share your advice.

Auggy

I mean what else can you do, really? Anything using processing would affect the recording, no?

Maybe try a metronome sound with a frequency the artist is a bit hyper sensitive to? eg I have some mild hyperacusis around 3k, so a tinny little beep could possibly help.

Or – brainstorming here, use a freq way above the vocalists range and notch it out in post.

Same suggestion really…

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… or have the vocalist get their hearing tested? :smiling_imp:

One thing to note is that most closed-back headphones are designed to stop sound from the outside getting into your ears, and not necessarily to stop sound generated by the headphones from getting to the outside.

You could perhaps try a more directional microphone, or getting the vocalist closer to the microphone (with a pop shield if necessary), or ensure that the head of the vocalist is surrounded by sound-dampening material to prevent sound from the outside of the headphones from being reflected by hard surfaces back in towards the microphone.

Maybe this:
image

If all else fails, SpectraLayers could be used to remove the bleed, or you could try recording the click onto a seperate track, invert it, and mix a little back in to the recorded vocal track.

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I’ve played around with this technique while exploring recording with no phones & plenty of monitor bleed into the mic. Seeing what’s possible You can get this to work - and it’s almost magical when it does. But in practice even tiny variations in the 2 signal paths degrade the cancellation a lot. SpectraLayers worked much better in most situations.

When you’re in the room with the singer can you hear the click bleeding from the phones? Is the singer properly wearing them? If the phones are on top of their hair that might cause bleed.

Also, depending on the song’s arrangement the bleed might not create any real problems & can be ignored. For example, your drum Tracks could totally mask the click. You might even select your click sound to facilitate this occurring.

I rarely use a click anymore, instead I use a lean drum or percussion part that I intend to be part of the final mix - which masks most of the bleed.

Embrace The Bleed

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I am just using a sound provided by cubase which sounds like a digital spike, not on my computer right now but you can find it if you look around. this one works great for me, no bleeds, etc

Is there another option in the music to set as a reference? Say a beat element or something. That way, even if it bleeds, it’s less of an issue as it’s already in the mix somewhere and it’ll avoid that very distinctive metro ping.

My own headphones bleed the metro click to the mic so I never use the metronome.

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The click track can be wavs or midi. If you have a beat you might need to split it. And using a in-ear monitor gives lower bleed.

To be honest, everyone on this forum would hear it at the beginning but slightly where as most non-recording musicians wouldn’t even notice it. So maybe spectralayers is the better way to go.

No, there’s only guitar and vocals to start, no percussion. I don’t think it would work.
Clothsnake, how do you manage parts where there’s no click track? How do you keep it in time?

I use HD 280’s for tracking all the time and find them to be among the absolute best in terms of noise cancellation/leak. I’m surprised that you experienced such a noticeable leak. Begs the question if the artists were wearing them properly?
But it’s true, the default Cubase metronome beep is quite intrusive.

I recommend looking at alternatives to the Cubase metronome. I have personally never been a fan of it.

Back in the day I used a synced drum machine to generate click for the performers and today I use Groove Agent in a similar manner.
In my templates I have multiple MIDI tracks, each with a variety of click or beat pattern, tucked away in a folder. If I need a click, I just copy one of the MIDI Parts and place it on a MIDI Track that outputs to an instance Groove Agent SE, preloaded with a bunch of useful sounds. The Groove Agent audio return channel does not have a routed output. Instead, a pre-fader send that goes to a dedicated output on my interface. I have a PLE preset that toggles the sends on this channel and added a key command to it (c of course!).
I think there are many benefits to this approach. I can specify exactly where in the project I want click and don’t want click. I can easily add any sound imaginable for use as a click or use different click sounds in different parts of the project if that were to be requested. I can even use audio loops that syncs to the project tempo. If a click pattern is needed that I don’t already have in my “preset folders”, I can create one in a matter of seconds.
The recording artists love it!

image

I don’t worry too much about hitting a click track in most of my own stuff and go for a more fluid feel anyway.
I’ve worked on purely guitar and vocal tracks for people and it’s not usually something that requires a lot of punch and will tolerate not hitting the beat perfectly.
I’ve also received vocal tracks for mixing that have the click bleed embedded. I done;t even utry and use them now and just ask for a better one.

There will be an element in the music (guitar part) that the singer relies on for time, it’s just a matter of finding it. Even something like getting the singer to wave their arms or move can help them keep time.

I’ve been thinking of doing something similar. In what other ways have you found this useful?

Regarding bleed, independent of its source there’s really only 3 things you can do

  1. Try to avoid it in the first place
  2. Try to remove it
  3. Try to hide or disguise it
  • Any pattern imaginable
  • Any sounds imaginable
  • Ability to use audio loops
  • Setup click in only specific sections of the arrangement
  • Different patterns/sounds in different sections
  • Full control of audio routing

I think that about sums it up. I don’t see any advantages of using the Cubase metronome over this method.