Musicians Collaboration Studio

Tracking Vocals Tips (reducing Pops and SSSSSSSSS)

McLovin · 17 · 9662
 

Offline McLovin

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I'm likely not qualified to comment on any of this but I can share my trials and tribulations.  Recently I posted this for Joe K,... hopefully it is helpful!

Recording vocals (for me anyways) is completely different than singing live.

1.  You almost have to watch every sharp consonant that you sing and sing it subtly to reduce the "POP and "SSSS" sounds for the letters T, B, P, D, and S.  Not sure what vocal Mic your using (maybe you can tell me), but most mics are sensitive to those letters.

2.  If you stay at least 3 inches from the microphone,.. that is a good start and will help reduce "POP"ing.


3.  Record a short lyric and listen back to it and try to pick out the sharp "Pops" and sharp "S" sounds.  Create a track below it and then try to adjust how you sing during those sharp sounds to reduce the "Pop".  As you become more aware of how you sing affects a track,  it will eventually become second nature to adjust your singing for recording.

4.  I'm sure a sock over the mic will reduce pops,...and this may very well work perfect for you (everyone is different) but when you "sock it" you may also be muffling some of the nice tones (or frequencies) you want to keep in your recording.  A "Pop Sheild" in front of your mic would be your best bet.  You can buy this at a music store (sometimes they are expensive/sometimes not so much) or you can make one.  There are several guides how to make a pop shield but here is one for you to check out.  http://www.jakeludington.com/project_studio/20050321_build_your_own_microphone_pop_screen.html

5.  I'm sure you've seen people on tv using (what looks like a foam cover) placed over microphones.  These are shields also to reduce pops and SSSS and wind noise (during outdoor recording).  This is why Stephen suggested a sock to emulate the foam sheild.  You can look into getting a foam shield also.

6.  I have in the past taped a pencil the the center of a mic to help reduce pops/ssss's and split frequencies,... believe it or not this method works (google it).

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Offline Tacman7

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I 'fix' plosives with a few tools in cubase.

I double click the file which opens it in the editor, then highlight the offending part.

If it's at the end of a word I use process/fade out or fade in at the beginning of a word.

Might have to undo it several times because getting the selection right is the key to a transparent result.

With this technique you still get the sound but it keeps if from drawing attention to itself.

But the better your take is to start with the less work you have to do.



Offline Paulo

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I got one of those shields and problem with plops, ssssssssss and shhhhhhhhhh, is over.
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Paulo Gomes


Offline CosmicDolphin

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Pop Shields are cheap and you can't record close up vocals with no 'plosives without one, so buy one they're an essential !

The mic & the singer will make a difference too, so try a different mic if you are struggling - if posible.

Better to get the recording right than try to fix it later. Don't put socks on your mic you'll just dull all the high frequencies ! My socks would probably melt the mic anyway.

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Offline Tacman7

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I think it helps if you eat some peanut butter before you sing. >:D


In an interview Les Paul was saying Bing Crosby wanted to track at 7am because his voice sounded deeper.

Have to try that. May be.




Offline Gerk

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Ya but if you eat too much peanut butter and you are using good mics in a quiet environment you end up havig to edit out all kinds of lip smacking sounds :)  (funny but true!)

I use one of the metal grate styled shields and am very happy with the results.


Offline detune

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Does anyone here use the looping capabilities of Sonar (or "take" feature of Cubase)?  You can sing a single line over and over until it's perfect.

Since it's the same line repeated, you can micro-tailor your diction and pitch, without dealing with the nervousness or tension that occurs when you start a new take from scratch!  And if you are monitoring yourself, you can gradually eliminate pops and sibilance with your technique.  Hope that makes sense. 
« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 05:17:54 PM by detune »


Offline Gerk

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Does anyone here use the looping capabilities of Sonar (or "take" feature of Cubase)?  You can sing a single line over and over until it's perfect.

Since it's the same line repeated, you can micro-tailor your diction and pitch, without dealing with the nervousness or tension that occurs when you start a new take from scratch!  And if you are monitoring yourself, you can gradually eliminate pops and sibilance with your technique.  Hope that makes sense. 

I do that with digital performer.  It also gives a nice additional feature once you have all the takes in place, that you can "fan out" all the takes (to view them all line by line) and easily switch between them.  You can also use this to easily comp together the best bits and pieces from all the takes into the one "master" take.  Brilliant feature! It also makes it easy to go back after the fact and switch which piece gets used from which take without having to try and remember where things came from as when you fan it all back out again it shows you what came from where and you can easily change it without affecting the rest of the take.


Offline Paulo

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Most of the times the first take is the best... I come from the times where one performes for real in front of the crowd... Going over and over doing the same take is not exacly my style but, I know I'm wrong 'cause that's what happens these days. Things have improved drasticly in a different way.
Live the best you can 'cause you're gonna be dead for a long time.
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Offline Tacman7

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With my vocals you need to be really good at comps.

I record a section of a song in loop mode in cubase with the stacked option in the transport. This gives you all the takes in one track. Usually 17 or so.
Then you can enlarge the track and see all the waveforms, chop them up and mute the ones you don't want. Works great but you will get a slight click if you change takes in the middle of a word, best to edit between words or phrases.

Then into melodyne and wahla! I can sing!



Offline Gerk

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With my vocals you need to be really good at comps.

I record a section of a song in loop mode in cubase with the stacked option in the transport. This gives you all the takes in one track. Usually 17 or so.
Then you can enlarge the track and see all the waveforms, chop them up and mute the ones you don't want. Works great but you will get a slight click if you change takes in the middle of a word, best to edit between words or phrases.

Then into melodyne and wahla! I can sing!



You can get rid of the clicks if you either zoom WAY in and do the actual edit at a point where the soundwave is at zero on both sides of the edit, or you can do a crossfade between through the edit point -- both techniques should eliminate the clicks.  In digital performer there's tools built right in to do that easily in the tracks view (there's a little handle you can drag), your daw might have something like that in it too.


Offline McLovin

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All of those tips are accurate and I have used them all but,..wait a minute.  I have one last tip to offer.

Contract a high end studio with an outrageously paid engineer!!  Always worked for me when someone else was paying!! >:D
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Offline detune

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All of those tips are accurate and I have used them all but,..wait a minute.  I have one last tip to offer.

Contract a high end studio with an outrageously paid engineer!!  Always worked for me when someone else was paying!! >:D

Must be nice Jay! >:(

I hadn't really done too-too much of the looping thing until I started discussing it here.  Then I tried it for a full song and wow--sure makes a huge difference when you can piece together the best segments out of 30 takes!  Especially considering that only one of those is on key. ;D

And yes, it did help my sibilance because it made me more aware of it.


Offline midKnight

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If you can run a de-esser at record time (either plugin or onboard in a preamp), it can certainly help with the plosives. However if you are still having problems with a particular vocalist, try having them sing off-axis to the mic. This can also help cut down on the bad stuff.

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Offline Gerk

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I'm not a dig fan of de-essers.  Use them if you have to after the fact for vocals (or even acoustic guitars), but if you can control/adjust at the source at tracking time to eliminate the problems you'll be better off IMHO.


 

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