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srs7593

Dio sang in his head?

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Doesn't have to be a disagreement. Allow me to be an ass, yet again.

Here's a totally crazy idea. Let's listen to the man, himself. In the studio. Who'd have thought of that? Please, notice how he asks the recording engineer to back off the main volume a few times, and then again, to back off the sharpness of the guitars, so that he doesn't have to shout or sing too loud.

yeah, but thats only one single clip, there are no other clips of him in the studio. I think he knew very well about not blowing out his voice with too much volume, but I also think he could get very loud when he felt like it. Also, in everything Ive ever seen live, both on youtube and in the flesh, he goes to the top of his register loads of times during a gig. If you check the "Am I a maker? No! Im a whore!" at about 3:11, the hollow "feedback" from his mike sounds, to me, like he overwhelms the PA with volume there:

A lot of the cleaner studio work sounds definitely like head voice to me.

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Hey, Matt, glad to see you around. You might just be a bigger Dio freak than I am. Part of my understanding of Dio's singing volume comes from an interview with singer Ron Keel. He has sang with a number of bands. And he toured and sang with and was friends with RJD. Close enough that RJD gave him singing advice, which he relates in his interview with Bill Martin. From personal experience of being near the man, he said (paraphrased) that Ronnie sang not much louder than his singing volume.

So, I could be wrong. Ron Keel, who sang with him and knew him personally, could have been wrong.

You could be right. The mix of this video and the levels of his mic in the performance could be spot on in this video that sounds like it was recorded on a videocam. It could possibly be more real than the testimony of someone who was there.

I will be the first to admit I am wrong.

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You could be correct, Ron. But keep in mind that Dio was a small man. Perhaps he was singing loud for a man with his physique, but other people around him didn't think that his sound was that loud. I don't claim to be an expert on these things, though, so I'm not sure.

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I don't know how accurate they are but there are several clips on youtube with vocals only. I don't know how much compression and other things they used back in 83 but it sounds like he is singing very loud.

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Sounds like that in that clip, Dio is singing loud (for his physique, but not necessarily if you compare him with a much bigger man). Although I've seen small men who speak pretty loud, even for their size.

But Ron, I'm actually going to experiment a bit with curbing with distortion vs. edge with distortion. Curbing has a "cry" sound and a lower volume than curbing. I still sometimes have a bit of a hard time detecting which mode a rock singer is using (or something else). And I'm one of many.

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woah i wasn't expecting that. I tried finding isolated tracks and couldn't...

but this could be taking place at a medium volume. there is no wasted air.

on a side note i tried singing like that just now with moderate success. im excited.

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GREAT thread gang!!! I'm probably one of the biggest fans of Ronnies singing that you'll ever find and it's amazing to see a thread about his techniques! With regards to the studio recording clip, one thing to consider is that experienced studio singers know that having a headphone mix that is too loud can make you sing off pitch. It's an acoustic phenomenon that I have read about. That is the likely reason behind Dio wanting to get his headphone mix volumes just right. It's a balancing act between being able to "feel" the song and keeping yourself within the volume range that you don't start singing off pitch. Wish I could remember the name for this phenomenon but I don't have time to look it up just now. I'll see if I can find an article to back up what I'm saying when I have a chance. I'm very proud to say that I have met Dio in person and shaken his hand. He was a huge reason why I wanted to become a singer when I first started out many years ago. His power, control, tone and passion are still mind blowing to me! Rock on in Heaven Ronnie. We miss you here on earth.

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Mike, long lost brother, and I miss you being here, I think the effect is called masking, though I could be wrong. Masking, the technical definition, is that the ear hears the loudest tone most prominently. So, if you are hearing the guitars most prominently, you are not hearing your voice. And will get pitchy trying to compete. Adjust the master volume down and the brightness of the guitars down allows you to hear yourself and have better control over your intonation.

That's my two cents. That and another $1.60 USD will get you a 16.9 oz. Diet Coke.

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Thanks for the input Ron. It's not masking I was referring to although I'm very familiar with masking when it comes to mixing and having instruments sit in the mix. It's the actual volume itself that causes the problem with pitch. What is awesome about Dio's vocals is the particular rattle sound he gets on those lower notes. I can emulate it but for me it feels like more of a falsetto feel and not as powerful as I would think it would feel to make those sounds. It's really incredible listening to the vocals only tracks of Dio and also of Bruce Dickinson singing their asses off! Here's one where Bruce sings some notes using the same type of "rattle" as Dio does. Mind blowing power also... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLYZoUItLpk&feature=related

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I listened to the clip that Mirador u/l'd. Ronnie is resonating like crazy. And he had a natural rasp to his voice. Later in life, I think he used a rattle that could best be described as the distortion one learns in TVS. Not that he studied the style but the technique sounds similar.

The chorus is triple-tracked, making it sound "beefier." Try this on your own recording software. Sing something. Then duplicate the track. You will find that section sounds 'bigger." Hopefully, Mike can either back me up or clarify this. Plus the track is not "naked." It has been eq'd to with at least a high-pass filter, which rolls off the lower frequencies. That is, the lower overtones that Ronnie could generate are not present, making the note sound "higher." As Mike taught me, and I have learned from books on mixing and recording, mixing is not so much about boosting eq on something as it is about dropping out the tones you don't want or need. So, we are not hearing Ronnie as he really sang it if you were in the same room. We are hearing the recording or mixing engineer's take on it. Plus, this is a track that is the result of removing other tracks. It is not the vocal track, by itself. What you are hearing is modified, in my opinion.

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What really impresses me about Dio's singing was his ability to slip in and out of these various effects so effortlessly. He could sing with such a soft angelic voice and then instantly hit the most growly, distorted sound he could produce! Truly a singer to study and analyze for the way in which he used these vocal effects to bring emotion and texture to his performances. Hearing him in the vocals only clips is, as Ron so eloquently stated, not the same as hearing him singing right with you in a room. What we are hearing is the studio engineers eq'd and compressed etc vocal tracks which I can tell you, is quite different from what you'd hear in person. Otherwise no one would pay the big dollars for top engineers if what you heard in real life was what the recording played back in the end. ;)

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That's why have said that one really needs to hear the live performance to know what the real sound is like. I know there is some eq and processing going on live, too. My first wife went to a RUSH concert back 83 or 84 and talked with the FOH engineer at the erector set mixing booth. The pa and board and all the equipment RUSH had cost $1,000,000 back then. Just the same, there are no edit loops or do-overs. If you crack a note, you crack note. Keep rolling on.

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This might be an old thread but it's related to my interests.

Anyone here noticed how in the mix of his albums (check Holy Diver and The Last in Line albums) his voice was always neatly nested in the instruments and low(as in volume)?

You can also see on youtube live videos how it really doesn't seem he is singing loud, you just have to compare the singing volume with the volume of when he speaks between songs.

Yet in CVT he is used as an example of modes that need the singer to be loud. (And Robert Plant, who often seems to me to be as loud as a bloody megaphone, is used as an example of a medium mode. Maybe that's why he bust his voice.)

I wonder if anyone can shed some light on this.

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Dio sounds like a darkened, really raspy head voice. There's no 'tug' or 'pull' or 'lifting weight' sound to his singing that I've ever heard.

 

I think he learned to sing back in the 50s (actually he started singing when he was 5 years old) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronnie_James_Dio

 

And had decades singing clean:

 

 

 

 

 

Then took it raspy in the 70s and 80s which he may have stumbled into, or who knows.

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Loudness on a compressed mic does not depend solely on acoustic loudness... Dio kinda used everything very well, he did go loud when necessary, but the aggressiveness I am positive that did not came from loudness, thats the main problem when performing his stuff. The best way to appear loud and produce that wall of sound he seemed to create is by ballancing, if you shout you will create peaks of intensity on the spectra, and it will actually sound thin.

I am actually much more fascinated by his clean singing than the distortion itself, his control of dynamics was really awesome, and still is some steps above what everyone else does in the same style in terms of interpretation delivery...

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I am actually much more fascinated by his clean singing than the distortion itself, his control of dynamics was really awesome, and still is some steps above what everyone else does in the same style in terms of interpretation delivery...

​I think the exact same!

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They say Dio used to listen to his parents' Enrico Caruso's recording as a child and tried to emulate him. Mix perfect opera singing and rock singing together = super awesome voice.

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I've never really had an ear of his interpretive capabilities, but it might be my tastes. I've never heard Dio sound unhinged, improvisational, unpredictable, or like he was riding a song by the seat of his pants.

 

He was a master of his voice, but regardless of his clean or distorted singing, he usually sounds controlled and meticulous to me. Does anyone have any clips of him singing jazz or something that requires on the spot interpretation? I like chaos in music. Maybe he's just too good of a singer, so I don't the that on the edge of my seat, everything could fall apart at any moment, but you know he pulls through feeling to his performances. Like everything he did he had a formula down pact.

 

If someone wants a comparison, it's like let's say you're watching a sports game and the score is 80 to 20 ratio the whole game. I get more excitement when it's closer to failure. In some of the artists I consider musical geniuses like Stevie Wonder, or Frank, I've heard them fall apart. That risk, keeps me on my seat of my pants in their performances. They never sing the same song the same way twice, and are always improvising and pushing for more and more.

 

Dio is kind of like Michael Jordan vs a toddler. There feels like so little chaos. I like effort in performers. Anybody got any clips of him slugging it out with a song and taking huge risks? I'd like to be able to get into him more than I currently am, as he is a cool guy and a good singer. I kind of wish he struggled more, is all. Conflict, effort, and risking failure really excites me in art. I wish I could hear more of what you guys are hearing. I'd need to hear more of his vulnerabilities, risks, and potential failures to identify with him more as a vocal artist, I think. I don't know if it's just the way I hear music, but the voice is the most human element in all of music, I need some semblance of a human being struggling to express something to be engaged for long. If things are too easy for the vocal artist, I don't know how to relate to that expression as much as if things are difficult.

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They say Dio used to listen to his parents' Enrico Caruso's recording as a child and tried to emulate him. Mix perfect opera singing and rock singing together = super awesome voice.

​Who says that? Not Dio, himself. He does mention listening to music as a child, certainly some of italian opera since his grandparents and one of his parents were from the old country.

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Killer, well, on the style (which is heavy metal, not jazz) I don't really know many other singers that improvised and modified their songs live like he did... To be honest I don't even like it so much, I'd rather hear the original lines haha.

 

Heaven and hell became another song :P

i am not sure what you wanted more in terms of risks... It doesn't get much more risky than the manner he chose to write his songs.

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Scroll down to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronnie_James_Dio  "Early Years, Education, & Musical Education" the interview can be referenced here also http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/community/chat/2002-06-17-dio.htm quote, unquote: 
Brownsville, TX: Ronnie, Do you have any operatic influences? Any favorite operas or classical pieces? 
Ronnie James Dio: Growing up I listened to a lot of opera, and was influenced by Mario Lanza. I couldn't believe his incredible voice. I wanted to use that aspect of vocalization in the rock and roll context. I guess that's the connection people see between my operatic style and music as heavy as possible. 

A lot of people knock opera and will not ever appreciate it's contribution to modern vocal techniques. Dio took what he liked from opera and turned it into something beautiful. That might not work for everyone but sure as hell work for Dio.  

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