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Why is it that you hear yourself differently than is recorded?

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Lobinstur
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I mean, when I am singing, particularly in a falsetto,

why is it that it sounds much, much more 'pure' and unstrained than when I listen to my voice recorded?

Is this because we hear our voices differently than what is actually produced?

Could anyone expand on this? I like to sing, I sing alone, I don't want to be in a band or do it for any other reason, but one day I was curious and recorded my voice, and was astounded at how strained and HORRIBLE it was.

Not just horrible, but hokey, and... pretentious?

I do have a deep voice, but I enjoy singing in the falsetto registry, notes that are far, far, far above what my speaking voice is. I'm a male, obviously.

now i feel sad.

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First of all, your recorded voice is how you sound. What you hear in your head is a combination of A) the vibrations transmitted through your actual head up into your ear; B) soundwaves travelling from your mouth to your ear in a direct line before the natural reverberation/diffusion of the room; C) how it FEELS to physically sing and; D) your psychological idea of how you sound but more importantly who you think you are.

This doesn't just apply to singing. Almost anyone will be VERY shocked when they hear their own speaking voice, because it doesn't match at all how they think they sound, and the kind of person they believe they are. In fact, professional recording can be a daunting experience for this very reason, because anyone in the studio will be able to hear EXACTLY what you sound like.

Now how does this affect you? If you never want to sing with others or perform, then there is no problem. If you really do (of course you do), then it just takes a hell of a lot of practise, being totally honest with yourself, and at some point, having the courage to get an outside opinion on how you really sound.

All the best!

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What he said. ^^^^^^^^^^

Also, bad acoustics, poor mic selection, the wrong preamp, and other factors can make you sound a lot worse than you really do sound. I disliked the sound of my recorded voice, at least until I learned how to use the equipment I had properly, acoustically treated my room, and chose a mic that worked well with my voice. Now I like the way I sound... most of the time, anyway, haha. One more thing, recording can make you aware of bad singing habits you may have. You might think you sound just like X singer, when in reality you aren't using all of the right techniques to get there. Some of my best feedback has been making adjustments based on what I sound like on recordings.

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I mean, when I am singing, particularly in a falsetto,

why is it that it sounds much, much more 'pure' and unstrained than when I listen to my voice recorded?

Is this because we hear our voices differently than what is actually produced?

Could anyone expand on this? I like to sing, I sing alone, I don't want to be in a band or do it for any other reason, but one day I was curious and recorded my voice, and was astounded at how strained and HORRIBLE it was.

Not just horrible, but hokey, and... pretentious?

I do have a deep voice, but I enjoy singing in the falsetto registry, notes that are far, far, far above what my speaking voice is. I'm a male, obviously.

now i feel sad.

light falsetto in most cases can sound airy, weak-sounding, and effeminate. this may have thrown you to hear that tone.

it is generally unsuitable for singing live because it doesn't project well.

sometimes you can trick yourself into thinking you can sound like someone by your singing in falsetto.

i remember years ago when i was singing in this band and they wanted me to sing journey. i was no naive...lol!!! i figured no problem, i'll just sing all the notes with falsetto. i was driving to practice thinking this was going to be piece of cake because in my head i thought i sounded just like him...and i still do...lol!!!

well, let me tell you, that was not the case....lol!!! we never made to live, and that was the end of our journey until they got another singer, and they did, this really hot babe....lol!!!!

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Equipment aside, you are also dealing with your own psychology issues. (Ron bringing out his hammer, again.)

"What do you mean, Ron?"

Well, explain what you mean by hokey and pretentious. Lobinstur. You have just given some kind of value judgement to the tone you produced, which none of us can hear because you have not posted it. It's entirely possible that you might be the only one to think that it was all that bad. Hence, I mention psychological issues. Your sense of aesthetics, as influenced by what you think is "proper and right."

(hammer time) singing is mental.

I didn't re-iterate what the others said, which is also true. You hear yourself through bone and tissue conduction. However, I also will add that even when you listen to a recording of yourself, you are still not hearing yourself as others hear you because you are listening with your own aesthetics, your own psychological baggage.

Dare I say it, again? Yes, I dare. Singing is mental.

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