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How to record myself singing

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haver26
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Hello everyone,

I asked also at the recording forum, but I think it's such a basic question that almost every singers has an opinion about it.

I'm am amateur singer, and about recording methods I don't know a thing. I just want to record myself and listen to myself singing in order to work on my voice and the way I sound. My "equipment" is:

1. Cubase 5

2. A cheap dynamic michrophone

3. Normal stereo speakers

4. Flat headphones (I think this is how they are called, I bought it for recordings)

So how should I record myself? With the speakers the sound is too bassy, and with the headphones I don't know which effect (such as reverb or echo) I should add, because recording myself with any effect makes a very dry sound. Maybe the best way is to setup effects so that I can sound like I'm on stage?

What do you reccomend?

P.S I don't know if it matters, but I'm a bass-baritone with a very low voice

Thanks in advance!

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First of all, use an eq then secondly in your channel you should use a compressor.

Then you'll have to open up two aux tracks or effect tracks.

In the first one you put a reverb as an insert and in the second effect track you put a delay.

After that, go back to your main vocal track where you've put your eq and compressor as an insert. go to the send buton of your vocal track and open up your reverb and your delay. Underneath the name of you reverb and delay you can adjust the level of these effects.

As for the eq on the vocals, don't mess too much with it.

Use a highpass filter at approximately 100hz and boost 1 or 2 db's between 2KHz and 5KHz.

Be careful because if you boost the frequencies above 5 KHz you will end up with a harsh sounding vocal.

For the compressor, use a "vocal" preset and try to reduce your dynamics between 3 and 6 dB's by using the treshhold.

Have fun ;)

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Hello mathdel, thanks for your answer

I'm just not sure I got it right. You mean I have to open one track where I record myself and on this track I should put reverb and compressor, and another track for the delay? And will I hear the reverb while I'm recording?

Sorry I didn't understand, I'm not very familiar with Cubase

And by the way, what kind of reverb do you recommend on?

Thanks again

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Not really,

1. First open one audio track, it has to be mono

2. open up 2 FX channel tracks (the violet ones)

3. click on the audio track you opened and then click on sends.

4. Once you are in the sends section of your audio track, you'll have to click in the rectangles in order to open your effect channel tracks in your audio track.

5. Then set the volume of your sends in that same send section of your audio track.

6. Now your vocals will be send to your effect tracks with the amount of level you've chosen in the send section of your audio track.

7. Put an eq in the first rectangle of your audio track and a comressor in the second rectangle, then use the settings I've told you in my first comment.

8. The first track will be the one you use to record on, by activating the red knob of your track and then pressing the red recording knob in the main bar.

If you're still having problems, then drop me your skype alias and I'll show it to you by sharing my screen

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[you might want to delete your other thread]

You need to get the most accurate representation. The first and most essential effects to use on your mix will be compression and reverb for the vocals. Don't overdo reverb. Compression will really help them sit well and sound 'in your face' so to speak. If you add compression first, it will make the vocals very easy to work with, especially with other effects.

Make sure when you record that you are using a pop filter on the mic, and don't clip by standing too close or shouting too loud into the mic. You will have to then experiment with mixing through monitors and headphones to get the most 'well rounded' mix.

What's your vocal range?

Btw mathdel how do you share your screen over skype?

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Thanks mathdel I'll try it soon!

and thanks for your answer, Lord_Adōn. You mean I should record myself without effects and then add compressions and just a little bit reverb? What kind of reverb from the reverbs Cubase offers do you recommend on?

And okay I'll buy a pop filter. Do you think that the fact that my dynamic mic is very cheap damages the sound?

My range is from G1 to G4 for now, but my high notes still sound bad, so right now I'm singing between E2 to A3

Thanks again

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Definitely never record with effects. The only effect you may want to record with is compression, but if you do, just use a tiny amount.

I don't know about cubase reverb, but it should be tweakable. Don't add too much; compression is the main effect you will need.

Yes, the more expensive a mic is the better frequency response it will have, but for now your mic is probably fine as long as you are not doing any pro recording.

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haver26 -

There are few things to consider:

1) Monitoring yourself during recording - you need to hear yourself with reverb while singing. You need to hear yourself in a simulated natural sounding room, otherwise you may start introducing tensions. You want to be relaxed during recording. You're going to want to monitor through a good set of closed headphones.

2) What to record: You want to record a dry signal into Cubase - no reverb. Experiment with levels so that you don't come close to overloading. You can check the wave form on the vocal track to see how close you are to overloading.

The issue with #1 is that depending on your soundcard, you may introduce too much latency for real time monitoring through Cubase. That is, you sing something and you don't hear yourself immediately. Your voice may be delayed 15ms or 20ms or more. That kind of latency can goof you up psychologically during recording. Maybe this won't be an issue for you. I don't monitor through my DAW software - I monitor through my audio device - pre DAW. So I don't have to worry about latency. My audio device lets me add effects like compression and reverb for monitoring while outputing a dry signal into my DAW.

3) Finally - the room you record in makes a difference - if you have standing waves in the room it will color your voice and it may not be good. You may think you sound a certain way, but it's not really how you sound. You should try to deaden the room. There are various ways to do that - put the mic right in front a closet full of clothes for example. I use a reflexion filter to prevent room coloring.

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Also keep in mind that when you record and you're monitoring yourself to keep your buffer size at 128 and when you mix your music to put your buffer size at 1024, to avoid latency problems

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haver26 -

There are few things to consider:

1) Monitoring yourself during recording - you need to hear yourself with reverb while singing. You need to hear yourself in a simulated natural sounding room, otherwise you may start introducing tensions.

I sometimes feel I am the only singer in the world that doesn't like reverb in their headphone mix, but to me, I think this really comes down to personal preference. Monitoring reverb kind of screws me up when recording, I guess when it has a long decay. I've never tried it with a short decay before. But when it's a medium or long decay time, I find it gets in the way of my ability to audiate pitches before I sing them; it's harder to internally hear the next pitch in my head which greatly improves the pitch accuracy of said note. Especially if the very end of the note before it is a little flat or sharp. If I'm recording with a long reverb I get distracted by the imperfection of the past note so the next one suffers. I think. So if anything I'd personally rather hear my dry voice in the headphones.

BUT the best way most of the time is definitely to take off one headphone and hear your voice in the room you're in. If you're not using closed back headphones there's the added inconvenience of having to pan your headphone mix to the side you are listening to so as to avoid the music bleeding into the mic from the other headphone. But I've got my Extreme Isolation EX25's so I don't have that inconvenience, yay!

Also if you find yourself getting stuck in a rut, switch the ears, in the past I've found the mere change of perspective often leads me to be suddenly able to get better takes. I think it also has to do with the fact that in most imperfect humans our right and left ear hear things differently.

Question for OP, do you have an audio interface? I'm surprised no one in this thread has mentioned that yet. Unless I missed something. But you will need that to record. Or some other unit that performs the same function, like a usb mixer. But just understand it's never a mic directly into a computer soundcard signal chain. You will need to get something inbetween that has internal preamps and converters and stuff.

Also, IMHO, %*$ vocal eq. Your voice is your voice, deal with it or get a better mic :lol: Compression and reverb, absolutely. Though there is the rare song where reverb just doesn't sound right, and a slapback delay or, heck, even a dry vocal may work better. Particularly true with punk music.

And stick to software effects for now. They are fine. If you get wicked serious about recording, then maybe go ahead and buy a hardware compressor or reverb unit. But just to record demos and stuff, don't let anyone talk you into thinking you NEED to pay big money just to get those effects. There are tons of free plugins available, including the ones that come with cubase, that will do the job pretty well.

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you have to eq, owen... At least by a small amount usually. each mic has a different frequency response, and each song will have a different place for the vocals to sit in the mix. you want to do minimal eq of course. But your voice is only accurately represented in person.

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I sometimes feel I am the only singer in the world that doesn't like reverb in their headphone mix, but to me, I think this really comes down to personal preference. Monitoring reverb kind of screws me up when recording, I guess when it has a long decay. I've never tried it with a short decay before. But when it's a medium or long decay time, I find it gets in the way of my ability to audiate pitches before I sing them; it's harder to internally hear the next pitch in my head which greatly improves the pitch accuracy of said note. Especially if the very end of the note before it is a little flat or sharp. If I'm recording with a long reverb I get distracted by the imperfection of the past note so the next one suffers. I think. So if anything I'd personally rather hear my dry voice in the headphones.

Well you and I can monitor without reverb, but we do a lot of recording. This guy said he's new to this. So, I'm trying to tell him to make the room really dead and then use closed headphones which is going to sound pretty unnatural.

You don't need to have a big long reverb - a really short reverb will do just fine - just to make it sound like your singing in some kind of room. I just like to kill all room color - maybe you have a nice sounding room that you use for recording?

If you work in a recording studio it is the responsibility of the engineer to make the singer very comfortable and make sure that monitoring is suitable to what the singer wants.

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You don't need to have a big long reverb - a really short reverb will do just fine - just to make it sound like your singing in some kind of room. I just like to kill all room color - maybe you have a nice sounding room that you use for recording?.

Yep. That would be the difference I guess. I've never recorded in a dead vocal booth.

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Hey guys thanks a lot for your help!

I did the things you suggested and found out that I like to work on my voice without any reverb, just some compressions (:

thanks a lot

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