Recording - May 2013 - 30

Anatomy Of A Vocal: “If I Were A Bird”
By Sven-Erik Seaholm

before the onset of the reverb. This can be
used to help clear up some of the cloudiness that reverb can cause, enabling your
vocals to be significantly more intelligible.
A slapback delay, a single echo of the
vocal, can be a good choice for similar reasons, especially if synced to your groove’s
tempo. Longer delay or echo settings can
be used subtly in conjunction with reverb
for a more modern and polished sound.
With every song, it’s best to explore the
gamut between Tom Petty (dry) and Fleet
Foxes (wet) with the effect’s balance, as
each song has its own character and therefore it own set of needs.
Take ’em for a ride!
Once you’ve got your vocal sounding
great, it’s time to listen to it in the context
of the song one last time. Listen for sections where the vocal may be sticking out
a little or denser passages that may be
drowning the vocals a bit. Lowering or
raising the voice to offset this is commonly referred to as “riding the vocal”, and
can go a long way toward making things
sound more professional overall.
If all of these tools and concepts seem
a bit daunting (not to mention expensive), take heart. Several software manufacturers have developed all-in-one
solutions that include some or all of the
previously mentioned effects. Again,
starting with the supplied presets will
familiarize you with the program more
quickly, saving you several wasted hours
of head scratching. iZotope, The Plugin
Alliance, Waves and Antares all present
great choices in this regard.
Whether your tuneful adventures
involve crooning love songs or spitting
fiery rhymes, the connection that is made
between your music and your listeners
hinges on how engaging your vocals
are. Keeping these concepts in mind
throughout the vocal recording process
will help ensure that bond is a strong and
lasting one.
Sven-Erik Seaholm (seaholm@recording
mag.com) is an award-winning independent record producer, singer and songwriter. His latest release is Seaholm
Mackintosh’s Monarchs. Check out his
website at www.kaspro.com.
30

RECORDING May 2013

When my partner, Brooke Mackintosh, and I set out to record our first album
Monarchs, we wanted the core of it to represent our live presentation: two-part harmonies with one or two acoustic guitars and a minimum of overdubs. To that end,
most of the songs were recorded “live in the studio” and subtle atmospheric touches
were added later. Ironically, “If I Were A Bird”, the song that best showcases this simplistic approach was tracked separately due to scheduling constraints. Here’s how we
did it.
I first recorded my acoustic guitar performance in Vegas Video 9 (www.sonycreative
software.com/vegaspro), using an Avantone CV 12 tube mic (www.avantonepro.com)
aimed parallel to the upper bout of my Recording King RO-16 000 style acoustic guitar (www.recordingking.com) at about a foot away. I find this position gives the best
tone, without the bassiness from the sound hole or the distracting fret squeaks that can
result from a 12th-fret neck positioning. This mic was connected to a PreSonus Eureka
channel strip (www.presonus.com/products/Eureka), with the compression set to a 5:1
ratio, with a medium-fast attack, a medium release time and no eq. I played to a click
set at 118 BPM.
I performed the song several times until I was satisfied with the feel, then I comped
the takes together into a solid guitar part (Figure A).
I set up a track for my vocals and used an MXL V87 condenser mic
(www.mxlmics.com) going into a second PreSonus Eureka channel strip with the compression set to a 4:1 ratio, at a fast attack, with a medium-fast release time. I also added
some very subtle eq to the signal, boosting 1 dB at 200 Hz with a medium Q for some
body, 1 dB at 800 Hz with medium Q to bring the vocal a little more “forward”, and

A

B


http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/vegaspro http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/vegaspro http://www.avantonepro.com http://www.recordingking.com http://www.presonus.com/products/Eureka http://www.mxlmics.com http://www.kaspro.com

Recording - May 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - May 2013

Recording - May 2013
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Fast Forward
Jim Anderson Records Patricia Barber
Lewitt Authentica LCT 940
PreSonus Eris Series High-Definition Studio Monitors
How To Record Great Vocals At Home
Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone
Plug-ins To The Rescue—Real-Life Remedies For Vocal Tracks
Moon Professional 3500MP 2-Channel Microphone Preamp
DPA Microphones d:fine Series Headset Microphones
Plug-in Outlet: Toontrack EZmix Pack: Vocal Toolbox
Plug-in Outlet: iZotope Nectar Elements
Blue Spark Digital USB Microphone
Plug-in Outlet: Noveltech Vocal Enhancer (and Character)
Readers' Tapes
Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 17: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 4
CAD Audio Acousti-shield 32
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - May 2013 - Intro
Recording - May 2013 - Recording - May 2013
Recording - May 2013 - Cover2
Recording - May 2013 - 1
Recording - May 2013 - 2
Recording - May 2013 - 3
Recording - May 2013 - Fade In
Recording - May 2013 - 5
Recording - May 2013 - Contents
Recording - May 2013 - 7
Recording - May 2013 - Talkback
Recording - May 2013 - 9
Recording - May 2013 - Fast Forward
Recording - May 2013 - 11
Recording - May 2013 - 12
Recording - May 2013 - 13
Recording - May 2013 - Jim Anderson Records Patricia Barber
Recording - May 2013 - 15
Recording - May 2013 - 16
Recording - May 2013 - 17
Recording - May 2013 - Lewitt Authentica LCT 940
Recording - May 2013 - 19
Recording - May 2013 - PreSonus Eris Series High-Definition Studio Monitors
Recording - May 2013 - 21
Recording - May 2013 - 22
Recording - May 2013 - 23
Recording - May 2013 - How To Record Great Vocals At Home
Recording - May 2013 - 25
Recording - May 2013 - 26
Recording - May 2013 - 27
Recording - May 2013 - 28
Recording - May 2013 - 29
Recording - May 2013 - 30
Recording - May 2013 - 31
Recording - May 2013 - 32
Recording - May 2013 - 33
Recording - May 2013 - Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone
Recording - May 2013 - 35
Recording - May 2013 - 36
Recording - May 2013 - 37
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-ins To The Rescue—Real-Life Remedies For Vocal Tracks
Recording - May 2013 - 39
Recording - May 2013 - Moon Professional 3500MP 2-Channel Microphone Preamp
Recording - May 2013 - 41
Recording - May 2013 - DPA Microphones d:fine Series Headset Microphones
Recording - May 2013 - 43
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: Toontrack EZmix Pack: Vocal Toolbox
Recording - May 2013 - 45
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: iZotope Nectar Elements
Recording - May 2013 - 47
Recording - May 2013 - 48
Recording - May 2013 - 49
Recording - May 2013 - Blue Spark Digital USB Microphone
Recording - May 2013 - 51
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: Noveltech Vocal Enhancer (and Character)
Recording - May 2013 - 53
Recording - May 2013 - Readers' Tapes
Recording - May 2013 - 55
Recording - May 2013 - 56
Recording - May 2013 - 57
Recording - May 2013 - 58
Recording - May 2013 - 59
Recording - May 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 17: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 4
Recording - May 2013 - 61
Recording - May 2013 - 62
Recording - May 2013 - 63
Recording - May 2013 - CAD Audio Acousti-shield 32
Recording - May 2013 - Advertiser Index
Recording - May 2013 - 66
Recording - May 2013 - 67
Recording - May 2013 - 68
Recording - May 2013 - 69
Recording - May 2013 - 70
Recording - May 2013 - 71
Recording - May 2013 - Fade Out
Recording - May 2013 - Cover3
Recording - May 2013 - Cover4
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