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Tracking vocals with monitors on?????
Old 16th December 2002
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Tracking vocals with monitors on?????

I am about to run into a situation I have never experienced before. A singer says he cannot wear headphones while tracking so I must track him with him listening to the monitors. How do I minimize bleed and its concurrent phase issues. In the GGarth article in TAPEOP, he described how Zack Dela Rocha tracked the first rage album in this way. How do you do it??? Thanks!!!!!!!!
Old 17th December 2002
  #2
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
I do this quite often..

There are several strategies I am sure folks will mention theirs..

Here's a few tips:

1) Face the singer towards the monitors, face the mic away from the monitors

2) Some times all you need to hear in the control room while recording is the vocal reverb return (and the music of course) NOT the vocal it self. (fade that up on playback, but watch out for feedback by killing the record input first)

3) Set up compression out in the live area then bring the mic into the CR to do the actual vocal

4) I dont worry too much about bleed but you can

a) dull elements in the monitor mix with high or super low frequency
b) Record a pass with NO vocal and flip phase on it and blend back in with the vocal to cancel out some of the spill

I believe for rock 'anything goes' but for R&B where remixes are standard - low spill can be critical with some big remixers demanding a 'recut' for original vocals with too much spill...

Old 17th December 2002
  #3
Lives for gear
 
davemc's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think thats because Autotune does not like a lot of spill. Also have to watch delays etc if there is to much.
I have done this a few times lately for singers really have a hard time with headphones. Like everything the perforamance is more important them most other tech things.
Old 17th December 2002
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Tim L's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've never had an instance to try this myself but I hear it works fairly well...

Set up a pair of speakers in a perfect triangle with the diaghram (not to be confused with the rest of the mic) being the focal point of the triangle (measure this out, it needs to be right). Reverse the polarity on the leads to one of the speakers and make sure you're feeding them a mono cue mix with equal volume to each speaker. If you measured the placements out correctly there should be a pretty decent amount of cancellation at the mic (while still being heard by the singer) without affecting the vocal.

Like I said, I've never actualy done this so perhaps someone who has could comment on how it worked out for them.... I really do have to try this sometime.
Old 17th December 2002
  #5
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've never flipped the phase on the monitors for the singer. Usually in a case like that I'll cut in the control room with the singer behind me and I've never had a problem with leakage that couldn't be cured with a high pass filter and maybe a gate or expander. If it really becomes an issue the monitors are too loud. Just get the null of the mic facing them and you'll be fine.
Old 17th December 2002
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Tim L's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
I've never flipped the phase on the monitors for the singer. Usually in a case like that I'll cut in the control room with the singer behind me and I've never had a problem with leakage that couldn't be cured with a high pass filter and maybe a gate or expander.
Sure, but if the "cancelled speaker" thing works you wouldn't have to play those games... don't know about other people but unless I'm going for a particular effect I like to leave the basic vocal well enough alone if at all possible. Hey, what ever floats your boat though.
Quote:
If it really becomes an issue the monitors are too loud. Just get the null of the mic facing them and you'll be fine.
Unless of course you'ld like to use a pattern other than cardioid.
Old 17th December 2002
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
supaheef's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you are going to flip the phase, remember to get as dry a spill as possible. An ambient spill will not cancel well, and will sound funny through quiet passages. Be sure to use only the minimum of playback tracks for beat and pitching, and don't include any tracks on playback that mighn't make the final cut. Personally I love recording with the speakers up LOUD, as I hate cans. I'm not the only one, and those of us that do (Bono, Bjork, etc) don't really care about spill, we care about the performance. I know I give the best performance without cans, but there are ways to get the best out of that situation sonically as well as emotionally. You could also use a figure-8 mic, and place a speaker in the null points of the response field. You would have two speakers placed either side of the mic, pointed directly at each other, and directly into the mic where the capsules don't pick up sound. All trick aside, the best thing to do is grab a good live mic (beta58, KMS 105) and make it LOUD!!
Old 17th December 2002
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
supaheef's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Oh by the way, when I was talking about phase flipping, I meant during the mix. I wouldn't recommend the hassle of organising a custom phase-cancelled monitor set up. Make 'em loud, flip later.
Old 17th December 2002
  #9
Here for the gear
 
gabrielk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Just popping in to second Jules..

I must say, I've ran into very few situations where having bleed on the vocal tracks has caused problems. Most of the time, with very little sci-fi experimentation, you can reach a happy equilibrium.

Although I've had to mix vocal takes that I tracked with a lot of bleed, and it's not fun. (Digital editing, wanted to move a highly compressed chorus line into the bridge...in the end we just re-tracked because the bleed was so obvious when the track was moved that it sounded horrible.)

But all in all, if the client doesn't wanna use cans on their ears, then first EXPLAIN to them about the bleed they're going to be getting, let them record a take and play it back, and you'll often get one of two responses: a) "ok, that's cool, let's go" or b) "Ugh, I don't like the bleed...I guess I'll see if I can do it with headphones."


Maybe I'm just lazy...
Old 17th December 2002
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks guys for the fantastic responses so far!!!!
Old 17th December 2002
  #11
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Tim L
[B]Sure, but if the "cancelled speaker" thing works you wouldn't have to play those games... don't know about other people but unless I'm going for a particular effect I like to leave the basic vocal well enough alone if at all possible. Hey, what ever floats your boat though.

*** I guess I'm just not afraid to use whatever I need or mangle a vocal with a bit of EQ and compression.

Unless of course you'ld like to use a pattern other than cardioid.

*** What would you use? Omni? Whenever I'm cutting vocals like that I hand the singer a 58 unless they want something else. Most people (Rollins comes to mind) that want to work without headphones want to hold the mic in their hand. What would you hand them? A U87?
Old 17th December 2002
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Tim L's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
I guess I'm just not afraid to use whatever I need or mangle a vocal with a bit of EQ and compression.
Fear's got nothing to do with it. Mangle away if you gotta I'm just saying I like to avoid it if I can... don't you? And by the way , it was gating you mentioned in your post not compression... different thing entirely don't you think?
Quote:
What would you use? Omni?
If that's what gets me the sound I want, abso****inlutely. The point is I may want the option.
Quote:
Whenever I'm cutting vocals like that I hand the singer a 58 unless they want something else. Most people (Rollins comes to mind) that want to work without headphones want to hold the mic in their hand. What would you hand them? A U87?
If they feel they gotta hold the mic than obviously an "87" aint the way to go now is it? In that particular situation, fine flip-um a 58 if you have to. No biggie...

For what it's worth, I was playing around with the "speaker flip" thing this morning and found some pretty interesting results.

I set up an E-200 in a 5 foot triangle with my monitors. I put up a mono cue mix in the speakers and set the mic to card. I tracked a bit then set the mic to omni and cut a little more. I did three sets of these, Speakers normal, one speaker polarity flipped, both speakers flipped.

When I pulled up the tracks the "one speaker flipped" had much less bleed than either of the others. Interestingly enough, the difference bleed wise between the card and the omni in "one speaker flipped" was pretty minimal... kinda useful if you ask me.

Obviously, there's more than one way to skin this cat but the "flip" thing's pretty cool and certainly worth having in your bag-o-tricks....no?
Old 18th December 2002
  #13
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In my humble home set-up I use a pair of Realistic Minimus 7's at
low volume and either a Shure SM57 or Beyer Soundstar X19
(Sennheiser 421 copycat). Speakers play at a low/modest volume approximately 10-15 feet away, and there's been little bleed.
Without reversing polarity/summing to mono BTW.

Chris
Old 18th December 2002
  #14
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, part of the issue is that I can't stand to listen to any mix where the speakers are out of phase. I've fixed out of phase speakers in Best Buy just because it bugs the **** out of me. So, I wouldn't expect a client to deal with it either. But really, a bit of leakage doesn't bother me. Lots of leakage does but then you pick a different mic or use a gate or whatever. All those tools exist for a reason.
Old 18th December 2002
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Tim L's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
All the methods that have been suggested here are certainly valid and useful for paticular situations.

If you find that a "58" kinda thing is not giving you what you want and you need the option of other mic's, patterns, in an "open monitor" environment (where bleed has become an issue you need to deal with before storage) then you may want to give the "flip" thing a shot. It may work wonders for a given scenario or it may suck Sasquatch... the point is it's another tool, another option. More tools (options) = good!

I hope the original poster as well as others can find a use for it, I certainly felt it was worth sharing.
Old 18th December 2002
  #16
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've also used other mics without the leakage problems. Actually, I remember using a 414 one time and hearing less leakage then with a 58.
Old 18th December 2002
  #17
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
I have seen the triangle flipped phase thing Tim L described in use and it worked amazingly well.

The speakers were placed on stands below the mic about 3 feet off the floor- (the room had high ceilings) pointing up to the singer's ears. They really were pretty close to the mic but I suppose they were also pretty close to the singer's ears so they wouldn't have to be up as loud.
Old 19th December 2002
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Tim L's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by joeq
I have seen the triangle flipped phase thing Tim L described in use and it worked amazingly well.
Cool, I thought so as well.
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