Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Great Engineers discuss Vocal Mics and Techniques

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN, USA
    Posts
    27,246

    Great Engineers discuss Vocal Mics and Techniques

    At Oceanway Studios Nashville on July 19, 2004, Pro Sound News hosted a Vocal Mic Invitational which featured mics from sponsors ADK, AKG, CAD and Shure. In the afternoon, I moderated a panel discussion about vocal mics and vocal recording and sound reinforcement with studio and live engineers Ben Fowler (Michael McDonald, Meatloaf), Johnny O. Garcia (FOH-Diamond Rio, LeRoy Parnell), Gary Paczosa (Dolly Parton, Allison Krauss), Elmo Ramos Jr. (Tito Puente, Tupac Shakur) and Hugh Johnson (FOH-Vince Gill, Amy Grant). These are fascinating discussions including stories about recording artists such as Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, Amy Grant, Michael McDonald, Allison Krauss, Tupac Shakur and more.

    It is divided into segments since the original panel was over an hour in length. I hope you learn as much as I did.


    Part 1-Introductions and favorite vocal mics

    Part 2-Auditioning mics and vocal processing

    Part 3-Dream and Nightmare Vocalists

    Part 4-Background vocals and ending
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    466
    Thanks Lynn!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. If you recall, I had asked about Gary Paczosa's signal chain in a thread a couple of weeks ago and you mentioned you hadn't seen him in a while but would ask if you spoke to him.

    This was better! The very answer to my question straight from Gary's mouth! (and now I know how to pronounce his name

    Anyway, thanks again for this. I found it both informative and entertaining!

    Shane
    Shane Bushman - 3D-VIP
    Treehouse Productions
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    NE Alabama
    Posts
    30

    Default

    Lynn:

    In the last part of the interview, Background vocals, someone (I believe it was you) mentions their technique for recording the stacked background vocals for trios. I do quite a bit of this type of recording, but I usually do the stacks on separate tracks, one track for each vocalist. I'm wondering if you could post the technique as it was described in the interview. I thought it was interesting, but I missed some of how you were setting it up.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN, USA
    Posts
    27,246

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TreeHouse
    Lynn:

    In the last part of the interview, Background vocals, someone (I believe it was you) mentions their technique for recording the stacked background vocals for trios. I do quite a bit of this type of recording, but I usually do the stacks on separate tracks, one track for each vocalist. I'm wondering if you could post the technique as it was described in the interview. I thought it was interesting, but I missed some of how you were setting it up.
    Was it the part about recording in MS? I don't want to listen through it again. Can you give me a few more clues about what it said?
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    NE Alabama
    Posts
    30

    Default

    I was trying to take notes (badly), and here's what I wrote down:

    The conversation was regarding how the engineers recorded choir vocals or vocal groups.

    - same voc chain as lead vocal chain
    - Some comments were made that by stacking the same signal path on all the vocals can lead to "fuzzy" sounding background vocals.

    - Lynn: Background vocals - trios : MS Pair, sing around that pair. 1st pass, center singer slightly off-center on one pass. Next pass: stand in same place and flip the mic "phase"???

    That was about all I could make out.

    I notice a lot of Southern Gospel quartet vocals (which is what most of my customers are) can have two or sometimes 3 vocal stacks on the trio parts. If the engineer is not careful, the vocals can become harsh if all the parts are recorded on separate tracks, through the same vocal chain. You (I believe it was you) had some good techiques for achieving a better vocal sound by using this technique.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN, USA
    Posts
    27,246

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TreeHouse
    - same voc chain as lead vocal chain
    - Some comments were made that by stacking the same signal path on all the vocals can lead to "fuzzy" sounding background vocals.

    - Lynn: Background vocals - trios : MS Pair, sing around that pair. 1st pass, center singer slightly off-center on one pass. Next pass: stand in same place and flip the mic "phase"???
    Paczosa made the comment about using a different signal path for backgrounds from the lead vocal.

    I did mention using an M/S pair for recording trio. Have the singers stand around the mics at 9, 11 and 3 (consider the mic is in the center of the watch face. In M/S, you are essentially dealing with a three-leaf clover, a three sided mic). The persons on the extreme outside may think they are off mic but they are not. When you lay the first pass, the middle singer will appear off center. When you double, you don't flip the phase (ouch!) but you flip the sides. So the left side of the mic is going to the right speaker instead of the left speaker where you heard them the first pass. Then you will have them appearing in the stereo image like this (assuming Soprano, Tenor, Alto, numbered 1 or 2 for which pass).

    Pass 1 is S1-T1-center-A1

    Pass 2 is A2-center-T2-S2

    Which yields:

    S1/A2-T1-center-T2-A1/S2

    The center is reserved for the lead vocalist and that's why you don't want anyone in that space.

    Is that clear? It would be easier without having to type it out. There is a diagram of this technique on the EQ Mag.com site, as I wrote about it for the magazine as well.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    NE Alabama
    Posts
    30

    Default

    Clear as mud. If you have a group that actually sings on pitch, this is a great idea! I was pretty certain you weren't flipping the phase on the mics, but it was hard to hear some parts of the dialog on the MP3.

    I've tried different methods, but lately I've just put all the stack vox on different tracks. I usually have them sing the stacks about 2/3rds as strong as on the "lead passes" and have the lead vocalist omit the "pickup notes". That way if I need to ottotune 'em I can. I do mostly budget projects here, so sometimes it's faster to just tune and move on

    I have a group coming in a few weeks that I want to give this method a try with.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain it.
    Last edited by TreeHouse; 08-23-2005 at 02:54 AM.

Similar Threads

  1. Classical recording "spot" piano and vocal mics
    By amixer in forum Classical and Location Recording
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 03-08-2005, 10:49 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •