[linux-audio-user] Vocals

chaz kiser chazkiser at alltel.net
Mon Oct 30 00:04:33 EST 2006

Rob wrote:

>On Sunday 29 October 2006 22:23, chaz kiser wrote:
>>Any suggestions what plugins or effects in Audacity I could
>>utilize to make my vocals sound better, or more importantly,
>>like someone else?
>I'm no recording engineer, but I've worked with one in the last 
>few years and I think I have a little bit of understanding of 
>what sounds good and what doesn't now.
>First of all, I assume you're not trying to record your vocals on 
>a $5 microphone that came with your computer and that you're 
>recording somewhere that doesn't have awful acoustics.  I've 
>recorded in a closet, in a car, under a blanket and a number of 
>other ways due to being unable to just put up acoustic foam in 
>the apartments I've lived in.  I also learned that all the 
>cliches about "sing from the diaphragm", "don't swallow the 
>mic", etc. are pretty much true, at least if you're trying to 
>record something that sounds like popular music.
>After you're done recording, conventional approaches to fixing 
>vocals include compression and EQ, various "aural exciters", 
>which range from expensive snake oil to useful, and nowadays 
>pitch correction (like Antares Autotune) especially.  I don't 
>think there's a way to automatically correct sharp or flat 
>vocals in Audacity though (yet.)  
>I used something a lot cheaper than Autotune back in my Windows 
>days, but can't remember what it was called and I don't know 
>whether there are any Autotune clones that would work under 
>Linux.  But you should be able to fix especially out-of-tune 
>notes by either punching in from another recording (which I 
>usually do) or selecting just that note and manually shifting 
>the pitch through one of Audacity's time/pitch plugins.
>A common mistake (or artistic decision I would disagree with) 
>that I hear in people's stuff that they post to the net is 
>leaving the vocals too dry when the whole rest of the track has 
>a ton of effects.  Doubling the vocal track (recording it a 
>second time in unison) or using chorus or delay, and then 
>applying a reverb sound that's appropriate to the rest of the 
>track, will usually help.  Use your discretion.... if it's a 
>really electronic sounding track, you can take a lot more 
>liberties (flange, gate, phaser, vocoder...) than if you're 
>recording a "folk singer/songwriter" kind of track, but I think 
>there aren't a lot of situations where you want to leave the 
>vocal track totally dry.
>Finally, people who aren't confident in their own vocal ability 
>and who mix their own music tend to mix themselves way too far 
>back, even when the vocal or lyrics is what they want you to 
>notice.  I personally think it's better to have the vocal 
>overcooked than inaudible.
>As far as making yourself sound like someone else.... you can try 
>tricks like slowing down your track, recording your vocals and 
>speeding it back up (or vice versa), you can try analyzing the 
>spectrum of the person you want to imitate's vocals and EQ'ing 
>yourself to sound like him or her, but in the end there's more 
>to someone's voice than just the timbre.  
>There are articles about how to record better sounding vocals in 
>the musician magazines almost every month, and I'm sure there 
>are hundreds of them around the net, but these are my opinions.
As far as not sounding like myself, its kind of a strange situation.  
I'm a good singer.  I'd rather sound like me.  But its a political 
commercial I'm recording and I sound just like the candidate.  Its kind 
of cheesy for a candidate to sing commercials how great he is. lol.


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