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Recording Rock Vocals

Lesson 2 of 26

Acoustics and Vocal Frequency

Andrew Wade

Recording Rock Vocals

Andrew Wade

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Lesson Info

2. Acoustics and Vocal Frequency


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
3 Soundproofing Duration:24:20
4 DIY Acoustics Duration:12:34
5 Signal Chain and Microphones Duration:21:12
6 Preamps, Compression & EQ Duration:23:20
7 Working with a Vocalist Duration:36:53
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Editing Overview Duration:34:31
2 Fades and Basics of Melodyne Duration:13:53
3 Editing Female Vocals Part 1 Duration:27:39
4 Editing Female Vocals Part 2 Duration:09:51
5 Editing Vocals with VocALign Duration:17:34
7 Editing Screaming Vocals Duration:28:18
8 Vocal Effects Part 1 Duration:33:20
9 Vocal Effects Part 2 Duration:32:18
10 Intro to Mixing Duration:18:07
11 Mixing Softer Vocals Part 1 Duration:32:42
12 Mixing Softer Vocals Part 2 Duration:14:21
13 Mixing Screaming Vocals Duration:32:11

Lesson Info

Acoustics and Vocal Frequency

Apply these techniques that I'm gonna be sharing with you today and your songs will be better sounding and hopefully if if I explain it well enough your songs will actually be better okay, before you start a session because we're gonna be having uh we're gonna be we're gonna have a few sessions here today where we have ah uh, jessica doing the singing we have tommy from sleeping giant sleeping giants do, eh, that we're gonna have some screaming and some group vocals you guys were going to be doing screaming of your own and singing susan's going to teo, I'm not gonna be screaming, I just had a question about me I'm not gonna be screaming, but pity wanted to know our p diddy sorry p diddy's here and they wanted to know the house well, harsh screaming vocals be mentioned in this course and I think the answer that question is definitely yes, yeah, yeah, alright, so before you start a session, if you work with bands, you're not working with yourself, you have no idea what you're getting int...

o your, uh sometimes you're actually being brought to a different studio to produce um and sometimes you'll get demos from bands, but a lot of people have access to pitch correction, so sometimes you don't know if the vocal is actually good a vocalist sometimes, you know, you hear the demo when you think they're great, but you have no idea. So and today is a great example. I've never worked with either of these vocalists, so anything could happen, and I've never worked with you guys doing group vocals, so, uh, I mean, this is this is gonna be a great example of this is how it goes like I have no idea what's gonna happen, they don't know what's gonna happen, but we're going to make the best of it. Okay, so all right, this stuff is exciting to me. I was exciting to you guys too, but before you actually do tracking, uh, you should have a good environment and let's talk about acoustically so let's say, for instance, this room I don't I don't know how well you can hear that, but this room isn't the most ideal for tracking vocals it's pretty big there's they they do have some, uh, patting on the walls. Um, but if you're going to do vocals, especially if you're going to be doing like, maybe something really loud, like screaming, uh, it's going to reverberate and you might not want that, you can't really take that out, especially if you're compressing it a lot so your room needs to be right uh and I'm going to go over a few scenarios with that so we do have a setup that we're gonna go over that's uh little d I y thing for you d I y guys out there I know that some of you guys are watching so the actual range that the human voice hits this this chart shows uh basically the tones the notes that you can say and this is male and female vocals put together so it kind of comes off at one hundred hertz and it goes up to about for kilohertz um so those air kind of going to be the frequencies that you need to make sure our control when you're doing vocals because those are the frequencies that are going to be the most you know you're not not doing drums there's not gonna be like super low end you're not doing base that so if you do have those kind of frequencies ringing out you're not gonna have ah problem because you're not gonna be hitting twenty hertz with your voice but if you can id that would be awesome so hit me up about that anyway just kidding um so I wrote this little chart down here for certain um for different sized rooms uh I'm gonna have to go back let's talk about saying ways I'm going to go back to that chart in a second um a standing wave is your worst enemy it is probably the most common problem you're goingto encounter when you're tracking vocals in a house or just a regular room with parallel walls if you're in a studio environment, you'll you'll notice if you didn't notice already a lot of the walls and the ceilings won't be parallel to each other and that's to eliminate standing weighs so a standing wave is the easiest way that I can explain it let's sum so you have two mirrors and they're facing each other and you're standing between the mirrors and you look and it almost looks like you're looking down on eternal hallway but take one of those mirrors and angle it just a little bit that hallway kind of it just disappears so instead of that happening with light where it's bouncing between the walls it's happening with sound so as soon as you, wherever the source of sounds coming from assumes you angle one of the walls that standing wave is is balancing all over the place uh so it's being defused is the proper term, so sometimes you can't angle your walls s o uh there are there are other ways to get absorption is one of them but anyway let's talk about this just for a second, so I put down some of the most common sizes for rooms and stuff I did have some other sizes on here and they're gone now but uh so uh three so if you have walls are three feet apart let's take a closet for example that room that would be that small I can think of say you're tracking vocals in there if you don't treat it properly it's going to be uh you're gonna have a boost at three to seventy hertz which is really gonna make your vocals boxy um and then whatever you have let's say a super short distance between the mic and let's say a wall I have ten inches down here the bottom so it's it's at about a little over one kilohertz is going to be a problem for you see and that's right that's like right in the middle of everything that can make your vocal sound nasal e it could make it sound really mid rangy in a bad way sometimes you could have a pop a vocal shield and from the microphone and if you are using the wrong one that can actually be amplifying frequencies in that range so you have to know what kind of vocal shield to use where to place it on we're gonna be going over all that stuff so all this stuff matters so I have eight feet here because that's normal ceiling height uh so putting treatment on your ceiling is is really important to in a vocal in a vocal room so these air that if if you're understanding this correctly these are the the problem frequencies between these certain walls in certain uh, distances between the walls now I did have I did have ah actual solution for each of these and it's absorption um uh the I'm going to try to remember this you guys might want to write this down because this is actually not the slides um for treat these certain rooms let's say let's take ten inches for instance a certain material that you want to use that's really cheap if you and very effective if you don't have a lot of money too to use for acoustics is rock wool is one of them there's also mineral wool and rigid fiberglass is another material and they sell them in it's usually about two feet by four feet um sheets and the most expensive ones that I think I bought about four inches thick and about nine ten boxes ah panel and I mean, if you've ever bought acoustic stuff that it will save a lot of money so you can frame those or put I put fabric over him or, you know, do whatever you want but so for ten inches all you need and I did the research just so you guys know that I'm not just saying random numbers for ten inches you only need you need one inch of any of the these materials to do the right amount of absorption for the frequency the problem frequency to eliminate that so for ten inches uh if you're ten inches away from a wall you need one inch of material that will absorb the problem frequency which is around one killed hurts and that's because the length of that wave right is that right exact length of that weighs about an inch soto absorb it well bounce no no the length of that the properties of that material absorbed that frequency it's called absorption coefficient okay, it will specifically absorb that frequency when the material is uninterested. Okay bob golds I think dot com is the website where you can find a lot of this information about absorption coefficients and the actual materials to buy but whatever the absorption coefficient is one you'll see the frequency range and then it will say a number and one means completely absorbed at that frequency if that makes sense so um so let's go down this list really quick so for the ten inches you need one you need one inch of absorption if that's going to be your problem frequency at three feet it is two inches at five feet it's three and then it jumps up at eight feet it was around four or five inches and then ten feet was like five or six inches so those lower frequencies need the thicker absorption so now let's say you're going above let's say you're going to thirty thirty foot room the amount of absorption that you would need would be if you're going to use that material and be super deep, so we would actually go to a different type of absorption, which is called a, uh a resonator one is a cold it's, like a resident resident membrane or something like that it's a different thing that you guys don't have to worry about because we're talking about vocals and that that would be if you're trying to get rid of those really low frequencies, that will probably be a different class that would just be for drums or bass bass or something that's, so you don't have to worry about that stuff. So though that's, very valuable information when you're building a vocal booth specifically, okay, so sometimes you're in a large room and the river is pretty cool, like it sounds good and you want to keep it on the track, sometimes you don't, so you would have to treat a really big room a lot to get rid of it, so usually you want to get in a smaller to medium sized room, but it's technically the most difficult to treat for vocals if you want to eliminate everything because that size room is really bouncing around your vocal frequency, the most out of any room like a larger room like this, the frequencies that are bounced around a lot lower than then your actual voice yes, way we built ah vocal booth essentially in a closet uh um private a three foot room but just lined the entire surface on all the walls and the ceiling actually, with either the aid create foam or at least just some foam treatment like on the door s o the room itself is really dead. Yeah. Ah would you suggest any additional treatment like the rock wool? I would say if anything, your biggest problem in a room that size would be hard to actually keep in mind is the ceiling needs a lot more treatment than the walls because there's a there's ah, larger distance between the ceiling and those those small wall. So in your room I've never been in it, but I'm going to guess that there's some kind of boxy lohan that resonates a little bit in there just because of the ceiling and the floor. Actually, I think we fix the ceiling because we ended up doing the way the room was constructed was there's there's almost like on mattress up there and it's it's not a parallel surface. We made sure it was slightly angled. Yeah, and it's it's a soft, absorbing office was so that's that should take care of that because we we really haven't had your problems with okay that's good to know so and maybe like uh it's good to have like a plush carpet or something in there to absorb on the floor because that's another surface you have to think about sound is going in every direction when you're singing so it's going straight down what is it hitting you have to you know, be aware of that too oh since you just mentioned it um in my mix studio at home I have a concrete floor and I've just thrown down a rug on it but I am noticing there's a slight like ring that I'm getting so should I throw down carpet padding and re carpet the room get rid of that ring yeah, I mean I'm a I haven't seen the room and there are a lot of different things that could be but I'm not a huge fan of having a hard florida in a room that you want completely dead because there is always going to be sound hitting the four first and then getting absorbed so there's going to be some kind of you know something is going to be resonating, you know, at least a little bit because of that so yeah, the rest of the room is totally treated the walls are angled and everything but they're still sort of this wanton ping and I think that's that's definitely the fleet could easily be the floor yeah, okay, great thank you yeah, no problem yeah, I know people who have spent a lot of money just, uh, on bringing people in just two. Tell them how to treat the room. And it's. Uh, if you have this information, it could be super valuable to yourself, because you're not spending thousands of dollars just on the actual materials and the person that's coming in. So I just save you guys thousands of bucks. All right, you're welcome.

Class Description

Every great rock song starts with a stellar vocal. Get ready to learn the fundamentals of recording rock vocals from Andrew Wade, who’s worked with A Day to Remember, Motionless in White, and dozens more.

Andrew will cover everything you need to know about recording, editing, and mixing vocals for modern rock songs. You’ll learn about mic selection and positioning, key mixing techniques, and the secrets of time and pitch correction. You’ll also learn about how to work with each individual artist to get the sound they want.

By the end of this course, you’ll be fully equipped to work with a variety of male or female vocalists to get the results you need, from screaming to cleans and everything in between.



This is a superb course, was full of great informations and it has inspired me a lot. Learned alot of things, thanks to Andrew for this great presentation and sharing his knowledge and experience with us, also thanks to the people in the audience for bringing up good question and to the creative live team for making this happen. I really hope Andrew will come back to Creative Live someday, perhaps with a full course especially about working out and creating vocal harmonies :-)

a Creativelive Student

Absolutely essential information in this course. Very in depth. Even if you went and interned at a studio with a reputable producer, it would probably take months to absorb all the information so cohesively laid out in the course. I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking to properly record their own vocals, or for anyone looking to record other bands (whether in a bedroom, or a million dollar studio). Loved watching, learned a TON (learned a lot of great pro tools shortcuts as well). Well worth the money. Thanks for doing it Mr. Wade.