I’m slow to understand this stuff. I’ll give you a bit more detail on how I record. I’m embarrassed because it’s obviously amateur, but I spend much time on the writing and good writing can outshine poor production. However, I would like to improve the sound if it makes the lyrics come through more intelligibly.
I recorded all of the backing clips previously scrap by scrap and bit by bit in a hotel room. So, now I’m editing all of that together to get complete backing tracks. It’s a little sloppy because I’m doing it on the fly, and my environment leaks into the recording, which ain’t bad, because I hate the sterility of modern recordings. They sound like they live in a vacuum. I don’t. If a truck rolls by or a bird lands on my window sill and starts chirping, that’s what you get. Of course, that accumulates in multitrack editing and can get too dirty. I edit in a heaping helping of the vacuum packed stuff that you can get from exporting Musescore clips into the mix, to balance the grime.
To do the vocal dubs, I use a Tascam linear PCM DR40 handheld. The mics are adjustable. So, I put them in the outward or open position as opposed to the closed position. Then I hold the unit in front of my face with the narrow edge of the devise facing me. In this position, I have one mic facing my voice and the other is facing directly opposite. So the waves are entering directly into the first mic and passing over the second mic, relatively speaking. I also have the dual setting at -06.
I load these two stereo recordings to audacity and split the tracks to mono, and now I’ve got four signal options to choose from. that leaves me with a hot track at full volume, a softer one (which clips less if at all but sounds tinny,) and then duplicates of those at -06. I have to have the hot track because I can’t monitor as I record, due to having to monitor the backing track with audacity running. My other option is to load the backing track to the DR40 and monitor while in Overdub mode, but then I lose my four option because I’m not in Dual Mode when in Overdub. I should probably buy a small mixer and an external mic, but I’m unemployed due to the current worldwide situation.
Show Clipping is the first thing I look at. Then I look for 100 hz rumble and correct that. I go through the vocal phrase by phase and pick the best option and copy and paste the best options from the four options. One track might have rumble but the other three don’t. Two tracks are clipped but the other two are less so or not at all. So I just work through copying and pasting together the best of them. I fix clips this way if I can, and sometimes with clip fix in very short sections. I end up with a reconstructed stereo track, with the best options in each channel.
So, as you can see, most clipping is happening at the mic. And I gather that this is no good. I might play with that dual setting and go -08, then -10 and see if that works better. Other clipping is happening in the mix. Every three of four days I get ready to make a premix export in wav. I first test how the mix is going to look when exported by mixing down to a new track. If I have red bars, I look in the all of the tracks above the mix and note where frequencies are clashing. Sometimes I bring the gain down of a whole track, and other times I reduce the volume of a short section that is clashing with another section by using the Amplify in effects.
I need to learn more about how to read a waveform. I can spot rumble by sight, but there are other wave defects that I don’t understand. Some are common and I feel that I’m missing something because there are ten factory presets in the Graphic EQ, but I don’t know where or when to apply them. I assume these must be there for correcting waveform defects. I would appreciate a list of waveform pictures and the matching effect that would correct it. If I learned that, I think it would push my production forward another notch. Does such a chart already exist? Or would someone care to make this chart for waveform deformities and corresponding effects for correction?
After the pandemic, I might go out and splurge on an external mic and mini-mixer. That will improve the sound. I also have an USB mic in storage in another city that I’ll pick up later. I’m pretty much holed up in a hotel until the pandemic subsides and am immobile and making do with what I’ve got, which isn’t much. But that’s the adventure. I’m quite satisfied with some of the results so far, but am interested in exploring more options.
Thanks for your consideration.