Vocals Sound "Weak"

I am using Audacity to record my band’s demo and everything has gone well (or so i think) until we reached the vocal parts. We are a three-piece band with bassist and guitarist sharing vocal duties (we are instrumentalists at heart, but somebody’s gotta sing). I can get sound from the instruments into our laptops, but after I put everything together and ran it by my “music critics” (painfully honest friends), they told me the vocals were awful.

I need somebody who can listen to my song, help me with mixing and mastering (or whatever else needs to be done for a proper recording), and tell me whether my friends heard an awful recording/mix or an awful performance.

…and what is the best way for me to share my tracks with you?

We don’t need the whole song, just a few seconds of a representative portion is usually enough, but it needs to be in a high quality format, so WAV, FLAC or a “Extreme” high quality MP3 (320kbps) or Ogg at the highest quality setting. (FLAC is probably the best option as there is no quality loss and the file size is about half that of a WAV file)

Upload the file to your web site (if you have one) or a file sending site such as SendSpace http://www.sendspace.com/
Post the link here.

Here is the link to the song. Thanks for telling me about sendspace! This is the entire song, there are two vocalists that trade parts, and I am pretty sure I need to learn better mixing skills…


Thanks for replying so quickyl, by the way :slight_smile:

To thicken up the vocals you could add a bit of delay (duplicate the vocal track, drop the level a bit and shove it to the right by about 40 milliseconds). You could also add a bit of reverb - If you add reverb to the delayed track and not the original, you will still get the reverb effect but will retain greater clarity on the vocals. But before you add reverb, the vocals could stand being dynamically compressed (quite a lot for this style of music). You should generally add reverb after dynamic compression (try it the other way round to hear the difference).

Over all the sound was a bit boomy - there’s a lot of sound around the 200Hz mark and this is bluring the drums and bass into a kind of sonic mud. There’s also very little top end on the cymbals - One, or a pair of, small diaphragm condenser microphones (even cheap electret microphones if you’re on a tight budget) used as “overheads” will bring a lot more clarity. Electret microphones are a cheap version of condenser microphones - they are usually stick shaped and are powered by one or two AA batteries.

Make sure that you have plenty of “tak” on the kick drum (high mid range, around 1.5 to 5kHz or there about depending on the drum). It will help keep it sounding tight. I don’t know how you have mic’d the drums, but I always like to have a separate microphone on the kick drum, one on the snare, and then whatever else for the rest of the kit - could be just a single overhead, or could be mics on everything.

Watch your levels when you record and be careful not to overload the microphones. As with all recording, microphone positioning is important. For example Mic’ing up a guitar cab will work much better with a microphone on a stand rather than slung over the top and dangled in front of the speaker. Getting good, clean sounds from each track (each microphone / instrument) will make the job of mixing down very much easier. When you use Eq., assuming that you got the instruments sounding good and you mic’d them properly, you should need very little to get that track sounding sweet on it’s own. When you put it together with other sounds you need to listen to how they sound together - try and give the instruments a little space (particularly on the bass end for this recording) so that they are not covering each other.

I had a quick go with a bit of delay, Eq, compression and reverb - obviously it’s quite limited what I can do working from a mix rather than individual tracks (also I only spent a couple of minutes on it), but you can hear how it sounds “thicker” and how the vocals are more even.

(I’ll PM you the “delete” link so that you can remove it if you want to)