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Old August 19th, 2020, 05:37 AM   #1
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music recording

I have a former staffer who is now singing in clubs and writing her own music. she played me a song which I particularly liked & I'm going to make a video of the song

this was just a test

She hasn't got access to a studio so I thought I'd attempt to record it myself - line out of the uke and then vocals recorded seperately - trouble is I have no idea what to do then - the intricacies of mixing and mastering music are out of my realm.

any suggestions?
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Old August 19th, 2020, 09:26 AM   #2
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Re: music recording

It's a specialty. Perhaps a specialist would be in order.

Don't rely on the line out of the ukulele, put a mic on it. You could record the pickup as well, but it's probably not the best sound.

Honestly, what you're doing with one mic on both might be the better way to go, but it does mean getting the placement and performance right.

Tracking the ukulele and voice separately can make the performance a little less authentic, but it does give more flexibility with production. You can place mics for optimum sound for each source. If you're going to track them at the same time as separate inputs, proximity and polar pattern will help isolate the two sources to their individual mics. If there's too much bleed you won't be able to control the balance effectively. The "3:1" rule of thumb is a good guide. The distance to the unwanted sound source should be at least 3x the distance to the wanted sound source.
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Old August 19th, 2020, 10:51 AM   #3
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Re: music recording

I'd not record them at the same time - they'll fight because the uke is very close to her mouth.

If you can get a decent capture of both - what have you got to do the mixing with - software type, plugins gizmos? What's your plan there?
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Old August 19th, 2020, 09:34 PM   #4
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Re: music recording

Paul, you’ve helped many folk here, time for the reverse. Why not try calling some of the sound studios on the Central Coast and see if they can help. Look for very experienced people.

Eg: In return for a credit on your video or even a video promo for them, they might offer you some downtime in a studio and you could video there. They might even connect you both with an instrumental backing group, so find out what else she’s written and ask her to take that along. Oh and get an electronic tuner for the uke :)

That’s how it all starts.
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Old August 21st, 2020, 02:44 AM   #5
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Re: music recording

it wasn't my intention to record at the same time - just the uke (tuned) 1st then get her into the booth and record vocals while she's listening to the song via earpiece. after that - buggered if I know.

Allan, you may be right I'll contact some local studios and see what we can wrangle
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Old August 21st, 2020, 01:19 PM   #6
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Re: music recording

Is her playing style that she just naturally wants to accompany her playing? or is she skilled at overdub?

One approach might be to stereo record it with separate track for the vocal and the uke. That solves the sync and possible overdub inexperience issues, and allows mix in post for the blend you are trying to achieve.

This is sort of the idea for acoustic recording of the uke although they are using a guitar. (I'm not endorsing the mic being used).

The 3:1 rule can be honored by close micing the vocal.
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Old August 21st, 2020, 02:16 PM   #7
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Re: music recording

I think the concern people are having is how close the ukulele is to the singer's mouth. It could be hard to get good separation. I might be tempted to use a coincident stereo pair turned sideways. That would eliminate arrival time (phase) issues.
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Old August 21st, 2020, 04:12 PM   #8
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Re: music recording

I'm never convinced by the 3:1 rule. It's very difficult to get that kind of separation without resorting to weirdly angled mics and then the singer moves a tiny bit and the instrument vanishes. Live, you have no choice, but with a small sized use - you'll never get it out of the vocal mic, especially bad with uses because their short sustain means people play them hard and they're very close to high male/low female voices.


Me - I'd record the use on it's own, then get the singer to sing to that, then mime the thing for the video.

I nearly bought one of those Chinese mics - and wasn't aware how ugly and huge they are. In the pics they look much smaller,
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Old August 21st, 2020, 07:57 PM   #9
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Re: music recording

Paul, beware if you do pre-record the Ukelale backing first. There’s cases where the singer will sample it and swear blind it’s been recorded at the correct tempo. But ‘on the night’ when they try to sing the full vocal over it with their bigger breathing, the backing is the wrong tempo, probably to fast.

Many years ago this happened to me with a string orchestra and the very experienced Aust. Operatic tenor Donald Smith. My pre-recorded studio backing was just a tad to fast but it was enough and very embarrassing for both of us, because Donald was at the recording of it.

Even though it’s your talent pre-recording her own backing, she could get it off tempo through newbie nerves. Ask her to sing and play earlier when she’s relaxed while you run a metronome on it for reference later, when you pre-record her backing for real.

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Old August 22nd, 2020, 01:06 AM   #10
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Re: music recording

What we do (or DI, pre-covid) was very largely click based. Tracks for live performances and the worst ones to do are when the client has the source material. Often a live show they've recorded a multitrack from. So easy for people with digital mixers to do now. It's great. BUT the first thing we now do is create a tempo track. They are just wild sometimes. The faster pieces say at 130bmp might drop before the chorus to 120 or maybe a bit lower, then they perk up to 135 for the start of the chorus and then pull back. The tempo curve in cubase is often a wild pesky curve. When we put a click to it the client goes wild. It sounds wrong, it's jerky, it's plain messed up, usually asking why we did it. They simply can't resolve t fact that we didn't, that is how a click fits the live song recording. So then we hit the dilemma. Do we click the real flowing tempo, or do we 'gentleise' it, or even set one tempo for e click and then they'll all hate the track and try to pull it live.

My colleague has exactly the same thing with his live piano stuff. Mozart may well have detailed the tempo, but nobody ever seems to follow the indicated marks in the score in the same way.

It took me two yea to become comfortable playing my bass in a pit band with click in one ear and following the tempo changes shouted in my ear. TEMPO 2--3-----4-------IN

So much revolves around the performer. Some can play to a changing click and some can't. You need to try it. I don't believe anyone who says they can without trying it.
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Old August 22nd, 2020, 06:27 AM   #11
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Re: music recording

Another option is use a headset vocal mic, such as used on the Broadway stage. The maintains consistent distance from the mouth.

There are a lot of "how-to" videos on line covering recording the uke. Try a search for additional ideas.

The ultimate question becomes how good is good enough for your purposes.
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Old August 22nd, 2020, 12:28 PM   #12
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Re: music recording

I think people are getting a little too ahead of things. This is a situation that will probably take some experimentation to find out the best solution. Don't settle on an approach before the session even begins. We really don't know if the performer is going to be comfortable tracking parts separately. That would be ideal from a sonic perspective, but it might be problematic from a performance perspective.

The first thing I would do is see if I can capture a live take with two mics (plus the pickup for 3 live tracks) and get enough separation. That would be ideal for the video so that lip syncing wasn't necessary, just shoot the video live. If not, then I'd fall back on separate tracking. I think I'd rather use a live take as a scratch track than try to make a tempo map, unless the performer was already very used to playing to a click.

A lot of studio engineering is psychology. No amount of technical recording skill is going to make up for an uncomfortable performer. You have to adapt to the performer's needs.

So if it turns out that a live take works best for the performer, then you have to optimize the mic setup for that requirement. That's why I suggested at least trying a coincident pair, like a stereo pair rotated 90° but not panned for stereo. A lot of the trouble with two mics on a singer/musician is the different arrival times causing phase interaction. So if the mics are in essentially the same place, that's solved. Polar pattern is what gives the separation. It might not work, so be prepared to try something else.
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Old August 22nd, 2020, 06:59 PM   #13
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Re: music recording

Quote:
Don't settle on an approach before the session even begins.
Agree. But by the same token do gather data on options and potential issues to consider.

Factors not clearly mentioned is the ultimate purpose/consumer of the music video. And any specific creative intents/goals that might drive it.
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Old August 22nd, 2020, 08:18 PM   #14
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Re: music recording

The same as all new entertainers Don, see what happens next? more recording? acceptance? ... money!

By carefully listening while watching Paul’s demo video above, I and probably you can tell she’s ready to move onto the next stage in her ‘career’ and she’s already singing in clubs, which is why Paul posted his original question.

And he wouldn’t have asked here if he hadn’t talked with her first, so armed with the above suggestions they’re probably both working on their plan of attack as we speak.

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Old August 23rd, 2020, 08:11 PM   #15
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Re: music recording

Been following this thread with interest because I've had a plan from a few years ago to do something more or less the same thing with a few friends but life keeps sending curve balls this way. Finally got some video and audio gear to hopefully make a few recordings and now we've got this virus. Looking now for how to do it when we come out on the other side in '21.

In the meantime, while reading how others would approach mic'ing and mixing, along comes Paul's post about tempo. Since I've been just an amateur player and taking lessons, one of the things the instructor was a stickler on was to play it the way it is written. Since he is a retired university teacher and using texts written for college students, there is a lot of "stuff" in each lesson, some of which, I swear, was put in to easily separate the C students from the A students.

Tempo and signature notations were often pointed out to comply with, and explained, but sometimes the how, or why, everything fits together and is played was not easy to understand, then along comes Paul's post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
.....So easy for people with digital mixers to do now. It's great. BUT the first thing we now do is create a tempo track. They are just wild sometimes. The faster pieces say at 130bmp might drop before the chorus to 120 or maybe a bit lower, then they perk up to 135 for the start of the chorus and then pull back. The tempo curve in cubase is often a wild pesky curve. When we put a click to it the client goes wild. It sounds wrong, it's jerky, it's plain messed up, usually asking why we did it. They simply can't resolve t fact that we didn't, that is how a click fits the live song recording. So then we hit the dilemma. Do we click the real flowing tempo, or do we 'gentleise' it, or even set one tempo for e click and then they'll all hate the track and try to pull it live.
This was an "Ah-ha" moment. Not very often, one comes across something that makes a lightbulb connection ... and Paul's post here did that for me. Explains a lot. Don't know quite how to respond because I'm still digesting it, but things are coming together. I'm sure this will come under the heading of "easier said than done".

Until now, it has been my understanding that one maintains the beat for dance music and that is understandable. But for non-dance music, and solo playing, I like to play according to the feeling the song exudes, like Vienna cafe (Wiener Heurigen) walk-around style, so I vary a lot.

Side note: One thing that is bothersome to listen to is when there is a constant beat in the music. Some European music seem to have a constant beat, probably due to an electronic keyboard (?); hit the button and away it goes and doesn't change. Frankly, it's rather annoying. Don't know what the rational is. Fewer instrumentalists to share the money with?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
So much revolves around the performer. Some can play to a changing click and some can't. You need to try it. I don't believe anyone who says they can without trying it.
Paul, Good to know about changing clicks. The metronome I have is simple and doesn't change so one that changes is new to me. Not sure how that would work, probably has to be programmed? The one gal I want to record plays piano and uses a high-tech metronome all the time but I don't know if it changes.

Don't want to write anything more so as to not hijack the thread. When the time comes, and hopefully it does ;-), "I'll be back" (Arnold Schwarzenegger) with my own thread. Probably next year after the vaccinations come out.
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