Producing Background Vocals

Live Background Vocals For any given song, the specific approach to producing background vocals is dependent on the production style and genre, but when listening to any modern song on the charts, you can quickly pick up that there is a lot going on. Serious thought has been put in to the arrangement and presentation of these parts, which usually means quite a bit of editing work. Luckily for us, this type of work and associated workflow is what Pro Tools does best. Read more.

Basic Tracks: Where the Magic Is Made

The Music Producer’s Handbook Basic tracks are the initial recordings of the rhythm section that are done prior to any overdubbing. Basics are the foundation for the music being recorded and for any other parts that come afterward. If there’s something faulty in the foundation, it will either be impossible or very costly in time and money to fix things later. That’s why it’s essential to make each basic track the best it can be.

Regardless of whether you spend a little or a lot of time in preproduction, recording basic tracks is where you either make the project or break it. Even if you had a great preproduction, you never really know how things will record or what unforeseen circumstances will pop up until you get there. Read more…

Zen of Ear Training Part 2

The Zen of Ear Training – Part 2

In the last lesson we covered a few different strategies for starting to train your ears. This included singing with your instrument, singing over a drone, and singing intervals in all the keys. Now we’re going to take it a few steps further and work to really develop our ears ability to pick out notes and relationships. Remember that these exercises take time – developing your ears is a long process. I would practice the exercises from the first lesson and this lesson over the next several months and you’ll start to see development. It’s not a forced thing, more of a gradual opening of your ears. Read more…

Pro Studio: Vocal Mics in the Studio

Fast Forward’s Pro Studio guru puts four mics through their paces

One of the key elements in any popular song is the vocal performance, and an essential part of capturing a vocal performance accurately is the microphone used in the recording. Top recording engineers know how important it is to match each singer’s particular vocal qualities and timbre to the microphone that will best capture the power and subtleties of that voice. This month, Fast Forward brought four high-quality vocal microphones (i.e. list price of $1,000 or more) into the studio and ran each through its paces, recording male and female vocal tracks and some narration. By the end of the session, you’ll have a good idea of which of these mics may be worth the investment for your home recording studio and what you might want to look for in studios near you. The four contenders include: the Kiwi, from BLUE Microphones; the TLM 103 from Neumann; the Black Hole BH-2 from JZ Mics; and the KSM 44 from Shure. I invited my colleague Jeff Crawford, a local producer and engineer over to provide a second set of ears for the evaluation. Two singers were asked to help with the testing, each one bringing a backing track of a song that they were familiar with to use for the test session. Read more…

Best Voices In Indie Rock

Paste Magazine’s Kate Kiefer put together a top 10 list of the best voices in indie rock. Who did she miss?

Brandi Carlile inspired this list. I’ve been listening to her fantastic new record nonstop lately—mainly because I’m addicted to her voice. But some folks prefer a calmer and steadier voice like Mark Kozelek’s, and others are partial to Neko Case’s clear-as-a-bell-ness or Chan Marshall’s sultriness. Here are my picks for the best voices in indie rock. Who did I miss?

Read more…

How to Record Vocals in a Bedroom

Don’t have a dedicated recording studio? Recording in your house? Check out these tips and tricks from Audiotuts+ to get the most out of your sound in an imperfect setting.

The number one factor in vocal recording is the room. You might’ve thought it was the mic you’re using or the pre-amp you’re running it through, but the truth is if you’ve got a U87 and an Avalon but the room you’re recording in is crap, you won’t be much farther ahead than a guy using a Behringer mic through an Mbox.

You could buy one of those (often rather expensive) reflection shields that attach to the stand and sit behind the microphone, and this will do you some good, particularly if your mic is omnidirectional. However, most common vocal microphones for both home and studio users are cardioid, so the shield will still help to an extent but the majority of problem reflections will come from the front — that is, the surfaces behind the vocalist’s head.

Click here to read the entire article on Audiotuts+.