Fixing badly recorded rap vocals...

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Fixing badly recorded rap vocals...

Postby mchillak » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:34 pm

I recently received a rap album to mix and the vocals were horribly recorded (very harsh in the high end, boomy in the low). If i had to guess I would say it was some cheap condenser into an mbox or other cheap mic pre. Just wondering if any of you lot have any libraries (or combinations) you would use to counteract harsh recordings etc.

I have been experimenting with the different micpre's in AlexB PCS library, into a WAVES C1 sidechained to try to tame around 4k. Not really having much luck. I almost feel like I should stick them through a whole punch of different pres and tapes. But I don't have a whole lot of time to play around due to time constraints

Anyone have any experience or suggestions? I'm kinda pullin my hair out.

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Re: Fixing badly recorded rap vocals...

Postby richie43 » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:03 pm

Not to state the obvious, but I would run it through both hi-pass and low-pass filters, Nebula or non, and then see what you have to work with. After filtering, you may have luck, believe it or not, boosting or just saturating the mids a tiny bit. Alex B's Preamp Color Suite has a Fairchild emulation that has given me great results at taming the boom in bass vocals. And a user on this forum made an awesome mids saturater preset. Check out this link and get it.

http://www.acustica-audio.com/forum/ind ... =viewtopic

In fact, go to the "working With Nat" page
http://www.acustica-audio.com/forum/ind ... =viewforum
and get all of his free presets. There is more than one in those that you may find useful now or for a later issue. Good luck!

Or tell your artist that you can't "get blood from a turnip", you can only produce audio as good as it comes to you......
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Re: Fixing badly recorded rap vocals...

Postby Guest » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:13 pm

how about simply using a low shelf to reduce bass and a de-esser to tame the harshness? seems more appropriate then thinking of some preamp solutions...

Re: Fixing badly recorded rap vocals...

Postby Definity » Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:50 pm

well if we could have a listen we could give you a more accurate response, there a millon bad ways to record vocals!
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Re: Fixing badly recorded rap vocals...

Postby TranscendingMusic » Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:47 pm

Switch to metal instead! :twisted:

j/k , carry on...
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Re: Fixing badly recorded rap vocals...

Postby mchillak » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:01 pm

All good suggestions. Lol@ "switch to metal".

Thanks for you help. I'll see if I can salvage them.
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Re: Fixing badly recorded rap vocals...

Postby piperboy » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:07 pm

I would try the shelving but if that doesn't work... maybe some creative application of effects. It is harder to pull off in rap, but not impossible.
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Re: Fixing badly recorded rap vocals...

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:54 pm


This doesn't belong in the third party forum and I can tell you why: You have very bad recorded vocals and trying to find the cure with some nebula programs is the wrong way.

I've worked with very bad vocals before and the ONLY real solution was multiband combined with EQ.

In your case something like a multiband compressor will truly shine! Control the low-mid mud and the same for the upper-mid/highs section. EQ before the MBC and/or afterwards. If you finally have an "acceptable" recording you maybe can think of adding soome Nebula color or EQ etc.(Unless you're doing some cleaning by reducing the low end with e.g. a Nebula EQ before you "multiband it")

If you have a multiband comp, use it! (and don't be too shy. Super bad vocals need a bit more extreme treatments. use your ears)

Good luck!

Re: Fixing badly recorded rap vocals...

Postby sneaky » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:19 am

I dunno
Try making it sound crappier. Then check the next day if it sounds cooler.
Cooler might be better than better.
Go nuts & make 10 mixes, named crappymix-1,2,3 etc. Only check them the next day. Dont check them the same day theyll just sound crap. Make notes of the best bits
Cut away the crap with each track using a bandpass filter. alexb has one in the vintage black library I like. But thats a bit nuts for what you're after
Try reaper. or at least reaplugs. Chuck the reaEq bandpass on every track
Good luck
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Re: Fixing badly recorded rap vocals...

Postby elam » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:59 pm

1 answer for two posts :

1-Out of SSD and a more powerful computer.Make different Nebula instances (.dll +.xml if you're on PC) and load less presets in them.You can do 1 "Nebula Console",1 "Nebula Pre" etc... Use Nebula Setups from Zabukovski (maybe Nebulaman can do that too check it out) to do it.It reduce drastically the loading time here.

2-First of :Stick to Hip Hop (or Rap maybe in your case) ;) Leave Metal alone you 'll be able to have 20 more years "ear-wise".

I'm not an engineer but I'm working with them every day (curious type of animals ;) ).And they pretty much always say the same regarding your issue : like Miro says :Multiband Compressor or "dynamic EQ" as some call it.As Miro says again don't be shy and use your ears ...

I would add that you can dig in some of the commercial library for some pre ahead of the multiband.Just to pre-treat your recordings and sand out the angles of your vocal tracks (Analog Channel,Solaire,MTP...).But for that, it's really depend on what type of instrumental they're rappin on.

Last thing, I know that the trend in rap nowadays is to mix the vocals super loud "on top" of the beat.Fvck that! I'm an advocate of mixing vocals "with" the beat and blend them as an instrument "inside" the instrumental... as we used to ...

But hey, you're runnin out of time so just do it ;) .And educate your clients too,ask them to buy a hardware pre ahead of the mbox for the sake of Hip Hop (and... to ease up your next session :lol: ).
Good luck ...
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