Old 01-09-2015, 10:24 AM   #1
burrahobbit
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Default Critique on some classical music recordings

Hello the everybody!

Yesterday I made some recordings of a couple of friends who are classical singers using backing tracks (the ones from Cantolopera, for those who know - not ideal, but is what we had at hand). If anyone could bring in some opinions/critique it'd be great.

Today, with fresher ears, I've tried to sit down and start mixing a bit the first vocal track to get it to sit better, but I'm new at this, and there are some things I realize I can't quite put my finger on whats wrong, and could use a helping hand to guide me. Of course, there's probably also a lot of stuff done just plain wrong which I'm not even aware of; it'd be cool to know that too.

I worked it a bit with EQ and a spectrum analyzer to give both the singer and the accompaniment a place of its own across the frequencies that matter the most to each. At least to my ears, it doesn't sound like I'm too far off in there, but what do I know.

With the reverb is that I feel mostly like I can't nail it down. I do realize when I've overstepped it, but that subtle point were it blends with the track and the tempo of the song is what I'm yet struggling to find.

Anyways, besides some hi/lo band passes to filter the borderline freqs which had nearly zero information that I considered worth to the listener, there hasn't been anything else added to the FX chain.

Here's the track, if any more info is needed, please do ask
https://www.dropbox.com/s/rcyu95z0u8...telle.mp3?dl=0
http://www.goear.com/listen/c4e2e66/-
Thanks in advance for taking the time to listen!

Last edited by burrahobbit; 01-10-2015 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 01-09-2015, 10:54 AM   #2
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Says permission denied for me.
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:13 AM   #3
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Now that's weird. Edited with a dropbox link now, thanks for the heads up.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burrahobbit View Post
Now that's weird. Edited with a dropbox link now, thanks for the heads up.
Have you got it set up so we can just play it? I'm using Google and I can't play it, I have to download it.

I think you would get more replies if we could just play it or am I the only one?
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:55 AM   #5
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Just what I was thinking as well.
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Old 01-10-2015, 03:27 PM   #6
burrahobbit
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Good idea, I uploaded it to goear, you should be able to play it online here:

http://www.goear.com/listen/c4e2e66/-
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Old 01-10-2015, 04:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burrahobbit View Post
Yesterday I made some recordings of a couple of friends who are classical singers using backing tracks (the ones from Cantolopera, for those who know - not ideal, but is what we had at hand). If anyone could bring in some opinions/critique it'd be great.

Today, with fresher ears, I've tried to sit down and start mixing a bit the first vocal track to get it to sit better, but I'm new at this, and there are some things I realize I can't quite put my finger on whats wrong, and could use a helping hand to guide me. Of course, there's probably also a lot of stuff done just plain wrong which I'm not even aware of; it'd be cool to know that too.

I worked it a bit with EQ and a spectrum analyzer to give both the singer and the accompaniment a place of its own across the frequencies that matter the most to each. At least to my ears, it doesn't sound like I'm too far off in there, but what do I know.

With the reverb is that I feel mostly like I can't nail it down. I do realize when I've overstepped it, but that subtle point were it blends with the track and the tempo of the song is what I'm yet struggling to find.

Anyways, besides some hi/lo band passes to filter the borderline freqs which had nearly zero information that I considered worth to the listener, there hasn't been anything else added to the FX chain.

Here's the track, if any more info is needed, please do ask
https://www.dropbox.com/s/rcyu95z0u8...telle.mp3?dl=0
http://www.goear.com/listen/c4e2e66/-
Thanks in advance for taking the time to listen!
Hi burrahobbit, what exactly are you looking/asking for?

The execution of the instruments for this type thing sounds good to me, if you did this with midi you did a very good job. The singing is absolutely great.

The mix is not so good. The instruments have no space and sound very monoish to me, no presence. The vocals are just to dry. For myself I would imagine this being performed in a great hall of some kind.

Basically it sounds like something produced for a movie out of the late 40s and if that's what you're trying to achieve then I guess it's what you got.
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Old 01-10-2015, 04:38 PM   #8
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The recording is bad, the mix is worse - to be sincere.

1. The room acoustics is so bad that you can not cover that up even with a fat reverb. Opera singers should never be recorded mono, but always ORTF stereo, sometimes M/S or a combination of those two.


2. The orchestral part is recorded well, but the singer is clearly mixed as singing in another, much smaller space and his voice is somehow being smashed by either moving away from the microphone or by some compression. This is also not acceptable for opera. Give him the dynamics he needs.
BTW for classical music recordings a much longer reverb is appropriate, even for the orchestra (I would recommend a setting from 2,5-3,5s), since it is never performed in small rooms.
Try to AB with a renowned recording. A good example for Tosca is this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gS98ARvQM4
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:34 AM   #9
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I hear the same things as Tod and Urednik but do not think the situation as dire as Urednik. Listening to what seems to be the natural reverberation of the vocal recording space, I hear a relatively bare 5 meter by 4 meter room with hard surfaced walls. This is inconsistent with the image of an opera singer in a hall in front of an orchestra, and is not very pleasant reverb in the first place. It may be possible to add reverbration using a plugin and add long-tailed reverb to complement the room reverb.You should also aim to have similar reverberation for vocal and orchestration so that they sound as though they are in the same space. Try putting some reverb on the master track to help achieve this.

I believe that monaural feel is in part due to excessive left-right panning of the vocal and orchestra. Try moving both toward the center of the sound stage. As currently panned, it is as if one is listening from beside the performance.If you can, pan different parts of the orchestra by different amounts to spread them across the sound stage. We would expect to hear the orchestra arrayed broadly behind the singer, and you need to simulate that.

You have good performances here, well worth a little more work.

T
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:18 PM   #10
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Thank you all for your feedback!

The instrumental track, as stated before, is just a karaoke, so there's not much I can work with it (and idea perhaps could be to split it in several tracks per freq-range and pan it?) and indeed, the vocal take was made in another space (my rather not-so-big 3,something x 4mts. bedroom).

I recorded it as dry as possible thinking it'd be better that way to later add the whatever reverb was needed digitally (and I added just a very tiny bit so far since I didn't really know what I was -or am- doing).
You suggest I should record it next time (probably some day among this week) with a bit more of space between singer an mic (say, 1-2mts.)?
It does make sense in the way that it would give the notes way more room to develop, but I was afraid I would get some rebound and reverb from the room which I wouldn't be able to get rid off at a later stage if they became a nuisance.

I actually used no compression or anything that would mess with the dynamics, though again, it might be because of the proximity on the recording.

So, first thing of all, apparently I'm definitely bound to rerecord this, though I'm gonna try in the meanwhile to play a bit around with the reverb just to see the results I get.

And if you don't mind two dumb questions:

What do you mean with this? I'm sorry, but I'm not so familiar with all the terms and abbreviations yet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by urednik View Post
Try to AB with a renowned recording
Quote:
Originally Posted by urednik View Post
Opera singers should never be recorded mono, but always ORTF stereo, sometimes M/S or a combination of those two.
Is there any specific reason why ORTF would work better in this case? I thought it was better suited for recordings made in a rather ample space trying to capture a wider sound.
I could tell the singer to bring one of his mics (I've only got one so far) and try an MS configuration, perhaps that'd work best in my rather reduced space?

Also, excuse me again for how dumb a question this might be, but why stereo instead of mono?

Please bear with me, I'm new at this but I'm doing my best to learn from what you can tell me.
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burrahobbit View Post
Also, excuse me again for how dumb a question this might be, but why stereo instead of mono?

Please bear with me, I'm new at this but I'm doing my best to learn from what you can tell me.
Hi burrahobbit, so you are the singer. If so, then you are obviously well trained.

If you want to redo the vocal, that's up to you, but based on what your telling us about the room it's hard to say what you might achieve that is better.

There's a lot you can do with reverb. I suggest you try a True Reverb which requires True Reverb Impulses. You can get more info and also some good free impulses in this thread. You'll have to search a bit but the info is there but it's there.

http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=107409

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Old 01-11-2015, 06:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burrahobbit View Post
Is there any specific reason why ORTF would work better in this case? I thought it was better suited for recordings made in a rather ample space trying to capture a wider sound.
I could tell the singer to bring one of his mics (I've only got one so far) and try an MS configuration, perhaps that'd work best in my rather reduced space?

Also, excuse me again for how dumb a question this might be, but why stereo instead of mono?

Please bear with me, I'm new at this but I'm doing my best to learn from what you can tell me.
Here you go:
stereo, having two mics is following the natural head movements of the singer. It does not mean hard panned - not to forget. I would use 30% panning (with a 30cm distance to the microphones). Otherwise the voice is captured inside the position and is dead.
You can experiment with mics, however in this room only a mic that could be used very near the singer would help you to get rid of some unwanted wall reflections.
I would not record in this room or if you insist I would simply use a lot of blankets (to the walls and to the floor) to get rid of at least 90% of the short reflections.

The ideal reverb I worked with for a opera singer or orchestra would be the free Abstract chamber.
If you wish I can give you a sample of my recording in a non-appropriate room, to see how this works.

AB = to compare your recording directly with a good one via MUTE SOLO knobs.
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Last edited by urednik; 01-11-2015 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:39 AM   #13
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Again, thank you both for your time, and sorry for the delay! Life got in the way...

Tod: The tenor is actually my friend (I'm a bass, and nowhere as trained yet), I'll send him your compliments!
And many thanks for the reverb recommendation, I'm going to check it out.

uerdnik: It's not that I insist, I just don't have another option on where to record (unless I did it on my backyard? that would surely kill all the reverberations heh). All your recommendations seem very sensible and well-thought to me, I'm gonna be trying all the setups I can amongst these days. Would love to hear your recording too to have something to compare.
And thanks for all the explanations.
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Old 01-30-2015, 03:39 PM   #14
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Logging this for myself. Good info here. Many thanks. P.
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