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Sound Advice

Problem Vocalist? by Richard Chycki

Paranoid, uncomfortable vocalist in the studio? Bad news because, as a producer, the responsibility falls on you to coax good product from him/her. If they don’t like headphones, throw a pair of Auratones up out of phase and put the mic in the “out of phase” null. Easy enough, but what if the vocalist doesn’t like singing into one of those big, cold studio mics but favours that ubiquitous SM57.

Relax, digital breath. Patch in both your handheld and your studio condenser mics. Make a deal with the singer that he/she can use their ol’ fave but you’ll want your mic nearby (get it in writing and try to take their publishing at the same time with a little fancy small print – invisible ink does wonders here!). Allow the vocalist to monitor the handheld – you monitor and record the studio mic which, in use, should still be on vocal axis but probably a little farther away than a normal vocal overdub session.
The relaxed attitude and resultant increase in productivity of the vocalist more than makes up for the slight compromise in studio mic distance. As long as room relativity is low, and your vocalist doesn’t get too aerobic during the session, you should have few problems.

Richard Chycki – Freelance Engineer/Producer in Toronto

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