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Apogee Mic demo - 'Boom Like That'


uncle fester
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Hey Folks, we got a rain out on baseball today, so finally got a chance to try out my new Apogee mic... (Sal and all, thank you for the direction!).

 

Anyways, here's a rendition of Mark Knopfler's Boom Like That. I hope folks like it, I do, but I also more than understand there's opportunity for improvement. I've got some targeted questions below if anyone will entertain me (thanks and regards - billroy)

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MKkw6WWcUc

 

 

1) It's a new mic, and trying to do this with one mic - does vocal and guitar balance sound ok, recommendations on where else to set it up?

 

2) I've been told I sound like I've got a mouth full of cotton balls coupled with a boston accent, and maybe a little bit of lead paint ingestion... so I've really been trying to work on articulation - can you understand the words?

 

3) Also I believe a song is a story, been trying to add emotion to the words, do you get drawn into the story, or do you have recommendations on what to do?

 

4) At 1:18 I go from finger picking to strumming, and really want the song to feel power here - but I feel the vocals get lost. I guess I just need to sing louder, or strum quiter - but any tricks to get dynamics and not lose the vocal / guitar balance.

 

5) This is bare naked me, just record (with the Apogee mic). I don't think it sounds horrible, but does it hurt people's ears less if I was to put it into garage band and add some reverb / pan etc...

 

Thanks to anyone for listening, again for any input. Also - I love my J45.

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1. Place the mic higher and nearer your face, adjust gain accordingly. Get more voice into the mic, the guitar will take care of itself.

2. Didn't understand a word of it.....almost like you're whispering. Enunciate. You're barely opening your mouth here. Exaggerate some pronunciations. Make sure you hit consonants clearly, not necessarily hard but clearly.....t's and k's and the like.......makes for much better overall clarity. Sing from your diaphragm for power and control.

3. Not drawn into the story at all since I couldn't understand the words. Some songs are stories, some are rants, some are just statements.......some require emotion, some require passion, but all require conviction in performance. I find passion almost automatic when playing live to an audience but more difficult to muster in a home recording situation.

4. See #2.

5. Bare naked you is real. A little reverb doesn't hurt but not required to deliver a song well.

6. Chew bubble gum.

 

No offense intended by any of this. I takes hutzpah to do this kind of thing and the more you do it the better you'll get.

Edited by Buc McMaster
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How far away are you from that mic? Apogee suggests 6 to 24 inches from singer, and for acoustic guitar, 6 to 12 inches "from the soundhole, with the front of the mic pointed at the 12th fret".

 

What are you recording into iPad, iPhone? Have you done an a/b just using the Voice Record on the Apple device?

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Yeah, Buc is probably right with some comments, Billroy.

 

Something has gone wrong. Buc said to put the mic closer to your mouth for the vocal to be clearer, but I also own an Apogee Mic like yours (gathering dust behind my mixer paperwork) and if you used the tripod that comes with the mic, it can be tricky to get in position if you are standing and playing. That is probably why mine is gathering dust - doesn't matter what you do, your guitar is always going to be closer to it than your mouth...unless you can use some kind of boom stand. And you have a clothes peg attachment!

Don't be discouraged though - keep experimenting. Singing too close to the Apogee may peak out the meters, so quite a few tries are needed to find the guitar/vocal balance.

 

 

BluesKing777.

Edited by BluesKing777
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Singing too close to the Apogee may peak out the meters, so quite a few tries are needed to find the guitar/vocal balance.

 

BluesKing777.

It is a bit tricky- you want the gain up high enough, but barely seeing the yellow level indicator. . . I ended up putting a sliver of masking tape next to the gain adjustment wheel, graduated with numbers, to help re-find where the gain was set when the right setting was found for a particular mic placement.

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I'm not qualified to advice anyone as far as singing, but I've learned a few things about home recording in the last few years, trying to do exactly what you aspire to do.

 

I think you need more voice and less guitar. The words are not possible to hear as it is right now. When I record with one mic I place about three feet out, at about the height of my nose, pointing ever so sligthly down towards my torso. I also have it coming a bit from the left, which for me being right-handed, is the side of the guitar neck. For me, this gives a decent balance between voice and guitar.

 

Another thing, the room you record in is extremely important. A lot of damping, iin the form of carpets, blankets, pillows etc, is usually a good thing.

 

There is an adapter you can buy for that mic, that makes it possible to attach to a normal mic stand. Garageband and a little reverb would help too.

 

Best of luck!!

 

Lars

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Thank you all, very much appreciate the input! The vocal / guitar balance is the first thing I'll work on. Something can be biting you in the face, but until someone calls it out, it just doesn't resonate.

 

I'm going to stay 'naked' no reverb etc... due to intent to make me a better performer right now, let me see what I can get right, then will pretty it up.

 

62B, really like the masking tape idea, will try that, Lars - will look into the room acoustics (and appreciate your input - I've watched you travel the journey a bit, seen you progress, and have gained my own confidence as a result. With the vids / music posted by some of the folks, I am confident this mic can work, maybe not the player, or the technicians, but the gear can do what's is supposed to, I just need to figure out how to coax it out.

 

Clothespin attachment for mic booms, available in most grocery stores :)

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billroy - i'll comment on two fronts.

 

1) optimal recording setup. Agree with Buc. get closer, with the mic up higher towards your mouth. Trial and error will get this balance, and gain adjustment will be needed.

 

2) The performance. again I agree with buc. More clear and confident singing with annunciation will help improve this tons. Regarding emotion, I have always loved this song... the vibe - the prominent drums and bass. It's hard to sing with emotion (for me) because its hard to get emotional about singing about the story of McDonalds.

 

Keep at it, and have fun. Post again - you will find the songs that fit well with your voice...

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Mic placement is critical to a balanced audio/video recording. Here's a 50 second clip of where the Edwina mic ended up to get a passable balance between voice & guitar.......much lower than you might anticipate. The guitar is capo-ed at the 7th (experimenting with key), greatly reducing its' power and volume, so to compete with the voice the mic needs to be placed at sound hole level. And that's just for this mic and this particular playing setup........experiment!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShVfyYMzLBU&feature=youtu.be

Edited by Buc McMaster
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I thought about your questions some more and I’d like to add a few things from my own experience.

 

First of all, I think the mic you have is awesome. I have one just like it. It is the master of simplicity; an iPad/iPhone + cable + mic. No more! The sound quality is super too. I just bought a new mic, and yes it is better, but I could easily be happy with the Apogee mic (and have money left for singing lessons).

 

The next bit is a piece of advice that I haven’t been able to live by myself. I usually get very excited when working on a new song, and post something too early. I need perspective to hear my own flaws. For me at least, I need to let time pass before I can fairly evaluate my own stuff. It’s like when you sometimes write a long piece of text and can’t catch spelling errors because you know before reading what it is supposed to say.

You then re-read the same thing a few days later and see the errors clearly. I don’t have much inate musical ability, and my brain tends to work like that. So if you have similar tendencies (?), letting the stuff sit for a while and then go back to it, could work in your favor.

 

With that said, posting stuff to this forum and getting help from the experts is a wonderful way to improve. I decided a few years ago not to care about embarrasing myself anymore. I’m good at a lot of important things, but music I sort of suck at, but it is just a hobby after all. That attitude has helped me suck a little less [biggrin] Not saying you suck in any way, just pointing out that letting go and throwing yourself out WILL help!! So just be you!

 

Looking forward to hearing take two.

 

Lars

Edited by Lars68
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Hi all, again thanks to everyone for the input.

 

I have put a second recording together, with much better results on vocal / guitar balance, but with amplification, comes visibility to opportunities. I've reached out to a couple of you to get input on the next obvious hurdles (looking to spare the masses the things everyone would say) have received really good input, very much appreciate it and understand next steps in front of me. My goal is to practice the obvious things, and bring back a progressed version looking for input (Lars - a little bit of do it, and let it rest going on here :).

 

Again - I really appreciate and value everyone's input, it is giving me the opportunity to become a better musician. I don't have a wide audience to get that and it is invaluable. FYI - How I put this conversation together in my mind...

 

Lessons learned


  •  
  • Vocal / Guitar balance and mic placement: I am figuring out mic placement, but I do not have a good / natural ear for balance, I need to develop that. And appreciate input to correct me when needed.
     
  • Working the mic:
    1. I need to control how I position myself, and how I move around the Mic -causes too much variation now.
    2. Especially because I'm using a condenser Mic - there would be more forgiveness with a Shure SM58 or something - but they don't plug into iPhones.
    3. My plans for live performance is to use a Shure SM58, so I better practice that as well.
    4. I should try to control dynamics with my voice more than moving around, at least to start, and when I'm using the condenser mic.
       

    [*] Mumbling, vs singing, vs talking with style


    1.  
    2. I'm still mumbling, feel it's the clearest I've ever spoken, but if it's not understandable, it doesn't meet my goal
    3. There's techniques to singing (i.e. from the gut etc... ) that I just know nothing about. I've got next steps on things to work on, but lessons in this space (oooof) may be warranted.
    4. I might just go for 'talking with style' thinking maybe I can get to that - and really no one ever accused Bob Dylan of being Simon and Garfunkle, but both rocked their styles.
       

     

     

     

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