Whatup. Yo straight up, one thing that turns me off is when an artist gives me their new mixtape, EP, album or whatever, and the vocals sound like straight garbage, can’t stand it, quickest way to get tossed out of the
window. And not hating on the performance or talent, shout-out to them, but the quality of the recording is were I’m talking about. It’s tragic to me when an artist clearly has
a shot at winning but regardless their production quality keeps them from being
taken seriously. Now we’ve seen clips of the big stars in the studio, with all the
high-tech million dollar equipment and all the fancy stuff and the silver spoons.
But it doesn’t take a million dollars to get their major label quality if you know what you’re doing. People are all into getting home studios now and it’s all about the equipment and the plugins
and which software is right to use and is it ok for me to mix in Fruity Loops? But
one of the most important issues that people neglect is sound treatment and
that’s why their mixtape sounds like trash but I’ma help y’all out today by
addressing the science behind getting good vocal recording which is not really
all that complicated once you understand what’s going on. You always hear rappers
talking about being in the booth so people home try to make booths out of walk-in
closets, showers, tubs… But I’ma tell you a space that small is about the worst
place in which you can record. Here’s why. Alright, sound travels at about one
thousand one hundred thirty feet per second. That’s about as long as three football
fields. It takes 1 second for a sound to reach from one end to the other. hat breaks down to about 1 foot per millisecond. A millisecond is a thousandth of a second.
The millisecond is a standard unit in audio production, many pieces of equipment have dials
measured in milliseconds for various reasons. So being a thousandth of a second, that means that If you’re in a room that’s 30 feet long, takes about 30 ms for a sound to get from one end to the other. Now, in your recording space you wanna have enough distance between the mic and the performer from the surrounding walls. At least 8 ft of distance is good to prevent a nasty effect called “comb filtering” that happens when you stand too close to walls. If you’re less than about 7ft from a wall, you can get comb filtering, which makes the voice sound boxy and thin. What’s happening is the voice and its mirror reflection off the wall both go into the mike at less than 7ms apart from each other and since they’re so
close together, virtually on top of each other they cancel each other out because
they’re like polar opposites. Like 1 + -1=0. Hearing my voice right now, I’m simulating what comb filtering sounds like, and its making my voice sound boxy, thin and phasey. This is how it would sound if I were standing 2 or 3 feet away from a wall… or glass. Concrete is the worst. The harder the surface, the worse the problem will be because of more resistance. The same goes for “modal ringing” which I’ll talk about in a few. Back to without comb filtering. To fix this problem, engineers cover the walls with absorbing material, usually studio foam or rigid fiberglass, aka bass traps. I like rigid fiberglass myself, Owens Corning 703 or 705 work well. You can find this stuff at building supply warehouses or online, like eBay. Here in Atlanta I got mine from a place called Trident Distribution off Candler Road at like $7 a panel, a 2 by 4 ft panel, umm..about 2 inches thick. But, the point of these panels is to absorb sound, just like a sponge absorbs water. What sound goes in the panels, stays in the panels. So it’s the same is if there were no walls, just pure sound, and the comb filtering disappears. And let me clear this up real quick, drink cartons, mattress pads, egg crates, carpet, curtains, bookshelves, none of it really works well. I know that’s like urban legend, but real talk, none of it absorbs down to the low bass range where it makes a real difference, so instead it just makes everything sound muddy by absorbing only the treble of the voice but not the bass of the voice, so it still leaves the comb filtering…..[clears throat]..What’s going on mane?…. Comb filtering isn’t the only issue. Next I’m gonna also talk about modal ringing, another problem in getting a good sound. On a side note, you can find lot of good do-it-yourself tutorials on building bass traps on youtube. I built my own, and the difference is crazy haven’t looked back since. And the material to build them is pretty cheap. Word of caution. Use gloves, wear sleeves, goggles, and a mask when handling fiberglass. You must wrap it up with some thick material. It’s fiberglass, it makes you itch and you don’t want to breath it in. Just be careful when you’re handling it. Now, what is modal ringing? Modal ringing is a room’s resonant frequencies or to simplify, it’s a room’s pitch. You know how you blow across a bottle and get a pitch? Well the same thing happens in  rooms with parallel walls, including the floor and ceiling. With the room though you have a pitch
for the three dimensions of the room, the When you speak or sing in the room, the pitch of the room is stimulated causing for kind of glowing, pitchy effect on the voice, like you hear now. I’ve heard many a student’s projects where they record in a closet at home and I hear pitchy, comb filtered vocals. As a matter of fact, let me add in some comb filtering. Okay, this is what it sounds like to record in a closet or hallway, or even a small room. It might not sound as bad as this depending on how much absorbent material you have in there like clothes, carpet and furniture. But the bottom line is you don’t need it in your sound at all. Can pro tools, logic or some type of plugin fix this? Nope. Bass traps will fix it though. Once again, No walls, no modal ringing. You can try to eq out some of the pitch, but the vocals are affected by that. And no matter what, there is no current computer technology I know of that removes comb filtering or modal ringing. So, once you record it that way, you’re stuck with it. So look into getting treatment, because it’s gonna eliminate those reflections and give you that dry, crispy vocal sound. Also, on the market now you see a lot of reflection filters, which are barriers around the microphone to help cut down on reflections. Be aware they don’t solve all your problems, putting up bass traps to really soak up sound is the best way to cut out comb filtering and modal ringing. And the smaller the room, like 8 x 8 feet or smaller, u need as many bass traps as u can get hope this helps. My cousin The E.R, and I have some bangers up on the channel, be sure to check them out. Hit me in the comment box, like or subscribe, If you have and requests for tutorials let me know in the comment section, I’m out!

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. I honestly think it's a myth when y'all say that people won't take you serious because the way the recording sounds, I think if they see the struggle you go through to record and rap good lyrics and make it sound decent enough then I think it's all goodie… because not even Eminem's mixtape sounded like great quality and Dr. Dre still managed to sign him, so I don't know, maybe it makes people an asshole for not taking someone serious for trying their best to record… maybe it's not your cup of tea when the recording don't sound A1 but there is people out there that are willing to still listen to an artist regardless of the quality…

  2. My problem isn't necessarily quality, it's a couple volume things. My voice by itself is fairly quiet, and I can't project very well unless I'm actually yelling, which I don't want to do while rapping. In addition to this, all of the mics I own are all really quiet too. Now, these aren't good mics, but still, I've heard good songs with obviously trash mics. If anyone's heard XXXTENTACION's first song, Vice City, you know what I mean. Those vocals were recorded on a webcam and the song doesn't sound terrible. My problem is that because the recording ends up so quiet no matter what I do, I have to boost it using audio editing programs like Audacity. This results in peaking, which just gives my mic that sweet sweet 12 year old on YouTube earrape quality.

  3. So if I have a 3×3 recording booth with acoustic foam on the walls ceiling and a rug, will I still get comb filtering or would it be better to just cover all the walls in my room compared to a smaller booth?

  4. when i mix in logic i can get my recording to sound exactly how i want it and how i imagine it to be but mixing in image line sometimes because the GUI looks different i do different stuff and make my mix sound different

  5. Haha this is too true! Years ago I would record artists in a small 3 x 3 wardrobe that was "treated" and got the worst sounding vocals, it was just embarrassing and I would blame it on my equipment or whatever ๐Ÿ˜‚ now I have a wooden clad 7 x 7 room and vocals sound crisp with lots of clarity, and it's much more comfortable for the artists too!

  6. Damn when i saw this video on the side i thought it was gonna be some bullshit im not gonna lie but this dude knows his shit fr

  7. most of this stuff is absolutely correct, but if you go to a professional studio you'll see that the whole walls are not full of foam of absorption. They often leave empty space out so the acoustics sound natural and not fully isolated which can affect your vocal depending on the voice because not everyone has the same voice and some people actually sound better when the whole entire space is full of absorption foam. It really depends and the whole study of acoustics can actually extend to a point where it gets so sophisticated where you can't really find that right voice until you experiment. Cheers and great video my brother !

  8. 5:45 my homie got this but no ceiling bass traps. Our voices are higher so we EQ bass out normally anyways so it kinda just works for us

  9. I got a question: does enough acoustic treatment mean that the room size matters less? For example, I have a little closet and covering it in acoustic foam wouldn't be that expensive. Could I entirely cover it and record in it without caring of its small size?

  10. Nice video! You really broke down some concepts that seem like other people explain in a complicated way, into something simple and easy to understand. Thanks man

  11. To everyone watching just buy a 8 inch foam ball and make your own. Kayotic eyeball it make a major difference u can can record on the free way and it will only catch your vocal

  12. so I record next to a wall with quiet a bit of space between the mic and wall about a foot i guess. I record in like the corner of the room but my voice is projected directly in to the pop filter I use because I stand up and the mic is at a higher level. will this affect the recording drastically?

  13. Damn, i always was told the wall helps the sound get back into the mic and this was a good thing ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I'm such an amateur

  14. It's crazy just first pic around 1:10 is my old studio in like 07 I have a Myspace to prove..guy in pic is named libo

  15. I have a small second bedroom that sound gets trapped in pretty well Iโ€™m not sure howbadding foam would change anything but Iโ€™m gonna try it

  16. I record in a small room and it sounds NOTHING like that… he literally put a phaser on his voice ๐Ÿ˜‚ he just did a promotion for bass traps lol

  17. Aye educated me and Iโ€™ve been making music for 3 years good shit using technical terminology while making it easy to understand and understanding the science behind your work ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ”ฅ good shit man

  18. I'm not sure if I believe all of this now because I done made some great sounding music with no padding or treatment.

  19. Hiphop is about using what you got, that includes knowledge. Clarity is about industry. James brown had shitty sounding records and many hit records have been recorded in crappy rooms. Everything in this video is an opinion as artists use those traits to get different sounds. Been recording for 30 yrs and make more money at it than all the "tip givers".

  20. There is nothing wrong with untreated walls nor recording in a closet at all. Learn how and where to place your hardware. These types of tips can help some, but this is also why most artists today sound the same and that's wack no matter how clear it is.
    Side note: it's usually those with all the trimmings that say you need it, and those same guys usually don't make really good music.

    In essence good music is good music and mediocre music should at least be clear.

  21. Ive done acoustical ceilings for a couple years and I can tell you vma and other foams only try to recreate the density of concrete and layers of carpeting and dense materials absolutley shutout and trap sounds.

  22. if you really want to cut out ringing you can use a compressor and then a gate, but just get some acoustic treatment. It's not that expensive.

  23. Most should use a dynamic microphone like an SM-58 and add a pop filter. People buy super pricey and super sensitive powered microphones which just amplify their crappy home studio acoustics. Nice tutorial and explanation. You clearly know your stuff.

  24. was wondering why the vocals on my track sound like ass… the mic is about 8 inches away from a wall ๐Ÿ˜“๐Ÿ˜“

  25. yo! what is the movie in the thumbnail I've been searching for it for years now I forgot the name of it plz help!!!

  26. Summary:
    1. Walls have to be 8 feet or more away from the mic on all sides to avoid "Comb Filtering Effect".
    2. Treat the walls with acoustic pads like cheap fiberglass pads to avoid "Modal Ring Effect".
    3. None of these effects can be fixed in software.

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