Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

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losthighway
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Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by losthighway » Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:30 pm

See here: https://www.npr.org/2020/08/26/90549353 ... wsource=cl

First of all, in spite of myself, I'm a fan. This girl is a singular personality, voice and talent. So I'm not trying to dunk on her. This is just for fun. I just love the obsessive audio engineer experience of watching performances and seeing how things are setup and trying to figure out what's real and what's canned.

It's hard for me to believe this mic placement and this much head movement could yield such a lush and intimate vocal sound, but maybe I'm wrong.

But then on the second song they switch spots and you can hear her clear her throat, mid song. So then it's more like.... if it's real how does this mic setup sound so good.

Thoughts?

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Re: Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by vvv » Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:54 am

Reals.

Reminds me some of the voc on that Jet song about black boots - the 'pressor is 100% on 11, and mebbe the pre, also ...

Also, do note there are two vocal mics.
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Re: Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by kslight » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:13 pm

I wonder if they have a shotgun mic on her too?

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Re: Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by losthighway » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:23 pm

vvv wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:54 am
Reals.

Reminds me some of the voc on that Jet song about black boots - the 'pressor is 100% on 11, and mebbe the pre, also ...
Yeah, I wonder if her delivery is very consistently mid quiet, so you can just smash it with a good comp and you never hear it pump or any other weird characteristics because she doesn't have a lot of sudden spikes in her delivery.

It's just annoying. I can only get a sound like that within a foot of a tube mic. They had both of the vocal mics way off axis so you could see their faces. If I did that it would sound kind of thin.

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Re: Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by vvv » Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:47 pm

losthighway wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:23 pm
They had both of the vocal mics way off axis so you could see their faces. If I did that it would sound kind of thin.
IMO, that's true if you do yer usual set-up.

But if you intentionally adjust to that set up ...

For example - compressor slamming (1176 or an opto or a VCA might work - I'd use an 1176) with pre up as high as possible but trying not to distort might be a starting point.

Thin? I'd have HPF's off, adjustable impedance down, and likely a 3 knob EQ with the bottom jacked, mebbe the mids, and the top mebbe even rolled off.

It ain't na'chural - it don' sound like it - but it sounds cool.

Oh, and a quiet room!

(The Jet song I referenced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuK6n2Lkza0 )
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Re: Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by losthighway » Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:58 pm

vvv wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:47 pm
losthighway wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:23 pm
They had both of the vocal mics way off axis so you could see their faces. If I did that it would sound kind of thin.
IMO, that's true if you do yer usual set-up.

But if you intentionally adjust to that set up ...

For example - compressor slamming (1176 or an opto or a VCA might work - I'd use an 1176) with pre up as high as possible but trying not to distort might be a starting point.

Thin? I'd have HPF's off, adjustable impedance down, and likely a 3 knob EQ with the bottom jacked, mebbe the mids, and the top mebbe even rolled off.

It ain't na'chural - it don' sound like it - but it sounds cool.

Oh, and a quiet room!

(The Jet song I referenced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuK6n2Lkza0 )
Excellent points. That's why I post these silly questions, cause it often gets interesting. Thanks.

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Re: Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by digitaldrummer » Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:36 am

I think a lot of why they can do this is her voice. not everyone could pull it off. if you notice, Finneas' voice doesn't sound quite as lush (maybe on purpose and less reverb...). Also maybe some expander/gate or some other post processing done? Even though the Nords are pretty quiet, I would have expected to hear some click from the keys with the mic/compressor that hot. and the guitar sounded more like pickups then string picked through the mics... and the room (studio?) seems to be dead quiet too (or again post clean-up) so that helps.
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Re: Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by vvv » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:37 pm

digitaldrummer wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:36 am
Even though the Nords are pretty quiet, I would have expected to hear some click from the keys with the mic/compressor that hot.
Ha! I'm reminded (again) of, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM5Frw_gNe0
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Re: Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by Colorblind » Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:02 am

You'd think with her singing so softly and so far off the mic that you would start to hear the noise floor, especially once you start compressing things. Cleaned up somehow in post, or a just super clean preamp maybe? Those Neumanns are transformerless too, which might help.

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Re: Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by losthighway » Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:07 am

Colorblind wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:02 am
You'd think with her singing so softly and so far off the mic that you would start to hear the noise floor, especially once you start compressing things. Cleaned up somehow in post, or a just super clean preamp maybe? Those Neumanns are transformerless too, which might help.
Right?

That's why up until the moment she clears her throat on the second song I was convinced it was phoney.

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Re: Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by digitaldrummer » Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:47 am

vvv wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:37 pm
Ha! I'm reminded (again) of, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM5Frw_gNe0
i was definitely thinking the same... :mrgreen:
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Re: Real or phoney: Billie Eilish tiny desk

Post by drumsound » Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:39 am

Those inhales are pretty distinct...

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