Vocal Mic Bleed

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Mustang Martigan
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Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by Mustang Martigan » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:42 am

How do you guys go about cutting out the guitar bleeding into the vocal mic? Whether I'm recording with an acoustic or electric, I always have to go back and re-record the vocals. That can get frustrating cuz my best performances come out when I'm playing along w the guitar.

Waves makes a plug called Primary Source Expander that seems like it's specifically made for this. I'm gonna demo it, but I'm guessing I already a plug for this that I've just overlooked.

Thanks.

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by michaelkerchner » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:18 am

i dont have any solid miracle answers but here's two things i do.

first for me personally i like to have a guitar on me and playing when i do my vocal tracks. being in a harder rock band this just means cutting vocals just with an electric guitar on me and not plugged in. all the feel of a guitar and none of the noise.

or maybe the easiest is work with the bleed, get everything sounding good together and let it rip. you might have to adjust your singing volume to blend the voice and guitar but it will be probably the most natural sounding

run a DI on the guitar in addition to the mics, get the DI to sound decent, doesnt have to be perfect but if you can sub like 20% of the DI guitar sound into your mix that'll gain you some room to isolate the vocals a little

personally i would choose option 2 if i was in a acoustic guitar situation
sounds good, compress it
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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by kslight » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:20 am

I don’t know anything about the Waves but Izotope RX is like
Magic. It isn’t always 100% but it can be the difference between a usable take or not. Basically it has a learn function. In your case you would let it analyze your guitar track and then you’d process the vocal track with the guitar track’s profile, adjusting sensitivity of the removal to taste (more extreme settings will have artifacts). Tons more useful applications beyond that, once you get it you’ll use it every day.

You probably don’t need the “advanced” version unless you do post...but the standard is pretty comprehensive for the music world.

It goes without saying that this is a solution to fix problems, of course whatever you can do to minimize the bleed in the first place is preferable (perhaps some kind of divider or plexiglass sheet or something between the singer and the guitar? Don’t know what is most practical and audio neutral).

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by digitaldrummer » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:24 am

what about iso booths (for electric guitar) or using fig-8 mics and using the nulls to reduce bleed (in both the acoustic guitar mic and vocal mics)? I wasn't clear if its just string noise that is bleeding in or everything.

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by losthighway » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:27 am

digitaldrummer wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:24 am
what about iso booths (for electric guitar) or using fig-8 mics and using the nulls to reduce bleed (in both the acoustic guitar mic and vocal mics)? I wasn't clear if its just string noise that is bleeding in or everything.
This is what comes to mind when I'm approaching an acoustic guitar and voice combo happening live. Two figure 8's with their tops pointed at each other at such an angle where the top one is getting voice and the null is pointed at the guitar, and the bottom is getting guitar and the null is pointed at voice.

Also it's worth making sure that the bleed is actually a problem. I know it can cause some nasty phase stuff, but sometimes it works fine too. I wouldn't automatically assume it's unacceptable because I solo'd a track and heard the other element's presence.

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by drumsound » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:46 am

Figure 8s works really well on acoustic and vocal. Either Blumlein on their side or kind of like a arrow pointed toward the player. If you want stereo guitar, still use a figure 8 on the vocal. I'm much more concerned with a "clean" vocal. I always try to but the mics on the same vertical plane, and I still check for phase coherency. I also listen to the stereo pair and the vocal in solo to see what my bleed levels and tone are.

Also, if solo acoustic, I usually mics the room. so that helps everything because there should be both sounds in the room mics.

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by crow » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:47 am

If I have this problem during tracking, I also reach for figure 8s. If there are other instruments to contend with as well, I'll put a gobo on the other side of the mic to protect that side from bleed, and usually have the singer's back up to an absorptive part of the studio wall.

in mixing, I usually only need the strumming bleed from an electric guitar gone when there's no singing, so I'll either just edit out the gaps or apply a fabfilter's pro-mb with the highs being sidechain-controllled by the mids. So when the midrange of the voice is present, the highs will come back, and they'll fade away when there's no singing. On a tighter budget, toneboosters' EQ4 is an awesome dynamic equalizer. Highly recommend.

With acoustic and vocals, I just factor the bleed into the sound, and use the two mics for balance. If I need a track to have none of the other, it's just gonna have to be tracked that way. For phase coherency, I once put the guitar and vocal mics as a vertically-aligned xy pair, with one pointing up at my mouth and the other at the guitar. It was awesome, but required hunching over. I don't think I'd ask anyone else to perform that way :)

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by floid » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:07 am

Some mics bleed better than others.
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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by Mustang Martigan » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:30 pm

digitaldrummer wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:24 am
what about iso booths (for electric guitar) or using fig-8 mics and using the nulls to reduce bleed (in both the acoustic guitar mic and vocal mics)? I wasn't clear if its just string noise that is bleeding in or everything.
Ya, I forgot to mention that my electric is going DI, so the vocal mic (I always use one of my MCA SP1s; my only other option is a sm57) is just picking up the electric itself, not an amp.

I've tried cutting out the sections with no vocals, but this just makes the guitar more noticeable.. going from nothing to annoying strumming in the background.

I always thought a gate fixed this problem, but no matter how high I set the threshold, the guitar remains.

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:33 pm

As said by others, a fig 8 mic on the vocal with the null pointed at the guitar is your best bet. a hyper-cardioid mic can work too but not as well.

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by Nick Sevilla » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:07 am

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... lors-world

Note Taylor's mic positions while tracking guitar and vocal.

Although usually they replace both, you can see they are using mics with fig. 8 patterns,
positioned so their nulls cancel the other sound source.
Realizing vibratory excursions from a paper widget.

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by Mustang Martigan » Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:29 pm

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:33 pm
As said by others, a fig 8 mic on the vocal with the null pointed at the guitar is your best bet. a hyper-cardioid mic can work too but not as well.
Unfortunately I don't have the cash for another mic. My MCA SP1 is cardioid; It has an off-axis null point. If positioned correctly, would it cut out enough of the guitar to where a gate, or another plug I'm overlooking, might actually work?

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by roscoenyc » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:56 am

Embrace it.
It can glue the track together so well.
If playing and singing is what you do record yourself playing and singing.
Singing usually dynamically affects your guitar playing.

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by Mustang Martigan » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:07 pm

roscoenyc wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:56 am
Embrace it.
It can glue the track together so well.
If playing and singing is what you do record yourself playing and singing.
Singing usually dynamically affects your guitar playing.
Trust me, there's NO embracing it.. unless you enjoy annoying string and pick noise in the background of the song. I'm referring to the electric guitar, not acoustic.

I do agree that singing while playing dynamically affects the guitar playing, and vice versa. So much so that I started this thread.

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Re: Vocal Mic Bleed

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:12 pm

Mustang Martigan wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:29 pm
A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:33 pm
As said by others, a fig 8 mic on the vocal with the null pointed at the guitar is your best bet. a hyper-cardioid mic can work too but not as well.
Unfortunately I don't have the cash for another mic. My MCA SP1 is cardioid; It has an off-axis null point. If positioned correctly, would it cut out enough of the guitar to where a gate, or another plug I'm overlooking, might actually work?
Cardioid can be a pretty wide pattern depending on the mic. Fig 8 has the best rejection of any pattern followed by hyper cardioid. The problem with cardioid in this application is that it's null is at the back of the mic. That makes it pretty hard to aim it at your mouth and have the guitar in the null. You might try having the mic pointing straight up and sing across the diaphragm. That would at least get you a bit better rejection of the guitar but it means your voice is off axis which may or may not effect the tone. Experiment with mic position and see what you can get.
Beyond that your choices are to save up for another mic, embrace the bleed or track vocal and guitar separately.

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