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I am trying to record some vocals for a song right now, and am trying to replicate the texture that the vocals in a certain song have. The song is called "Not Myself" by Sister Grotto (https://sistergrotto.bandcamp.com/album/song-for-an-unborn-sun), and, by my ears, was recorded using an EQ to subtract higher frequencies and some reverb (giving an impression of someone singing through an old telephone and reverberating in some kind of cave).

As such, I decided to try to copy this effects chain with an EQ, reverb, and some compression. I am using Reaper v4.78, and the standard plug-ins ReaEQ, ReaVerb, and NI Solid Bus Comp. Furthermore, I am also using an Akai EIE Pro audio interface, and I have tried using several different microphones: Shure SM57, Audio Technica AT4040, and an AKG D77.

Despite this, I have failed at replicating this texture. My vocals feel hollow, muffled (like nasally), and dull (as in undefined). I have tried changing various parameters within my effects chain and using different microphones to remedy this, but have had no success.

I should probably note that, in contrast to the song "Not Myself", my vocals are going to be placed in a very busy mix, with a lot of ambient noises. So it is conceivable that this "busy mix" is affecting the capacity for the vocals to be better defined and warmer. It is also possible that Reaper's standard plug-ins are just not the best idea, and it might be better to use a different plug-in.

Can anybody recommend me what approach I should best take? I could also upload a very rough demo of my song with the vocals to better illustrate the problem at hand.

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I think I can hear at least two if not more layered tracks of vocals. I would have to disagree about the EQ settings. There is a lot of hi-mid and very little low mid. I'm not 100% sure but I think there might be some pre-reverb there. To do this, you reverse the track, add reverb and reverse it back. It usually tames me a few tries to get the results i want.

Recording-wise, I'd play around with placement a bit. My first attempt would be to point the microphone upwards, pointing towards the front teeth from underneath.

  • Going to try out that pre-reverb effect, thanks for sharing the tip! – Simon Bosley Aug 8 '17 at 8:02

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