isolating mic from unwanted street noise

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KVRAF
12695 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:54 am

Assumptions are the mother of all ...
In my defense: sometimes obvious things are overlooked.

We also have no info on what mic she uses. Perhaps try a trusted sm-58 or simular.

Anyway, that mini vocal booth could work well if you have something like a bookcase for at your back. Hang up a duvet could be just as effective.
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KVRian
706 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:58 am

Based on the OP’s description, I think mine is a pretty safe assumption.

Short of treating the room, you can build a mattress fort for a makeshift vocal booth. The upside to living in the middle of a big city is you can find plenty of mattresses on the sidewalk. The downside is they all smell like pee.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

KVRist

Topic Starter

197 posts since 28 Aug, 2008

Post Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:35 pm

jamcat wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:27 am
My assumption is she doesn’t have a lot of rooms other than a small kitchen and bathroom, and the hall has an elevator and other tenants in it.
This is actually 100% accurate.
Why'd you slice off my hand?

KVRist

Topic Starter

197 posts since 28 Aug, 2008

Post Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:39 pm

I appreciate the tips and advice everyone.

Heavy curtains might be an option either, because she'd have to drill into the wall to put hooks to attach them too, and she'd require permission from the landlord, even for minor things like that.

I am seriously entertaining something like the mattress fort idea though.... I wonder how much it would help to lean her mattresses against the windows...
Why'd you slice off my hand?

KVRist

Topic Starter

197 posts since 28 Aug, 2008

Post Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:42 pm

She might be using an AT2020 which is a condenser. But I'm not sure. I'll find out more. It sounds like an SM58 might pick up less street noise? Those fortunately are not expensive and are useful to have for live performances.
Why'd you slice off my hand?

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KVRian
706 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:37 pm

megadude wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:42 pm
It sounds like an SM58 might pick up less street noise?
An SM58 will definitely pick up A LOT LESS street noise than a condenser.
But the recording will sound like karaoke night.

Try out the EV 635a. Trust me. You don't want to do "studio vocals" with a cardioid mic. The 635a isn't going to sound worse than an SM58. It just doesn't sound as good as a $4000+ large diaphragm condenser studio mic (in a quiet, acoustically treated room.) As Gregory Scott said in the video I posted, you can pick up a used 635a for $85, which is less than a new SM58. A new 635a is only $80 more than an SM58.

The reason why all quality studio vocal mics always have an omni polar pattern is because omni patterns take the mic out of the equation a lot more than a cardioid. Cardioids sound like the vocalist is "on mic" because of the explosive breath pops and muddy, bloated bottom end caused by the proximity effect that is inherent in cardioid mics. That boost sounds good on a guitar amp, but not on a vocalist. When using a dynamic cardioid for vocals, you have to choose between that muddy bottom, or a sharp volume drop off that results in really weak, distant sounding vocals as you back away even a little bit. Half way across the room the mic will barely pick you up, if at all, and that's with it pointed directly at you.

So the solution is to use an omni dynamic mic, because the vocalist can get very close to it to get volume and detail, and still sound natural. Sound sources will still fall off quickly with distance, just like a cardioid dynamic mic, so it will still reject distant sounds like street noise just as well (and the vocalist if she's not close enough to the mic.) The only difference is a cardioid will also reject off-axis close proximity sounds, at the expense of bloating on-axis close proximity sounds.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

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KVRian
646 posts since 7 Aug, 2015 from H2O

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:15 pm

Use a gate and edit the track with cuts and fades if necessary.

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KVRist
60 posts since 19 Apr, 2021

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:55 pm

My best answer is to put together a DIY vocal booth. It will cost some money but in the end you’ll solve a lot of problems for her and her neighbors if she sings loudly.

With the right build you can easily seal out the sounds of a busy street.
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KVRist
61 posts since 2 Mar, 2018

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 6:10 pm

jamcat wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:37 pm
An SM58 will definitely pick up A LOT LESS street noise than a condenser.
Less for sure, but I think a lot less is pushing it. Regardless, yeah I agree an SM58 isn't the answer for recording vocals. There are better dynamics out there for as much or even less.
The reason why all quality studio vocal mics always have an omni polar pattern is because omni patterns take the mic out of the equation a lot more than a cardioid. Cardioids sound like the vocalist is "on mic" because of the explosive breath pops and muddy, bloated bottom end caused by the proximity effect that is inherent in cardioid mics. That boost sounds good on a guitar amp, but not on a vocalist. When using a dynamic cardioid for vocals, you have to choose between that muddy bottom, or a sharp volume drop off that results in really weak, distant sounding vocals as you back away even a little bit.
? Sorry none of this is true.

Anyway, the answer isn't to buy this or that mic (although of course mics can make a diff). It's to treat the room. A vocal booth really isn't a good idea unless the OP effectively makes the entire room a vocal booth with heavy curtains or mattresses etc. A small, closed-in vocal booth may cancel out the noise, but it will give dull, flat vocals.

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KVRian
706 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:16 pm

mixyguy2 wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 6:10 pm
? Sorry none of this is true.
So none of the following is true? :roll:
  • Cardioid mics are effected by the Proximity Effect
  • The Proximity Effect emphasizes the bottom end and plosives
  • Omni mics are far less affected by Proximity Effect
  • Volume drop-off and critical distance is more drastic on dynamic mics than condensers
You sure about that?
mixyguy2 wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 6:10 pm
Anyway, the answer isn't to buy this or that mic (although of course mics can make a diff). It's to treat the room.
Treating the room was established as a non-option from the start.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

KVRAF
1620 posts since 6 Nov, 2006

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:33 pm

wait until really late when it's quiet outside.

or record scratch vox then go spend a half day at a studio for a few hundred dollars. there must be a small project studio somewhere she can rent a few hours on the cheap.. probably even has better mics and an engineer. if she prepares and has a few tracks to record she can do many takes then just comp the vox at home.

KVRist
61 posts since 2 Mar, 2018

Post Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:02 am

jamcat wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:16 pm
mixyguy2 wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 6:10 pm
? Sorry none of this is true.
So none of the following is true? :roll:
  • Cardioid mics are effected by the Proximity Effect
  • The Proximity Effect emphasizes the bottom end and plosives
  • Omni mics are far less affected by Proximity Effect
  • Volume drop-off and critical distance is more drastic on dynamic mics than condensers
You sure about that?
? Try actually reading what you wrote and I was referencing, like "all quality studio vocal mics always have an omni polar pattern," which is ridiculous. Most studio mics, vocal or otherwise, DON'T have an omni pattern; most are in fact cardioid, along with a smattering of figure 8 and omni (often in a variable pattern mic).

The rest of what you wrote (again, in the part I quoted earlier) was similarly inaccurate.
Treating the room was established as a non-option from the start.
No it wasn't. There's no reason this person can hang some curtains or blankets (etc).

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KVRian
706 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:35 am

So all of the industry standard "goto" vocal mics have a selectable omni pattern. That is a fact. Whether or not a mic without an omni polar pattern can even be considered a "quality" vocal mic is subjective, which is why I omitted it from my list of stated facts. Your opinion of what defines a "quality vocal mic" may be different than mine or most studio engineers. That's fine.

But you said "NONE" of what I said was true, which is flat out wrong. If you disagreed with a subjective definition of a "quality vocal mic" that's one thing. But claiming all of the accompanying demonstrable facts are untrue is quite another.

An omni pattern is going to be more natural sounding and less coloured. That is also a fact. The trade off is that you get more extraneous sound in the mic, which can be a problem in a less than ideal recording situation. But that is precisely why you use a dynamic mic instead of a condenser in that situation. An omni dynamic mic is going to pick up a lot less extraneous sound than a cardioid condenser, and since it is a pressure mic, the vocalist can get right up to it and not get any unwanted proximity effects.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

KVRist
61 posts since 2 Mar, 2018

Post Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:11 pm

jamcat wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:35 am
So all of the industry standard "goto" vocal mics have a selectable omni pattern. That is a fact.
No, it's not. I have to wonder what studios you've been in where this was true.
Whether or not a mic without an omni polar pattern can even be considered a "quality" vocal mic is subjective,
And again, no it's not. In fact, it's a ridiculous assertion.
Your opinion of what defines a "quality vocal mic" may be different than mine or most studio engineers. That's fine.
Delete "or most studio engineers" and I agree. The idea that the quality of a mic hinges on whether or not it has an omni pattern is also quite ridiculous.
But you said "NONE" of what I said was true, which is flat out wrong.
None of what you said that I quoted was accurate. Sorry, hardly wrong.
An omni pattern is going to be more natural sounding and less coloured. That is also a fact.
No, it really isn't.
The trade off is that you get more extraneous sound in the mic, which can be a problem in a less than ideal recording situation.
Correct!
But that is precisely why you use a dynamic mic instead of a condenser in that situation. An omni dynamic mic is going to pick up a lot less extraneous sound than a cardioid condenser
Also not true.

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