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How do I sing into a microphone?

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  • How do I sing into a microphone?

    Because I can't. Even singing that to me sounds good unplugged, once I try it into a microphone it sounds awful. I'm comparing recordings, so I don't think it's all in my head. Well, maybe the problem is in my head, but the awfulness isn't.

    Can anyone give some advice?

  • #2
    Well, I suppose you could be singing into a crappy mic and/or a crappy PA system, but I believe that the matter is much more likely to be in your head. Some very famous people (Hendrix, Lennon, e.g.) could not bear the sound of their voices on recordings. A lot of people have this problem. The only way to work through it is to desensitize yourself by recording and listening back constantly. It took me a while, but I finally got used to hearing myself sing, and now I don't find my voice very unpleasant at all.

    The reason why you may like your voice when singing unplugged is that the sound from outside doesn't overwhelm the sound from inside. This sound from inside is the root of the problem: We always sound better internally than we do externally because of inner resonance caused by felt vibrations and bone conduction. When we listen through a PA the external sound dominates the internal sound and the sweetness we normally hear inside is compromised--or vanishes entirely. When we listen to recordings the situation is even worse, as there is no internal resonance.

    Keep listening and you'll get over this --or else buy a better mic and PA system.
    Jersey Jack

    Gibson J45 & Hummingbird
    Martin 000-28
    Deering Sierra Banjo

    "If you don’t like Springsteen that means you don’t like Woody Guthrie, which means you don’t like songs." Justin Townes Earle

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    • #3
      LOL maybe the quality of the mic isn't any good?? i don't know... i've done some gigs, and i've noticed that it often varies upon where you sing
      some places it sounds better, some worse, and sometimes the way the mic is set up is vital too
      http://www.youtube.com/user/theminpoes

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      • #4
        Using a mic to complement your voice is a very hard thing to master. If you sing with a broad range of styles (whisper, strong, melodic, scream, rough, jazzy, blues-y etc) you will need to master using the mic just like any other instrument. Come in close for quieter nuance, back off for a louder vocal volume, equalize with the other singers for balanced harmony, etc). It's a beast to get comfortable with, but practice makes perfect.

        Jack is correct about different mics. I used a SM58 for years until I was in the studio in NYC and tried an instrument mic (Shure Beta-57) and it blew me away. That's been my only mic for the last 16 years and I'm never without it, both for live gigs or studio work.

        Hit your local music superstore and try different mics with the same PA (make sure to bring your current mic along as well, just for comparison). See which mic complements your particular style of singing and the material you sing.

        It's a lot of fun comparing different mics!

        No, really!
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Originally Posted by MattACaster : *Runs 2 blocks down the street to Guitar Center, grabs detuned Schecter off the wall, plugs into Line6 Spider and proceeds to bring teh brootalz*

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        • #5
          Post a sample of your vocals and a list of your equipment - we need a reference to work with.....
          Hamilton Steele CD's / Hamilton Steele MP3 Downloads / Hamilton Steele iTunes

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          • #6
            Hey Flemtone, I use a Shure 58...isn't that meant to be specifically for vocals? We're kinda considering getting the 57 for instruments, so now I'm curious to see how I'd sound with that for my vocals instead.
            All things must pass...

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            • #7
              Because I can't. Even singing that to me sounds good unplugged, once I try it into a microphone it sounds awful. I'm comparing recordings, so I don't think it's all in my head. Well, maybe the problem is in my head, but the awfulness isn't.


              I notice that with my voice also. I sing along with recorded songs, using a microphone / amplifier to hear my amplified voice in real time. I work on the quality of sound coming out the speakers.
              Video playing guitar at the beach - www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4OTqDn0JqE
              Music video - Maersk rescue from pirates, original pictures, NAVY SEAL museum - www.youtube.com/watch?v=22fJQ8t8ZY8
              Broken Hearted Surfer - Original Surf music and video featuring local Florida surfers - www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aFXhNoRhHw

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              • #8
                It could be you mic, but most likely its your voice. We sound different to oursoulves that to others as yersey jack explained in his post. Have you asked anybody else what they think? and its their honest opinion? dont ask your mom lol. If they also say its awfull go for some singing lessons.
                http://www.drumsetsforsaleonline.com

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                • #9
                  Hey Flemtone, I use a Shure 58...isn't that meant to be specifically for vocals? We're kinda considering getting the 57 for instruments, so now I'm curious to see how I'd sound with that for my vocals instead.


                  Hey, Slickster - yep, the SM58 is the standard stage mic, mostly because they produce a good sound regardless of the singer's voicings and are tough enough for tour work. I just found that the Beta-57 (not the SM57)has a better, much clearer sound for my voice. It's very definitive in its tones, unlike a SM58, which can sort-of muddy up the voice. Having heard your voice on your samples here, I'd really suggest trying out the beta-57. I think you'll find a whole new amplified sound for your voice and I think you two will suit each other very well.
                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Originally Posted by MattACaster : *Runs 2 blocks down the street to Guitar Center, grabs detuned Schecter off the wall, plugs into Line6 Spider and proceeds to bring teh brootalz*

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                  • #10
                    You don't have to have a a very good mic to make a passable recording. Unless its something hideous (like a really cheapo computer headset mic) I would look at the recording settings (too much gain) or the sad and more likely possibility that you are hearing your "real voice" as others hear it for the first time and are not loving what you are hearing.
                    Vocal Gear: Audix OM3xb, Boss VE-20 | Synth Gear: iPad and apps | Controllers: M-Audio Axiom Pro 61, Roland AX7

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