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Old 01-22-2021, 09:42 AM
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Cecil6243 Cecil6243 is offline
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Default Hearing your voice in real time

as in via audio vs. just your ears:

How long does it take to used to it and comfortable? I'm not a bad singer as I did lead singing for a garage band when I was younger, but I believe it is universal that we don't like our own voices at first. That is unless we are a narcissist. Obviously what we hear with just our own ears is different than what is on tape for obvious reasons, although it must be trainable to hear it as the same or people that imitate voice well couldn't do it.

Anyway, obviously recording artists get used to them, and it's imperative that you like our own voice -- if you want to develop your own original style -- especially if you are into writing songs and recording.

Sorry for the rambling, but I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences with this.

Last edited by Cecil6243; 01-22-2021 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 01-22-2021, 10:58 AM
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I'm a terrible singer if I do say so myself, but I record myself often enough to be used to the recorded sound of my voice. What I DO with that voice isn't worth a bucket of spit, but the sound of it doesn't bother me. I remember being kind of freaked out by the sound of my spoken voice when I was young - I couldn't BELIEVE I sounded like that. But singing is different enough from talking that I don't remember ever being particularly bothered by that aspect of it...

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Old 01-22-2021, 11:11 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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I'm a terrible singer. It's one reason I play guitar: I like music and I like melody especially, but I couldn't sing, so I learned guitar so I could play the tunes instead. I still prefer melody to chords and harmony.

I agree that it's hard to get used to the sound of one's recorded voice - i.e., the way your voice actually sounds, to everyone else! The way we hear our own voices (in our ears and head) is unnatural, its wrong. That's what takes some time to get used to.
Of course, as singers (and I'll admit I have tried to improve my voice, at least to try and pitch more accurately), we have to get over that disconnect between what we hear in our heads and what's projecting out there.

I suggest working with mic and headphones all the time, so you hear your voice via mic and phones more than through your head. Get used to how it sounds when you manipulate it in various ways.

There's a story that when Robert Johnson made his recordings, he wanted it set up so he was facing the wall or a corner. People said it was because he was shy, or because he wanted to hide his guitar technique in case people stole his tricks. IMO, it's more prosaic than that: it was so he could hear his voice projecting back to him. If you sing into the corner of a room, from as close in as you can get, you hear your natural voice coming back to you. No tech needed!
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Old 01-22-2021, 11:41 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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The OP seems to speaking of a number of issues, all around recording vocals.

Like Ray upthread, I'm not much of a singer and particularly for myself I have the "can't carry a tune in a bucket" syndrome. Also like Ray, I've gotten over the shock of hearing my recording voice after years of experience with it, and on good days I can control "red light fever" when recording as I'm often alone when doing it--but the pitch issues still mar the results.

A few things that may help.

Tweaking how you hear yourself when recording (monitoring) Nothing in this realm has helped my pitch issues, but all are worth trying. One can just use headphones on both ears, but some singers prefer twisting the set and using only one cup on one ear. I sometimes record without headphones at all when recording with acoustic guitar, which seems to help me a little bit, but if in fairly dead space treated for recording, there may not be enough information reaching my ear. Though I haven't been able to repeat it, during one produced recording the producer had me singing facing a pair of monitor speakers (the speakers were in the null space of a cardioid mic).

Temporary, just for the recording pass, modification of what you're hearing in the headphones etc. Upping an instrument or other vocalist(s) in the backing track that best helps guide the vocal over where it will sit in the "real mix" is one tack. Some singers may want "more me" to help hear what their voice is doing while tracking. Some singers are helped by having a bit of reverb to spruce up their voice while tracking, others may hear pitch issues better monitoring dry.

You don't have to nail it first take. Nowadays with home studios and digital recording, there's no reason to treat a pass at a vocal as a high-stakes, game on the line deal. Within the limits of your voice's endurance, you can always do another take. Modern DAWs make "comping" vocals (using the best parts of several takes knitted together) something to consider. One thing I've noticed, it it's good to do at least one take after you think you've done your best, "just for grins." That take after you think you've checked off the task of getting an acceptable performance may well be more relaxed and better yet.

Consider tracking the final vocals as a vocals-only pass--or not. Doing vocals only recording passes sometimes helps me, and I should take the time and trouble to do it more often. To some degree I enjoy interacting between my voice and my guitar playing, and many good players can walk, chew gum, play hot licks, and sing like a bird at the same time. Some players sing better when it's a more offhand task as they play their instrument. But that's not everyone.

If that voice you hear on playback doesn't sound like you, that could be a feature not a bug. Consider that voice a character you didn't know was inside you. Especially as this post is in the play and write section here this should be considered. Singers and writers both are said to have to "find their voice" and it may not be what they thought they'd find.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:45 PM
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On an interesting note my twin brother went through a phase when we were about 14 where he could imitate some celebrity voices like Rich Little does. Not just the mannerisms but the sound too. But later he wasn't able to do it.

On a related funny note with our first job as grocery store clerks at abut 15 years of age, with the money we earned, we bought a cheap cassette tape recorder that seemed to be off a little and we swore up and done it made us sound like John Denver. Not long after that the tape recorder just died.

He has a lower register than mine in the baritone range while I am closer to a tenor. I want to get him to do some songs with me and I'll do harmony.

Thank you for the comments so far!
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Old 01-22-2021, 03:09 PM
Andyrondack Andyrondack is offline
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When I first got a recorder and heard how I sounded I really didn't like what I heard, studied vocal exercises on the net and tried the singing into the wall thing to monitor my voice, that helped but eventually I came to understand that I had to hear the voice resonating inside my head or chest before I could conciously control it . Open up the space at the back of the throat and try some of the exercises on the net.
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Old 01-22-2021, 06:13 PM
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My singing voice? Think of Bob Dylan with a bad head cold. Once I accepted it, though, I started to view it as a positive. One, it is definitely unique and all my own, and, two, I'll never be accused of trying to copy somebody else.
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:14 AM
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The point is even people with decent voices are taken aback by how it sounds differently then they first hear it on tape. And we can be our own worst critic.

I'll never forget reading a record producer said some of the best artists he worked with were very critical of themselves. One artist, Jim Croce, he said was very dismissive of the tapes he had submitted. Said something to the effect of, "Well see what you can do."

Add then there are people that are told they have no talent, of which Elvis Presley and Jonny Cash come to mind.

Last edited by Cecil6243; 01-23-2021 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:23 AM
jjbigfly jjbigfly is offline
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Hearing my self singing was a depressing feeling. It made me feel like I should have stuck with bowling. I could have had my own shoes...
I went the headphone route and I set all my gear on a desk very close in order to be able to make adjustments on the fly. It took awhile, but I look forward to singing a good amount of what I play and feel like I am singing decently at last.
I took awhile but I am used to my singing voice. You may not feel the same :-)
I eventually discovered that turning the vocals up really helps. You cannot fix what you cannot hear. I now understand why people always told me to turn up the vocals. Hearing myself (when it all comes together) playing and singing still brings THAT feeling....
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:51 AM
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Let's once again go through the reason why no one, no one, hears himself the same when comparing the inside and a recording:

When we talk or sing, the sound arrives at our ears through multiple routes: sound travels around the cheek and into the ear. However, a large component of low end travels directly from the pharynx and mouth to the ear canal and inner ear via bone transduction. The sources of sound induce sound into the bone structures surrounding them and that sound travels faster through the solid bone than the sound in the air. That sound that is transduced through bone is entirely our own listening space. No-one else gets to hear it. But it dramatically alters our perception of our own voice. Like a guitar, there is some resonance off of our chests that others hear along with the product from our mouths but it is very limited. Microphones can pick up a bit of this if they aren't too set too closely but the typical pop mic'ing job doesn't. The result sounds like there has been a high-pass filter placed across what you hear within your head.

And that is why we are uncomfortable. It can be substantially overcome immediately with an intellectual decision that "this is the way I sound so get used to it!" There will still be some emotional impact, but you can get over it.

Bob
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:28 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Have you noticed that you take a better selfie if you can see your own face in the camera as you snap the shot? Same thing with your voice -- you'll learn to adapt. That, and it'll start to sound more normal. When that happens, you can get over yourself and start concentrating on the musical aspects.
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Old 01-23-2021, 12:58 PM
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Cecil6243 Cecil6243 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Have you noticed that you take a better selfie if you can see your own face in the camera as you snap the shot? Same thing with your voice -- you'll learn to adapt. That, and it'll start to sound more normal. When that happens, you can get over yourself and start concentrating on the musical aspects.
That's what I was thinking and hoping!

I did so some home recording complete with harmony on another track, and guitar, and it didn't sound bad. That was over 30 years go though.
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Old 01-23-2021, 03:02 PM
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When you are monitoring yourself in real-time, like when using headphones for tracking, the difference in perception isn't quite as bad as when listening back. When you're singing, you still are getting that bone conduction and chest resonance Bob mentions. It's only your ears that get what the headphones are putting out.

Maybe it's because I've done it so much, but I never really noticed much "disconnect" in my voice with real-time monitoring, like headphones or stage monitors. Certainly not to the same extent it took getting used to hearing back my recorded voice later.
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Old 01-26-2021, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjbigfly View Post
Hearing my self singing was a depressing feeling. It made me feel like I should have stuck with bowling. I could have had my own shoes...
I went the headphone route and I set all my gear on a desk very close in order to be able to make adjustments on the fly. It took awhile, but I look forward to singing a good amount of what I play and feel like I am singing decently at last.
I took awhile but I am used to my singing voice. You may not feel the same :-)
I eventually discovered that turning the vocals up really helps. You cannot fix what you cannot hear. I now understand why people always told me to turn up the vocals. Hearing myself (when it all comes together) playing and singing still brings THAT feeling....
I could have wrote this,, except for the bowling..
(the shoe comment was great!)
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Old 01-26-2021, 01:53 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Oddly enough, I find to my ears my singing voice sounds a lot more like my voice than my speaking voice.
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