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First attempt to record voices of Tearing Up My Heart

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lcdadragon:
Hello everyone, im new here :)

As a hobby I like to listen to the layered vocal work that goes into BackstreetBoys or Nsync style songs and try to unravel every harmonic in them.
I try to listen to them from live and original songs and after I figure out the notes (or at least try to) I tell my girlfriend how to sing them. Then I edit them and try to make it sound something like the original. Although I never get anywhere close. It's probably a mix of bad music editor, bad ear and bad production. But it entertains me quite a bit and it's the closest I'm getting to getting a multitrack of these songs at the moment. Since I'm embarrassed to show it to my friends I'm going to share it with you. Try not to be too harsh. Any advice is always welcome. Best regards!
(We are from Spain so the pronunciation may not be the best either. ^^")

I got the instrumental part here from backgammonfiend, so I would like to thank you for sharing it.

https://youtu.be/U0x1OskSDcs

Snipes3000:
Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQcOpRAfal0 Danthemanbardo did a lot of harmony analysis of Cheiron songs. His videos are chaotic but in all the Max Martin songs I have time stamped each part in the comment section. Analysing those gave me a better understanding of how harmonies work in music. If you ever heard of counterpoint, it is in fact the foundation of those harmonies albeit more comprehensive than you need to know for pop music.

Decide what is your lead melody and which audio files are harmonies (background vocals). Pan the BGV hard (anything above 50% at least, but try and listen what is best. Perhaps 100%, prhaps 75 or perhaps 50%, or perhaps a combination of all of them) and keep the lead in the center. The BGV are too buried in the mix in your current mix, I barely hear them.

What voice type is your vocalist (mezzo-soprano, alto, soprano)?

lcdadragon:
Thank you for taking the time to listen to it.
My girlfriend's voice is a Contralto/Mesosoprano and we record everything from home trying not to disturb the neighbors, so we are thinking of renting something more serious to do the recordings. And yes we have seen a lot of videos of ThemCoversMB and DanTheManBardo for other songs I have made about backstreetboys.

The levels and equalizations are something that I don't master at all well, I don't have any kind of reference on how to do it better. I have changed the vocals to lower the presence of my voice in the accompaniments and I have separated 100% for panning.

If anyone wants to try I have no problem to send the files.

Here is the last mix where I have tried to follow your advice. It's quite complicated because there are many layers of voices and the more I change them the worse they sound XD. Thanks again, we are very pleased with your critics. I guess the trick is to practice.

Snipes3000:
Ok. I listened to the acapalla closely this time. A few things:

-Pay attention to consonants (S, T, K etc.) and use volume automation to 'smoothen' them. I heard a few T's that are too hard and I heard the S as well somewhere going to hard. You can even cut out these 'hard' sounding consonants from the BGV. If the consonant is in the lead(s) then it is often enough. Sometimes production choose to turn a T into a D, to smoothen it (ariana grande - into you for example), so that's another thing to learn
*now you could use a de-esser for the job, but I recommend trying to solve it with volume automation at first and not merely rely on a de-esser because it quickly tends to do more harm than good for those not experienced.
-Timing: Currently the timing isn't tight enough as getawaydriver already mentioned. Make sure that at least the BGV have the same timing. You could use software like revoice pro (also known by the name of its younger brother: vocalign) or you could pay very close attention to your vocalist being right on the timing during the recording session. Since this one is already recorded, use revoice pro to fix the timing. Use the lead vocal as the reference input for the program and align the rest of the vocals to the timing of the lead vocal. The lead vocal itself can also be aligned manually, that means chopping audio, using volume crossfades to get the timing as pleased.
-Panning: I gave you a tip on panning last time. It is important that when you pan for example the lowest voice to the left, that you have a double of that lower voice on the right. Same audio file or another one? Try and see what works.
-Delay: your delay sometimes pops up in the middle of a vocal line. After all, this will disturb a mix. Control your delay manually or use a ducker or a sidechain which ensures that the delay is only heard when silence reaches. At any cost, those delays heard sometimes in the middle of a line need to go out. You could also print the delay manually and then later cut it out. There are different methods. Another method is automating the send input in case your delay is on a send. It should be on a send though in most cases!
-Some plugin tips: If you are not an experienced mixer, make use of an assistant! The bad news is where to find one is a shit task but the good news is that AI, as found in Izotope Neutron (mixing) and Izotope Nectar (mixing vocals specifically) have an AI mixer which sets up certain stuff for you which you can tweak afterwards if you don't agree with its suggestion.
-Can you tell me a little about the mic chain? In what room is the recording, what mic, where is the cable of the mic going into, what hardware is doing work and what plugins are on the chain?
-Harmonies: If I'm not mistaken all the melodies of your harmonies are exact repetition of the lead but on a different pitch. This is a mistake. When you study danthemanbardo videos, you will see - particularly in the advanced harmonies which the BSB made - that they aren't always exact. 12tone has a video about harmonies as well where he discusses several types of harmonies. The melodies of the harmonies often are different than the lead melodies itself and that's where the real magic happens, that's where u get goosebumps hearing the melodies. Creating harmonies of groups requires very intelligent execution and my best advice is just to check out those danthemanbardo videos for hours and hours and find patterns, that will give u the best insight in what decisions are logic and what decisions are not. After all, as Aristotle concluded, 'excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny'. Also in the art of creating harmonies excellence requires to make the right decisions among many alternatives.

Good luck

lcdadragon:
I take note of everything you have said.

The mix will probably have to be improved because it is preventing you from hearing correctly that my harmonies are different from the main one except in the case of the bass harmony which is exactly the same.

I control the reverb and delay with separate tracks to be able to accentuate some words. But I guess I should improve it.

Thanks for all the tips and program names, I'll check them out right now :)

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