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Can studio techniques generate vocal timbre?

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Gerinski View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Can studio techniques generate vocal timbre?
    Posted: November 30 2012 at 10:35
Hi,
 
For reasons which are not relevant I have spent 2 weeks listening to a lot of mainstream radio. Don't ask me what artists or bands were being played, I'm totally out of wave with current mainstream music, I can just say that it was not too techno / rap / dance, more the "top 100 pop songs of the moment" kind of thing.
 
One thing I noticed was that a lot of singers seemed to have a very similar voice timbre (this being true for both male or female vocals), which in the natural world seems quite unlikely.
 
This made wonder, there are just 2 possibilities, either singers are very carefully selected to match some pre-desired kind of timbre, or maybe modern studio techniques can modify the actual timbre of the singer to bring it to the desired "commercially cool" timbre.
 
We all know that Autotune can modify and adjust the pitch, but are there tools which can also alter the natural timbre of a voice to make it sound whatever they want it to sound like?
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 30 2012 at 10:59
Probably a combination of both.   Singers do often have similar voices, timbre is not necessarily all that unique.  And if you are flipping through mainstream pop songs casually, the impression of similarity would be even stronger.   Further, a variety of effects are then applied to vocals and these effects can be very uniform for pop music of the same era so that strengthens the impression of similarity.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 30 2012 at 11:20
I remember when Pearl Jam got big, a whole ton of scruffy-low voiced "Yeahhh" Eddie Vedder clones came out of the woodwork.  I think people just tend to imitate what they like (which in the case of popular bands, is often just whatever's popular at the time).

Edited by HolyMoly - November 30 2012 at 11:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 30 2012 at 12:11
Originally posted by HolyMoly HolyMoly wrote:

I remember when Pearl Jam got big, a whole ton of scruffy-low voiced "Yeahhh" Eddie Vedder clones came out of the woodwork.  I think people just tend to imitate what they like (which in the case of popular bands, is often just whatever's popular at the time).
 
 
I am with you but still I think that imitating a voice timbre is not that obvious, you may try to some extent but in the end you have the voice that you have. In prog where we do not have the commercial pressure we find quite a wide diversity of voice timbres, much wider than I noticed in current mainstream.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 30 2012 at 12:42
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

Originally posted by HolyMoly HolyMoly wrote:

I remember when Pearl Jam got big, a whole ton of scruffy-low voiced "Yeahhh" Eddie Vedder clones came out of the woodwork.  I think people just tend to imitate what they like (which in the case of popular bands, is often just whatever's popular at the time).
 
 
I am with you but still I think that imitating a voice timbre is not that obvious, you may try to some extent but in the end you have the voice that you have. In prog where we do not have the commercial pressure we find quite a wide diversity of voice timbres, much wider than I noticed in current mainstream.
I guess then that I don't really see that degree of sameness among the actual vocal timbres in mainstream music.  I wish I was familiar enough with mainstream music to provide examples.  LOL  But  I hear the "sameness" as an acquired stylistic thing rather than something they were born with.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 30 2012 at 14:21
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

Probably a combination of both.   Singers do often have similar voices, timbre is not necessarily all that unique.  And if you are flipping through mainstream pop songs casually, the impression of similarity would be even stronger.   Further, a variety of effects are then applied to vocals and these effects can be very uniform for pop music of the same era so that strengthens the impression of similarity.  
 
Both this and HM reply sound reasonable to me. The pop music world isn't known for difference.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 30 2012 at 19:05
Originally posted by HolyMoly HolyMoly wrote:

Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

Originally posted by HolyMoly HolyMoly wrote:

I remember when Pearl Jam got big, a whole ton of scruffy-low voiced "Yeahhh" Eddie Vedder clones came out of the woodwork.  I think people just tend to imitate what they like (which in the case of popular bands, is often just whatever's popular at the time).
 
 
I am with you but still I think that imitating a voice timbre is not that obvious, you may try to some extent but in the end you have the voice that you have. In prog where we do not have the commercial pressure we find quite a wide diversity of voice timbres, much wider than I noticed in current mainstream.
I guess then that I don't really see that degree of sameness among the actual vocal timbres in mainstream music.  I wish I was familiar enough with mainstream music to provide examples.  LOL  But  I hear the "sameness" as an acquired stylistic thing rather than something they were born with.

Yeah, I don't think the voices are actually exactly the same, it's just the effect that is very similar.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sagichim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2012 at 03:17
Working in recording studios I never heard of a 'plug-in' which can chage/edit the singer's timbre like autotune for example. The only thing that is being done which is close, is EQing the vocals to highlight or suppress some frequencies, that definitely changes the singer's timbre or tone but the overall core timbre is always there, it's just sharpening the edges. overall a singer's timbre is its own.

Also Steve has a good point.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Triceratopsoil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2012 at 03:18
With signal processing you can do basically anything you want to audio.  Might be ridiculously expensive and take a long-ass time to get right, but you still can.


Edited by Triceratopsoil - December 01 2012 at 03:19
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sagichim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 01 2012 at 03:23
^ You can't make Kurt Cobain to sound like Peter Gabriel or Justin Bieber.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote musicsound12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 02 2012 at 07:29
we are two drummer friends and we need to make a good synchronism during a beat play! But we lose out tempo often! How can this problem be overcame?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stonebeard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 00:02
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

 We all know that Autotune can modify and adjust the pitch, but are there tools which can also alter the natural timbre of a voice to make it sound whatever they want it to sound like?

Equalization does that. Mic selection does that. More so than anything vocal coaching and talent selection does that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sagichim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 03 2012 at 00:13
^ It does that to some extent but definitely not changing the singer's timbre completely.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stonebeard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 04 2012 at 00:39
Originally posted by sagichim sagichim wrote:

^ It does that to some extent but definitely not changing the singer's timbre completely.

Sure you could throw any pitch and time effects on there you want, but I was talking about decisions that have a chance of being tasteful and not sounding like an Animal Collective album.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Polymorphia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2012 at 21:46
Eventually, you start to sound like who you listen to, whether subconsciously or consciously. But also, if you are not used to the compression used in big label studios, everything will sound the same. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2012 at 21:51
I personally think it is due to the kind of voice training these type of singers receive. I hate the way it sounds, and that is one of the reasons why I have never wanted to take singing lessons, even though I like to sing. I would hate to sound like one of those people.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Polymorphia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2012 at 22:15
Originally posted by thellama73 thellama73 wrote:

I personally think it is due to the kind of voice training these type of singers receive. I hate the way it sounds, and that is one of the reasons why I have never wanted to take singing lessons, even though I like to sing. I would hate to sound like one of those people.


Personally, I've never had those problems with my vocal teachers. As long as you make it clear what you want to sound like, I don't think you will either. Then again, I don't know the vocal teachers in your area.Tongue
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