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Topic: Slightly OT: Faking a choir

  1. #1

    Slightly OT: Faking a choir

    Despite the fact that there are some great choral libraries out there, I\'ve been experimenting with the concept of layering my own voice multiple times to create a choral sound. The problem is that it sounds very \"robotic\" as the voices clash with one another. I know there might be something I can do from an effects or mixing perspective, but admittedly, mixing is my weak point. Could someone give me some suggestions?

    Also, has anyone had success at this? Any tips or tricks?

  2. #2

    Re: Slightly OT: Faking a choir

    Ooops, you will never receive anything even close to a choir.

    A choir consists of over 50 singers, all with different timbres, different ways of intonation and different rhythmic feeling. That´s what makes a choir a choir.
    If you´re very good, you can fake about 3 different timbres and perhaps you can change your rhythmic feeling, but no chance that this sounds like a choir.

    Get some friends instead [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  3. #3

    Re: Slightly OT: Faking a choir

    Yeah, but it\'ll still not sound like a choir...perhaps a vocal ensemble but it won\'t have the thickness of a real choir.

    I would advise starting out with a choir sample, and then addint your own voice on top for some \"humanizing\" effect. Then it can be quite effective.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Slightly OT: Faking a choir

    Originally posted by Vertigo50:
    Gosh guys, way to have a negative attitude! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Yes, no kidding. You can do this. I do it all the time.

    Panning is your great friend here. I\'d combine a few vocal samples with several hard-panned \"real\" tracks. The formant shifting idea works to a degree, but if you can get two or three folks to help you out, it will be much more effective.

    If you\'re literally trying for a \"choir\" and your singers are good, run several mono SATB passes, and have the singers trade parts so that you get all the timbral variation you can from the unaffected voices. Pan these all over the soundstage. Careful about getting too much ambient content on the tracks. Unless you\'re room is nice and big, the combined ambience of multiple small-room recordings will get very boxy. Been there done that, has a scar on my patooty to prove it.

    Also, don\'t hesitate to really play producer, and to assign personality roles to the singers. \"Change your timbre\" is a nice direction, but it doesn\'t stick, and halfway through the tracks, your singers are \"themselves\" again. They need a character to \"play\" when they\'re singing.

    For example, knocking off a childrens\' choir (similar to lee\'s example) I assigned roles like teacher\'s pet, smoker kid, tattletale, dumb kid, bookworm, jock, sissy, kid with cold, fatty. The results were VERY good, and the tracks were hilarious soloed. The point is, you need to really hang the abstraction of \"different voice\" onto a lot of hooks that keep it threre through the track.

  5. #5

    Re: Slightly OT: Faking a choir

    Thanks for the advice, Bruce. I hope you didn\'t take my comments the wrong way on the Copy Protection discussion. I wasn\'t personally attacking anyone. I just get tired of people going back and forth on an issue, repeating the same thing.

    In any case, you\'ve been really helpful to a lot of people on this forum, so thanks a lot.

  6. #6

    Re: Slightly OT: Faking a choir

    Sorry, but one voice, no matter how much you process it and layer it multiple times you process it, will never sound like a huge BIG BIG choir.

    That said, I do like using formant shifting ot make ensembles. I\'ve done alot of morphing my voice into kids or female \"choirs\". You can get a great sound, but it will not be VotA \"huge\"

    however layering, like everyone\'s been saying, is a great trick.

    Do a search on \"formant shifting\" on this site. You\'ll find all sorts of talk about different plug ins and tricks. I was a big contributer to this a while back, since i\'ve been a fan of using this technique for as long as I got my first formant shifter. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    all of bruces ideas are exactly what I try and do (acting), but I also try and sing for the particular formant shifter. You learn the different quirks for differen shifting plug ins and you if you can actualy manipulate your voice to get around them, you\'re better off.

    I haven\'t been able to find a way to manipulate my voice into sounding like a true pop diva yet tho. I have to get back into doing character voices....I wonder what would happen if I do my \"shaggy\" from Scooby Doo and shift it....

    zoinks...like run scoooob....its...the... mummyyyyyyyy....

  7. #7

    Re: Slightly OT: Faking a choir

    Thanks for the tips. I will definitely search around.

    Just to clarify, though, I\'m not necessarily trying to get a \"huge\" choir sound, just something that sounds like a small choir or ensemble.

    I appreciate all the good advice.

  8. #8

    Re: Slightly OT: Faking a choir

    Just to clarify, though, I\'m not necessarily trying to get a \"huge\" choir sound, just something that sounds like a small choir or ensemble.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">- Well, I have to say that I have had great success doing this. I sang around 8 tracks of the same line (whoa-oh-oh), I actually found that given that I am a human and not a robot (last time I looked) worked to my advantage for two reasons-
    1. There was subtle variation in each take I sung.
    2. Because it was the same voice each time and because the changes were subtle, the different tracks blended very nicely.

    I then went through and sung two part harmonies and the end result was suprisingly good. I also panned different takes/tracks.

    Not sure if this is what you want. Certainly Bruce\'s suggestion of different characters will give you great variety. What I did was more reminiscent of 10CC \'s \"I\'m Not In Love\" - more of a sythesized voicy sound.

    Cheers, Scott.

  9. #9

    Re: Slightly OT: Faking a choir

    In contrast to some comments, I\'ve had more success singing without vocal \"character\". It makes it more difficult to pick out individual voices and makes it harder to tell how many voices there really are. You should also be prepared to do many many layers to achieve a good result.

  10. #10

    Re: Slightly OT: Faking a choir

    Gosh guys, way to have a negative attitude! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    Lee, thanks for the tip. I\'ve been experimenting with formant shifting, but haven\'t found one that works well. Which one do you use? How do you layer and pan the tracks? What other effects do you use?

    What problems did you run into, and how did you fix them? Any more help you could give would be greatly appreciated.

    By the way, I can probably get a few other singers so as to change the timbre, but I will still need to multiply those voices, so I\'m trying to work just on mine for now to get the technique down first.

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