vocal breathes

Posted on

Pslam 34:8
Member Since: Dec 04, 2004

What are the opinions of the gallery on vocal breathes. You know those quick breathes a singer takes just before he/she sings? Should you leave them in the recording or take them out?

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Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Member
Since: May 11, 2002


Dec 12, 2007 07:58 pm

depends.


:)



if I'm doing rock or hardcore I'll usually take them out.

... it's sort of like fret noise from guitarists moving their fingers along the neck... they don't even hear it when played back but it drives me nuts...

if I get sick of it after listening to it over and over then I take it out.

Uh, at least one more time . . .
Member
Since: Feb 07, 2007


Dec 12, 2007 10:25 pm

I leave it all in . . . listen to Fiona Apple's version of "Across The Universe" and you will hear her very noticeable breath intakes. She's not the only one who does this, and her producer certainly isn't the only producer who lets it go. As for the guitar, listen to Steve Howe's solo in the middle of "To be Over" on the "Relayer" album (1974). THe string zing is very noticeable, and I'm sure it was no accident that it was left in. We have a song just about fully recorded in which the 12-string player squeaks here and there in an arpeggio figure that's repeated. I like it, and I like the breath intakes too, but I can understand why other folks might hate it.

Typo Szar
Member
Since: Jul 04, 2002


Dec 13, 2007 12:20 am

depends on the breath, but id say for me 99% of the time i leave them in. the breaths (for a well practice singer) r part of the performance as a good vocalist knows when to inhale and exhale and how.

It can add a sense of realism to the performance if u ask me

www.TheLondonProject.ca
Member
Since: Feb 07, 2005


Dec 13, 2007 01:08 am

Quote:
It can add a sense of realism to the performance if u ask me

Very important to me too. With so much overly processed and automated vocals it's nice to know it is a "human" performance.

Mans reach exceeds his grasp
Member
Since: Oct 23, 2007


Dec 13, 2007 01:26 am

I agree with BH entirely. Sometimes I'll be watching TV or listening to some old (or new) Bjork or Natasha Bedingfield track an sit back in awe of the lip and breath nuances in the music and how they're accentuated. Personally, I think if you have a mic of high quality that picks up these nuances, they're a really big bonus as long as they're not too strong. Subtlety is the key I should say.

Hold 'Em Czar
Member
Since: Dec 30, 2004


Dec 13, 2007 04:39 am

simple programmed volume automation (on damn near every breath) if you have the time/drive to do it...i've found myself actually bringing some up on more than one ocasion.

and a lot depends on the project....like on personal stuff, i do the above, but with paying cliets, i've run clock watchers right through a mixing session only bringing the subject up once, and if they say "nah, sounds good as is"...i keep on trucking (unless there's a real bad one here and there)...

keep in mind if you have a compressor in the vocal chain make sure you do write the automation last, cuz compressors tend to bring the quiet suff up quite a bit, so what sounds good before the compressor won't sound as obvious after compression.

Member
Since: Dec 13, 2007


Dec 13, 2007 07:50 am

even more, there's program products like waves debreath, if you don't want to cut breath from all 20 background tracks :)

Ne'er ate 'er
Member
Since: Apr 05, 2006


Dec 13, 2007 09:38 am

For singers, I'll agree with the above statements. Some singers have more noticeable/annoying breathing sounds than others, and yes, compression is a factor, so it depends on the individual track and the processing on it.

For my narration, I silence all of my breathing sounds. I believe that's industry standard. If it isn't, it should be. There's no background music to mask them, and they can get bothersome during a long presentation.

Czar of Turd Polish
Member
Since: Jun 20, 2006


Dec 13, 2007 10:11 am

Depends indeed, acoustic work I'm almost always leaving it in unless requested otherwise. Heavier tunes not so much.

Answer:On a good day, lipstick.
Member
Since: Jun 24, 2004


Dec 13, 2007 02:16 pm

Radiohead.... You can tell it's them just from the breaths between lines. Works a treat.

That said, I am really agitated at myself for doing it. Just doesn't have the same effect. Doesn't work on some of my stuff. I actually hack them out with the scissors on my DAW.

Quote:
the breaths (for a well practice singer) r part of the performance as a good vocalist knows when to inhale and exhale and how.


Which is exactly my point. I'm rubbish.

bace135 in the house tonight!
Member
Since: Jan 28, 2003


Dec 13, 2007 03:59 pm

For me it depends. I mostly record rap, so I leave most of them in on the verse, and then chop anything out for the overdubs/backup tracks. I also will go in and manually decrease volume (wav editor - reduce volume) rather than volume envelope on any problematic ones in the full verse, but never remove them completely.

But yeah, I think the style and feel of the song should definitely dictate whether to take them out or leave them in. And, I think it sounds funny not having them there at all, so like wyd said, volume envelopes (or manual) is the way to go.

Member
Since: Jan 18, 2003


Dec 13, 2007 04:06 pm

nine inch nails always left them in, too.

but when some bands do it, it sounds fake and forced to me. i hate a really breathy emo-content song. nin did that, but nin never sold itself as 'real' so it worked, to me.

www.TheLondonProject.ca
Member
Since: Feb 07, 2005


Dec 13, 2007 04:13 pm

How about at the beginning of PF's "Mother". Can't imagine that song without the deep breath at the beginning (even if it was staged)

Hobbyist musician,pro recorder
Member
Since: May 15, 2007


Dec 13, 2007 07:49 pm

Breathing is a natural part of singing, so long as it is not overly loud or siblant.

It depends, as others have said, on the song/genre.

You might notice how unnatural and canned a radio spot sounds when all the announcers breaths are removed and all the phrases are butt up against the next one.

I never removed my breathing for singing, but I sure have had to on my radio airchecks, it's my worst on air feature, and the station's compression just makes it even worse.

Member
Since: Aug 31, 2007


Dec 14, 2007 01:36 am

Speaking for myself, I leave them in. I don't have a whole lot of really audible breaths. I breathe through my nose as much as possible and those tend to stay invisible. The more audible breaths stay. It sounds odd without them.

Listen to Sinatra and you can hear him taking breaths. It's part of singing.

Ne'er ate 'er
Member
Since: Apr 05, 2006


Dec 14, 2007 09:55 am

[quote]
I never removed my breathing for singing, but I sure have had to on my radio airchecks, it's my worst on air feature, and the station's compression just makes it even worse.[/quote]

This is why many broadcasting schools tell you to get in the habit of moving your mouth slightly to one side of the mic when taking breaths. Takes a bit of practice. Some announcers even use the "cough" (mute) button for each breath, but I think that's overdoing it..

Next time you watch a documentary on TV, listen to the narrator. You'll very rarely hear them breathing.

As Joey mentioned, your nose can be your friend too.

Singing is a completely different bag.

Hobbyist musician,pro recorder
Member
Since: May 15, 2007


Dec 14, 2007 04:09 pm

My broadcasting school did not recommend anything of the sort (they were a joke). The problem is I simply found myself working at stations that were so compressed even a small breath (let alone my rambling air gulps) was brought up to the fore.

Yeah, I know other professional announcers barely breathe, whether radio or tv. Just one of those bad habits I never got rid of.

Hold 'Em Czar
Member
Since: Dec 30, 2004


Dec 15, 2007 04:16 am

i've been tryin' to kick the 'ole breathing habit for years....it's tough.

Hobbyist musician,pro recorder
Member
Since: May 15, 2007


Dec 15, 2007 12:53 pm

LOL...I guess one should be careful what one wishes for! :)

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