Sometime i need the hear the vocal, sometime i don't want to hear the vocal, !!!!
My default level for the vocal is usually down around 7-10 dB: so players can hear it's place in the archutecture of the arangement, but not so they can hang on every nuance. Most players seem ok with this.
The rason why i want to hear or doesn't want to hear the singer go nothing to do with the mix level on my
headphone.It's more about the quality of the singer....:) :)
With a quality singer i will gladly take that level in my headphone mix Michael......
So many people ask me almost instantly to turn the vocal down that I have 'been trained'. With the type of projects I seem to do a lot of, in the last 5 years or so I have also given up on the idea of hearing a good balance in the control room as well--most everybody seems to be very focussed on making sure there are no mistakes from the players rather than making compelling music--at least when I'm recording non-improvised overdubs.
Man, it's so interesting how differently we all operate-- I cannot even fathom that people would ask you to turn the vocal DOWN.
I want to understand every word, and really lock onto the emotional feeling, so that I can be sure every note I play supports the feeling of the lyric and delivery.
I want it to sound like the final mix, and I want my part to be about the level it will be in the final mix. Otherwise I'm just guessing at dynamics; at tone; at everything. If I'm in the control room listening over monitors with my amp in the other room, so much the better.
Brad, I totally get--and subscribe to--your point-of-view. It seems like there has been a trend in that last 5-7 years to engage in what I call "defect oriented listening". The worst case of this I ever experienced was when a client came over to hear a mix. I hit the spacebar (aka 'play') and in under 2 seconds the guy said "STOP". He was/is a pretty high-strung guy and it was almost laughable to me. FWIW, it seems like this defect-oriented listening trend is lessening somewhat in the last year or two and I, for one, will be glad to see it fade... at least to a lesser degree that it has been.
Great point. I'm sometimes given over to it myself, PARTICULARLY when I'm alone and recording myself. I'm susceptible to totally losing the plot and trying to capture a "perfect" performance.
For some reason, if there's a good set of ears I trust in the room, and I can just focus on PLAYING, my tendency to hyper-focus on flaws sort of goes away.
I think it can be easy, particularly for a younger player, to conflate "professionalism" and "perfectionism." The more I gain experience the better I become at being able to "trust" and just play and then evaluate later.