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I have been singing for 3 years with my guitar and I got pretty decent with singing. I let other people criticize my voice and they agree it is decent. But now I am starting to use a DAW to try and edit my music and I can't even sing with a backing track. Then I try recording with the same song but not with a Minus One but with my guitar and it sounds good.

Is there some simple solution to this?

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  • What do you mean by "minus one"?
    – Tom
    Jul 10 '20 at 8:40
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    Are you unable to sing in sync with the backing track? It's possible that you don't have a tuning problem per se, but a timing one. You could be shifting your guitar playing to match any rhythmic inaccuracies in your singing, and the backing track won't be so forgiving.
    – Dekkadeci
    Jul 10 '20 at 10:16
  • Furthermore, how well can you hear the backing track? Do you have it barely audible above your singing, blasting loud, or somewhere in between?
    – Dekkadeci
    Jul 10 '20 at 10:17
  • @Tom_C Its a audio file of a song but with the vocals taken out.
    – Duke
    Jul 10 '20 at 12:44
  • @Dekkadeci Its true I kinda shift the timing when playing with my guitar but not too much. and I think my timing when singing with a backing track is fine. Its just not in tune. About the track s volume. I also experimented with different backing track volume while recording and I think the lowest backing track volume while recording is more in tune than the louder ones.
    – Duke
    Jul 10 '20 at 12:44
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First things to check:

  • If when you say "you can't sing" you mean you're out of tune:

    • Does the backing track play on the same key as you do on your guitar? Maybe you're trying to sing too high or too low?
    • If it does, check if adjusting the volumes helps. It's almost impossible to sing well without hearing yourself and the backing in a good balance.
  • If when you say "you can't sing" you mean your timing doesn't fit the backing track:

    • Practice on your rhythmic abilities. When you play guitar and sing at the same time you can slow down and rush both at the same time. So you will be following your own rhythm. But the rhythm track will not follow you, you'll have to sync up with it. Slowing down the backing track may help you pinpoint the problem. It may also help to play your guitar and sing at the same time with the backing track.
    • Again, checking the volume levels may help. A strong beat or a click track usually helps with timing.
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  • The summary of the comments chain to this question, which resolves some of your ambiguities, is that the OP has no timing problems, the backing track and the guitar are in the same key and tuning, and lowering the volume of the backing track produced better results.
    – Dekkadeci
    Jul 14 '20 at 11:21
  • The second point of the first part help me. First time I see or hear something about like It is almost impossible to sing well without hearing your self while playing the backing track. And practice is obviously also important. thanks
    – Duke
    Jul 16 '20 at 16:20
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I presume you're singing with headphones providing the backing track to you, so you don't get spill into the mic.

In which case, a couple of suggestions…

  • Try with one ear off the headphones.
  • Experiment with playback volume of both the track & your own voice.
  • Add reverb or a short echo to your vocal playback. 20-50ms single echo can help with tuning.
  • Try singing 'live out' in the room. Playback over your speakers at a decent level. [You won't need your vocal over the speakers for this, just the track.] You will get spill, but ignore that for now until you get used to it.
    If you can place the mic exactly between the speakers & flip the phase of one of them [simply by swapping the wires on one speaker + to - ] then that may alleviate some of the spill.

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