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Thread: Mixing vocals?

  1. #9


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    Quote Originally Posted by schreckmusic View Post
    Any suggestions for a brand that makes a Distressor type plugin? I have never used one.

    Luckily with the suggestions so far I already own CLA compressor and vocal plugins. I haven't tried adding a compressor yet. That will be the next thing to mess with.

    @Drew unfortunately the singer is recording at a different location. Out board gear is out of my control
    SSD makes one as part of their VMR suite, that's the one I use. Here's some others:

    https://www.pro-tools-expert.com/hom...ug-in-round-up

    It's funny. When I first started recording, eons ago, I would have strongly disagreed with this. Within a couple years though I'd learned enough that I would have strongly agreed with this, and that if you were boosting or cutting by more than say 3db it would mean something else was wrong somewhere. Yet, in the last couple years, I've kind of done a 180 and have tended to be quite a bit more heavyhanded in my use of EQ, and I'm not so sure I agree anymore - I think a lot of "good" mixes I've heard have been a fair amount more EQd than maybe I'd originally heard.
    Of course, when I say that, I do mean after getting a good mic, preamp, the right position, and good singing. So basically EQing in post. All of the recording stuff is also EQ in a sense. I like to put in a lot of high-end as a rule, as well as saturating the signal with tape + console emulation, Distressor saturation, preamp emulation, etc. etc. so there's a big change even from the source. If you have to make a lot of corrective moves you probably need to tighten up your tracking, versus creative EQ which is more opinion-based.
    C'mon son.

    Hellevate

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  3. #10


    Join Date: Feb 2010
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    What style of vocalist?

    A shit ton of vocals in metal are double tracked. Which some people don't immediately realize. If you go and listen to like Amon Amarth or Devildriver, the stuff is doubled to sound like that, it's especially noticeable on some albums/tracks.

    Before worrying about the other stuff, make sure you have appropriate pre-amps/microphones/mic placement/mic technique.

    Getting the mic placement proper and/or making sure the vocalist has good mic technique is the first step. If the vocalist has bad technique, you are going to be working with sub par stuff right off the bat. An outboard preamp suitable for vocals is also highly recommended.

  4. #11


    Join Date: Feb 2010
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    Also there are like, 3-4 categories of vocals.

    -Vocals that aren't in tune but it's OK because for the style/sub-genre they aren't meant to be in tune.
    -Vocals that aren't in tune, but they are supposed to be in tune.
    -Vocals that are in tune, and are supposed to be in tune.

    There's also "extreme vocals that aren't necessarily intended to be in tune, but nonetheless are in tune at least some of the time", but that's a bit rarer and that leaves you in a weird spot.

    Basically, all of those require different approaches.

    The singers vibrato is huge too. Generally, the better the vibrato, the fewer FX you need.

    As far as fx like delay goes, the singers technique actually matters quite a bit. Certain singers can pull off more obvious delays because they track with it and sync their vibrato and phrasing to it. So it's not a one size fits all sort of thing. Certain singers actually know how to work with the delay and make it sound good, which is going to be a different thing than just putting delay on something to make it sound less bad.

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  6. #12


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    Quote Originally Posted by thrashinbatman View Post
    SSD makes one as part of their VMR suite, that's the one I use.
    Be careful with Slate products, the software is absolutely brilliant but getting it installed and working carries the same odds as a game of Russian Roulette where the gun has five bullets. If it was reliable I'd be recommending it to you above all else, but I've lost literally weeks trying to get it to work.

  7. #13


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    Quote Originally Posted by Lozek View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by thrashinbatman View Post
    SSD makes one as part of their VMR suite, that's the one I use.
    Be careful with Slate products, the software is absolutely brilliant but getting it installed and working carries the same odds as a game of Russian Roulette where the gun has five bullets. If it was reliable I'd be recommending it to you above all else, but I've lost literally weeks trying to get it to work.
    I stopped using Slate fx along time ago. I never did understand the hype.

    I do use Slate drums though

  8. #14


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    If you can't be with the guy when he tracks, hopefully you can get him to really listen to his takes before he sends them to you and get him to understand what's a good take and what isn't. Like others have said, mic technique is paramount in this. You can have bad vocal technique and still get a great take, as long as the mic technique is there. Unless you want to spend hours automating volume/compression levels.

    I'll drive myself crazy doing take after take of my own vocals just to make sure it's consistent in the delivery all the way through the take because I don't want to spend all that time automating stuff. I've got zero 'rules' regarding what I should or shouldn't do to them because it's all within the context of how every other instrument sounds and where they sit in the mix. I'm constantly messing with input levels because one take I might be belting something out and another I might be right on top of the mic, practically whispering. I don't EQ much, I think I've had more success using CLA-Vocals to take care of the EQ side of things, which just allows for Bass/Treble adjustments and a few effects. I seem to get everything I need out of that. Once I got an SM7B I found I was doing a LOT less EQ'ing than I was with a 57 or a 58. I used to have a hard time getting the grit/distortion in my voice to come through properly, but the 7B rectified that in a major way.

    I prefer to track with all the effects on my voice. Like Greg was saying, it allows me to play off delays so I'm not tweaking those down the road. Much like the same way I play WITH the delay on my guitar; knowing when to end a note to let the delay come through and whatnot.

    If I'm having a hard time getting the vocals to sit within the track, if it sounds buried when I lower the volume of the vocals, I can usually get around it by adding in a bit of high's and sucking out some lows and vice versa. That kind of stuff is more dependent on the singer's voice though, so what works for me might not work for other people.
    "It's ONE WHOLE MILLIMETER"

  9. #15


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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev Drucifer View Post

    I prefer to track with all the effects on my voice. Like Greg was saying, it allows me to play off delays so I'm not tweaking those down the road. Much like the same way I play WITH the delay on my guitar; knowing when to end a note to let the delay come through and whatnot.
    Yeah, there is definitely a difference between playing with delay and playing off a delay. Good guitarists and vocalists know how to sync up with it with phrasing and vibrato. If they tracked with a delay, you have to pay attention to BPM and delay note value to get the best sound. If you just use a stock delay with the same milliseconds you use on everything it can be less than optimal.

    The most overbearingly obvious example of this is the intro of "Welcome to the Jungle". But a lot of good vocalists specifically play off the delay they are using, so you should really use the same values.

    Probably the best metal example of a dude who sings with a "signature" effect he knows how to play off of is Chuck Billy. Anything from Low up to Brotherhood of the Snake, there's clever vocal production going on. There's actually a preset in Toontracks EZ Mix2 based on what Andy Sneap uses on the Testament albums he did. Although buying the EZ Mix 2 suite and buying the add ons might be a little excessive for a single effect.

    Actually one of the best examples I can think of. Most of Chuck Billys vocals are so cleverly done you don't even necessarily realize what is going on there.

    http://<a href="https://www.youtube....vUcLcqwSzw</a>

    Also, using more than one delay is pretty standard. There's usually a second one for less dense parts or slower parts where the repeats are more prominent. A lot of metal records have a delay with super prominent repeats going that might be used on a single line or a single word.

  10. #16


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    It's definitely not a one size fits all sort of things. Singers usually have something dialed in specifically to suit them. You see it on a lot of 80s thrash bands, where their newer material has vocals way fucking better than the old stuff.

    Not Testament of course, Chuck Billy is always amazing.

    But Overkill comes immediately to mind. The FX he's using on Ironbound suit him a lot better than what was on the older stuff. If you compare Ironbound and Taking Over it's hugely noticeable how much of a difference having effects that suit the singer makes. Instead of a one size fits all setting that's "generally good".

    Peter Tagtgren is another super obvious example, though he's not really a singer. It's not exactly subtle, but that dude definitely knows how to supplement his vocals with FX.

    His vocals are *extremely* produced (though it varies album to album) but he has a specific sound (he does production too for his own shit) that is dialed in to suit him that most people like if they like that style.

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