1. Noise Reduction This is always my first step. Noise Reduction will eliminate that nasty unwanted hiss and hum in the background of your recording. First, record yourself on your microphone only saying "test one" and let the recording continue 5 seconds without making ANY noise in the background. After you are finished, highlight 0.300/seconds of the part where you are making no noise. While that is highlighted, goto: Transform > Noise Reduction > Noise Reduction Choose "Get From Profile Selection" and set the Reduction level to 95%. After you are done with that, hit Save Profile and put this file in a folder where no one will delete it. Now hit OK. *NOTE: The next time you use Noise Reduction on your vocals, just open the original file you saved before with the Load Profile button and hit OK* 2. Silence and Delete Now that the hiss is eliminated you can see your pure vocals through looking at the wave forms. At this point of editing, it is good to Silence and Delete unwanted background noises. You should notice right after Noise Reduction that there is a lengthy amount of time from 0:00 secs to when your vocals start and between the time where your vocals finish and the audio ends. To delete this excess amount of time, highlight that area of unwanted sound ONLY and goto: Edit > Delete Selection Now listen to your audio thoroughly from beginning to end and point out any gaps, or lengthy periods of your verse where you aren't saying anything or making any noise. Highlight only those sizable gaps, and individually goto: Transform > Silence *NOTE: To maximize both of these effect to the fullest capability, I highly suggest you Zoom In before Silencing or Deleting a selection* 3. 4:1 Compression It is very hard to record a complete verse without being too loud at some point than other points. To fix it where this can be nuetral, a Compressor solves this. This compressor takes your vocals and fixes them where they are leveled out at 20dB which is perfect to use the steps mentioned after this and keep your emotion leveled. To use this goto: Transform > Amplitude > Dynamics Processing Now select "4:1 Compressor > 20dB" and hit OK. You will notice immediately that your waveforms will visually lose some definition. 4. Antares Mic Modeler I would have to say this is probrably THE most talked about DirectX plug-in online. Its job is to work with your vocals so your microphone will appear to mimic other microphones. It is not 100% effective on mimicing other mics, but with this Vocal Editing Process, you can't deny how much it really compliments your finished product. If you have Antares Mic Modulator goto: Transform > DirectX > Antares Mic Modeler Even if you aren't using one, set your Source Mic to the Shure SM58. Now set the Proximity Inches of the Source Mic to 3.5 inches. Set the Modeled Mic to the microphone of your choice. I prefer the AKG C 3000 with the Cardiod setting for its pattern. Put the Low Cut ON and Preserve both the Bass and Treble sources. Your choice of Tube Saturation, if needed. Now you are ready to hit OK. If this is your first time doing this step, before you hit OK, select Add Preset. The next time you want to use this plug-in, all you have to do is load it from the Presets list. 5. Normalization I do not suggest using the Amplify option in Cool Edit simply because I have noticed it takes away from the natural feel of the vocals a little bit. I like to use the Normalize option instead. What this does is boost up the volume to your chosing by using either percentage or decibel calculations you put into it. To get into this option, goto: Transform > Amplitude > Normalize Make sure "Decibels format" is unchecked and set the "Normalize level" to 95%. Press OK. 6. AIPL WarmTone This is another plug-in designed to make your vocals mesh well with the beat. This blending of vocal leveling is usually called a "warm" effect. I got this plug-in and really underestimated it. When you look at the layout, it looks very cheesy and you may want to discard it, but do not judge this book by its cover! If you have AIPL WarmTone, goto: Transform > DirectX > AIPL WarmTone Goto the Presets, select "Mellow Blend" and push the ProSound button in. Now chose Add Preset and save this so next time you use this plug-in, you can access it right from the Presets list. 7. Normalization Almost the same as Step 5, but changing the level. Goto: Transform > Amplitude > Normalize Make sure "Decibels format" is unchecked and set the "Normalize level" to 100%. Press OK. 8. Finishing Touches Now just go back over your audio to make sure there aren't any unwanted background noises that are being picked up during moments when you aren't making any noise on the microphone. If there are, refer to Step 2 to silence those noises. I always run another Noise Reduction for my last step just to make sure the unwanted hiss or hum is completely taken out on my finished product. To refer back to Noise Reduction, repeat Step 1. Part 3a - Polishing Your Audio (Special Effects) NOTE: When doing this, make sure you are only editing your acapella in Single-Track Mode Demon Voice I figured this one out myself. It is VERY dope for intros/outros and skits. If you have ever seen the Exorcist, this procedure will make your voice sound like the girl who was possesed by the demons in her bed. First you have to bend your pitch. To do that, goto: Transform > Time/Pitch > Strech Select the preset called "Lower Pitch" and you are ready to hit OK. You should notice your voice will now be deep. Now, for the biggest and dopest change of this whole process! Goto: Transform > Delay Effects > Delay Set the preset to "The Exorcist!" and hit OK Thunder God Voice I figured this one out myself. Alot of people have started asking me how to do this after Warbux did it on his Monkey B skits. I personally think it is/was played out, but I'm adding it here so people won't have to ask me about this anymore. First, you have to edit your pitch. To do that, goto: Transform > Time/Pitch > Strech Select the preset called "Lower Pitch" and you are ready to hit OK. You should notice your voice will now be deep. Now, for the biggest and dopest change of this whole step! Goto: Transform > Delay Effects > Delay Set the preset to "Vocal Presence 2" and hit OK. Chipmunk Voice I figured this one out myself. Alot of people have started asking me how to do this after Warbux did it on his Monkey B skits. I personally think it is/was played out, but I'm adding it here so people won't have to ask me about this anymore. First you have to bend your pitch. To do that, goto: Transform > Time/Pitch > Strech Select the preset called "Helium" and you are ready to hit OK. You should notice your voice will now be high. Now, for the biggest and dopest change of this whole step! Goto: Transform > Delay Effects > Delay Set the preset to "Vocal Presence 2" and hit OK. Phone Effect Most people know how to do this already or know what it does. It makes your vocals sound like they were recorded over the phone. It's very nice for skits. To use it, goto: Transform > Filters > FFT Filter Select the preset, "Get Off The Phone!" and hit OK. Now your voice will sound like phone quality. To add the finishing touch, I go to: Transform > Delay Effects > Delay Set the preset to "Vocal Presence" and hit OK. Naturally, with both of these filters mixed, you will lose volume in your vocals. You should re-Normalize your vocals, to do this, goto: Transform > Amplitude > Normalize Set the Normalize level to 100% and hit OK. Skit Tips When you are doing skits that are based on live situations, such as live conversations or talking to someone, you want it to sound realistic. To do this, you are going to need the DirectX plugin, AIPL SpinCycle2. This program edits your vocals to make it seem as if your mic was placed in the position you chose during pre-recording. That's the best I can explain it with. If you have this plug-in installed, goto: Transform > DirectX > AIPL SpinCyle2 Select the "[default]" preset and change the Mic Placement to "50, 68" by raising the meter on the left of the visual slightly. Now change the Crossover to "810 Hz" and press the ProSound button in. Hit OK. *NOTE: You should hit Add Preset before pressing OK so the next time you use this plug-in, you can load it directly from the Presets list.* Try as much as possible to add realistic sounds in your skits as well. For example, if you are basing your skit on being in the park, insert samples of the wind blowing, birds chirping, people walking by, and dogs barking. Normalize these types of sounds to a suitable level and mix them far apart so it seems more like a realistic setting. Part 3b - Polishing Your Audio (Touch-Ups) NOTE: When doing this, make sure you are only editing your acapella in Single-Track Mode Reverb If you listen to ANY professional CD, you are going to hear a reverb. Alot of people think reverb is just a weaker version of echo, but reverb is a process that expands sound and echoing is the repitition of sound. I REALLY despise the use of Echoes on your audio, because Reverb gives it more of a professional touch. To get into Reverb, goto: Transform > Delay Effects > Reverb Alot of people use presets that over abuse the reverb effect. I recommend selecting the "Tight And Close" preset above the others. If you want your reverb to have more definition than the "Tight And Close" filter, then you can make it stand out with the "Vocal - Nice Presence" preset. Hit OK. Echo/Coffin Filter Some people record their audios in room that aren't suitable for "Echo-proof" recording. Before they even touch filters, their audios already have a echo in them caused from sound waves bouncing off the walls in the room they are recording in. If this is happening to you, you can get that out by going to: Transform > Delay Effects > Echo Chamber Chose the "Wooden Coffin" preset and hit OK. This should solve your troubles. I have gotten complaints that this doesn't work for everyone. If you find this not to work, either, then you may want to turn your closet to a recording booth. Clear your closet out, and tack up a bed spread to surround you nearly 360º, of course, you don't want to wrap the spread over the door. Now you are ready to move your set up into your closet. If your microphone's cord isn't long enough, refer to the Introduction to read about cables. Each time you are going to record, clear out your closet, and when you are finished, put all your clothes and other possessions back in the closet.