Production RECORDING VOCALS -- Drop ur techniques and tips!

ProducerSpot

Hypnotist

Ear Manipulator
*** ill o.g. ***
The best reverbs, delays, phasers, etc come in a piece of outboard gear, NOT a plug-in. (This is usually the case, but some plug-ins are okay to use, just not the free ones that come with Pro Tools, etc). The professionals use Lexicon, which costs tens of thousands of dollars, but the setup is sick. 480L, 900L, and all those models... Now THOSE reverbs actually sound like rooms and they're the realest textures I've ever heard. Also, the Lexicon PCM-80 is good for delays and you can stack em and have them trigger each other for a more round sound.

Usually I just add a little bit of room reverb, and play with the decay, etc til it sounds right. Sometimes the artist asks for more in his/her headphones, and sometimes they ask for too much, so I always make a different mix for them. But it's better to add moderate to low level of reverb to the actual mix, as people tend to soak the mix with reverb and it takes away from the performance.

That's just my $0.02
 

Symphonic

Custom User Title
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Anybody using hard limiting? We used it and it was a good way to get the vocals leveled, but i don't know if this is a common trick or something to avoid next time.
 

MourninDaKnight

Member
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Battle Points: 1
once i finish my beat i convert it to one wav file. i then take the wav file which is the vocal track. so i am working with 2 tracks. i just experiment by shift each track forward or back..i also change the bpms on each track but not always at the same time and just continue shifting each forward and back until i get something that sounds right.

very tedius. i don't know how else to explain it
 

LDB

Banned
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Battle Points: 73
Anybody using hard limiting? We used it and it was a good way to get the vocals leveled, but i don't know if this is a common trick or something to avoid next time.
I don't think limiting or compressing vocals is a good idea. I think you should capture the "human" element of the vocals. No one stays the same veloscity in real life so why would you want to make them sound that way on a record?

IMO the 1st key to vocals is the mic. A good condenser mic. Positioning your mouth the width of your hand away from the mic is a good distance away. A good pop filter in front of the mic for those killer B's and P's. Now after the vocals are layed a little Eq'ing (take the bottom out) slight chorus and a small amount of reverd for rap. If it's R&B u can add a little more reverb but don't go crazy. Get about 4 or 5 people to take a listen to the level of the vocals with the music.

P.S. layering the hook or chorus makes a big difference in rap or R&B! I do at least (4) tracks of the hook or chorus and I pan the (1st) ones hard right hard left, the (2nd) 4 and 8 o'clock, the 3(rd) 3 and 9 o'clock and the (4th) 2 and 10 o'clock. It really brings power to the hook or chorus IMO.
 

Symphonic

Custom User Title
*** ill o.g. ***
yeah thats a good trick.
What is cool 2 is having 2 tracks for the chorus 1 from the left and 1 from the right and the verses centered with 2 backup tracks coming form the left and the right. Sound cool on a song.
 

majestik

Newbie
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Use the wall homie!

peace to all, dope insight. I have a ghetto recording setup though. Use whatever u have around for your benefit. Ex's: I don't wanna scrape up the dough for a $60.00 filter (str8 underground) so I throw a doo-rag on top of the mic, use what u got. It may not be as high quality as a pro filter, but I can hardly tell the diff and It does help filter the pop's (such as p's) out. Also I agree with all that the best thing to do is experiment and find out what kind of sounds you want to get. Some cats want that professional sound, while others prefer down and dirty rawness. The best place for me to place the mic is right next to the wall, so that the soundwaves bounce off of it and you get twice the kick. Try busting close to the wall and you'll see what I mean, the sound is stronger and richer. If you put the mic in the middle of the room the soundwaves are traveling in all sort of directions theres nothing there to trap them. That's why you normally see booths are small as hell. It's science, also do some reading on soundwaves and work out with different experimentations. Hope this has been helpful. PEACE>

 

Ash Holmz

The Bed-Stuy Fly Guy
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Battle Points: 207
peace to all, dope insight. I have a ghetto recording setup though. Use whatever u have around for your benefit. Ex's: I don't wanna scrape up the dough for a $60.00 filter (str8 underground) so I throw a doo-rag on top of the mic, use what u got. It may not be as high quality as a pro filter, but I can hardly tell the diff and It does help filter the pop's (such as p's) out. Also I agree with all that the best thing to do is experiment and find out what kind of sounds you want to get. Some cats want that professional sound, while others prefer down and dirty rawness. The best place for me to place the mic is right next to the wall, so that the soundwaves bounce off of it and you get twice the kick. Try busting close to the wall and you'll see what I mean, the sound is stronger and richer. If you put the mic in the middle of the room the soundwaves are traveling in all sort of directions theres nothing there to trap them. That's why you normally see booths are small as hell. It's science, also do some reading on soundwaves and work out with different experimentations. Hope this has been helpful. PEACE>

i completely disagree ..... a mic will typically sound better in the center of a room than in a corner ... exaclty beacause there are less reflections... but a bad room is bad room no matter how big or small ...... most pro studios use VERY big booths as a matter of fact ... howvever most homestudios are not treated well enough to have a big booth .. or have limited space... in that case... esp with rap ur best bet might be to make the room "dead" with blankets or other treatments
 

Sanova

Guess Who's Back
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Battle Points: 9
i completely disagree ..... a mic will typically sound better in the center of a room than in a corner ... exaclty beacause there are less reflections... but a bad room is bad room no matter how big or small ...... most pro studios use VERY big booths as a matter of fact ... howvever most homestudios are not treated well enough to have a big booth .. or have limited space... in that case... esp with rap ur best bet might be to make the room "dead" with blankets or other treatments
Yea, I know this from experience. If your not in a well-treated recording booth, the center of the room is where u need to be.

It can cause an irreversable reverb effect from ur voice bouncing off the wall and coming in thru the back-end of the mic (the side facing the wall). Since the back of most condensors dont usually record, you'll get a more muddy type sound cuz the reflection from the wall will still pick up.
 

MPCaddict

Member
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my vocal chain is as follow

Shure SM7b mic --> Groove Tubes The Brick --> DBX 160A compressor --> Apogee Mini-Me AD Converter --> Digi 002 via SPDIF.

sounds ok to me.
 

Shonsteez

Gurpologist
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Battle Points: 33
Yo thats actually a pretty darn nice signal chain addict. My buddy has the brick, that thing tends to sound pretty dope on most vocals. Plus u got GREAT converters...Shit, thats more than 1/2 of what ultimately makes a great signal on the way to your DAW.
Ive heard even standard workhorse mics like SM57s ran through Apogee converters and then A/B'd with the converters taken out and its amazing how much jitter those things remove - quite impressive.

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Id say as far as vocals go theres always a few things to keep in mind from my experience recording MCs, Studio Musicians, & Vocalists:

1. Every vocalist is different. That goes for musicians too.
2. Due to reason (1), theres never one steadfast way to approach recording a particular artist.
3. Theres always good starting points, but remember that they are starting points rather then set parameters to live your life by.
For Example:​
All mics are a little different. Sure their polar patterns might be very similar, but some sound better when theres a little proximity effect and others fucking blow the shit out of your converters as soon as the vocalist gets too close (like with most condensers vs dynamics).
So its all about experimenting - taking more then one take to get the right sound before u begin your REAL takes, and try moving things around a bit.​
4. The most important thing to consider before u even bother worrying too much about your MIC of choice, your PREAMP, or your CONVERTERS (which by the way are all integral) is to make sure and use what you got correctly first before trying to fix things in the mix and say that a plugin or a magic editing method will fix the take.
Instead try DIFFERENT MIC PLACEMENTS, as well even DIFFERENT MICS if you got em. And dont forgot to watch your vocalist perform to assess whether you need to fix something along the way including how close or far they're standing from the diaphragm.​

I know those things aren't the holy grail of answers but they have certainly helped me along the way and to be honest - there is NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO RECORD SOMETHING EVERY TIME if you feel me?

Hope I could contribute something...

STEEZ
 

Gran-Dad

WOZART
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I've been experimenting a lot lately with multiband dynamic compressors on vocals. Any Suggs on this.
 
P

PCP101

Guest
Trust your ears. Only good equipment and software. Proper recording procedure. Do your research.
Have fun with it!
 

Gran-Dad

WOZART
*** ill o.g. ***
I've tried both ways and I prefer to record all in one...depending on the vocalist and lyrics
 
S

sureShock

Guest
High,depends on what you want.But I like to record hungry and angry as fuck ,dark light or no light at all,good gate settings while teh recording,maybe a bit comp for the peaks.After recordings put gate,comp ,some eq,some tube warmth and maybe some spechaal effects.
Also double if not more your track and put it on left some on right with different effects maybe.
The most importatn thing is a good energy in the recording.The vocals even pure have to be the killer at its own - and then only than go for detailed polishing.
 

Johan Brodd

Member
Battle Points: 1
From my experience it is always a good idea to record your vocals semi good first, then you lay them on the music, rerecord the vocals as good as you can in 4 bar chunks. This means that you have don't need to look at a paper, or screen when you have the text comin' at ya in the headphones. Should you fault, then all you need to do is to wait for the loop to restart and you can have a new go on recording the vocals.
 
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