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Trouble making voice sound good. Most common/helpful vocal effects?
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Gear Virgin
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#1
5th April 2013
Old 5th April 2013
  #1
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Trouble making voice sound good. Most common/helpful vocal effects?

Hey all. I recently got a Komplete Audio 6 interface and cheap GLS es58 mic.

I'm pretty inexperienced and record all my vocals dry. After I tweak the volume levels of each line and sometimes each word individually. That's all I do (that and some cutting/croping/chopping whatever it's called) I get some okay sounding vocals, but it takes a while and I can't help think some effects would make it sound better. I don't even EQ. I use Reaper, but i'm not sure how.

If i'm not mistaken compression would help me from having to adjust the volume levels so much, correct?

What are some commonly used vocal effects? Any that are recommended for most vocals?

I sing a lot of grungy rock stuff and metal, but also cleaner/mellower styles as well. So any effects that compliment these styles? I'm pretty oblivious to this part of recording.

My pitch is good but my tone mostly ins't. I will sing along with a song and be in pitch, so it sounds alright to my ears while i'm singing it, but then when I play it back with just my vocals it sounds not so good.

Any feedback would be nice. Also if someone is interested in hearing me for the sake of providing better feedback or sheer curiosity let me know and i'll post a link to a rough sample of me singing a song or 2.
#2
5th April 2013
Old 5th April 2013
  #2
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There is only so much you can do, most of it comes down to the actual singer him/herself.

However, standard would be:

EQ if needed. This would mean taking out any overbearing frequencies, and adding any to make it sound better.

Compress: With vocals, this is usually done to smooth out volume levels. (over simplified of course). Look for vocal presets in the preset menus of your plugins, then bring the "threshold" control back until you can see the meters responding to the loudest parts. Tweak as necessary (this takes years of experience to perfect)

The you will typically (but not always) have either reverb, delay or both on auxiliary sends. This means you set up a "send" on the vocals mixer channel and you send a copy to another auxiliary track, where you instantiate a reverb or delay. Ths way, the main vocal track stays "dry" (no reverb/delay) and you can adjust the level of the reverb and delay by adjusting the level of the aux tracks.

That would be the most usual way of doing things. Of course you can do whatever you want. Trent Reznor used to put distortion on his vocals because he didn't like the sound of his own voice.. you can do anything you want. Whatever you think sounds good.

matt
#3
5th April 2013
Old 5th April 2013
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mags is offline
what matt said.

i usually do compression as i record vocals though, then send it to a bus with another compressor. when it comes to reverb and delay for general rock vocals i like to have the reverb on about 0.8-1.0 s depending on the feel of the song, delay around 10-15ms to get a simple doubling effect (effects on the dry track, or maybe put the reverb on the delayed vocals).

best of luck.

mags.
#4
6th April 2013
Old 6th April 2013
  #4
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Mr_Mixdown is offline
do realize that most vocalists don't like the sound of their own voices. sounds like a confidence issue to me.

Look at it this way, it's called art, your job is to create it, not critque it. Art is also highly subjective.

Believe me, there will be plenty out there who will like it, and plenty that will hate you,no matter how "Good" or "bad" you are.

This is why you should please yourself, and make your music and not worry so much.


phuck, if Bob Dylan can make it, that should tell you something...
#5
7th April 2013
Old 7th April 2013
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pwrmac7600 is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
what matt said.

i usually do compression as i record vocals though, then send it to a bus with another compressor. when it comes to reverb and delay for general rock vocals i like to have the reverb on about 0.8-1.0 s depending on the feel of the song, delay around 10-15ms to get a simple doubling effect (effects on the dry track, or maybe put the reverb on the delayed vocals).

best of luck.

mags.
What type of verb? Hall, Plate, Ambient?
#6
7th April 2013
Old 7th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gear Virgin View Post
Hey all. I recently got a Komplete Audio 6 interface and cheap GLS es58 mic.

I'm pretty inexperienced and record all my vocals dry. After I tweak the volume levels of each line and sometimes each word individually. That's all I do (that and some cutting/croping/chopping whatever it's called) I get some okay sounding vocals, but it takes a while and I can't help think some effects would make it sound better. I don't even EQ. I use Reaper, but i'm not sure how.

If i'm not mistaken compression would help me from having to adjust the volume levels so much, correct?

What are some commonly used vocal effects? Any that are recommended for most vocals?

I sing a lot of grungy rock stuff and metal, but also cleaner/mellower styles as well. So any effects that compliment these styles? I'm pretty oblivious to this part of recording.

My pitch is good but my tone mostly ins't. I will sing along with a song and be in pitch, so it sounds alright to my ears while i'm singing it, but then when I play it back with just my vocals it sounds not so good.

Any feedback would be nice. Also if someone is interested in hearing me for the sake of providing better feedback or sheer curiosity let me know and i'll post a link to a rough sample of me singing a song or 2.
You need to be able to hit the pitch and get everything right not singing along, you're not hearing yourself fully while you're singing along. To see this, just record yourself while you're singing along to something, you'll be surprised with the result. Sing your stuff to nothing, your timing doesn't have to be right just do the melody and try and sing it how you'd sing it - This way you can actually hear exactly what you're doing. If you can hit everything like this and sound good, then you should be able to just sing it over your instrumental or however you're doing it with the volume of said instrumental LOW so you can hear yourself almost as well as with nothing. This is how I go about trying to get the best vocal takes when just getting stuff down on my own.

If I'm really trying to get a song down VERY tight and well sung, then I prefer to do a period of pre-recording where I do nothing but focus on that song for a few weeks or so and get it down to muscle memory, this gives you a chance to hear little things you'll end up not liking but weren't hearing right off the bat as well, smooth everything out, get the melody exactly how you want it, etc.

Don't worry about anything beyond your dry vocals until you can get them down how you want them dry. If it's not sounding good don't try and dress it up, get the take right.
#7
8th April 2013
Old 8th April 2013
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For a classic EFX, use slap back.

Channel Send to Aux Return with 100% fx.

On that Aux Return (with 100% fx), put a delay that can handle 80ms to 130ms.

Push the send TOO MUCH so you can really hear the effect.

Adjust the timing of the delay so it kind of feels right, kind of adding to the rhythm of the vocal, kind of bouncing.

Then back off on the Channel Send till it suits the song. Sometimes this is very little, sometimes it's more (like on a chorus).

We're going back to Elvis with this one. This effect worked for a reason.

Some may argue...
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#8
8th April 2013
Old 8th April 2013
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If its the quality of your vocal itself it can be a hardware issue if not then EQ is the magic here. Lean off of the mids (300-500Hz)

And I like to boost the 12khz just a little for that nice little sparkle.

Compression helps in grunge music to settle everything in place. The quality of the music plays a big part when adding vocals. Its hard to mix nice vocals if the track itself is highly distorted as many grunge songs are pre-master.


Hope this helps a little bit

Sent from my Nexus 7
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8th April 2013
Old 8th April 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTuxedo View Post
For a classic EFX, use slap back.

Channel Send to Aux Return with 100% fx.

On that Aux Return (with 100% fx), put a delay that can handle 80ms to 130ms.

Push the send TOO MUCH so you can really hear the effect.

Adjust the timing of the delay so it kind of feels right, kind of adding to the rhythm of the vocal, kind of bouncing.

Then back off on the Channel Send till it suits the song. Sometimes this is very little, sometimes it's more (like on a chorus).

We're going back to Elvis with this one. This effect worked for a reason.

Some may argue...


I agree and love the explanation! This technique works awesome.


Sent from my Nexus 7
#10
8th April 2013
Old 8th April 2013
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mags is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by pwrmac7600 View Post
What type of verb? Hall, Plate, Ambient?
Well that all depends. I think that a hall effect suits most bands though. But for example, I recorded a really dark sounding metal band and used an effect called "dark chamber" (I use the TC Electronic M2000) on the vocals to get it to sound more gloomy. So whatever sounds good on the bands songs and style, basically.
#11
9th April 2013
Old 9th April 2013
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dave thomas is offline
vocal effects

Before you reach for a vocal effect you need a good vocals sound which is the combination of a good microphone (not expensive) and good preamp (again not expensive).

Then you need to let the artist hear himself properly in the headphones with just enough reverb/delay in his headphones so he is excited about the sound. You can record these effect to a separate track. The level of the headphones can also effect the pitch.

I remember recording one rock vocalist that was always pitchy with headphones so we set up two Auratones on mic stand and pointed then at the artist. The Auratones were wired out of phase so they cancelled at the microphone to reduce leakage. This gave us a much better vocal sound and pitch than we usually got with this artist.

With inexperienced vocalists its a good idea to use some compression but not over the top compression and it should be analogue not in the box.

The input to the D/A converter is the weakest link of the audio chain and can be producing harsh distortion passed an input of +21dbv. For, example a Neve 1073 or API 512 preamp can produce over +30dbv before distortion.

6db is twice as loud.

Whether I was recording KD Lang or Vancouver Punk screamer Joey "shithead" from DOA I would have a compressor set to about 2:1 that was barely working but if the vocalist suddenly "let go" or screamed the compressor would stop the track from overloading.

Here is a rock vocal with with one of our microphones and preamp that cost's about $1000 for both.

With the Komplete Audio 6 you would be better of with a tube LDC microphone to warm up the sound and give the vocalist more to work with.

I remember starting out in 1971 recording with dynamic microphones like the SM57 and SM58 and moving to a LDC microphone made the biggest improvement.

Now, I have recorded some artist's where the had to hold a microphone to feel comfortable or wanted to work the microphone really, really close.

So, we would put up a Sm58 or SM7 dynamic but also put up a LDC back a 1-1/2 for the artist and record that to another track.

Cheers, Dave



Yo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gear Virgin View Post
Hey all. I recently got a Komplete Audio 6 interface and cheap GLS es58 mic.

I'm pretty inexperienced and record all my vocals dry. After I tweak the volume levels of each line and sometimes each word individually. That's all I do (that and some cutting/croping/chopping whatever it's called) I get some okay sounding vocals, but it takes a while and I can't help think some effects would make it sound better. I don't even EQ. I use Reaper, but i'm not sure how.

If i'm not mistaken compression would help me from having to adjust the volume levels so much, correct?

What are some commonly used vocal effects? Any that are recommended for most vocals?

I sing a lot of grungy rock stuff and metal, but also cleaner/mellower styles as well. So any effects that compliment these styles? I'm pretty oblivious to this part of recording.

My pitch is good but my tone mostly ins't. I will sing along with a song and be in pitch, so it sounds alright to my ears while i'm singing it, but then when I play it back with just my vocals it sounds not so good.

Any feedback would be nice. Also if someone is interested in hearing me for the sake of providing better feedback or sheer curiosity let me know and i'll post a link to a rough sample of me singing a song or 2.
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