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Mixing rap vocals in logic 9
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#1
27th April 2010
Old 27th April 2010
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Right now these are the logic plug ins i am using to mix the vocals: Compressor, Limiter, Fat Eq. The reverb i use is the enverb for the most part. Now here are my questions...

1) In the compressor im using the FET Voice 1 setting. There is also a limiter feature. Should i just be using that feature instead of using the limiter plug in?

2) I find that even when i use very slight reverb that the limiter doesnt take. The limiter could be set to not go over 0db, but when reverb is on the signal can jump past 0db & clip. Why?

3) Final question. When mastering should i be mastering to 0db or -3db. I ask this cause once you pass -3db the signal jumps into the red zone. If its in the red zone doesnt that mean its clipping? Also should i be making sure every individual track does not hit the red zone?

Thanks ahead of time for your help it is very much appreciated!...
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27th April 2010
Old 27th April 2010
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T. Gundersen is offline
First of all, it sounds like you shouldnt master anything to be released just yet..

When using compression on vocals, try to clarify to yourself what youre looking for the compressor(s) to do.

Since what a limiter does is compress/shave off peaks with a high ratio, use it whenever you got transients coming through destroying the percieved loudness of the vocal. This is usually not needed with decent vocalists, and even less if the vocals are properly recorded.

Compressing for sound is different and really requires you to learn how attack, release, ratio and knee affects the signal. But the logic comp is capable in that department too.

You can also try letting a logic comp w plat cirquit algorithm do peak reduction, and use another instance with fet or vca to kinda fatten up the sound.
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28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
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1st off thanks for your time sir it is greatly appreciated.

The vocals were recorded well in a booth on a good mic going through a avalon. If it also helps to know i use a duet.

I am aware of what a compressor & a limiter does. I am just wondering when needed if i should use the limiter feature in the compressor plug in rather than using the limiter plug in.

When you set a limiter to not go over 0db it should not go over. Right? When i send the vocals dry through a limiter its fine. When i put a little reverb on them the limiter does not limit to the db i set it to. There should be a easy answer to this.

Also i still would like someone to shed light on the 0db -3db question

I have worked as a pro producer for several years but always had engineer's mastering my work.
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28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
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T. Gundersen is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by OUTSTANDIN View Post
1st off thanks for your time sir it is greatly appreciated.

The vocals were recorded well in a booth on a good mic going through a avalon. If it also helps to know i use a duet.

I am aware of what a compressor & a limiter does. I am just wondering when needed if i should use the limiter feature in the compressor plug in rather than using the limiter plug in.

When you set a limiter to not go over 0db it should not go over. Right? When i send the vocals dry through a limiter its fine. When i put a little reverb on them the limiter does not limit to the db i set it to. There should be a easy answer to this.

Also i still would like someone to shed light on the 0db -3db question

I have worked as a pro producer for several years but always had engineer's mastering my work.
If you put the verb on a send, it's gonna add to the signal, making the sum of the tracks peak though the main vocal track has a limiter on it. If you put a verb directly onto the vocals audio track, and a limiter after that, I dont see how it could let peaks through..

When doing home mastering for mp3-files, I usually let them peak at -0.3 to compensate for the small peaks added by the actual mp3-conversion. I mean, its gotta be for your own use, so just use your ears and listen for any distortion going on... If its not cool, back off a little.
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28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
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Yes... I agree with T. Gundersen. There should be no reason it would peak once you put a reverb on an insert on the track itself. I find that usually doing that, The settings in logics reverb actually lower the levels of the dry signal.

I would rather suggest using Space Designer... you can do a lot and get very creative with that. Check all your input and output signals on your inserts. It could just be that your input signal is too hot. If your inserting the reverb hard on your vocal, adjust the dry and wet signal.

On the mastering point. Honestly if your asking questions like the ones your asking... It is certainly perceived that you don't know enough to master your won projects. I would suggest going to an engineer who knows unless you just want to listen to yourself and not care about the quality.

A good tip on loudness for you would be to listen to your favorite music made by the professionals and check out there levels "reference tracks" compare them... listen to them... inspect them visually if you rely on visual meters a lot.

Hope this helps you...
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28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
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Thanks Deejay.

I posted this to see peoples takes on the subject.

I understand that there is no master answer for which limiter to use. I didnt ask what a compressor or a limiter does. I just wanted to know what limiter people preferred. The limiter feature in the compressor or the limiter plug in. Why insert another plug in & slow my computer if the limiter feature in the compressor is more than adequate. I have all those waves plug ins as well.

I am placing the reverb on the actual audio track & the input is not too hot. I believe i have resolved this issue anyway.

I think both of you are taking me for a novice based on the questions ive asked. That to me seems a little unfair & unfortunate all @ the same time.

I feel no need to list my resume. I did not come here to argue. I came here for good sound advice.

I am no stranger to bmi checks but like i said i have always had engineers putting the final mix on my work.

This is not a question about loudness. If that was the case i'd crank the gain on the adaptive limiter until my ears bled.

I hear different takes from different pro's. Some say master to -3db some say 0. All say as long as it does not sound distorted. I want to know what this communities take is on that.

Thanks for your time!
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28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
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Quote:
I think both of you are taking me for a novice based on the questions ive asked. That to me seems a little unfair & unfortunate all @ the same time.

I feel no need to list my resume. I did not come here to argue. I came here for good sound advice.

I am no stranger to bmi checks but like i said i have always had engineers putting the final mix on my work.
Then in my book you are in-fact a novice when it comes to mixing and mastering.

If you put the reverb AFTER the limiter then it would increase the volume and make the tracks peak.
It computer power is a problem for you put your reverbs & delays on buss-channels instead and access then thru sends on your channels.
I never or very rarely have limiters on individual tracks , if your tracks are peaking without them your tracks are probably to loud and the whole mix would benefit in dynamics if you turn all the faders down 6 db.
The volume you loose in the mix you gain back when it comes time to do the actual mastering of the track.

Never found the Logic limiter to be any good , Waves , Sonalksis , Sonnox , Crysonic , Wave Arts , PSP all have better limiters in my opinion.

So the short answer would be , if you have liters on individual tracks then the one included in the comp plug in is all you need , just put it last in the chain.
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28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
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T. Gundersen is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by OUTSTANDIN View Post
Thanks Deejay.

I posted this to see peoples takes on the subject.

I understand that there is no master answer for which limiter to use. I didnt ask what a compressor or a limiter does. I just wanted to know what limiter people preferred. The limiter feature in the compressor or the limiter plug in. Why insert another plug in & slow my computer if the limiter feature in the compressor is more than adequate. I have all those waves plug ins as well.

I am placing the reverb on the actual audio track & the input is not too hot. I believe i have resolved this issue anyway.

I think both of you are taking me for a novice based on the questions ive asked. That to me seems a little unfair & unfortunate all @ the same time.

I feel no need to list my resume. I did not come here to argue. I came here for good sound advice.

I am no stranger to bmi checks but like i said i have always had engineers putting the final mix on my work.

This is not a question about loudness. If that was the case i'd crank the gain on the adaptive limiter until my ears bled.

I hear different takes from different pro's. Some say master to -3db some say 0. All say as long as it does not sound distorted. I want to know what this communities take is on that.

Thanks for your time!
I'm not trying to argue with you, you asked a question and I just spent a few mins trying to help you to a useful answer.

It truly comes down to you really realizing that only your own ears can be the judge if you want to make the decisions. All I can do is elaborate on how my take on your tools are - I can't tell you how your tools sound on your material since I'm not in the room with you!

Also, you write that you "have all those waves plug-ins as well". In that case, you might have some tools, especially in the limiter-department, that are far superior to what Logic has to offer. The Waves L1 and L2 can be very potent if used right, so if you got those you might want to give them a spin.

On a sidenote, don't forget to support the software companies. Not accusing anyone of anything, just kind of throwing it inthere..
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#9
28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OUTSTANDIN View Post
Thanks Deejay.

I posted this to see peoples takes on the subject.

I understand that there is no master answer for which limiter to use. I didnt ask what a compressor or a limiter does. I just wanted to know what limiter people preferred. The limiter feature in the compressor or the limiter plug in. Why insert another plug in & slow my computer if the limiter feature in the compressor is more than adequate. I have all those waves plug ins as well.

I am placing the reverb on the actual audio track & the input is not too hot. I believe i have resolved this issue anyway.

I think both of you are taking me for a novice based on the questions ive asked. That to me seems a little unfair & unfortunate all @ the same time.

I feel no need to list my resume. I did not come here to argue. I came here for good sound advice.

I am no stranger to bmi checks but like i said i have always had engineers putting the final mix on my work.

This is not a question about loudness. If that was the case i'd crank the gain on the adaptive limiter until my ears bled.

I hear different takes from different pro's. Some say master to -3db some say 0. All say as long as it does not sound distorted. I want to know what this communities take is on that.

Thanks for your time!
Kudos for your BMI checks!!
What songs have you composed,may I ask??
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#10
28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
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Thanks everyone!

Let me say right off the bat that this is fun & im not upset. Your more than entitled to your opinion.

Ok... Just to address Picazzo the limiter issue was solved. Thanks for your insight tho. You are 1000% right about putting the compressor with the limiter last in the chain. I know that mastering the output brings back any loudness that ive lost in the mix. I dont let any individual track peak past 4db, but still great advice period. Thanks!

For years ive bounced all my midi to audio & had engineers mix & master my work. Ive picked up some tips along the way on how to mix & master myself.

Im currently working on a mixtape for a rap group & instead of paying someone im mixing it myself.

Now lets just say i know nothing & im recording on a tascam 4 track like i did in the early '90s... Have you heard the fidelity of a rap mixtape? Some sound like a 4 year old was doing the mixing. With that being said my attempts thus far mixing dont. In fact to me they sound just like the mixtapes that i respect & listened to recently. Now for a official album release i am paying a trained pro to mix & master that.

I just got the waves plug ins & have not installed them. Since im not familiar with them & am just mixing a mixtape i chose not to use them this go round. Im also hearing good things about this ozone software.

Yes ive never been paid for mixing but i have for production. @PhillySoulman no disrespect but i choose to go anonymous for now. I could link to my imdb page to show the film i composed for or list the rappers ive worked with but rather not link my gov name to this site. Most likely in the near future i will on my page.

In conclusion in some weird round about way i think ive got my answers. All but the master output 1. I would like to know this for when i bounce my final aif's. What do engineers usually master to -3db or 0db.

Thanks again! I appreciate everyone taking the time out to help.
May peace be with you!
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28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
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Sounds like you're trying to mix and master at the same time. They're usually done separately. Mixing is done to something less than 0 (I like -5 dbfs or -6 dbfs). Mastering is done to 0dbfs. I try to be a bit conservative at go to something less than 0 (like -0.1dbfs).
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28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
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Thanks Exmun!

That definately sheds light on my situation.

Thanks again!

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28th April 2010
Old 28th April 2010
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Originally Posted by OUTSTANDIN View Post
Thanks everyone!

Let me say right off the bat that this is fun & im not upset. Your more than entitled to your opinion.

Ok... Just to address Picazzo the limiter issue was solved. Thanks for your insight tho. You are 1000% right about putting the compressor with the limiter last in the chain. I know that mastering the output brings back any loudness that ive lost in the mix. I dont let any individual track peak past 4db, but still great advice period. Thanks!

For years ive bounced all my midi to audio & had engineers mix & master my work. Ive picked up some tips along the way on how to mix & master myself.

Im currently working on a mixtape for a rap group & instead of paying someone im mixing it myself.

Now lets just say i know nothing & im recording on a tascam 4 track like i did in the early '90s... Have you heard the fidelity of a rap mixtape? Some sound like a 4 year old was doing the mixing. With that being said my attempts thus far mixing dont. In fact to me they sound just like the mixtapes that i respect & listened to recently. Now for a official album release i am paying a trained pro to mix & master that.

I just got the waves plug ins & have not installed them. Since im not familiar with them & am just mixing a mixtape i chose not to use them this go round. Im also hearing good things about this ozone software.

Yes ive never been paid for mixing but i have for production. @PhillySoulman no disrespect but i choose to go anonymous for now. I could link to my imdb page to show the film i composed for or list the rappers ive worked with but rather not link my gov name to this site. Most likely in the near future i will on my page.

In conclusion in some weird round about way i think ive got my answers. All but the master output 1. I would like to know this for when i bounce my final aif's. What do engineers usually master to -3db or 0db.

Thanks again! I appreciate everyone taking the time out to help.
May peace be with you!
Once again dude... we have told you about master level. it just all depends. I talk about loudness because it's a part of mastering. some like to go to 0db some don't, it also depends on what the artist wants and also depends on the genre. I've done both ways and even mastered with lower levels. That is why I say to take a listen to some reference tracks so you can get an idea. Reference with music closely related to your type of track. The main thing you want is to please your client. As long as you don't hit red and don't distort... your good!
#14
29th April 2010
Old 29th April 2010
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OUTSTANDIN

Your RMS levels (average loudness) will have much more to do with how loud your mix sounds than whether you're at 0dbfs or -0.2 dbfs peak levels. To accomplish having higher RMS you need to reduce peaks and increase the lowest levels of the signal. This is typically accomplished using a combination of compression and limiting. The speed of the compression dependent on the music/program. Limiting to tame peaks and then bring up the entire signal/program so that the average level is higher. Easy to do. Difficult to do well and without negatively affecting the music/program. That's why there are mastering engineers who specialize. thumbsup

But for mix tape purposes if you don't want to spend money there's no reason not to try it.
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29th April 2010
Old 29th April 2010
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Exmun. Thanks for the advice. Im pretty good with taming peaks in the mix with compression/limiting. I just wanted to know from a person who masters for a living if there was a standard db to master to. If every person masters to a different db & its a personal preference thing then i guess i got my answer. I prob wont let my master output pass -0.3db cause when it bounces past that its in the red & i was told over a decade ago to never go into the red lol.

I also wanted to know what compressor/limiter plug in combos people preferred in logic, but it seems pro's dont use them. They use brands like waves im guessing.

& the reverb limiter thing was just a mistake on my behalf which i fixed.

Thanks again!
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