Login / Register
 
How to get that professional Vocal Sound
New Reply
Subscribe
Christof
Thread Starter
#1
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #1
Gear addict
 
Christof's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 365

Thread Starter
Christof is online now
How to get that professional Vocal Sound

How to get that professional Vocal sound?

I've got no Eventide, no High-End mic, just the usual "prosumer" equipment:
- UAD/Liquid Mix/Powercore/Reaper PlugIns
- SIR/Breverb audiomidi/VSS3
- Reaper DAW
- no external FX (Eventide...)
- no High-End mic (recently used the CAD M177)

What I'm interested in, is not just talking about equipment, but HOW to do it. I get decent sounds with drums, bass and git, but I can't get the vocals to sound like I want them to.

Strategies for:
- Compression / Dynamics / Deessing (do U use multiband? )
- FX (getting that really big lead vocal sound that sounds larger than life - ADT?)
- Reverb/Delay

Do's and Don'ts to get the vocal sound great...

Any input appreciated!

Thanks, Christof
#2
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
ChaosCreation's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 627

ChaosCreation is offline
you have 181 posts and you haven't figured that one out yet?


Just wait for that new waves, UAD PSP< super plugin
called ANALOG PRO VOCAL SOUND
coming out next month
for the next months
every month
and that will
be
the sound
you have
been looking
for
that everyone
has.
that
you
dont.
#3
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #3
Gear maniac
 
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 235

domokunrox is offline
If you don't at least have a high end mic, you won't get it.

Good luck.
#4
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: Simi Valley, CA
Posts: 533

chrysb93065 is offline
A little more serious.......

What preamp and what mic? The CAD you mentioned is pretty good, but you can get killer vocals out of an SM58. A decent preamp (not one in a mackie mixer) will help a lot. Let's say you get a decent, clean, not peaking the waveform vocal track. Is it in tune? (important!) Can you tune it? (Melodyne, Autotune, etc.) If it's all good, then either doubling the track and treating the copy with delay/chorus/compression, or some nice reverb will fatten it up. Usually a single band (Waves C1, etc.) compressor plugin will bring it to the front of the mix. These are generalities, so try some different things see where you get to.
#5
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Darius van H's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Amsterdam
Posts: 1,742

Darius van H is offline
Start with a great singer.

After that, a good mic (that suits the voice), pre, converter.

Edit / tweak

The right FX

mixing

experience helps

bingo
__________________
www.amsterdammastering.com
#6
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #6
Gear addict
 
ScottBrio's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Berkeley, Ca
Posts: 366

ScottBrio is offline
I have a $100 AKG Perception 100... not high end by any means, and Pro Tools LE. This is what I do to get the best possible sound.

Treat your room. Even if it's just a makeshift vocal booth, get the tightest sound possible.

LEARN your mic's flaws and EQ to make it sound as good as possible with your singers voice.

Make sure your singer/vocalist has good mic technique

now for the technical part..

I will often use paralell compression, and route the main VOX and the Squashed VOX to an AUX and blend the two (a little goes a long ways)

Then make yourself two additional AUXes, throw a reverb on one, a delay on the other (hell you could do two delays), and BUSS your Main VOX to both. Get the timing of the delay/s right, set a nice reverb, and blend to taste. Again, a little goes a LONG way.

It depends on the song, but most of the time I make the verb/delays so quiet that you can't notice them with the VOX solo'ed, but as soon as you mute the verb/delays, the VOX sound dry again.



Thats how I get the best out of MY lowend setup

Check out my recordings:

Truth and the Music PLAYIN LIVE @ ZEN LOUNGE 6/21 on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos

YouTube - SoundCoop's Channel
#7
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #7
Gear addict
 
usefullidiot's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Auckland, NZ
Posts: 341

usefullidiot is offline
This may or may not be helpful,

IMO to get a pro vocal sound you need a pro singer, singing into a great mic thru a great pre and into a great comp...

I had the oppertunity to borrow a Neuman M149 and recorded vox thru a focusrite platinum pre into my DAW....now this is regarded as a high end mic but I still wasnt really happy with the vox...so I booked some time into a top end studio ( cost $90 NZD p/hour) and recorded the same singer through a vintage telefunken into a neve console and into a LA2A comp..it took 1 hour to do 2 tracks cost $90 bucks and we got to use maybe a few hundred thousand dollars worth of gear...

compared to the M-149 this recording was vastly superior...

Ive come to the conclusion that these days top end studios are cheap and if you can get a great performance in a short amount of time why bother trying to do it at home....
__________________
As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for socialism is it adherents...George Orwell


#8
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #8
Gear addict
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 471

bulls hit is offline
If you've got a semi decent room, try some extreme compression, uad 1176 or even the P Limiter if you have it, and no reverb or delay. The vocal should be right there in front of your face. You can tell the singer had curry for dinner. Now back it off and add a little delay etc. for flavour
__________________

#9
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: London, UK
Posts: 640

warmer is offline
Post a clip of the vocals. It could be room treatment, with anything other then a really soft voice a bad room will make a vocal track almost unmixable
#10
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #10
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2004
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 7,845

James Lugo is online now
It's all about the singer. If you have a great singer with a compelling voice a 58 into a Mackie board will sound amazing.
Christof
Thread Starter
#11
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #11
Gear addict
 
Christof's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 365

Thread Starter
Christof is online now
Thanks for the replys so far (except ChaosCreations dfegad of course).

I can't post a clip yet, I'd have to ask the band for permission.

Of course you need a pro voice and a very good mic and preamp will help too.

But what I'm interested in is: HOW is YOUR way to use FX on the lead vocals? (Not: what equipment do you use? )
  • Do you use any modulation FX?
  • How do you "fatten up" the voice? (short delays / Pitch shift a few cents?)
    How do you prevent comb filtering?
  • In a rock song do you use delay or reverb as the main FX?
  • Filtering of Delay / Reverb-Returns?
  • any do's and don'ts?
... (keep your comments coming) ...



Just a few more details about the songs I'll be mixing: This is a "school-band production" - recorded within a music room (drums close miced, Bass DI, guitars through TH-1 plugin). So no high-end equipment has been used.

The bands have learned the bascics about recording (setting up mics, using reaper...) and have been recording the basic tracks of two songs within just 90 minutes (vocals and additional overdubs afterwards). The room we recorded the vocals (close miced) in has been treated with some acoustic foam and basotect (there's 1m³ of basotect laying in a corner - acting as a nice bass-trap).

I do have some good mics (for example a Gefell UM92S) but I don't put those in the hands of the pupils - in school we bougth the CAD M177 as a decent low-cost-mic.

Now they're learning how to do the mixdown (cleaning tracks, rough-mix, dynamics, EQ, FX...) and some of them are doing quite good. I will be taking their mixes (done onyl with freeware EQ/dynamics/FX-plugins like ElectriQ, ReaComp, SIR => so they can even work on their mixes at home or do their own stuff...) and do some more "polishing" without destroying their work.

This is all part of a practical course "band" with pupils from the 9th to the 12th grade. They're also doing the graphics/layout, GEMA, planing the budget, local advertising and selling for their CD.

So of course I do not expect it to be professional, though we have at least one girl with a "pro" voice.

But - even without having all the "pro" stuff - I'd like to get the best out of this production, so that's what I'd like to learn... (and to teach)
RTR
#12
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #12
RTR
Lives for gear
 
RTR's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 4,782

RTR is online now
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosCreation View Post
you have 181 posts and you haven't figured that one out yet?


Just wait for that new waves, UAD PSP< super plugin
called ANALOG PRO VOCAL SOUND
coming out next month
for the next months
every month
and that will
be
the sound
you have
been looking
for
that everyone
has.
that
you
dont.
I bet you got your ass whiped in highschool a lot huh....internet smart ass....
#13
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #13
Gear maniac
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: College Grove, TN
Posts: 213

. . . is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo View Post
It's all about the singer. If you have a great singer with a compelling voice a 58 into a Mackie board will sound amazing.

And if you have a great singer with a compelling voice a Wagner U47 into a high-end pre it will sound even better than amazing!


- No seriously, one great mic doesn't hurt to have. Get a U87 (or the best you can afford) and you won't regret it.
#14
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Rokus666's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 666

Send a message via Skype™ to Rokus666
Rokus666 is offline
Focusrite Liquid mix works well for me.

If I have something that sounds dead, cold, muffle and such, I use some of the aggressive compressors with some nice sounding EQ to get some character to the sound. I have a lot of experience with AT4033 and AKG c4000B which are usable but not that great.

They are good microphones i thought untill I started hearing some high end stuff...
__________________
**** COMMODORE 64 BASIC V2 ****
64K RAM SYSTEM 38911 BASIC BYTES FREE
READY.
#15
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #15
Lives for gear
 
dickiefunk's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Cornwall, UK
Posts: 4,218

dickiefunk is offline
Here is a vocal recording I made using a £65 mic into a £95 preamp. I admit it's far from perfect but I was pleased with this as a starting point:-

My_Baby_Just_Cares.mp3.mp3 - File Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage

I had a duvet hung behind the vocalist and used on of these Reflexion Filter copies:-



Since then I have bought an Oktava MK-319 and MXL v67g which are both excellent budget vocal mics. I prefer both of these mics over the mic I originally used with the Oktava being my favorite!

I've also recently built a makeshift vocal booth with mattresses and a duvet which has further improved the acoustics :-



As for plugins I think Voxengos Voxformer is absolutely stunning :-

Vocal channel strip audio plugin - Voxformer - Voxengo

I use this with the free SIR convolution IR reverb and am very pleased with the results.
#16
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 569

deeper is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by domokunrox View Post
If you don't at least have a high end mic, you won't get it.
Wrong. I've heard awesome vocal tracks done with cheap mics.
#17
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 569

deeper is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo View Post
It's all about the singer. If you have a great singer with a compelling voice a 58 into a Mackie board will sound amazing.
+1.
#18
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
 
badmark's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,072

badmark is offline
If you're using Reaper, you could try the Reaverb with some Eventide H3000 impulse responses (Google or search here) to sweeten your vocal sound.
Christof
Thread Starter
#19
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #19
Gear addict
 
Christof's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 365

Thread Starter
Christof is online now
O.K. - thanks for all the discussions about different mics - but once more - I'd like to know what to do AFTER the recording finished - so maybe the question should be: How to MIX that professional Vocal Sound...?

And If you don't mind - I don't want to talk too much about WHAT gear to use - but much more HOW to use it! (Isn't it called "Know How" and not "Know What"...?)
#20
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 569

deeper is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Wheeler View Post
. Get a U87... and you won't regret it.
I respectively disagree. I've read many posts from folks who bought a U87 and regretted it. You don't have to pay anywhere near that much for a great mic.
#21
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 569

deeper is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christof View Post
I'd like to know what to do AFTER the recording finished[/B] - so maybe the question should be: How to MIX that professional Vocal Sound...
Yes, that should have been the title of your thread. I've found that a lot of posters don't bother to read the thread, just the title. A pointed, clear title to the thread brings more pointed responses.
#22
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 569

deeper is offline
The reason I haven't tried to answer the question about FX, in case you're wondering, is because EVERY single song is different and requires different handling, depending on what else is happening in the mix. But one thing I'll say that you might benefit from... I usually don't use any FX or processing at all on the vocal until AFTER I've got the mix sounding really good with a dry vocal. Then it's easy to hear what is needed and what is not. But what works for me may not be what works for you.
Christof
Thread Starter
#23
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #23
Gear addict
 
Christof's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 365

Thread Starter
Christof is online now
Thanks "deeper"

I also leave the vocals alone until I reach the final stages of the mixdown. And every song will need it's own treatment. Though there are some things, you're doing more often than others. Some things you go for most often and other things you better don't go for. That's what I'd like to know. Just to get some new approaches to the vocal-mix.

Christof
Christof
Thread Starter
#24
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #24
Gear addict
 
Christof's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 365

Thread Starter
Christof is online now
Quote:
Originally Posted by badmark View Post
If you're using Reaper, you could try the Reaverb with some Eventide H3000 impulse responses (Google or search here) to sweeten your vocal sound.
Thanks! Just tried a couple of impulses on an old vocal track and some sound really good - they do just what I like: making vocals fat without too much reverb tail.
#25
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #25
Lives for gear
 
voicegenius's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,419

Send a message via AIM to voicegenius
voicegenius is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo View Post
It's all about the singer. If you have a great singer with a compelling voice a 58 into a Mackie board will sound amazing.
+1 Talent first, gear second....
Christof
Thread Starter
#26
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #26
Gear addict
 
Christof's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 365

Thread Starter
Christof is online now
Quote:
Originally Posted by voicegenius View Post
+1 Talent first, gear second....
Please read post #20...!
#27
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #27
Lives for gear
 
peeweedrummer's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Syndey
Posts: 609

peeweedrummer is offline
for in your face vocals i like to automate almost each word before sending it to compression so that all the words will hit it nicely and you dont get the bigger notes being too squashed with compression.

though mostly there is not enough time in the session so it gets a limiter (rvox/l1/maxim) to bring up the level of the soft notes then off to comp.


sometime i will run a delay through a reverb so that it sounds like a pulsing reverb. usually slow songs or when alot of space is needed
#28
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #28
Lives for gear
 
steelyfan's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,081

steelyfan is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosCreation View Post
you have 181 posts and you haven't figured that one out yet?


Just wait for that new waves, UAD PSP< super plugin
called ANALOG PRO VOCAL SOUND
coming out next month
for the next months
every month
and that will
be
the sound
you have
been looking
for
that everyone
has.
that
you
dont.
Somebody ate urine drenched cheerios this morning.

Now for something hopefully helpful:
I think the AKG Perception 420 sounds really good for vocals, and is a
great value for $$. I use this with a LA-610 and couldn't be happier.
Maybe a a good value tube pre and something like this might get ya closer. I've hear (from trust worthy sources) that the ART MPA gold is a fantastic tube pre for the money. You could get that and the AkG together for under $500. Now that's a logical upgrade, if It didn't do the trick for vocals, you'd have a nice new mic, and a cool 2 channel tube pre for other stuff.

Most "FIXER" suggestions on GEARSLUTZ generally don't come in under $2000 for 1 piece of gear. Here's 2 for 1/4 of the cost. Do some research.

Steelyfan
#29
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #29
Lives for gear
 
lakeshorephatty's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,747

lakeshorephatty is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by domokunrox View Post
If you don't at least have a high end mic, you won't get it.

Good luck.
Disagree with this. It depends on the singer. The SM57 is just the ticket for some of them.

To me its:

Time.... Take the time to really go through all the choices and properly evaluate. If that means scrapping a session, the following sessions will be the better for it....

1. Great singer
2. Great mic technique
3. Find a mic that really suits the particular voice (tricky on a budget, maybe rent?)
4. Find the perfect distance and pattern on that mic if it is multipattern. Some singers sound better in a particular pattern as the proximity and freq response change by pattern on any given mic.
5. Either a non ideal room thats acoustically deadened or treated, or a nice room with good ambiance. I think acoustics affect vocals the most of all sources depending on the mic.
6. A quality pre. Doesn't have to be super high end. I think the pre as long as good quality is a fairly unimportant choice but if you have choices, try to find the best match for the vocalist.
7. Best conversion you have.
8. Hopefully no fx or comp/eq are needed in tracking due to good vocal technique and good mic choice.
9. In mixing, good application of tasteful compression or eq. Usually less is more with a good performance. Fader riding is often key before any compression and often compression in sections is needed.

Thats about it!

Russell
#30
5th June 2009
Old 5th June 2009
  #30
Gear addict
 
j-madd's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Missouri
Posts: 417

j-madd is offline
Of course a great singer, but on the gear side of things: good preamp (will make not-so-good mics sound useable) and a good comp (I like distressor, but classics include La-2a or an 1176 style). Then a nice mic can help also. Don't forget the pop filter!

Justin
__________________
Justin Madden

Follow me on twitter: @jmadd5000
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
ApolloKid / Rap + Hip Hop engineering & production
25
bwritemusic / Low End Theory
12
eskay / Bass traps, acoustic panels, foam etc
1

Forum Jump

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.