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How necessary is it to record vocals with a compressor for a ‘high end’ sound? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 28th August 2007
  #31
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Tubthumper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by melodic_disaster View Post

doesn't the a2d have inserts before the converters to patch in a comp chain?
It does.

I do parallel processing with my A2D: untreated vocal direct to recorder via A2D converter. I also run a patch via the main channel's analog out, into whatever outboard I'm hot for, then back in to the A2D via the second channel's pre-converter insert, or maybe in to the recorder as analog.

This way I have a straight vocal + a processed version. Hey, it worked at Motown.
Old 28th August 2007
  #32
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musicl's Avatar
 

out of interest, how does the processed track sound in comparison to the compressed one? Also, what comp are you pumping with?
Old 29th August 2007
  #33
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The untreated track sounds as you'd expect - raw, unprocessed. I may drive the pre if I want to add some saturation, depends on the material. API A2D = very versatile unit.

The processed track is heavily EQd and compressed, a la the Motown parallel processing trick, and sounds more like a final vocal than the raw track. I use a blend of these two tracks in the mix.

Currently using either a rented 1176 or my Toft ATC-2.

Good luck.
Old 29th August 2007
  #34
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Bubbagump's Avatar
 

Using 24 bit, there is no point. Even with peaks at -12 or so you are still in damn good shape. Use the head room you are given. The only time I use a compressor on the way in is with a real hack singer and even then I am more inclined to back off the pregain.
Old 29th August 2007
  #35
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Audionaut's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acko View Post
I always work with great singers, with great mic technique, and never record vocals with compression
Yeah, I like Acko's answer...
Be sure to ONLY work with great singers and you'll be fine without a compressor, not to mention all the time saved by having perfect timing, performance and pitch - ON THE FIRST TAKE!
Your songs will practically mix themselves.
heh

dare I suggest: (use whatever compressor's around, rented or borrowed)
(1) try a take with a compressor in the chain... then another without it.
(2) use whatever sounds better
Old 29th August 2007
  #36
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daillman's Avatar
24 bit sound does not have to be hott or compressed(pre daw)
Old 29th August 2007
  #37
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u b k's Avatar
 

there are a lot of reasons to track with compression that have nothing to do with headroom.

compressors respond differently to live signals coming off the pre than they do to recorded signals coming off a converter. ime, 4-8db of fast, invisible limiting on the way in makes smooth compression a LOT easier to achieve later on.

singers respond differently when there's compression on their cue feed; ime they hold back less, aren't afraid to push it when needed. a compressed vocal will make the rough/working mix feel more finished, which juices the vibe for overdubs.

tracking with a comp also puts the sonic stamp of that box on the bed track, leaving that comp free down the line for other uses. the further you take a sound into the land of mojo when tracking, the more you can use plugs to do small finishing touches in the mix with little to no degradation.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 29th August 2007
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs View Post
I pretty much always track vocals with a compressor in there, no matter how "good" the singer is or isn't. I'm doing rock records... gotta have it for multiple reasons. Partly is that the sound of a highly compressed super intimate lip-smacking vocal is in vogue & has been for oh... about 15-20 years? At least?!

Sometimes it's not very much compression, maybe 6dB at 2:1 on peaks... 4:1 or 8:1 with an 1176LN isn't uncommon... and I'll even chain compressors together if I feel the need for it. Basically, I wanna be able to put the vocal fader at '0' while the mix is up and not have it disappearing in & out of the mix...

It can always be squashed more later, but "good" singers know how to work the mic AND the compression. At least in a 'rock' context anywhoo...

Yup.. this is me too. I do mainly rock too. I have found some light compression going in (distressor or CL1-B, or both) gives me the "tone" I am looking for coupled with some protection from overs.

I have also found that many rock singers sing much better when they are SQUASHED to the nth while they are tracking. I like that effect some myself when I am singing (or croaking/squawking by some peoples definition). heh So.... when tracking I get what I need going to tape(light compression up front), and then do a super squash on the back side (after the recorder) to give the vocalist that super responsive constantly full up in their ears kinda thing. This can REALLY help guys with pitch and teqhnique issues perform far better than they normally do because they are really hearing themselves even when the band is full up on 11.

Some guys hate it... but most are thrilled and ask why they have never sounded so good in the cans before. Which of course I respond to with: "cuz you never tracked with me before dog!!!" heh

For those with simply outstanding talent and mic tecnique, I have indeed tracked and mixed without any compression and been thrilled with the results. But neither one of those projects were a modern rock thing, and were not aimed at todays radio. Were they... I would have compressed the vocal some just for the sound of the compressor... because as stated... it's definitely still in vogue.

jmtc...
Old 29th August 2007
  #39
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Slaytex's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
there are a lot of reasons to track with compression that have nothing to do with headroom.

compressors respond differently to live signals coming off the pre than they do to recorded signals coming off a converter. ime, 4-8db of fast, invisible limiting on the way in makes smooth compression a LOT easier to achieve later on.

singers respond differently when there's compression on their cue feed; ime they hold back less, aren't afraid to push it when needed. a compressed vocal will make the rough/working mix feel more finished, which juices the vibe for overdubs.

tracking with a comp also puts the sonic stamp of that box on the bed track, leaving that comp free down the line for other uses. the further you take a sound into the land of mojo when tracking, the more you can use plugs to do small finishing touches in the mix with little to no degradation.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
I was going to say the same thing. Completely agree on this.

I always track with a compressor, not because I always want to compress things, but sometimes just for the mojo it adds. Unless you've tried it with a good analog compressor you'll never fully understand it.
Boy do I love my MC77!heh
Old 29th August 2007
  #40
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musicl's Avatar
 

That's quite an insightful post u b k that's changed my outlook on the subject. For those following my story I'm looking into an LA-3 at the minuite and will retain both my kidneys ;-)
Old 5th September 2007
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm View Post
As a guy that mixes records for a living, I have never had a track I could not make sound great because the levels were recorded too low, but I have had plenty that were unsalvageable or at least severely compromised because the engineer was a hack and printed the levels so hot that tracks were clipping.
Every once in a while I run into a statement here that really makes me stop, take an extra sip of coffee, and think. The above would be one of them.

And I agree to a point. That point was reached a couple of days ago when my mother-in-law handed me a cassette tape and asked me to make a CD of it. It was a tape of her hypnotist, recorded amazingly low. She was a low talker in the first place and the signal had to be around -40? Low. Barely audible.

This was a track (oh, yes... mono cassette. Only the left side.) that even RCM could not make great because the levels were recorded too low. This is also a scenario that most of you will never come across (read: don't get married). This is the exception that illuminates the rule, if you will.

Jasper
Old 6th September 2007
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
there are a lot of reasons to track with compression that have nothing to do with headroom.

compressors respond differently to live signals coming off the pre than they do to recorded signals coming off a converter. ime, 4-8db of fast, invisible limiting on the way in makes smooth compression a LOT easier to achieve later on.

singers respond differently when there's compression on their cue feed; ime they hold back less, aren't afraid to push it when needed. a compressed vocal will make the rough/working mix feel more finished, which juices the vibe for overdubs.

tracking with a comp also puts the sonic stamp of that box on the bed track, leaving that comp free down the line for other uses. the further you take a sound into the land of mojo when tracking, the more you can use plugs to do small finishing touches in the mix with little to no degradation.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Im starting more and more to use compression when recording vocals. Do you have any suggestions on ratios, attack / release etc to use when tracking vocals?
Old 6th September 2007
  #43
theother
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acko View Post
I always work with great singers, with great mic technique, and never record vocals with compression even when there's a wall full of them behind me, I don't want to put a limit on a great dynamic singer, I will ride a fader when neccesary. A well chosen mic and a nice pre and we're away.
To say you are a better singer if you don't need a compressor is BS!

Working the mic? Give me a break!heh

I'm a singer myself and I don't like to change the distance to the mic because it alters the sound.

You see there are three schools and tastes if you will. And all can work.

Use a compressor to keep equal distance to mic (which I prefer), change distance to mic while singing or don't do anything and have the full dynamic range.

I really like to record with a lot of compression on my voice during recording because I will give a totally different performance hearing me that way in the cans.

This is what most engineers don't take into account. The singer will perform different! It's not only about S/N ratio etc.

Quote:
Im starting more and more to use compression when recording vocals. Do you have any suggestions on ratios, attack / release etc to use when tracking vocals?
Fastest attack and fastest release is always a good starting point for me. 4:1 ratio.

If I have a DBX I use the Auto Attack/Release in combo with a LA2 shaving a couple of dbs of.
Old 6th September 2007
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theother View Post
To say you are a better singer if you don't need a compressor is BS!

Working the mic? Give me a break!heh

I'm a singer myself and I don't like to change the distance to the mic because it alters the sound.

You see there are three schools and tastes if you will. And all can work.

Use a compressor to keep equal distance to mic (which I prefer), change distance to mic while singing or don't do anything and have the full dynamic range.

I really like to record with a lot of compression on my voice during recording because I will give a totally different performance hearing me that way in the cans.

This is what most engineers don't take into account. The singer will perform different! It's not only about S/N ratio etc.



Fastest attack and fastest release is always a good starting point for me. 4:1 ratio.

If I have a DBX I use the Auto Attack/Release in combo with a LA2 shaving a couple of dbs of.

with threshold set to the point where the compressor just about reacts to the singer talking/whispering?
Old 6th September 2007
  #45
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snüzz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Would it be worthwhile ditching my API A2D in favour of a preamp with a compressor AND converters with digital out? If so, any opinions on what to look at?
i thought i had read that the api a2d had an insert for a compressor. if so use that and keep the api. i always record with compression because i when i am laying down my vocal i can hear it working and sing in a way that works with the compression. if i just add the compression after the fact that can work too but if you apply it while tracking you can hear it working and sing in a way that makes it more transparant and effective. it can help dictate the method of vocal delivery that is best. i also turn my head slightly when delivering a "s" or "p" and angling your vocal projection. sometimes, for a certain song, i will crank up the compression and angle my vocal projection about 6 inches to the left or right of the mike and then for certain passages turn more straight into the mike. does any one else do this?

MySpace.com - Snuzz - Winston Salem, North Carolina - Alternative - www.myspace.com/snuzz

Last edited by snüzz; 6th September 2007 at 01:04 PM.. Reason: forgot tag
Old 6th September 2007
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snüzz View Post
i thought i had read that the api a2d had an insert for a compressor. if so use that and keep the api.
I have the choice currently to ditch the a2d & LA3A *IF* there is an all in one unit. There seems to be nothing with of the calibre of a good PRE/Digital out/Comp! The only things i can think of was the mini-me (stopped production and not the same grade) and the liquid channel (leagues down). The Neve 8803 with digital board was an option to me but it's too complex for my needs. Still open to suggestions...
Old 6th September 2007
  #47
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hgen's Avatar
 

The compressor while tracking can definately give it some wow factor, ie not just gain reduction but more importantly, tone!
Old 6th September 2007
  #48
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asagaai's Avatar
[quote=u b k;1466676]there are a lot of reasons to track with compression that have nothing to do with headroom.


tracking with a comp also puts the sonic stamp of that box on the bed track, leaving that comp free down the line for other uses. the further you take a sound into the land of mojo when tracking, the more you can use plugs to do small finishing touches in the mix with little to no degradation.


I remember years ago building a 4 level house-over extended myself-just wanted to sell it in desperation but it was unfinished and it was a real drag-I was doing a lot of the building and at a point I turned to a contractor and said "ah **** max-when will it look finsihed" because I wanted to flog it. He turned to me and and said "it will look finished when it is finished".

I think this simplicity applies to vocals (and actually to a mix) -to get that really smooth vocal, with sonic texture and breathiness, all velvety-I really think you gotta use good compression on the tracking stage-I myself use a VCA for "peaks-sorta" daisy chained into opto for that smoothing velvet texture.

How can the vocal be "finished" when it hasn't been finished at the most crucial stage-and I agree with Ubik-setting it up right and using it on tracking effects the take and riding the gain etc.

I wonder if not doing this at this time, and trying later to mix with compresosrs/polish with plugins, it will never be finished in the same way.

GJ
Newcastle/OZ
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