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recording vocals printed through a compressor vs compressing in daw after tracking?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

recording vocals printed through a compressor vs compressing in daw after tracking?

so i have a ton of compression options ITB but nothing too high end in hardware..dbx 160 etc. i know there are folks who track vocals live through a compressor then into a preamp, is there any benefit to tracking them through a hardware compressor and into the computer vs using a plug in after the fact? is it mostly done to control the peaks going into the computer? whats the signal chain? compression into preamp, or vice versa? i dont have alot of time to experiment myself on this just gotta go in and knock some good takes out, anyone got any tips?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenmean View Post
so i have a ton of compression options ITB but nothing too high end in hardware..dbx 160 etc. i know there are folks who track vocals live through a compressor then into a preamp, is there any benefit to tracking them through a hardware compressor and into the computer vs using a plug in after the fact? is it mostly done to control the peaks going into the computer? whats the signal chain? compression into preamp, or vice versa? i dont have alot of time to experiment myself on this just gotta go in and knock some good takes out, anyone got any tips?
Play around and see what you dig... the 160 can be cool on the right vocal...

In modern daw world, record in 24bit audio and make sure you’re not overloading your interface and you don’t have to worry about using a hardware compressor “on the way in”

I tend now only to use outboard compression on the way in if I’m already set on a particular sound and to me that means a certain combination of mic, preamp and comp(s) before it hits my converters. If I just need a clean capture and I’m gonna play with tone later in the box, I just pick a great mic, pick a preamp, gainstage so I’m not overloading the preamp or my converters and then play with plugin compressors afterwards

Obviously, you’re locking yourself in somewhat the more outboard you put on while you’re tracking, but if it’s gentle compression just taking a couple db’s down here or there... no big whoop. But, if you’re chaining together a colored FET comp and a fat tubey elop compressor like an LA2a into a colored preamp, well then, you’ve already baked in a good deal of your final sound

But there is no wrong way!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Murky Waters's Avatar
 

Mic always goes into a preamp first. A hardware compressor during recording can be beneficial if you know what you are doing.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
It’s done for commitment reasons, tone shaping, speed and other reasons. But does require a certain amount of experience. If you’re not sure of yourself, it’s certainly better to apply compression after instead of overdoing it on the way in. Sonically? Plenty of hit records made with compression only after the fact.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Recently, I've tracked vocals through a compressor the vast majority of the time. I've just found that it makes mixing a lot easier when the raw track is already a little more controlled and smoothed out. Plus the compressor can be useful even just as an extra gain stage. It's definitely not necessary, but if you have access to a good outboard compressor and know how to use it, I think it's helpful.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by homespunaudio View Post
Recently, I've tracked vocals through a compressor the vast majority of the time. I've just found that it makes mixing a lot easier when the raw track is already a little more controlled and smoothed out. Plus the compressor can be useful even just as an extra gain stage. It's definitely not necessary, but if you have access to a good outboard compressor and know how to use it, I think it's helpful.
Given that he's thinking compressor -> preamp, I'm thinking keeping it ITB and undoable is possibly the first line of attack for someone short of time!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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Brian M. Boykin's Avatar
If you start experimenting split the signal and print one with and one without. Multiple reason:
1. If you don’t like the effect it brings and it’s a perfect take you can’t take the effect back.
2. Extension of 1, if you screw the pooch on settings and hear it grabbing too hard you can’t take it back.
3. Yet another extension of 1, if you get to the mix and it doesn’t work with the rest of the song you can’t take it back.

I don’t use compression going in. But I also prefer a very transparent tracking and mixing chain, so the risk benefit isn’t really there because I’m not trying to impart “color/mojo/juju” to my tracks with hardware.
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