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"Unsteady" vocal production tips
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
"Unsteady" vocal production tips

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0lw3qylVfY

Hi friends! I'm looking for tips on recording and mixing a VERY DYNAMIC singer in the vein of X Ambassadors. Listen to the first minute of this song and he is loud, soft, falsetto, belting... and it all sounds smooth and crisp.

I have a WA-47 mic into a WA-73 preamp into presonus interface. All budget gear, and I am well aware I am lacking in that dept. Just looking for tips or ideas that can help me along the way to get him to sound as good as possible in my little studio.

Thanks so much!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
DeNto's Avatar
Compression on the way in should help.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 

And then phrase by phrase volume riding. Warren Huart demonstrates it quite well:
https://youtu.be/syudb_B1x_A?t=270
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Quote:
I have a WA-47 mic into a WA-73 preamp into presonus interface. All budget gear, and I am well aware I am lacking in that dept. Just looking for tips or ideas that can help me along the way to get him to sound as good as possible in my little studio.
The budget gear doesn't matter, just record him in 24bit dry if you can get the peaks between -24dB to -1dB
OR if the vocal is more dynamic than that, I would try a very slight limiter set at the highest possible dB level so it doesn't effect the vocal itself, but only effects any occasional peaks that may go over 0dB do to the dynamics of the vocal.

Then in the mixing stage you can automate the vocal to your liking..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
bino_5150's Avatar
Some light serial compression on the way in will do wonders. It'll still leave you with a very dynamic and natural sounding vocal that you can compress and automate as you see fit in the mix.

Depending on what hardware you have available, I have 2 dbx 160a compressors set to adaptive softknee (2.5:1 with a lower threshold on the first for control, 4:1 with a higher threshold on the second to catch the peaks), and a limiter set just a hair before clipping. You'll be able to achieve a very dynamic vocal and never really have to worry about clipping. This will also allow you to track hotter and make use of more of the dynamic range of your bit depth, and keep a really good S/N ratio.

Also a no-brainer, but make sure you're making use of your hi pass filter on that pre.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Great song

1. Practice singing
2. Practice singing
3. Practice singing
4. Get the singer in a good mood for the song
5. Get the singer in an even better mood
6. Do the stuff in the posts above

1-5 might come off a bit condescending. But it’s what I have to tell myself every day.

Last edited by thedberg; 3 weeks ago at 11:30 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 

If possible try a 58 or 57 too, into the WA-73. Really.
Chris
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Vocal riding is tried and true. If you don't have a fader, a knob will do. You can also sketch out an envelope that's roughly the inverse of the shape of the sound wave amplitude if you don't have any control interfaces, but getting a single fader or something like a Korg nanoKontrol is a good ROI.

After getting close, you'll want compression in your processing chain. Remember vocals are a delicate waveform, it's better to do multiple low impact (<-2dB) compressors than trying to crush it into submission in one go. Try getting the really bad peaks under control on one stage with a very light but fast setting, and then a more subtle overall control with a slower response and a little harder knee on another (order here is a matter of debate, but treat them separately).

Also look at what frequencies are actually spiking. Singers often go louder to hit notes at the ends of their range.

You can also work on mic skills with your singer.
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