Gearslutz (
-   Q+A with Dave Pensado (
-   -   Brian McKnight (

RaGe 11th August 2004 07:20 PM

Brian McKnight
Hey Dave, big fan of your work here.
Would you be kind enough to let us in into the vocal chain you use for B.McKnight?
He seems to have a very "full" voice yet, it blends magically with the rest of the track. Voice mixing ideas/pointers would be grand too :) Hope I am not askign too much ...

Exmun 12th August 2004 04:19 AM

I would guess that some of that is his mic. I believe he uses a vintage AKG C12... which seems to give the high end sheen while not being as full bodied as say a U47. But I'm sure Dave can provide much more insight.

Dave Pensado 12th August 2004 05:00 AM

McKnight vocals
Brian's engineer, C. Wood, is one of the best. I run Brian through McDsp E6, then into an old Gates Sta-Level compressor (tube similar to LA2A), out of that into an Avalon 2055. I try to do the carving with the E6 (the way it comes up, no preset), and broad gentle strokes with the 2055. I might add a bit of guts (600) with the console (SSL). If you can't find a Gates, then the Bomb Factory LA3 is pretty close. Sometimes I add a little too much on top, and de-ess with Waves unit. I rarely knock off more than 2-3 dB with a compressor, preferring instead to ride the fader. I split the signal to the console into 2 faders. One has the chain above, and the other fader is usually an 1176 (Ratio=4, A=fast, R=medium) and knock off about 8-10 db. I compensate for the duller sound with the 2055, or 1073, 560A, and on the thinner notes, I will add more of this fader. On the Breathy notes, I use more of the Gates fader. I just don't like the sound of compression on vocals, so I compress "manually" with the fader automation. At this point (about 3-4 hours), I usually pull out a clean razor blade, and attempt to cut my wrist......

LumenStudio 12th August 2004 05:16 AM

Wow, that is a really cool technique. I never thought about splitting the vocal and using two different chains to ride as my EQ / compression as the song dynamics change. I do similar things with bass. Can't wait to try it on vox.

Thanks for the tip!

jho 12th August 2004 03:26 PM

Nice. When you hit the chorus, etc are you using different PT tracks with a different chain to make those jump out more, or letting the bv's do it...or faders or neither...?

Dave Pensado 13th August 2004 06:23 AM

I like to put efx on only a portion of the spectrum. I will take an exciter that is on the bacs, and add chorus to that. Or vocal doubler on the H3000. That way you are not chorusing the mud on the bottom. I will also put a harmonizer in front of the reverb, and put it up an octave, so my reverb is an octave higher than the vocal. I automate the Pluggins on the vocals, especially the EQ's to make each word pop out.

Jules 13th August 2004 09:50 AM

"I will also put a harmonizer in front of the reverb, and put it up an octave, so my reverb is an octave higher than the vocal. "

OK - I spotted the gag - do I get to come for sushi while the others stay behind and do all the mutes, cllear up and empty the ashtrays?