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Plugins that you use on every mix?
Old 28th May 2020
  #1
Gear Nut
 
6000's Avatar
 

Plugins that you use on every mix?

Hi John, big fan of your work, thanks so much for doing this!

I was wondering if there are some plugins that you use on every mix...or could you list your top 3-5 indispensable plugins?

All the best
Old 28th May 2020
  #2
Here for the gear
 
CanadaSC1's Avatar
What are your current most-used plugins?

Hi John,

Could you please share with us what your most-used plugins are?

As a bonus question (only if you are free to share )... what do you use these plugins for (i.e. vocals, kick, etc.) and the reason you like them for that job/role?

As another bonus question (again, only if you are free to share)... Do you have any tips, tricks, or favorite settings for these plugins?
.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Special Guest
 
TheHanes's Avatar
So one thing that goes on here is that we work with so many different producers and artists using so many different plugins, that we are buying plugins regularly to be compatible with the ProTools sessions as they are sent to us.

My AAX plug-ins folder has over 1000 items in it (when all folders are open).

As the producers are constantly experimenting with new plugins, we seem to collect more and more of them.

To narrow that down to a Top-5 of what I choose when I am choosing the plugins comes up with a list of things that mostly I have used for a long time and are familiar with.

Metric Halo Channelstrip 3: This is no secret; it is the first go-to EQ / channelstrip picked for anything. This is mainly due to comfort level. When you are comfortable working on a console like an SSL 4000, you grab the eq knob or the compressor knob without really looking at it and turn it to what feels right. You don’t need to look at the printing to see if that is 1.5kHz or 3kHz, if the Q is 2 or .5; you have muscle memory by experience and feel.

It is that same familiarity with this plugin; I can just grab the handles in the EQ window, or quickly click buttons or type in values and set it the way I want. No hunting for functions or hidden settings.

Waves CLA-76: the first thing I try on vocals. Blacky, 4:1 and hit about -3dB compression generally. Bluey, 4:1 and -10dB compression for in your face.

Waves Renaissance DeEsser: Another old friend. Frequency 5500, hit about -6dB and adjust to taste.

Vocal channels generally get Compressor, then EQ, then De-Esser. If I need to clean out low-free on it, I’ll put an Avid EQ3 1-band EQ and filter the lows before compressor.

Ozone RX-7: really quick to clean up track noise, mouth noise, repairs.

Valhalla Vintage Verb: very popular on sessions sent to us, so is has become a go-to tool.

Waves H-Delay or Avid Mod Delay III: good basic delays; if I’m looking for more specialized effects there are a world of them to choose from.

Avid Lo-Fi: add a tiny bit of distortion (.1-.5) or saturation (.1-.4) to smooth synth cymbals.

Kiloheartz: I’ve been falling in love with these, simple utility interfaces, easy to understand. Distortion; add hard clip and distortion to an 808 to bring forward on small speakers. Chorus to add body to BGV, Haas for spreading a mono track, all sound good.

As far as tips, tricks, and settings in general, I think that it depends so much on the material. I just adjust until it sounds right.
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Nut
 
6000's Avatar
 

Thank you so much for your detailed answer!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHanes View Post

Ozone RX-7: really quick to clean up track noise, mouth noise, repairs.

Kiloheartz: I’ve been falling in love with these, simple utility interfaces, easy to understand. Distortion; add hard clip and distortion to an 808 to bring forward on small speakers. Chorus to add body to BGV, Haas for spreading a mono track, all sound good.
Thanks for the tip on the Kilohertz plugs - something a lot of us will have with the Slate bundle, but personally not even looked at them.

Regarding your RX7 use - I find I expect to pass at least the lead vocals through this to clean it up on every mix. Is that something you find yourself doing, or is it a later in the process, only fix the stuff that stands out approach?

Thanks again!
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

wait did john hanes just casually drop The Vocal Chain
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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TheHanes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Thanks for the tip on the Kilohertz plugs - something a lot of us will have with the Slate bundle, but personally not even looked at them.

Regarding your RX7 use - I find I expect to pass at least the lead vocals through this to clean it up on every mix. Is that something you find yourself doing, or is it a later in the process, only fix the stuff that stands out approach?

Thanks again!
Some producers will have taken care of enough of this before they send that I don't need to do this extensively on every song that comes in.

Here is how I clean vocals.

First I want a good rough mix going; I'll get the vocals at least with basic settings on compression, EQ, and de-esser. I'll get the volumes and balances close. Much of the time this is done for me as the producer has sent the ProTools session of his rough mix.

I don't run a complete top to bottom pass of RX-7. I'll open up a few Audio Suite plugins (turn target off so you can open multiple plugin windows).

RX-7 Mouth DeClick - default to start
RX-7 DeClick - multiband algorithm, default to start
Gain - -6 to -9dB
EQ3 1-band - High Pass, maybe 150Hz to 200Hz.

By the way, I’m pretty much always working in the Edit Window and looking at the waveforms.

So now, I’ll solo up the Lead Vocal track(s), or a group of BGV’s that are the same part.

zoomed in to a section maybe 30 seconds, I’ll listen down the track and hit it as I find problems with one of the open tools.

For mouth noises; I’ll select maybe one second of the audio around the click I hear and zap it with Mouth De-Click. I’ll listen back to what it has done, and adjust if necessary.

Some clicks are better resolved with standard De-Click.

Plosives I’ll hit with the EQ3 filter, big breaths and some excessive sibilance I’ll hit with the Gain.

I’ll also take this time to cut (region separate and mute) and fade the beginning and end of phrases as needed, and cutting any noise where there are no vocals.

I have to be careful here of room noise appearing and disappearing as the vocals come in and out, so sometimes it might need to be left in or faded out slowly. Other times if it is really annoying I’ll go into full RX-7 Connect / RX-7 Monitor mode and deal with room noise, hums, or other, deeper issues.

I’ll do the same to each BGV part, but here I’ll often completely mute breaths and make a quick fade in on the vocal. Also sibilance on BGV’s can be treated much more harshly.

If voices in the BGV’s stack are out of time with each other in the attack or release, I’ll fade back the ones that are early or held long. Often this is to make sure that the Left and Right panned vocals are beginning and ending at the same time, and timing with the Lead vocal is also suitable.

I’ll do this for each stack of Background Vocal parts, and any other vocals (vocoder parts might need a lot of breath reduction, gang vocals might need a lot of dead space mutes).

Again, as I’m doing this, I’m listening back and adjusting everything I’m doing as I go.

So it can be a very tedious process in a session with tons of stacked BGV’s, or with bands with a lot of lead vocalists (boy band, K-Pop).
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Mr. Hanes,

Out of curiosity, have you ever used the "Adaptive Phase Rotation" in the "Phase" module in RX-7, on mono vocal tracks? I once watched an Izotope rep demo that function. He said it can create more headroom by changing the signal peak values, without affecting the sound.

Thanks so much for giving back to the community by participating in the Q&A!

-TKB
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Do you use wide band on the Renaissance de-esser or narrow band?

I also saw Serban using the regular waves de esser in addition to the Renaissance one, is that one more for narrow bands and Renaissance for wide?

You talked about limiting seperare tracks as well, which is your go to plugin for that?
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHanes View Post
Some producers will have taken care of enough of this before they send that I don't need to do this extensively on every song that comes in.

Here is how I clean vocals.

First I want a good rough mix going; I'll get the vocals at least with basic settings on compression, EQ, and de-esser. I'll get the volumes and balances close. Much of the time this is done for me as the producer has sent the ProTools session of his rough mix.

I don't run a complete top to bottom pass of RX-7. I'll open up a few Audio Suite plugins (turn target off so you can open multiple plugin windows).

RX-7 Mouth DeClick - default to start
RX-7 DeClick - multiband algorithm, default to start
Gain - -6 to -9dB
EQ3 1-band - High Pass, maybe 150Hz to 200Hz.

By the way, I’m pretty much always working in the Edit Window and looking at the waveforms.

So now, I’ll solo up the Lead Vocal track(s), or a group of BGV’s that are the same part.

zoomed in to a section maybe 30 seconds, I’ll listen down the track and hit it as I find problems with one of the open tools.

For mouth noises; I’ll select maybe one second of the audio around the click I hear and zap it with Mouth De-Click. I’ll listen back to what it has done, and adjust if necessary.

Some clicks are better resolved with standard De-Click.

Plosives I’ll hit with the EQ3 filter, big breaths and some excessive sibilance I’ll hit with the Gain.

I’ll also take this time to cut (region separate and mute) and fade the beginning and end of phrases as needed, and cutting any noise where there are no vocals.

I have to be careful here of room noise appearing and disappearing as the vocals come in and out, so sometimes it might need to be left in or faded out slowly. Other times if it is really annoying I’ll go into full RX-7 Connect / RX-7 Monitor mode and deal with room noise, hums, or other, deeper issues.

I’ll do the same to each BGV part, but here I’ll often completely mute breaths and make a quick fade in on the vocal. Also sibilance on BGV’s can be treated much more harshly.

If voices in the BGV’s stack are out of time with each other in the attack or release, I’ll fade back the ones that are early or held long. Often this is to make sure that the Left and Right panned vocals are beginning and ending at the same time, and timing with the Lead vocal is also suitable.

I’ll do this for each stack of Background Vocal parts, and any other vocals (vocoder parts might need a lot of breath reduction, gang vocals might need a lot of dead space mutes).

Again, as I’m doing this, I’m listening back and adjusting everything I’m doing as I go.

So it can be a very tedious process in a session with tons of stacked BGV’s, or with bands with a lot of lead vocalists (boy band, K-Pop).
Thanks John. In a way I'm glad to see I'm not missing any shortcuts, it certainly can be tedious...!
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Addict
 
rhythmic5's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHanes View Post
For mouth noises; I’ll select maybe one second of the audio around the click I hear and zap it with Mouth De-Click. I’ll listen back to what it has done, and adjust if necessary.

Some clicks are better resolved with standard De-Click.

Plosives I’ll hit with the EQ3 filter, big breaths and some excessive sibilance I’ll hit with the Gain.

I’ll also take this time to cut (region separate and mute) and fade the beginning and end of phrases as needed, and cutting any noise where there are no vocals.

I have to be careful here of room noise appearing and disappearing as the vocals come in and out, so sometimes it might need to be left in or faded out slowly. Other times if it is really annoying I’ll go into full RX-7 Connect / RX-7 Monitor mode and deal with room noise, hums, or other, deeper issues.
hey john, thanks for doing this. are there situations where the client actually WANTS clicks and bad edits in? i've had this several times, so I suppose I'm asking from experience... is this a conversation that you'll have before diving into tedious vocal clean up mode?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Special Guest
 
TheHanes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Thanks John. In a way I'm glad to see I'm not missing any shortcuts, it certainly can be tedious...!
Nope, no shortcuts. Especially on vocals, because we are naturally so attuned towards vocal comprehension, each fix needs to be consciously made.
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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TheHanes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmic5 View Post
hey john, thanks for doing this. are there situations where the client actually WANTS clicks and bad edits in? i've had this several times, so I suppose I'm asking from experience... is this a conversation that you'll have before diving into tedious vocal clean up mode?
Yes, this sometimes happens; usually towards the end of the mix they start to regret that as those bad edits or clicks suddenly become much more prominent because everything else in the mix is nice and clear and clean and present.

There are some producers that we work with that I know don't want things fixed or changed much, so I'll take a lighter hand with those.

Also, if the producer puts a vinyl crackle track on the song, I'm much less inclined to go in and spend a lot of time fixing vocal clicks.
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