Hey Ross, first of all I want to thank you so much for sharing your time and insight with us all. It's not everyday that you get to have a one-on-one chat with such a talented engineer!
I was wondering what you generally gravitate towards for a signal chain when recording a male vocal on a singer/songwriter/acoustic style song? I know every song is different, but are there certain pieces of gear or philosophies you tend to use? I was thinking about your work on the Brandon White EP or the Matt Morris record or something along those lines.......
I take the hippocratic oath when engineering vocals in general , which is first .. do no harm ..
I like a mic pre and compressor that will embellish the recording and leave plenty of room later for any type of processing
open and clear mic pre's are first go to and then for the right thing I may choose a more colored mic pre, probably tube
I like a simple optical compressor like an LA3 or my original Manley ElOP or the Inward TSL3 because I can set it and forget it
These do just enough and leave plenty of room later for anything needed
the LA2a is a little slow but might be nice if a fast uncolored comp is used in front for the peaks that get knocked down
I am not afraid of using 2 compressors
one for the peaks and one for a little more compression
instead of asking one compressor to do all the work
2 sometimes each doing less sounds more musical
Do you try a lot of different mics on every singer, or have just a few go-to mics? Any weird mics ever used for vox that no one would suspect?
Are you into a lot of different preamps, or have just a few favorites?
i'll probably put a few mics up and do a shootout for every session
DO NOT TURN YOUR SESSION INTO A SCIENCE PROJECT
too many engineers forget that you are trying to get an artist to pour his or her heart out
if you turn your session into a gearfest science project and forget about the artist
then you are psrt of the problem not the solution
know your gear and know your mics
you should be able to narrow down whats gonna work quickly and get the artist recording swiftly
its not about your gear
its about a great performance
never forget this in place of gear slutting ...