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Crisp low end, yet intimate presence for vocals Spatial Processor Plugins
Old 7th September 2007
  #1
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Crisp low end, yet intimate presence for vocals

So I'm working on a track that I'm trying to get ready for major media outlets without hiring a pro producer for vocal mixing and processing (good luck to me!). The problem? My ear isn't all that great.

I recorded these vocals in a pretty damn good acoustic space (iso-booth at a professional studio), using a Neumann u87 going into a Focusrite Red 7. Ok.

So I have an Xzibit acapella that cuts through the mix of my instrumental perfectly, so I am trying to match EQ and compression of my own vocals to it. Any tips? I feel like I'm pretty far off.

Now I understand my vocalists are NOT Xzibit. I would like to approach this as if these vocals are going onto the same song as this Xzibit clip, and need to blend in.

To start, I rolled off at 70 Hz, with a 6 db spike at 90 Hz for some bounce and presence. Then I added a shelf gain starting at about 3.5 kHz, and another going up from 7.5 kHz (about 4 db).

I applied "Smack!" compression (made by Digidesign) at 4:1 ratio, 5 db on the input and output.

So I sampled some Iron Butterfly for this track, so I figured the vox need some edge. So on an aux track, I have some distortion and reverb going on, but pretty low (the reverb sounds heavier from coming after the distortion in the aux chain).

Now after all of that, I'm not that happy with the way it cuts through the mix, and am hitting a dead end on how to achieve clarity, sibilance, presence, and edge in my vocals. I would really appreciate advice on specifically EQ, and any other vocal processing for this track!
Attached Files

roughClip.mp3 (1.28 MB, 296 views)

XzibitClip.mp3 (205.1 KB, 285 views)

Old 7th September 2007
  #2
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So you hear the huge difference in the mix, now peep the acapella. The area of my biggest concern in the low end. Checkit.
Attached Files

VocalClip.mp3 (1.17 MB, 231 views)

Xample.wav (965.1 KB, 312 views)

Old 7th September 2007
  #3
Gear Addict
 

you could try a little stereo harmonizer on the voice to widen it - maybe bring the
panning in a little so it's not extreme.

maybe experiment a little more with the compression you are using..
maybe two in series is better than one taking off so many dbs.

i'm not a big fan of your choice of reverb but maybe if it's lower down it will work.
a mono delay might also be interesting.

also try filtering the distortion track you are using.
sometimes just the high end being distorted is enough.
experiment with a hi pass or band pass filter

have fun with it.
Old 7th September 2007
  #4
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Docmattic's Avatar
 

for what its worth my advise isto make the backup vocals more obvious. i only have 1 ear working on my headphones though. thats the major difference i hear in the two
Old 7th September 2007
  #5
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There are no back up vocals in this draft. I really wanted to get the tone right before I moved on to that. (I have everything tracked already, I'm just in post production)
Old 8th September 2007
  #6
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Mic

Get an Audio Technica 4040 with a Focusrite pre and set the compressor on with the Focusrite and your vocals will fit in perfectly.
Old 8th September 2007
  #7
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Getting the mic and pre combinations perfect from the start can not be overlooked.

Trying to do radical eqing later to make the vocal track sound like something totally different usually messes things up and makes the vocals sound "cheap".

Get the sound that you want right away before even pushing the record button, and you shouldnt have to mess around too much with the EQ afterwards.

A lot of times what you hear from certain artists is just the characteristics in their own voice that the mic and pre combo happen to bring up to the surface, like the grit you hear in Busta Rhymes voice.
That grit comes natural to his voice, its not something that is induced by what he uses, what he uses just brings his natural grit to life.

As a producer, its your job to observe the artists you work with, and figure out what the best characteristics in their voice are. When you have that figured out, you can figure out what mic and pre combo would work best for revealing those characteristics in his voice that would make him or her a star.

Believe it or not, thats the right approach to have towards your situation. Thinking that you can use any mic and pre to match any type of vocal sound you hear out there basically stunts your ability to make the most out of YOUR artist, and the equipment you happen to have on hand..
Old 8th September 2007
  #8
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Docmattic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarthy945 View Post
Get an Audio Technica 4040 with a Focusrite pre and set the compressor on with the Focusrite and your vocals will fit in perfectly.

dude, stop saying that, its not the answer to everything
Old 8th September 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docmattic View Post
dude, stop saying that, its not the answer to everything
hahahahahahahahah beside if it was that easy we would all have that combo besides i have a 4040 and a better pre than the one you mentioned and the quality of a vocal of mine compared to the one the owner of this thread posted is way different. he recorded his verse on a u87. now even though i am not abig fan of his hiphop style the voice sits really clean and is not being given enough credit for how nice it does sound. to get back to the purpose of the thread. i think what you are hearing is the difference in person. the only difference is the syllabls in my opinion. you could probably put a exciter on a send and apply very small amounts to your vocals to make it alittle more alive but be carefull this is a unorthadox technique and too much will destroy your mix. i also think it causes listeners fatique quicker as well.. but i have noticed that putting a exciter on a send along with a de- esser at like 4000 or 5000khzmakes the mix sound nice but comes along with some bad side effects. maybe with a u87 and a better setup thesebad tagalongs will be easier to notch out. i dont know. im just a dummy that trys way to hard to find a sound that can never be achieved in a home set up. but at least i am not waisting my life watching reality shows and getting fat right?
Old 8th September 2007
  #10
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Thanks for all the feedback fellas.
However, I think I'm hearing a big EQ and compression difference. From my experience, and from what I have read from most big producers, is that EQ and compression can do nearly anything.

Besides, it's my opinion that the mic and pre I used are good enough to get in the same ballpark. For this project, I'm ok with that.

Clearly the vocalists are not going to sound anything like Xzibit. That would be ridiculous of me to assume that.

But my goal would be to treat these vocals as if they are guest mc's on the same song as that Xzibit clip and need to blend in.
Any more tips?
Old 9th September 2007
  #11
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Docmattic View Post
dude, stop saying that, its not the answer to everything
LMAO, joke of the week right there
Old 13th September 2007
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Yea I Know

I know its not the answer to everything but in the real world, most people can only afford one pre and one mic and I think the 4040 is a good all purpose mic for a range of different voices if you can't afford to go out and buy two or three mics.
Old 13th September 2007
  #13
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pultec

plug or real. boost @ 100 hz and 10k nice fat sound.
Old 13th September 2007
  #14
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Stitch333's Avatar
 

try eqing the music to carve a space out for the vocs instead
Old 13th September 2007
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 View Post
try eqing the music to carve a space out for the vocs instead
ding ding ding ding
Old 13th September 2007
  #16
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check it

i just watched a seminar on carving out parts of the music to create "space" for the vocals and if you use the right "q" on your eq cut you can alomost completely remove a freq and the vocals shine like no other.
i have been practicing and it is a bit tricky but its so effective cause you can here how much of a difference it makes even though you know you havent got it right yet
Old 15th September 2007
  #17
Gear Addict
 

OK Wait

I had a cheap mic before and I don't care how much I EQ it still sounds like crap. You need a good mic and pre - end of story.

You can use WAVES S1 Imager to spread out the music and leave the vocals in the middle.
Old 15th September 2007
  #18
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waves is alright

but good eq and panning will do the same and give you better options.
a good mic and pre will save you alot of headache but will not answer your problems









check it
MySpace.com - Feedback productions - Kansas City, US - Hip Hop / Indie / Rap - www.myspace.com/feedbackproductions
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