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Ganstafied Rap Vocals
Old 10th July 2005
  #1
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IBuiltAPyramid's Avatar
 

Ganstafied Rap Vocals

I work with a lot of rappers, but while the beats sound great, the vocals just
lay there like the victim of a gang war shoot out. I'm running straight into
the firepod pre-amp. Should i grab a better mic pre? or would a compressor
work better at bringing some life back into the vocals? or are my ideas more
out of place then Kunta Kinte at a Merle Haggard concert.
Old 10th July 2005
  #2
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XHipHop's Avatar
What mics are you using?

How are you compressing and with what compressor?

Are you adding any effects?

What does the room they are performing in sound/look like?
Old 10th July 2005
  #3
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IBuiltAPyramid's Avatar
 

a crappy behringer b-1, that everytime i use it i have to increase the gain
(maybe thats where my problem starts)- is the mic im using. And i dont use
any compression right now. I record in a big open room, about 30' x 20' with
vaulted ceilings and hard wood floors.
Old 10th July 2005
  #4
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XHipHop's Avatar
well are you using a software compressor? or no compression AT ALL?
Old 10th July 2005
  #5
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IBuiltAPyramid's Avatar
 

no compression- i usually throw a 5db gain wash over completed vocals and maybe a small amount of reverb. This usually gives me a beafed up vocal track
with more warmth, but still doesnt have that clear distinction from the beat.
Old 10th July 2005
  #6
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XHipHop's Avatar
what do you mean by 5db of gain wash?

Have you tried any other mics compared to that Behringer? Even a shure sm57 or 58 just to hear the difference? I'd start there. On the cheap, I like at3035's and ADK Vienna Editions...but try some dynamics first just to hear how they sound.

Second, unless the rapper has the best technique ever, you will definitely need some compression to even out the track. And the other advantage is that many compressors impart a certain "character" on the tracks that give it a really cool sound... That all depends on your taste and what compressor you use.

What reverb are you using? Reverb isn't used that heavily in hiphop lately but it sill has it's places.

Also, what are you recording to? Software? Maybe I can recommend a cool compressor (hardware or software...we'll see what you're using).
Old 10th July 2005
  #7
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IBuiltAPyramid's Avatar
 

i process the finished vocals by adding a gain boost of 5db. it seems i have to
turn the gain on the pre-amp up all the way and volume on the channel itself
all the way just to get any signal. Then i have to compete with spikes in the vocals that clip cause the gain is so high. So i just run it at about 2-db at the
pre-amp and and 0 db on the channel then blanket wash the whole track with
that 5db gain boost.

i then usually put a small level of "bright room" reverb so it doesnt sound so flat.

cubase le software is what im using to record ( i know its cheap but its all i got)
Old 10th July 2005
  #8
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XHipHop's Avatar
Try this compressor...it's free:

http://www.digitalfishphones.com/

It's called blockfish. Put on the vocal preset and then play with the threshold. After that play with the distortion a little..it will help the vocals cut through a track if necessary.

Other than that, you should be getting enough gain with that mic. Try another one and see what happens.

I used that compressor on the vocals on the track here:

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm...20050710143914

It's sort of a joke track and the guys aren't very good except for the 2nd one...but I think the choruses and the 2nd verse came out pretty good.
Old 11th July 2005
  #9
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s.d.finley's Avatar
[QUOTE=IBuiltAPyramid]a crappy behringer b-1, that everytime i use it i have to increase the gain


Yes, the B mic is definatley a no no.... I do alot of rap....I 2nd the ADK Vienna, i have one and it sounds great on most rappers. Also on the cheap, check out SE electronics, H3500.
Is there a way you can insert a hardware compressor in your signal path on that firebox? If you can, do it....I usally comp pretty good on the tracking side of vocals, maybe -6 to -8 dbs of compression, and then adjust the output of the compressor up to give the vocals more volume. Gives you that "in yer face" sound.

Of course, try comp on both ends, while recording, and during mixing.

rock

sdf
Old 11th July 2005
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

If the rappers you work with are very accurate, and they practice their stuff alot, you should have them double their vocals. Do one pass of the verse, chorus, w/e, and then go back and have them do it again, the same exact way. Mix the two tracks together, by either panning hard left and right, or just keep them centered. This adds ALOT to a weak vocal chain. I have a couple groups that double everything. It really makes the vocals stand out. If they can't get it all in one shot, i just punch them in every few measures. If they can't get it right at all, tell them to go home and practice to their songs and try to get the vocals perfectly matched up. Good luck!
Old 11th July 2005
  #11
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XHipHop's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by djavid15
If the rappers you work with are very accurate, and they practice their stuff alot, you should have them double their vocals. Do one pass of the verse, chorus, w/e, and then go back and have them do it again, the same exact way. Mix the two tracks together, by either panning hard left and right, or just keep them centered. This adds ALOT to a weak vocal chain. I have a couple groups that double everything. It really makes the vocals stand out. If they can't get it all in one shot, i just punch them in every few measures. If they can't get it right at all, tell them to go home and practice to their songs and try to get the vocals perfectly matched up. Good luck!
That works for the Young Gunz or a lot of Dirty South sounds..but doesn't work for a lot of other stuff... it's a good technique to have at your disposal but it's not for everything.
Old 11th July 2005
  #12
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I understand that, and I refrain from using when it doesn't fit with the song, but I think it would be a good idea for him to try it out. You never know.
Old 11th July 2005
  #13
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XHipHop's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by djavid15
I understand that, and I refrain from using when it doesn't fit with the song, but I think it would be a good idea for him to try it out. You never know.
True!
thumbsup

What mics are you using lately anyway?

And where in PA are you located? I'm in the Poconos right now.
Old 11th July 2005
  #14
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I'm in conyngham, right outside of hazleton. My mom grew up in the pocono's. Right now, I'm using an Akg c2000b and an mxl 990 for vox. Sadly, the mxl beats the akg with a $150 or so price drop. You're not too far away from me. I smell a collaboration! Haha! anyway, do you make beats, run a studio, produce?
Old 11th July 2005
  #15
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XHipHop's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by djavid15
I'm in conyngham, right outside of hazleton. My mom grew up in the pocono's. Right now, I'm using an Akg c2000b and an mxl 990 for vox. Sadly, the mxl beats the akg with a $150 or so price drop. You're not too far away from me. I smell a collaboration! Haha! anyway, do you make beats, run a studio, produce?
I'm down rt. 80 from you. We should work on some stuff someday. I run a studio but this year I haven't worked on many outside acts and instead I'm working on producing a few artists from around here, NJ, and NY. I'm trying to get a label going once one of these records ever gets finished.

What about you?
Old 11th July 2005
  #16
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My recommendation. Start using compression, and update that mic of yours. You can aim for something like a shure ksm32, if you are going to record other people.

it's a transparent microphone that has presence. also get a cheap but good compressor, (ie RNC 1773, very good for its price.)

also EQ, it can make make or break the vocals.
Old 11th July 2005
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

I run a small studio, but i'm looking to upgrade so I can start recording bands. Right now, I'm working with a number of rap groups and solo artists, and two of them have real potential. There are a number of people looking at them right now. I also produce beats for them too. Hazleton is kind of sparse on rappers, but there are a number of them who have real talent and drive. I'd love to work on a joint project. It gets boring just doin stuff alone all the time. I have a crapload of beats that need a home. Maybe I can set some of the people you're producing up with some tracks. Who knows?
Old 11th July 2005
  #18
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IBuiltAPyramid's Avatar
 

thanks for the input. i'll grab a compressor and run the vocals through that.
my software has a compression plug in, but it can only be added afterwards.
Down here in texas everybody wants to freestyle their ****. They think its an insult if they have to write it down, but i tell em write it, memorize it, and practice
because cutting and pasting out the b.s. to try to salvage something just doesnt
pay. - or they want it slowed down.
Old 12th July 2005
  #19
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IBuiltAPyramid
Down here in texas everybody wants to freestyle their ****.

Yo! Not me!
Old 13th July 2005
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Double tracking rap vocals does work on pretty much everything. Sometimes it just calls for it to be undetectable. Some rappers are better at it than others. When it isn't 100% tight i just bring up and solo the 2 takes and shift what ever isn't tight it takes time but worth it. Another method I use it for blending 2 takes that u want no one to know are double tracked is to really slam the second take with a la2a and then take a pultec and cut at 100hz until they totally blend. In hip hop adlibs can really make the difference between a boring and exciting vocal track, so that is key also. reverb in hip hop is tough too cause it is essential to use but u must make it so that u can't hear it in the mix
Old 13th July 2005
  #21
Gear Nut
 

Double tracking rap vocals does work on pretty much everything. Sometimes it just calls for it to be undetectable. Some rappers are better at it than others. When it isn't 100% tight i just bring up and solo the 2 takes and shift what ever isn't tight it takes time but worth it. Another method I use it for blending 2 takes that u want no one to know are double tracked is to really slam the second take with a la2a and then take a pultec and cut at 100hz until they totally blend. In hip hop adlibs can really make the difference between a boring and exciting vocal track, so that is key also. reverb in hip hop is tough too cause it is essential to use but u must make it so that u can't hear it in the mix
Old 13th July 2005
  #22
The First Thing You Gotta Do is---

PUT HIM IN A BOOTH.
Old 13th July 2005
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

I do what you do cyanide. I've spent a day already on matching doubled vocals to each other. I go word by word, instead of, say, phrase by phrase, which takes so much time. It's worth it in the end though. I have one guy, swear to god, comes in, does his take, doesn't even need to listen to it, but I make him anyway, then goes right ahead and does the second layer. I rarely have to touch his stuff. He is so precise, sometimes I can't even tell it's doubled. Damn Robot!
Old 1st August 2005
  #24
Old 1st August 2005
  #25
from Low End
Old 15th July 2006
  #26
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-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beat God
Double tracking rap vocals does work on pretty much everything. Sometimes it just calls for it to be undetectable. Some rappers are better at it than others. When it isn't 100% tight i just bring up and solo the 2 takes and shift what ever isn't tight it takes time but worth it. Another method I use it for blending 2 takes that u want no one to know are double tracked is to really slam the second take with a la2a and then take a pultec and cut at 100hz until they totally blend. In hip hop adlibs can really make the difference between a boring and exciting vocal track, so that is key also. reverb in hip hop is tough too cause it is essential to use but u must make it so that u can't hear it in the mix
I def. think double tracking is always something to do... a must almost...

If the "doubling sound" doesn't work for the song, I always like to automate the second take (ridin the fader) and bring it up at the end of bars to accentuate the rhymes... Usually always works nicely.
Old 15th July 2006
  #27
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Jeffason's Avatar
 

there are a couple things wrong here that I noticed in the first post,

1. recording in a big room. A big room like that w/hardwood floors has tons of echos going on unless it's heavily treated. The mic will pick up these echos and the vocal recording will not be as "in your face'

2. Cheap mic - a lot of mic's were suggested, don't forget the rhode nt1a - has very low self noise

3. no compression - no compresssion on vocals is pretty much unheard of I usually run about 4:1 with -6db of compression. You will want to put a noise gate in front of the compressor. I never EQ vocals, but I do add a hi pass filter / low cut at around 100hz. Just a ~little~ reverb as well, and if the track would benefit, automate a delay send.
Old 16th July 2006
  #28
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overdose's Avatar
 

Ya'll need to get VocALign. It works great when you double track your vocs. Only problem is the artist has to rap word for word with no changes unlike most unsavvy rappers that don't know how to repeat what they did on the last take. Then you have to chop it up and align or get them to redo it word for word.

Awsome program will make you say damn.

I recorded a track feat. Webbie. He was off on his timing so bad it made me sick. What I did was rap his part like it was supposed to be done myself. Then used VocALign to fix his track using my track as the template. Bam Bam Bam Sounds sweet now. You got to love the tools we have today.
Old 16th July 2006
  #29
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Jeffason's Avatar
 

hmm i thought vocalign was protools only but it looks like theres standalone versions?? awesome!

oh nevermind, protools or DP only GRRRRR
Old 16th July 2006
  #30
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brian_delizza's Avatar
 

I highly recommend VocAlign for all of you who are trying to sync up those vocals. It really does make it that easy, and it works...

I takes about three clicks before a vocal or instrument phrase is synced up with its duplicate...
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