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Tracking vox with a vst compressor Audio Interfaces
Old 3rd January 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Tracking vox with a vst compressor

What are ur thoughts on tracking vox with a vst compressor...Should u do it or not?
Old 3rd January 2011
  #2
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Really shouldn't do this unless you are running a TDM system. Even in that case, you would only have the compressor as an insert and not actually print the compression. In a non TDM system, the latency would be noticeable to most vocalists or session players. OUTBOARD BABY!
Old 3rd January 2011
  #3
I think tracking with a Hardware compressor will be easier to setup. I don't like to complicate things so if I want to track with a compressor, I use it in the chain, or if I want the dry signal going in my computer yet use the hardware compressor to help the singer, I use an XLR splitter, I send 1 part to the compressor (and then into a small mixer for monitoring), then the other XLR to the AD/DA.

I just don't want to worry about latency. Do you use internal monitoring or do you use an external mixer when recording? Using an external mixer for monitoring only is the best thing I have done to my studio, as well as using a hardware compressor. That way I get no latency anywhere. You don't need anything too crazy either. I have a Behringer Xenyx for monitoring and an Art Pro VLA for compression. So 300 total? Not bad.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #4
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s.d.finley's Avatar
I have a TDM system and never have tracked with a compressor, eq, dynamics plug in either. I have used a bus and sent the talent some reverb which I didn't record.
Just use the plug in after the fact, keep your levels low and turn your main volume up. Or, buy a hardware compressor for vocals, something inexpensive and somewhat clean to control a peaking vocalist. Lots of threads on this subject of which compressor for vocals. It all really depends on your price range and need or not of color/character.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by s.d.finley View Post
I have a TDM system and never have tracked with a compressor, eq, dynamics plug in either. I have used a bus and sent the talent some reverb which I didn't record.
Just use the plug in after the fact, keep your levels low and turn your main volume up. Or, buy a hardware compressor for vocals, something inexpensive and somewhat clean to control a peaking vocalist. Lots of threads on this subject of which compressor for vocals. It all really depends on your price range and need or not of color/character.
Like I said, the Art Pro VLA or VLA II is a good option for a low cost Hardware compressor. If you go on youtube and check out my videos, all were tracked through the VLA, and it sounds great. I will eventually switch to the Tubetech but for now it's fine.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #6
Gear Nut
 

i use the tube tech cl 1b vst...it works great i just use the kanye west settings because i have no clue on how to manually configure settings when it comes to tracking.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
There was one time I was helping a buddy and I had no choice but to track with the plugin compressor to save on processing later on. And ya know what? It worked out fine.

I think you have to think of it from two perspectives:

1) Technically, maybe it's not the best way to go. Obviously using an analog compressor would work better from a technical standpoint.

But...

2) Technical stuff isn't the end-all-be-all of making a record. If you work better, make better decisions, have more musical mojo, etc. using a plugin during tracking (assuming an analog one isn't financially an option at this point), then go for it.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #8
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PeeWeeGee's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MG_BEATS View Post
i just use the kanye west settings because i have no clue on how to manually configure settings when it comes to tracking.


Huh?! This is probably CATEGORICALLY wrong. You really should take the 1-2 hours to read about how to use your gear. Afterwards, you'll be PERMANENTLY equipped to make better recording decisions for any kind of recording.

I've used hardware (including the built-in "soft compressor" on the MOTU MK3) and VST compressors. Even the most generic ones can help you out quite a lot. Subsequently, you can color your sound with different plugs and gear. Of course, it's always EASIER and more fun to capture all that in one take.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #9
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Well in a TDM system you don't have to ONLY monitor it. You can print the comp at the same time. Just run to an Aux ch first have that routed to a audio track..

I've done that in the past for EQ or a scratch gtr using like Ampfarm.

But I hate the idea of software comp for tracking.
Reasons:
1. I want control before I hit the AD converter.. That's what counts most!!
2. I may want color.. Not enough in software on the tracking side.
3. I get more control / color before AD always.. Mixing I'm fine with comps then.
At that point I'm just taming what already sounds done.

I can track most things if I have to with out compression..But vocals I always have to use hardware.. I hate the sound of vocals flat.. Even the best singer/mic/pre combo.. I still want to hear that vocal sit in the mix like it's done with the thought I won't need to do anything later.. It makes it more fun for not only me to listen back but for the artist..

If it sounds done they will get into it more..
I don't really use verb when tracking.. Most times it makes people pitchy... But my clients usually don't want it while tracking.. they are fine with it dry.. They want to hear the notes more clearly..specially when doing stacks of harmonies.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #10
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MRose's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkung View Post
Really shouldn't do this unless you are running a TDM system. Even in that case, you would only have the compressor as an insert and not actually print the compression. In a non TDM system, the latency would be noticeable to most vocalists or session players. OUTBOARD BABY!
hmm nope, while it's true of TDM, it's exactly the same with native system these days. With a low latency buffer (32 or 64) there's no lag whatsoever (unless the actual plugin in question introduces a huge latency, but most have none to negligible)

In a VST sytem (I assume Steinberg Cubendo?) you simply insert any plugin in your INPUT channel and it'll get printed to any track you're recording.
That being said, I recommend not to track with plugin (at least not printing while tracking). if you have overshoots in the mic pre or converters the damage will be done before you hit your plugin compressor, which in essence negates it's usage.
get a cheap hardware comp if you can't afford much ($200-$300 range), it'll still work better than your method, and you can still add your plugin after the fact or monitor through in addition.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #11
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Faderjockey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MRose View Post
hmm nope, while it's true of TDM, it's exactly the same with native system these days. With a low latency buffer (32 or 64) there's no lag whatsoever (unless the actual plugin in question introduces a huge latency, but most have none to negligible)

In a VST sytem (I assume Steinberg Cubendo?) you simply insert any plugin in your INPUT channel and it'll get printed to any track you're recording.
That being said, I recommend not to track with plugin (at least not printing while tracking). if you have overshoots in the mic pre or converters the damage will be done before you hit your plugin compressor, which in essence negates it's usage.
get a cheap hardware comp if you can't afford much ($200-$300 range), it'll still work better than your method, and you can still add your plugin after the fact or monitor through in addition.
Yes and no...

I'm not using my TDM system any more.. I'm now on PC using Reaper and Cubase4 (or was).. I use an RME Digiface running with an SSL Alpha Link..
I can get the buffer to a 1ms latency and still hear a flam when doing vocals and my clients can as well.. I'm not doing rap (even though I'm in this forum)..
When tracking live instruments it's fine I can even raise that buffer a little and be fine.. But vocals.. It's a flam.

Maybe I'm picky and the clients I have are picky. But I have to monitor off of the RME totalmix or if in Cubase I have to use Direct Monitoring.
If I monitor through plus or the App it's there.. but like I said really only when doing vocals..
I believe it's mostly because you can't get out of your own head...
You can hear yourself inside yourself (know what I mean) so as soon as you hear yourself through headphones/speakers and you are felling the vibrations of yourself at the same time your mind can tell there is a timing difference...Which feels like a flam/phase.
I just did this test with my client (my old bass player) great musician he was doing vocals..I got the latency setup as fast as I could. Then setup to monitor through the RME.

We just toggled between the two. He said he could do just fine with monitoring through the app.. But he felt the timing was better through the RME.. and I'm sure it would be even better in the analog world if we weren't listening through the AD/DA converter timing.

he heard what I heard and it's a light phasey sound almost like a double track but tight.. I don't like it (even though I'm not the one singing) because it gives me a false sense of tone.. Because as soon as I hit playback it's not the same sound as the phasey sound was..
Would be nice if there was ever a way around AD/DA latency but not sure how they will be able to pull that off..The units have already gotten faster then they use to be.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
There's no point in using a software compressor for tracking if you have an adequate (spelling?) vocal chain and booth/room, the vocals will sound just fine as they are. Unless you're dealing with artists that are extremely picky about their monitoring, but if you're dealing with artists that does that, it's because they can afford to be picky, in which case you'll have access to some outboard compression (which beats software every time in tracking).
Old 3rd January 2011
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkung View Post
Really shouldn't do this unless you are running a TDM system. Even in that case, you would only have the compressor as an insert and not actually print the compression. In a non TDM system, the latency would be noticeable to most vocalists or session players. OUTBOARD BABY!
I'd recommend the opposite. Or perhaps not monitoring through a plugin at all (depending on the DAW and the plug). Most native plugins, running on a native system (ie - not PTHD) will have a much shorter latency. Even native plugins (ones that would normally have no latency on a native system) running on a TDM system will have latency.

Also, the ADC in PTHD can create all sorts of weird latency/monitoring problems while you're tracking, even if you're only using inserts on tracks you're not recording to.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Dave Aron does it....he had a video where hes mixing in the box and he made an aux track with comp (input : mic out put : bus 1 and all the audio tracks had bus 1 on them) and explained how it helps the vocal. Hes been doing it for 20 years i think the dude knows what hes talkin about...
Old 3rd January 2011
  #15
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ncoak's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faderjockey View Post
I want control before I hit the AD converter.. That's what counts most!!
exactly...there is no benefit to tracking with a plugin unless you're in a situation like chris carter's above where processing power is at a premium. and even then you could just print compression afterwards, prior to mixing.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MG_BEATS View Post
Dave Aron does it....he had a video where hes mixing in the box and he made an aux track with comp (input : mic out put : bus 1 and all the audio tracks had bus 1 on them) and explained how it helps the vocal. Hes been doing it for 20 years i think the dude knows what hes talkin about...
Wait, so is he mixing or tracking?

Anyway, there is no "right or wrong". It's a preference thing. You just have to bear in mind that you (as engineer) may have a separate preference from that of the artist, your producer, etc, and that the client's comfort is the priority.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
Wait, so is he mixing or tracking?

Anyway, there is no "right or wrong". It's a preference thing. You just have to bear in mind that you (as engineer) may have a separate preference from that of the artist, your producer, etc, and that the client's comfort is the priority.
tracking then mixing. He used almost all stock pro tools plugins and he said they get the job done too and managed to make a good mix just doing everything "in the box" he even tracked vox using an mbox.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #18
Gear Head
 
Meko's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MG_BEATS View Post
Dave Aron does it....he had a video where hes mixing in the box and he made an aux track with comp (input : mic out put : bus 1 and all the audio tracks had bus 1 on them) and explained how it helps the vocal. Hes been doing it for 20 years i think the dude knows what hes talkin about...

yes, he probably does know what he is talking about, but sorry, I do not mean to be offensive, but you do not quite seem to know what you are talking about. you use the kanye settings because kanye 'maybe' used them at some point.
but the problem is that he used them because of the song and the circumstances, you use them because kanye used them.
if this dave aron does something, he does it because it makes sense for him. you, again, do it because dave aron does it.
see the problem?
you need patience, patience, patience. It is something we all must learn.

If you/your vocalist is fine with the latency-related issues of plugin-insert-compression and the performance does not suffer, there is no problem. you read about the possible pitfalls of doing so in the previous posts, so you know what 'might' be the problems if something feels wrong and you might consider a hardware compressor.
budget choices would be the fmr compressors, aphex 651, gap comp54, art vla...
Old 3rd January 2011
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MG_BEATS View Post
tracking then mixing. He used almost all stock pro tools plugins and he said they get the job done too and managed to make a good mix just doing everything "in the box" he even tracked vox using an mbox.
This post should be stickied at the top of every thread in the hip hop forum.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #20
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s.d.finley's Avatar
Tracking vox with a vst compressor

Quote:
Originally Posted by MG_BEATS
Dave Aron does it....he had a video where hes mixing in the box and he made an aux track with comp (input : mic out put : bus 1 and all the audio tracks had bus 1 on them) and explained how it helps the vocal. Hes been doing it for 20 years i think the dude knows what hes talkin about...
There's been plug ins for 20years?Do what you like.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #21
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there's no reason to record with a digital insert effect on. record dry, effect later.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
I'd recommend the opposite. Or perhaps not monitoring through a plugin at all (depending on the DAW and the plug). Most native plugins, running on a native system (ie - not PTHD) will have a much shorter latency. Even native plugins (ones that would normally have no latency on a native system) running on a TDM system will have latency.

Also, the ADC in PTHD can create all sorts of weird latency/monitoring problems while you're tracking, even if you're only using inserts on tracks you're not recording to.
I don't understand. I think we are saying the same thing here no? I am suggesting not to use a plug and use an outboard comp. I am saying there is latency...

And to the above poster who says that they can track native without latency, maybe my system isn't up to spec as yours but for the life of me i can't get a native system to monitor without latency even without a plug in on the insert. I guess everyone has a different experience.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MG_BEATS View Post
i use the tube tech cl 1b vst...it works great i just use the kanye west settings because i have no clue on how to manually configure settings when it comes to tracking.
So you spent all that money on the (softube?) TT compressor, but haven't actually bothered learning how to use it?

The "Kanye West" settings (ah yes, Kanye West, that well known recording engineer) could be doing ANYTHING to your vocal - unless you're actually adjusting the threshold, you might not be touching it (so it's kind of pointless), or you might be slamming into it (so it's hideously overcompressing). Who knows?!
Old 4th January 2011
  #24
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atma's Avatar
it makes no sense to me to record using a plugin on the input bus. i dont get what the point of it is.
Old 4th January 2011
  #25
Yea!! VST Compressor plugins cannot effect the vocal when recording. Because after it passes your sound card's A/D converters, its too late to compress the audio signal. The damage has already been done!!

If your using the VST compressor to alter /compress there recorded vocal, your using it the worng way! You need a hardware compressor to compress the recorded signal, not a VST.
You need to compress it before it passes your converters! Not after!!!

VST Compressor plugins are made for after the fact, Not durring the fact

Its an honest mistake made by many, so dont sweat it bro
CJ
Old 4th January 2011
  #26
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Faderjockey's Avatar
 

That's what I'm saying...

Now I can see an EQ or even something to dirty up a sound for effect...
That works.. but Compression is to control dynamics..Doesn't work for me.
And when I do use compression for effect...I use outboard where I think it's heard more..

Now I'm going to go against what I just said a little bit.. Now there is times when I've mixed OTB with summing box came back in the AD then used a comp before I printed the mix... That was for control and yes it was after the AD...

But the mix wasn't as loose or dynamic as a human voice can be...So I got the control I wanted before I printed. But I can't ever get that from a voice..and I know for sure it would never work with drums.
Old 4th January 2011
  #27
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Meko's Avatar
 

I think (and hope) the OP was referring to using a plugin compressor for monitoring purposes only, as an insert on the specific track that can be bypassed afterwards and does not affect the signal that is being recorded. indeed printing the plugin compression while recording appears very pointless.
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