Tracking with compression
Old 21st January 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Tracking with compression

Whats up yall i have a presonus studio channel,and i have been recording rap vocals through it with the comp and eq bypassed...I would like to start using a very very light amount of compression while recording i was looking for some advice on settings since i new to this thanks for any help
Old 21st January 2013
  #2
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only reason for that i can think of is catching peaks but then again you could record lower.

why you want to go that route?
Old 21st January 2013
  #3
Gear Head
 

By tracking with compression or limiting you can record louder with less noise. Do it.
Old 21st January 2013
  #4
I would say that if you have a really dynamic performer, a light amount of compression during tracking probably could help capture the performance better than with out it.
Some vocalist and rappers really do need a lot of headroom to deliver a nice performance.
I probably wouldn't use the eq during tracking tho.
Old 21st January 2013
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtm0226 View Post
Whats up yall i have a presonus studio channel,and i have been recording rap vocals through it with the comp and eq bypassed...I would like to start using a very very light amount of compression while recording i was looking for some advice on settings since i new to this thanks for any help
Just remember you can't get the dynamics back.
I think a good microphone technique eliminates compression during recording
I don't know what people usually do, but I only compress after recording with plugins (non destructive).
Old 21st January 2013
  #6
Gear Head
 

Who wants an uncompressed vocal? No one ever.
I am not talking about squashing it. But a bit of compression is always needed.
Old 21st January 2013
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beat you down View Post
only reason for that i can think of is catching peaks but then again you could record lower.

why you want to go that route?
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildStyle View Post
I probably wouldn't use the eq during tracking tho.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
Just remember you can't get the dynamics back.
You guys are wimps.

Quote:
I think a good microphone technique eliminates compression during recording
Mic technique does not yield the same effect as compression, and, given the likelihood for most that their vocals will be recorded in a less-than-ideal room, working the mic will deliver a poor vocal sound as the performance gets louder and the vocalist moves off the mic.

I don't know what people usually do, but I only compress after recording with plugins (non destructive).[/QUOTE]

Every commercial vocal you hear on the radio was tracked with compression.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stuheimer View Post
Who wants an uncompressed vocal? No one ever.
I am not talking about squashing it. But a bit of compression is always needed.
This.
Old 21st January 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch View Post
Mic technique does not yield the same effect as compression
Agree with that, but I find the result of compression sounds better if the vocals are fairly even leveled in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch View Post
working the mic will deliver a poor vocal sound as the performance gets louder and the vocalist moves off the mic.
Then the vocalist might not work the mic properly. However I think working the vocals are more important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch View Post
Every commercial vocal you hear on the radio was tracked with compression.
Many maby, but I doubt everybody does it
Old 21st January 2013
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
Agree with that, but I find the result of compression sounds better if the vocals are fairly even leveled in the first place.
If the vocals are evenly leveled, why would you compress them at all? Unless you're just after the tone, in which case, why not apply that compression from the start, dynamics be damned? Better yet, why not use the compression during tracking so the performer can work not only the mic, but also the compressor?

Quote:
Then the vocalist might not work the mic properly. However I think working the vocals are more important.
Wrong. If you're in a poor room, and the vocalist backs off the mic for the loud lines, you'll get a boxier, roomier, not to mention thinner-sounding vocal on every climactic phrase. Pretty much the opposite of what you're after, I suspect.

This also assumes you're dealing with a vocalist who even knows how to work a mic. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, and that goes double for rappers, who typically have considerably less live performing experience than your average rock singer and subsequently only find themselves at a microphone when they're recording.

Quote:
Many maby, but I doubt everybody does it
I've produced and engineered thousands of commercial vocal sessions, and assisted the best of the best on hundreds before that, and I can't remember a SINGLE instance of a vocal being cut without compression. Not one. But hey, you're probably right: it's doubtful that literally every vocal ever recorded for commercial release was cut with compression. Probably more like just 99.9% of em.
Old 21st January 2013
  #10
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Last time i tracked a vocal without compression was....... maybe almost never.

Whether or not you track with compression going in, you should have compression on the vocal channel at least to listen to while you are recording. You want the vocalist to be able to hear themselves at all times. If every time they rhyme or sing a bit quieter, they disappear into the music and cant hear themselves, thats a problem. If every time they get really aggressive they sound alot louder than the music and cant vibe off the music as much, thats a problem. While you are recording, you want the vocalist to feel like they can do anything on the mic and not even think about it. If their levels are constantly changing, due to no compression, this could be a problem
Old 21st January 2013
  #11
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
Last time i tracked a vocal without compression was....... maybe almost never.

Whether or not you track with compression going in, you should have compression on the vocal channel at least to listen to while you are recording. You want the vocalist to be able to hear themselves at all times. If every time they rhyme or sing a bit quieter, they disappear into the music and cant hear themselves, thats a problem. If every time they get really aggressive they sound alot louder than the music and cant vibe off the music as much, thats a problem. While you are recording, you want the vocalist to feel like they can do anything on the mic and not even think about it. If their levels are constantly changing, due to no compression, this could be a problem
Mr Lewis - I'm curious as to whether you ever add mix buss compression to your headphone send?
Old 21st January 2013
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
Last time i tracked a vocal without compression was....... maybe almost never.

Whether or not you track with compression going in, you should have compression on the vocal channel at least to listen to while you are recording. You want the vocalist to be able to hear themselves at all times. If every time they rhyme or sing a bit quieter, they disappear into the music and cant hear themselves, thats a problem. If every time they get really aggressive they sound alot louder than the music and cant vibe off the music as much, thats a problem. While you are recording, you want the vocalist to feel like they can do anything on the mic and not even think about it. If their levels are constantly changing, due to no compression, this could be a problem
That is a really great explanation. I never thought of it like that.
Next time I end up recording somebody I'm definitely going to have compression on their headphone mix and probably some light compression while tracking it.
Old 21st January 2013
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch View Post
If the vocals are evenly leveled, why would you compress them at all? Unless you're just after the tone, in which case, why not apply that compression from the start, dynamics be damned? Better yet, why not use the compression during tracking so the performer can work not only the mic, but also the compressor?
Good point.

I just thought it would be nice to be able to go back to the original uncompressed file if one later in the mixing prosess find one want's to eq, compress differently.
Old 21st January 2013
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
Last time i tracked a vocal without compression was....... maybe almost never.

Whether or not you track with compression going in, you should have compression on the vocal channel at least to listen to while you are recording. You want the vocalist to be able to hear themselves at all times. If every time they rhyme or sing a bit quieter, they disappear into the music and cant hear themselves, thats a problem. If every time they get really aggressive they sound alot louder than the music and cant vibe off the music as much, thats a problem. While you are recording, you want the vocalist to feel like they can do anything on the mic and not even think about it. If their levels are constantly changing, due to no compression, this could be a problem
This tip is worth it's weight in gold. I figured out the difference it made in the quality of the performance it yielded from performers many years ago.
Old 21st January 2013
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch View Post
Every commercial vocal you hear on the radio was tracked with compression.
Are you insane? How can you make such a stupid and general assumption?
Old 21st January 2013
  #16
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emgexclusive's Avatar
ratio of 2:1 or 4:1 soft knee unless ur using a hardware compressor that has its set sound or ratio
Old 22nd January 2013
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
Last time i tracked a vocal without compression was....... maybe almost never.

Whether or not you track with compression going in, you should have compression on the vocal channel at least to listen to while you are recording. You want the vocalist to be able to hear themselves at all times. If every time they rhyme or sing a bit quieter, they disappear into the music and cant hear themselves, thats a problem. If every time they get really aggressive they sound alot louder than the music and cant vibe off the music as much, thats a problem. While you are recording, you want the vocalist to feel like they can do anything on the mic and not even think about it. If their levels are constantly changing, due to no compression, this could be a problem
I never understood why I loved the performances I did at home vs. those in the studio until this moment.

At home I apply heavy compression on what I'm hearing, which allows me to let loose and always vibe. I didn't realize that's what it was doing. I just always had the same fx chain (including compression) on what I heard.

I always felt like in the studio I didn't have the same energy and had to really focus more on my voice. I told myself that the difference was that at home I could record when I was inspired whereas at the studio it was forced. But I think that was completely wrong.

Being able to just vibe and rap and having every instance of every syllable punch through allows me to play around with those.

Amazing advice here. Appreciate it!
Old 22nd January 2013
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ezionjd View Post
Are you insane? How can you make such a stupid and general assumption?


Yes. I'm insane. And apparently, so are the dozens of producers and engineers -- many of whom having crafted more hits in a year than you'll have your whole life -- that I've worked alongside. And the thousands of songs I've produced, engineered, and/or mixed: all completely, utterly bat**** crazy. Goodness, it's a miracle we loonies can even calm our psychoses long enough to hit the "record" button.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amaan View Post
I never understood why I loved the performances I did at home vs. those in the studio until this moment.

At home I apply heavy compression on what I'm hearing, which allows me to let loose and always vibe. I didn't realize that's what it was doing. I just always had the same fx chain (including compression) on what I heard.

I always felt like in the studio I didn't have the same energy and had to really focus more on my voice. I told myself that the difference was that at home I could record when I was inspired whereas at the studio it was forced. But I think that was completely wrong.

Being able to just vibe and rap and having every instance of every syllable punch through allows me to play around with those.

Amazing advice here. Appreciate it!
Your welcome

There's a real art to tracking vocals. This is the tip of the iceberg. i think recording vocals on a truly pro level is about the hardest thing to do incredibly well. So many subtle small things go into setting up for the right scenario to not only capture a great recording but capture a great performance
Old 22nd January 2013
  #20
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Sorry I am not responding to the original post but thank you Ken for the tip. I used to track with a compressor when I was doing everything 16 bit and liked it better for the little bit of rapping I do. I stopped awhile ago and never thought about it myself. Some people I work with don't really care if they hear themselves, some people want to hear ever detail so I am planning on setting up a simple monitoring solution with extra gear that would not hit my converters. I am planning on buying a compressor for other things but I may just have to make that easy to patch in. Makes so much sense, don't know why I never thought about doing it this way.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isawsasquatch View Post


Yes. I'm insane. And apparently, so are the dozens of producers and engineers -- many of whom having crafted more hits in a year than you'll have your whole life -- that I've worked alongside. And the thousands of songs I've produced, engineered, and/or mixed: all completely, utterly bat**** crazy. Goodness, it's a miracle we loonies can even calm our psychoses long enough to hit the "record" button.
U mad bro? How can you sum up that ALL commercial songs have had their vocals tracked like you stated? How could you POSSIBLY know this? NO ONE could know this.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ezionjd View Post
U mad bro? How can you sum up that ALL commercial songs have had their vocals tracked like you stated? How could you POSSIBLY know this? NO ONE could know this.


My good man, please try to relax. I am not "mad", nor am I "insane". Might I remind you that you're the one getting all foamy-mouthed at the prospect of professional engineers using tools that have been around for over half a century.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #24
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Another Gearslutz new age special. Before this special age the thread would have had to be 'Tracking vocals without compression', as it would be the odd one out thing to do. Anyone that thinks tracking vocals without compression is common amongst pro engineers has not seen much studio time, sorry. Some track an uncompressed copy for backup, but most just track with, even if it's just a weeny hug. Usually all it takes anyway.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #25
I would never use compression during tracking but for catching peaks as you v already done I sometimes do it. I prefer recording at a lower level as already mentioned. The compressor in the studio channel isn't that good that I would use it really as an effect or add character to the vocals. Use it for catching peaks and do the rest with high quality comps or with good plugs in the box like RVOX/RCOMP or the 1176 waves/uad.

If you set the settings wrong and recorded a pervert good sounding take there's no way to undo it. That's why I like it better to leave the compression off while recording vocals.

I am not a good recording engineer cuz I usually focus on producing and mixing but I think many people would agree with me in this case.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Compressing vocals during recording used to be standard practice with analogue recorders, and was important to avoid distortion being caused by unexpected peaks. Now that so many of us have access to 24-bit digital recording systems allowing large amounts of headroom, we can choose to keep our options more open, and compress after recording instead.
Q. How should I set up my compressor for recording vocals?
Old 22nd January 2013
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbechristos View Post

I am not a good recording engineer cuz I usually focus on producing and mixing but I think many people would agree with me in this case.
Except pro recording engineers, who would not.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Except pro recording engineers, who would not.
But they wouldn't use a cheap compressor during tracking as I said. For catching peaks it can be ok but nothing else.

So Pro recording engineers will agree with that as well
Old 22nd January 2013
  #29
Registered User
 

Quote:


Written by a man who clearly assumes that his readership is comprised of incompetent hacks.

Compression isn't that hard, kiddies. Especially light vocal compression. I'm not going to argue that it's a strict necessity (this is art, we're talking about, after all), but I am going to continue to point out that every -- er, sorry, Ezionjd; we'll just say 99% of -- professionally-recorded vocals are done with compression on the way in.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbechristos View Post
But they wouldn't use a cheap compressor during tracking as I said. For catching peaks it can be ok but nothing else.

So Pro recording engineers will agree with that as well
They wouldn't use a crap comp no, not really directly related to price though. But compression while recording vocals isn't really about 'catching peaks'. It's about keeping the performer 'in the pocket' as has been mentioned, and giving it a little careful first 'hug of confidence', ready for further processing as and when necessary. Catching peaks is much more likely something to do while mixing. Also, I don't really follow how you seem to think that a cheapo is good enough for the peak job but not anything else. I'd find the opposite, if I want to smoothly shave off peaks, it better be a good box.
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