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Mixing Pop Lead Vocals Dynamics Plugins
Old 8th September 2008
  #31
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Jorg's Avatar


Harmony4 is supposed to be really good. Works vst and au but you need a Poco for it.
Old 8th September 2008
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssprod19 View Post
ok, so lots of compression. How about EQ...what kind of setting do you use on that, besides low freq cut? I know it's all to taste, and what kind of source, but do you generally boost highs, and cut mids, as I would imagine someone like Mariah would do?
It obviously depends on the singer and the mic. But very _generally_ I find that I'm typically using a HPF down low, a little cut with a low shelf around 100Hz, maybe a smidge of cutting somewhere between 200 and 400Hz. This is all to get rid of any and all muck so it sounds really 'clean' (whatever that means... I realize the vague usage). Then I'll typically get some clarity cut-through-the-mix power which tends to lie somewhere between 4k and 6k. Then I might add a little sheen at 10k with a shelf. These are typically all very minor amounts of boost/cut. Usually a dB, maybe 2 at most if the artist was mic'd up well. When I get outside records to mix, the quality can really be all over the place and sometimes the amount of boosting/cutting is so extreme it scares me and I have to force myself not to look at how much I'm doing.
Old 8th September 2008
  #33
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssprod19 View Post
my lead vocals sound a bit lackluster when compared to the mainstream "commercial" CD's (mostly pop/urban). Current setup is: Brauner Phantom -> Pacifica pre -> DBX 160a -> Rosetta 800.

My usual mix plug chain is: Logic EQ (low freq rolled off) -> Ren Comp (voc preset) -> Logic Plat Verb -> Logic Ster Delay. Yes, it's simple and to the point, though I have lots of stuff I'm not using like UAD LA2A, 1176, other Waves Gold plugs, etc.

Can you guys share your ITB chain of plugs, and settings if possible? I'm more interested in what's going ITB, as opposed to the actual hardware recording chain... unless you think mine needs improving as well?

Thanks in advance!
You've got some great tools, some of the ones you're not using might be the key to what you are looking for. As others have said, lots of compression/limiting. Your tracking chain is great, but for mix I like, and you might try: LA2a into 1176LN and a good EQ of your choice (I prefer the Hydratone for it's color and versatility). Crush the vocal through the LA2a, at least 10db or more. Then the 1176 as a limiter with med fast attack, and fairly fast release, at 8:1 or more. Then take off the peaks, probably 3-6db depending on the singer. Make sure the Eq is after any comp/limiters. EQ is of course very dependent on the voice and mic used. As others have said, highpass up until you still have enough warmth left, but no sloppy non-fundamental lows. The UAD-1 comps will really help your vocals, try them!
Old 8th September 2008
  #34
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IzzyRock's Avatar
Try what the last guy said but in my case i use the 1176 before the La2a. Attack all the way right, release 12oclock. Probably 8:1 or more. 10dbs of compression or more.
Then, send it to the LA2A set to limit, and just cleaning up the peaks, like 3dbs of compression.
Your vocals should sound a lot in your face.

Dont be a pussy with compression

As far as EQ, I use a dolby 361 unit that brings all the high end that i need. I usually boost a couple of dbs arround 2-3k to make it "cut" more. Also get rid of the unnecesary low end
Old 8th September 2008
  #35
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
Automation can be your friend.

Ride the gain to highlight what you like.

Set up some delays and ride them for effect....particularly at the end of phrases.
+1 Try a ducking delay to get it only on the end of phrases, I use the Roland SDE-330, it has a great ducking delay on it!
Old 8th September 2008
  #36
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YUGA's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrispick View Post
Or AU?
Waves Doubler
Old 8th September 2008
  #37
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matt thomas's Avatar
harmonizers:

waves doubler, part of one of the musicians bundles

there's one built in to logic (haven't tried it for this purpose)

discord by audio damage, I don't know this either, but it probably would work for this, I think also it i modeled after eventide effects, its only $49

Audio Damage :: Discord v2

narco
Old 8th September 2008
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by choinga View Post
very nice...

I don't use pro tools...anyone have any recommendations for a similar 'harmonizer' in VST format??
I've found the Waves Doubler-2 combined with a short stereo delay
to be darn close to the harmonizer.

jeff
Old 9th September 2008
  #39
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Oroz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
So here is a vocal example of a tune I am producing.

The singer name is Shelea.
The mic is a Sony C800G.
The mic pre is the A Designs Pacifica.
Then into the A Designs Hammer.
Then into the Tube-Tech CL1B.
Straight into PT HD.

There are two examples.
1. The vocals by themselves. http://www.tonysound.com/mixes/NeverThought-Vocals.wav
2. The vocals in the track. http://www.tonysound.com/mixes/NeverThought-Track.wav




Now the plugins for mixing:
The plugin on the lead is http://www.tonysound.com/mixes/Waves_G_Channel.jpg
with a little of http://www.tonysound.com/mixes/Waves_DeEsser.jpg

The reverb is (send level -20) http://www.tonysound.com/mixes/Reverb_One.jpg
The delay is next (send level -30) http://www.tonysound.com/mixes/Medium_Delay.jpg
And a harmonizer (send level -20) http://www.tonysound.com/mixes/Harmonizer.jpg
Great info. and sounds Tony, thanks thumbsup. Care to share what were the settings on the CL1B when recording?
Old 9th September 2008
  #40
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oroz View Post
Great info. and sounds Tony, thanks thumbsup. Care to share what were the settings on the CL1B when recording?
Thanks.
Check out the pic file below.
Attached Thumbnails
Mixing Pop Lead Vocals-picture-3.jpg  
Old 9th September 2008
  #41
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Oroz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
Thanks.
Check out the pic file below.
Thanks, I'm guessing just a couple of dB's of reduction on the loudest parts?
Old 9th September 2008
  #42
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oroz View Post
Thanks, I'm guessing just a couple of dB's of reduction on the loudest parts?
You got it.
I'm not a huge fan of crushing a vocal.
Usually between 2-4 dB of gain at the very loudest parts.
Old 9th September 2008
  #43
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
Ride the gain to highlight what you like.
I'm mixing vox on a new tune and I just realized that I actually cut when I ride more often.

I tend to hit my vowels a little too hard.

Did I just quote myself again?
Old 10th September 2008
  #44
Maybe someone mentioned it and missed it, but one obvious component of most pop/rock/etc... lead vocals is doubling the vocal part. It makes a huge difference and can turn a dull vocal into an exciting one, even before all the other tricks are applied (harmonizer definitely, as already mentioned, it makes a lot of difference.)

I kind of like a scenario like this:

1. The lead vocal as is, with whatever compression you end up wanting, and high passed as needed.
2. A doubled part, highly compressed, high passed up higher than the main, maybe with some of the upper mids reduced a bit so it's not too obvious, and fed straight to the harmonizer buss, i.e. not a send, but directly routed there so that there's no center component to it at all. Mix it so that it's not obvious, but it will be very obvious when you turn it off. I used Waves Doubler myself.
3. Optionally a harmony part, maybe a fifth or octave up or something, highly compressed, high passed up pretty high, and mixed in almost subliminally. That may require manual volume automation on top of the compression to control it that carefully.

Those types of schemes can create very exciting sounding vocals that have a lot of clarity and cut through and really have a shimmering, glossy sort of texture. I've been experimenting with this, and even I sound like a real singer like that (well, leaving aside the whole staying in tune thing.)

And definitely some short delay can make a huge difference in creating a really nice vocal sound. It's pretty amazing the difference it makes. That with a nice plate with good pre-delay.

And, if you can afford the time, use volume automation on the lead part instead of compression, if you are just using it for dynamic control and not for punch purposes. You can almost rewrite a vocal part with volume automation, completely changing the phrasing in ways that makes it sound like a different part almost. The whimpy trailing note can come up, or the flat phrase can be made to flow up and down, you can bring down the peaks without any effect on the small scale dynamics, etc...
Old 10th September 2008
  #45
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Oldone's Avatar
Tony, thanks for sharing. Good information.
Old 10th September 2008
  #46
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Oroz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
You got it.
I'm not a huge fan of crushing a vocal.
Usually between 2-4 dB of gain at the very loudest parts.
Thanks again Tony thumbsup and while were at it how about sharing the Hammer's settings too heh if it's not too much to ask .
Old 11th September 2008
  #47
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DivineMusic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
So here is a vocal example of a tune I am producing.

The singer name is Shelea.
The mic is a Sony C800G.
The mic pre is the A Designs Pacifica.
Then into the A Designs Hammer.
Then into the Tube-Tech CL1B.
Straight into PT HD
how much eqing did you do going in?
Old 11th September 2008
  #48
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
With the Hammer it was very light touch. -1dB at 2k.
The best part of the Hammer is the sonic color it brings to the vocal.

So the chain was the:
Sony C800G > Pacifica > Hammer > Tube-Tech CL1B > Pro Tools HD
Then you see the plugins above.


I just finished another R&B tune with a male vocal that was really a challenge.
The artist/producer, John Stoddart, had most of the rhythm coming from an old two track mix.
The 2 mix was kick, snare and bass. So I used the Waves C4 multi-band compression to control it.
Then he cut all the vocals and added additional percussion on top of that.

I think it came out really good. Especially the BGV's.
But I had my doubts when he said I was married to his 2 mix.

http://www.tonysound.com/mixes/Tenderhearted_Lover.wav
Old 11th September 2008
  #49
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u b k's Avatar
 

tony, i love the placement of the instrumentation in that mix, and the laidback vibe on the vox. it's a nice break from the more typical hypercompressed thing that's been in vogue for so long now.

my only gripe is the kick, it sounds totally disconnected from the track and overshadows everything. sounds like you had little control over that? that kind of stuff frustrates me as a mixer, when i'm forced to rely on loops with bad balance or tone because the artist or producer got attached.

the snaps/claps-as-snare work beautifully, though.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 11th September 2008
  #50
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Thanks, I'm not a big fan of the "everything over compressed" sound.

You're exactly right though, I had no choice about the kick.
I used the C4 to try and compensate and big it down, but it was married to the bass on the 2 mix, so I could only turn it down but so far.

The artist loved it because the R&B/Hip Hop vibe is still kick forward, so I think it still works.
Old 11th September 2008
  #51
CDS
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So no take 2 "LA2A" and "1176" with a bit of "de-esser" and "eq" and call me in the morning?
Old 11th September 2008
  #52
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Tony,

Shelea is the truth... I went to OC with her... It's good to know you guys are working together.... That's my girl... So are you guys working on an entire project or just a few songs here and there???

Doc
Old 12th September 2008
  #53
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kclisby View Post
Tony,

Shelea is the truth... I went to OC with her... It's good to know you guys are working together.... That's my girl... So are you guys working on an entire project or just a few songs here and there???

Doc
She is amazing!
In total we are going for 10 songs, but right now we only have 2 of the 10 done.
Old 12th September 2008
  #54
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s34nsm411's Avatar
 

just curious, when you guys put plugs on your vocal tracks, where do you put them?

for me it usully goes something like

-individual vocal track: autotune (if its a song that needs it), then a compressor

-vocal bus: harder comp, eq

then use the vocal bus to send to a reverb, delay, sometimes harmonizer

However, when vocal parts overlap and such I always have to play around with the volumes of the tracks to not make it sound like one ducks the other from them both hitting the same comp. is this a no-no? should i suck it up and spend the cpu power to put that second comp on each track individually?

also, reading Dean Roddey's post about eqing the lows and high mids out of the double and feeding it straight into the harmonizer sounds interesting, up until now ive never thought of doing anything but throwing the double 4ish db under the lead and forgetting about it. thanks for the cool tip!
Old 12th September 2008
  #55
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by s34nsm411 View Post
just curious, when you guys put plugs on your vocal tracks, where do you put them?

for me it usully goes something like

-individual vocal track: autotune (if its a song that needs it), then a compressor

-vocal bus: harder comp, eq

then use the vocal bus to send to a reverb, delay, sometimes harmonizer

However, when vocal parts overlap and such I always have to play around with the volumes of the tracks to not make it sound like one ducks the other from them both hitting the same comp. is this a no-no? should i suck it up and spend the cpu power to put that second comp on each track individually?

also, reading Dean Roddey's post about eqing the lows and high mids out of the double and feeding it straight into the harmonizer sounds interesting, up until now ive never thought of doing anything but throwing the double 4ish db under the lead and forgetting about it. thanks for the cool tip!
I do all major comp/limiting on the track(both), on BVs usually only a buss comp hit kinda hard.
Old 14th September 2008
  #56
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s34nsm411's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beyersound View Post
I do all major comp/limiting on the track(both), on BVs usually only a buss comp hit kinda hard.

this leads me to another thing ive been wondering, when people mention limiting vocals does this just imply that they put a fast attack really high ratio compressor on it? or something like the sonnox limiter/l3

ive never even thought about trying limiting on vocals, maybe im doing something wrong :p
Old 15th September 2008
  #57
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by s34nsm411 View Post
this leads me to another thing ive been wondering, when people mention limiting vocals does this just imply that they put a fast attack really high ratio compressor on it? or something like the sonnox limiter/l3

ive never even thought about trying limiting on vocals, maybe im doing something wrong :p
Yes. Some like to use a traditional limiter, and some like to use a brickwall type like the Sonnox, L1-3, UAD Precision, etc. I, like many others like to compress 10db or more with something slower like an opto, then limit the remaining peaks 3-5db with something faster (FET, VCA, etc...). Some compressors like the Neve 33609 have a limiter built in as well, it's very handy.
Old 24th September 2008
  #58
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Tony, can you shed some light on what treatment you have on the background vocals in that "Tenderhearted Lover" song.
What panning values, inserts, and send fx were used?
I have been trying to get that super wide up-front background vocal sound for a long time.

Thanks for your time!
Charlie
Old 24th September 2008
  #59
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Janesaid2me's Avatar
I was just wondering where most of you insert your de-esser in your chain of vocals....should it be after the compression and EQ or beforehand?
Old 8th October 2008
  #60
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Wally's Avatar
I Use almost same harmonizer at my buddi's studio setting and stuff but i dont do that much pop lol still sounds really good!
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