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Choosing A Vocal Verb
Old 8th April 2011
  #1
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dwaynedelario's Avatar
 

Choosing A Vocal Verb

So I have the instrumental part of this mix sitting beautifully.. it's a 60's throwback Dylanesque rocker and the vibe is sort of "live in the studio." Everything was recorded horribly but I've managed to clean up a bunch of phase errors they made during tracking so the drums are nice and wide but retain punch, guitars (recorded with verb!) are finally panned correctly and not getting all muffled when monitoring in mono. Nice image.

But now the single tracked vocal (which had about 800lbs of 200Hz in it) seems to either pop out of the mix too much on the dry side, or get soupy if the verb send goes just above the threshold of taste. What verb would you guys recommend for getting this vocal to sound like it is in the room with the other instruments? I have messed around with different "rooms" in altiverb and screwed around with early reflections... I can't seem to make this sucker match. Have I made the mix too wide perhaps?
Old 9th April 2011
  #2
Registered User
When you say 60's Dylan-esque rocker - have you tried a dark slapback delay? Ideally tape delay, or a close facsimile thereof such as a analog BBD or digital clone.

Try a single repeat = 1/8th or 1/4 note, then try some feedback for a few repeats.

It still may benefit from perhaps a plate delay - made a tape delay into a plate?

Thinking '60's, think mono delays and reverbs, although you can pan them about for stereo effect. Careful with soft reverbs that sound stink in mono. Maybe a convolution reverb with a real plate, or even a spring ...

Without an audio clip it's all guesswork ...
Old 9th April 2011
  #3
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funkycam's Avatar
 

first thing I thought was try a slapback.

also try referencing some 60's recordings with reverbs you like, sometimes you get too close to an effect & sounds bad no matter what you do, but then when you hear how prominant (or not) the effect is in another mix, it can help find a place for it in your mix.
Old 9th April 2011
  #4
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Thanks for the tips guys. Unfortunately I am not at liberty to post a clip or I would. First thing I added was actually a Lennon style slap using Waves H-Delay. It sounds great and helps seat the vocal a bit.

My biggest problem is the fact that this is basically a mix rescue. The drums and the main electric guitar were put down in a way that I cannot get them more focused and upfront. I was given four mics on the drums (a pair of OH and Kick+Snare). Under normal circumstances I could work with this... but the OH's are basically so far out that I have little choice with the sound. The kick and snare were useless... each had the same amplitude of kick and snare in both channels. I was able to replace those but it's impossible to create a more focused drum sound so I'm stuck with what I have been able to salvage. The main guitar riff is in mono and drowning in spring verb which doesn't help.

The instrumental on its own sounds good now, it's just got a lot of early reflections going on. I guess I am going to just search for roomy recordings like this and see how the vox are treated. If you guys can think of any I'd appreciate it!
Old 9th April 2011
  #5
Bill Putnam chambers in altiverb maybe?
Old 9th April 2011
  #6
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Have you tried bouncing (doubling) the vocal, panned each just a bit off center with a very short delay on one of them?
Old 9th April 2011
  #7
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Igotsoul4u's Avatar
small plate?
Old 11th April 2011
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Bill Putnam chambers in altiverb maybe?
Thanks... are those the same as the Cello studios chambers? Love those.
Old 11th April 2011
  #9
Quote:
What verb would you guys recommend for getting this vocal to sound like it is in the room with the other instruments?
Unfortunately I am not at liberty to post a clip or I would
Then no one here can answer your question. We can guess, but without hearing it n context with the mix, your on your own bro..
Everyone who posted is just guessing. Im sutre you can do allot better since you can hear the voclas in with the mix.

Just work it out, until you got it or tell the band you did your best. Im assuming its not your music, if you cant post a clip
Old 11th April 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Then no one here can answer your question. We can guess, but without hearing it n context with the mix, your on your own bro..
Everyone who posted is just guessing. Im sutre you can do allot better since you can hear the voclas in with the mix.

Just work it out, until you got it or tell the band you did your best. Im assuming its not your music, if you cant post a clip
Thanks CJ, I am on my own whether or not I post a clip! I don't expect anyone to have a miracle answer but based on the collective experience in this forum it would be safe to bet someone has been in my shoes and can offer good advice, which they have.
Old 11th April 2011
  #11
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malaclypse's Avatar
try a real close and subtle slapback. should sound like a room. reverbs can get muddy unless you have a sparse mix.
Old 11th April 2011
  #12
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Stepwise Sound's Avatar
 

A few tips to share --

you say the drums OHs are too far away and not focused and up front.

you should try the plugin Bittersweet by Flux. It is free. Use the bitter side. It will sharpen up those transients and give it some definition.

As for the vocals, it sounds like the problem is there is way too much reverb / space on the other tracks. so when you try to put reverb on the vocals to match it is way too much or not easy to notice.

Tough problem.

I would play with the reverb pre-delay -- make it like 60 ms or something so you get a sharp attack of the vocal followed by the nice tail. Rather than try to make it sound "like it's in the same room" I would try to make it sound as good as possible. Spring reverbs can be great -- get it just right and it's instant elvis.

good luck!
Old 11th April 2011
  #13
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dwaynedelario's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stepwise Sound View Post
A few tips to share --

you say the drums OHs are too far away and not focused and up front.

you should try the plugin Bittersweet by Flux. It is free. Use the bitter side. It will sharpen up those transients and give it some definition.

As for the vocals, it sounds like the problem is there is way too much reverb / space on the other tracks. so when you try to put reverb on the vocals to match it is way too much or not easy to notice.

Tough problem.

I would play with the reverb pre-delay -- make it like 60 ms or something so you get a sharp attack of the vocal followed by the nice tail. Rather than try to make it sound "like it's in the same room" I would try to make it sound as good as possible. Spring reverbs can be great -- get it just right and it's instant elvis.

good luck!
Excellent advice Dave! Probably a better approach to just make it great rather than seamless. I'll give that Flux plug a spin. Funny I was thinking of trying that SPL De-verb as well.

Thanks so much for the tips. This is a tough one. If the music were not excellent I would not be wasting my time trying to salvage this project.
Old 12th April 2011
  #14
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I listen to kcrw in los angeles a lot and many indie/mainstream recordings are drowned in reverb at the moment - here's a couple of examples - in terms of fitting it in, have you tried slapping an eq on the reverb return and eq'ing out the lows and low mids, and also compressing the reverb return? This will definitely help it sit better

Does this track come anything close to the electric gtr sound you're dealing with? You could kind of 'stylize' the lead vocal sound like this - something I'm hearing a lot lately too
YouTube - Peter Bjorn and John- Second chance original studio version HQ

And here's a few reverbed out tracks that might give you some ideas for a different approach - sometimes a crap sounding track can be great inspiration - think out of the box to bring this one home

YouTube - JUNIP - Always (Official Video)

YouTube - Jesca Hoop- Bed Across The Sea

YouTube - PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

Let us know how you get on

Edit: Try timing your reverb's predelay to the song tempo - this can help a lot too in terms of stopping things from getting muddied up - so let's say the song's tempo is 75 bpm, a 16th note delay would be 300ms - keep halving that until you get to a delay time that works for the reverb's pre-delay - i.e. half of 300 ms is 150ms (too long obviously) but maybe 75ms or 37.5 ms would work - this will be with the original tempo and will sound more musical and less smeared
Old 12th April 2011
  #15
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dwaynedelario's Avatar
 

Thanks to everyone for the very useful advice. I ended up using a combination of ideas from this thread and I think I have it sitting pretty well. I got the ok to post clips so here goes. The first one is the rough mix they handed me.

http://soundcloud.com/dwayne-delario/shfroughmix

And here is my first pass at it. Note... the kick and bass don't come in until 35 seconds or so in.

http://soundcloud.com/dwayne-delario/shf-mix-pass

Thanks again for the help.

Last edited by dwaynedelario; 12th April 2011 at 11:55 PM.. Reason: link fix
Old 13th April 2011
  #16
Gear Head
 

Well handled.
Old 13th April 2011
  #17
Nice save!
Old 13th April 2011
  #18
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Thanks very much guys. The timing of the predelay in the Putnam chamber (shout to Psycho on that rec) against the timing of the slapback really helped get that vocal where it wanted to live. Eq'ing and compressing the return as suggested also made a tremendous difference. This is also the first time I have used more than three separate equalizers AND multiband compression on a single vocal. And I like to be absolutely minimal on vox when possible.
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