This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Some vocal tricks for you

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Ermz, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2002
    Messages:
    20,382
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hey guys,

    Thought I'd share some vocal 'tricks' I discovered over the course of the last year, mostly by accident, and some as a direct consequence of reading information somewhere.

    1) iZotope Trash Saturation

    This one was found totally by accident about a year ago as I was mixing the Untruth CD. I had Trash on the lead vocal channel for whatever reason, looking to do an effect, and just for kicks I decided to kick on the 'Tape Saturation' algorithm, with no box emulation or anything.

    Man, talk about surprise. The vocal instantly got more focused as the super highs and lows were rejected and the mids made grittier and pushed forward. This literally stopped the vocal sounding as raspy as it had, and instead just turned it into a weapon.

    Give it a shot, should work fairly well on most dense metal mixes. Might have to be lighter-handed on anything softer.

    2) Distressor 'Dist 3' Mode

    Another one I found by accident, this time while tracking the Untruth vocal. Initially I thought to use it as a tape emulation, since 3rd harmonics are normally associated with that. What I got instead was pure, devastating distortion. The solo'd vocal just sounded way overcooked, and I thought that was it, that I had over-processed with no way to go back.

    Lo and behold in the mix I actually ended up adding MORE saturation in order to finalize this. But the Distressor became the basis of that distorted/saturated sound which helped cut through the mix so well.

    3) EQ Into Compression

    This was... yesterday. Not sure why I never tried it before since CLA and such were reputed to do it all the time, and CLA has some of the best vocal sounds in the business.

    Essentially what this lets you do is crank a LOT more highs into the vocal before it falls apart. The whole thing inherently sounds a lot smoother, but airy at the same time. It's like the compressors strategically control the amount of air at any given point in time.

    4) Staging Compression

    This one should be common knowledge for most of you now, but some of the golden units for doing this are:

    Waves L1
    Waves RVox
    1176 Rev A (but any other Rev will do the same thing, more or less.. try get one with transformers)
    LA-2A
    Distressor (print the vocal with it, or use it in parallel during mixdown)

    The way you stage them and in what sequence is up to you, but with these 4 you cannot go wrong. You literally have just about every weapon there to get a vocal up front, in your face and personal.

    5) Mix Two Different Reverbs

    Yep, I'm presently mostly using a combination of Room and Plate reverb to get the right texture in the back. Some guys like to throw a chamber in there, and I'd imagine for more orchestral or epic stuff you might be inclined to use a hall of some sort.

    Reverbs are still very much a weak point of mine, as I prefer to get as much ambiance as possible from the room mics, or room samples. As a result my knowledge here isn't as fleshed out as I would like. However, using a combination of two verbs has helped a lot in thickening up the ambiance of a vocal part, as well as establishing those crucial early reflections that make it seem larger.

    6) Automate, automate, automate

    Do it. Automating delays and verbs along with subtle vocal level shifts lets you inject a ton of life in what might otherwise be a monotonous performance.

    Soundtoys Echoboy is a great tool for delays. I like some of the filtered sounding types for backing vox and for automating as 2nd delays on the lead lines. Stuff like 'Tube Tape' and 'TelRay' can sit beautifully in a mix. Thank me later ;)

    ---

    Anyway, I hope this helps some of you guys out on your way. I really wish someone had written this while I was starting. Actually kind of expect ninjas to come abduct me tonight for sharing forbidden secrets or something. I guess a lot of these are fairly common knowledge for those who are 'in the know', but for those beginning they should help make that extra bit of difference.

    Cheers,
    Ermin.
     
  2. DeclanWhite

    DeclanWhite Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
    Messages:
    2,102
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Australia
    interesting. will try as much out as i can when i track a friends band soon!
     
  3. NSGUITAR

    NSGUITAR Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    2,183
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Ermz, for the iZotope trash.. I've always had problems with it.. Whenever the vocalist isn't saying anything I get a really distracting fizz noise.. I've tried automating it out by bypassing it, but it never fully got rid of it any suggestions?
     
  4. wibi08

    wibi08 Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    You're the man Ermz!

    I really like how Eye of the enemy vocal sits in the mix
     
  5. Skinny Viking

    Skinny Viking ¯\(°_o)/¯ How do Lydian?

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    7,123
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Philly
    Trash is awesome for vocals but it takes experimenting to find the right settings

    EQ into compression ... only way I ever do it and for the exact reasons you mentioned

    Echoboy ... you're killing me here. I so badly want this ... another couple shows and I may finally be able to check into a couple of these soundtoys plugs based on your recommendations

    I would love to have a distressor ... sadly, won't happen for some time but I've recorded many vocals through one and LOVE its sound
     
  6. kev

    kev Im guybrush threepwood

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    5,232
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    Yeh Carlos, the echoboy is the most crisp software delay i've heard. Have you tried it yet? It has so much more life in it than any other I have tried somehow. A lot of pro's are adopting it - it even made it onto gaga's vocal chain.

    Ermz, is there any particular reason why you'd elect the L1 over any other limiter (or even any other waves limiter)?
     
  7. Skinny Viking

    Skinny Viking ¯\(°_o)/¯ How do Lydian?

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    7,123
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Philly
    no I haven't demoed it yet but thats why I'm trying to get the money together for it (and maybe a couple others). If I demo this thing and love it as much as I feel like I will, I'll probably be throwing it on eveything and will just want to flat out buy it ASAP. I would hate to demo it before I have the money to buy ;)

    How about their other plugs? Have you used any of the others cause I'm willing to lose some space on my ilok for demo licenses as long as I'm sure I'll be wanting the actual plug ... don't want to waste space on there for something I might not buy
     
  8. dan weapon

    dan weapon Planet Smasher

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Aberdeen
    Cheers Ermz, some interesting things here!
     
  9. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2002
    Messages:
    20,382
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I've used their gate plug-in as well as the crystalizer to good effect, but they aren't really workhorses in the sense that EchoBoy is. The only other one I could recommend for regular use is the new Decapitator plug-in. It's pretty cool saturation. Used it on the above-mentioned Eye of the Enemy lead vocal.

    Regarding the L1, it just seems to be the limiter of choice for the pros doing these vocal sounds. I would imagine because it's very no-bullshit, simple brickwall limiting. Sometimes that's all you want, to flatten every peak. From what I gather there is a freeware knock-off out there for non-Waves users.
     
  10. Perishh

    Perishh Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Brisbane AU
    Great tips man, will be bookmarking this for when I start vocals on friday. Only problem is I don't have a few of those plugins you mentioned. Any tips from a standpoint of someone who has used (still uses?) Cubase? I also have a tape saturation plug, Ozone,Modern and MDA plugins I was thinking about using when it came time for tracking. Also going to be trying some of the POD Farm delays, pre amps etc. which is something I haven't used with vocals before.
     
  11. Skinny Viking

    Skinny Viking ¯\(°_o)/¯ How do Lydian?

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    7,123
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Philly
    Thanks man! I'll definitely look into the Decapitator. I pretty much have no need for a gate plugin and the crystalizer just kinda sounds similar to a bunch of stuff my lexicon plug does but a really good saturation plug is always handy :headbang:

    EDIT: BTW, I still fucking LOVE your page layout
     
  12. kev

    kev Im guybrush threepwood

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    5,232
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    I did a comparison between the crystaliser and the line 6 verbzilla a while ago, that is a really fun plugin. I recorded a snippet for my friend to show him how software compares to his pedal. Nothing spectacular playing wise but here's the link - http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1206505/crystaliser.mp3 IIRC this was coupled with an echoboy. Dont waste space on your ilok with demos, cos you will need this (echoboy) thing :D

    The decapitator is nice used sparingly, but it can also provide some interesting effects too.
     
  13. Skinny Viking

    Skinny Viking ¯\(°_o)/¯ How do Lydian?

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    7,123
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Philly
    ^ Damn, that IS pretty sweet sounding

    hmmmmmm ... ok fuck it, I guess maybe I'll be going for the native bundle they have. 8 plugins for less than 5 beans, thats not bad

    christ my McDSP plugs cost that much and I only got 4!
     
  14. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2002
    Messages:
    20,382
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    It's not a gate in the standard sense. It's more of an auto-gate/envelope shaping plug-in.

    For instance I used it here to turn what were simple, long Rodes chords into a throbbing, ramp-down effect in the verses: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/285689/Music/GoodWillOut-Paranoid.mp3

    The SoundToys stuff mostly consists of creative plug-ins. They let you screw with the track rhythmically and create some new effects or textures.

    Cheers on the page. Yes, I think Raziel did a real good job with that one. I still get people asking to be put in touch with him. Even have a band wanting him to do their album cover.

    Cool clip, Kev. They really do add a wealth of ambiance to the track.
     
  15. Skinny Viking

    Skinny Viking ¯\(°_o)/¯ How do Lydian?

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2007
    Messages:
    7,123
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Philly
    ^ ahhhhh ... ok I see what you mean then. well, if thats the "Tremolator" it seems it part of their native pack so I guess I'll be experimenting with that one soon also ;)

    Thanks for the tips Ermz
     
  16. kev

    kev Im guybrush threepwood

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    5,232
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    Thats a really cool use of the gate there Ermz, I can see that one lending itself nicely to a "boulevard of broken dreams" sound. Cheers for all the above too, very nice of you to take the time to lay it all out there. Do you mind me asking what sort of GR you end up shaving per instance in the staged comp chain?
     
  17. Deebo

    Deebo Dirty Man-Horse

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Utah
    Mixing Vocals right now so this thread is pure gold for me! Thanks man!
     
  18. nwright

    nwright Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Messages:
    3,096
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    New Castle, Indiana
    for my band's latest CD that I'm mixing now, I've done a few of these "tricks" more by accident than anything. ALthough instead of using Trash, I'm using Nasty VCS for my saturation.

    Our vocalist is quite raspy, and combining staged compression and the Nasty VCS, I get more meat out of his voice. Also, using a transformerless SM57 was killer for a voice like his.

    I've never been one to get into voice saturation, but it was probably more due to the fact that I didn't know what I was doing. For present vocals in the past, I just though I needed lots and lots of "air", which usually meant I had to go too heavy handed on de-essing later. Focusing the mids and grinding them up has given me all the presence I need...Although on sustained screams, that focused range can get piercing, so automating is good there.

    Nice tips.
     
  19. Soundlurker

    Soundlurker Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    3,733
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Nice thread, cheers :headbang:
     
  20. robfromthedeep

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Messages:
    426
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Great post man, thanks
     

Share This Page