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.