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Vocal Compression

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by IanBTS, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. IanBTS

    IanBTS Member

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    Just some general questions about compressing screaming vocals...

    The tracks I'm working on have some big differences in volume between low growls and high pitched screams, the high screams normally being about twice as loud as the lows are. Will extremely heavy compression even this out or make it sound unnatural?

    I've read some stuff about automating the vocals, and then compressing. Is this a better way to go so I don't squash the naturally louder parts with the compressor?

    Also, anyone have any general starting points or tips for vocal compression? Slow attack and fast release or vice versa? General threshold and gain reduction that I should shoot for? Help a n00b out
     
  2. GarethSE

    GarethSE New Metal Member

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    How I'd do it would be to split the high screams from the low screams and put them on different tracks, process them so it's all consistent and just turn the high sreams down to match the volume.
     
  3. beyond dead

    beyond dead heavy metal dad \m/

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    I do this too. automation would work, but I like to process highs differently than lows.
     
  4. LeviathanMetal

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    I agree with dodo on this one mate... after compressing the high screams down to match the volume of the low screams you gonna lose alot of the feel from the squashed dynamics. Also like beyond dead mentioned, the higher screams should be eq'ed differently as the dramatic strech in vocal range will bring in some unwanted harsh frequencies ;)
     
  5. Damphire

    Damphire Member

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    Ok, just to expand on this topic... how exactly do you treat high and low vocals? my band's singer does both and so far I've been treating both the same way. Can you give some EQ examples or tips? ;-)
     
  6. ahjteam

    ahjteam Anssi Tenhunen

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    yeah, just split it to two tracks.
     
  7. IanBTS

    IanBTS Member

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    Wow never thought of doing split tracks...haha. Please elaborate on what to do differently as far as eq-ing high and low vocals! I'm guessing a little more low end on the high screams to give them more body and a little more high end on the lows to keep them crisp?

    Any guidelines as far as the compression should go?
     
  8. LeviathanMetal

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    Well basically there is no givin way to eq anything by text book... best option is to use a parametric eq to sweep up and down the frequency bands to find any outstanding harsh sounds that are effecting the scream from sitting into the mix... for example with the high screams you will find that the higher mid frequencies will in a sense sound as if they are trying to break out if you know what i meen. and for the low end screams you'll find (depending on the scream technique) that you may get a few unwanted harmonic frequencies in there... but remember that every vocalist is different and there are many techniques which bring seperate issues into the frequencies... the best thing to do is experiment and make reference to prefered mixes ;)
     
  9. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    I'd personally just chop the audio and apply gain reduction on the louder parts. Get it as even as you can by hand then the compressor doesn't have to do as much. If you use layered compression rather than one plug-in taking all the heat you should get something more transparent going on. I'm still in the midst of sorting out all my plug-ins, but I hear the Stillwell Rocket and the new T-Racks Fairchild emu can tear some arse in that regard.
     
  10. greyskull

    greyskull Member

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    its easier to do it on the way in.
    [​IMG]
    something like that.
    otherwise you're automating for hours later.
    compress a bit on the way in, for level; then slam the fuck out of later for the tone
     
  11. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder The Truth Is Out There

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    In my dreams, if you're suggesting analog outboard compressors and not the one in a Pod X3 :lol:
     
  12. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    Haha, well if you use Cubase you can compromise by putting a plug-in compressor on the input fader and go from there. Ideally it would be something like a hardware Distressor or LA2A, but I suppose not many people here have access to those.
     
  13. Sycoman

    Sycoman New Metal Member

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    I have this type of voice. I have been dealing with this for years. For me, I have gotten the most natural mix of the two sounds by leaving the vocals on the same track. EQ the bottom to get the mud out. Then do the vocal comps with a compressor on the track, because the low and high vox will sometimes trigger the compressor differently. Quiet high parts may sound louder even though they aren't loud enough to trigger the compresssor. Use a slow attack and release on this one so you can really hear the differences in the sylables and how they are triggering the compressor. Then, when you get your vox pretty even, use a second compressor with a faster attack and release and crush the attack to taste. I like to do this second compressor on a copy of the previously compressed track and crush the hell out of it. Then turn it up in the mix with the other track until you get the evenness you want. Screaming vocals have so much character in them that you don't have to be affraid to really hit them. All kinds of cool sounds will appear when you treat screaming vox this way.
     

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