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HOW do you guys do CLEAN Vocals?

Discussion in 'Production' started by Sixstringmayhem, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. Sixstringmayhem

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    So I was messing around with a song for fun and decided to try out some clean vocals on a few spots. Well it came to my attention that Clean vocals seem to need WAY MORE attention than scream vox. I know I'm not a perfect singer but I can sing a little, but I'm having trouble mixing it. Basically what I'm getting at is Whats your guys take on mixing clean vocals? Is it very common to do 2 takes, keeping one relatively dry and the other very processed and at a lower volume? I'm talking pretty much about singing such as done in we came as romans, TDWP etc etc. IF anyone has had some succsess with clean vocals in any songs feel free to post and share your ideas.
    THANKS!
     
  2. timislegend

    timislegend Member

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    first - great delivery

    second - edit mayhem (pocketing)

    third - necessary comping (then comp editing)

    fourth - tuning (pitch correction, if needed)

    fifth - processing... in my case, i will use different types of compressors (due to subjective characteristics):

    signal chain - hp filter (around 90-100hz) | first stage compression (fast attack/fast release) | minor eq (find where the best vocal "sheen" is) | second stage compression (medium attack/medium-slow release) | limiter (depending on the "character" of the vocal performance).

    i don't really use de-essers because i feel like it removes "quality" from the signal harmonics. instead i will use volume automation on sibilance. also, i almost always ride the fader (automate) volume performance using vca group.

    every time a vocal performance is tracked it almost always calls for something different to be done with it and i think (in terms of mixing) vocals can easily be one of the most difficult things to "master".
     
  3. Sixstringmayhem

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    damn, these are the kind of replies i love to see lol
    thanks a lot!
    now a few questions.
    what do you do you do in your edit mayhem stage? and you do this without any compression or anything on the vocal, just straight up dry? as well as the comping and tuning stage?

    also, when tracking clean vocals, or I guess just vocals in general, i assume its common to use some compression but what about reverb or anything like that? delay?

    Im going to give this signal chain a shot with what im working with, im sure it'll be a good starting point at the least
    thanks again
     
  4. timislegend

    timislegend Member

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    edit stage: it doesn't really matter all that much to me with regards to compression at that stage because i prefer to keep my eye on the prize (as it were)... and that is capturing the greatest performance i can get out of the talent.

    tuning stage: i edit in autotune's graphic mode. i fix timing first using elastic audio, then pitch correct and in that process i will send the autotune track out to a new mono audio track with a rough draft of compression. in most cases i will print the tuned vocals to that new audio track and "hide & make inactive" track with autotune so that it does not occupy any voices. once the tuned/timed vocals are printed to new tracks, it will allow me to focus on the arrangement. comping is an art form in my opinion and sturgis is da vinci at this (also in my opinion). i will most likely tune/pocket vocals i might not even use so, needless to say that part is agonizingly time consuming but i have gotten a lot quicker and can probably time/tune/comp an entire song in about 30-45 min (no need to brag though).

    while tracking vocals, i guess i don't really care how the monitors sound... my primary concern is how the talent is performing (delivery) so it is important that they (the artist) really likes the way they sound in their headphone mix (in my personal experience). a singer will be tons more confident if he/she sounds like a god in the headphones, so it needs to be as loud as they want, as affected as they want and as compressed as they want.

    hope this answers some questions, but i will stress that the decisions i make with regard to vocal tracking works for me... but i am not totally sure they will work for you. either way, good luck man!
     
  5. K Odell

    K Odell \=/Varnisher\=/

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    Generally I do it in this order.

    Track line by line in phrases of like 3 to 5 words max. I track the line, tune it, edit timing, move on. I always edit after tuning bc Auto-tune and or Melodyne(whichever you prefer) can pickup those little slices and cause some weird shit to go on sometimes.
     
  6. OneDaySky

    OneDaySky Clint

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    Yeah, I find Melodyne is the worst with this.
    I track whole lines and many takes, and and use the best parts to biuld up a 'best of' take, then tune etc.
     
  7. Sixstringmayhem

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    thanks Tim, for the insight on your technique. I underestimated what it took to create great vocals tracks. I feel I have the timing part down I'm pretty good with elastic audio but I'm going to get as much reading material as possible about tuning and compressing vocals. Like you said I know that's a huge factor with clean vox. your work flow seems very efficient.

    @K odell & Onedaysky,
    I see what you mean how editing than tuning could create some problems. I personally didn't like melodyne as much as I thought I would when I demo'd it what pitch correction are you using Oneday? Autotune I assume?
     
  8. Sixstringmayhem

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    also, do any of you do the whole 2 take thing? I've heard people do this and someone mentioned joey did it too but idk if its true. two separate takes, one relatively dry the other processed and pulled back a bit. i personally haven't had any succsess with this yet because mine end up sounding chorusy instead of clean
     
  9. OneDaySky

    OneDaySky Clint

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    I'm using Autontune on bass. Vocals I've been using Melodyne Editor a lot (its only good, but you got to do lots of manipulation to make it work right) Its not like put it on and correct/quantize etc.
    I wanna try geþ more involved with autotune in Graphical mode (I been scared of that thing since the early days of autotune)
     
  10. OneDaySky

    OneDaySky Clint

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    Yup :) spot on, you need 2 good takes (I think tune em both first) then you need a rather expensive plugin calle Vocalign, it syncs a double to your primary/main take. But its really expensive. it was quite a few $100 if I remember
     
  11. Sixstringmayhem

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    yeahh i've heard of vocalign, I never really looked into it though. Maybe I can demo it. Would you say its worth it? also some spots its common to do 2 takes of unclean vocals as well, would vocalign work with this too or is it more for clean vocals?
    do any of you have any clips of some clean vocals you've done and want to share?
     
  12. timislegend

    timislegend Member

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    i would say; don't use vocalign, but thats me.

    hand edit the second take because there is a lot more control in terms of "pocket" ...i feel like vocalign screws with tightness of the vocal.

    you can hear small artifacts in vocalign as well where as with editing, you can hear a more snappy result.


    also, with melodyne... i can hear artifacts too. in melodyne you have very little "breaking point" when it comes to tuning. meaning, even the slightest tuning can cause a weird "buzzy" artifact when in autotune it takes a lot of drastic editing before you lose "quality" (for lack of a better word).
     
  13. OneDaySky

    OneDaySky Clint

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    Yeah, try the demo of Vocalign, it works just fine if you using the sync'ed track as your affects track, I could imagine it being nuts if you do stuff like triple track vocals and have em all in your face, for that, manual is prob better. The only major downfall of Vocalign is its price.
     
  14. Sixstringmayhem

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    well i just tried out the demo of vocalign and it is pretty cool but im actually still getting a chorusy type sound rather than a nice clean one. is it because my takes aren't similar enough? i mean, would you say that for example the vocals in asking Alexandria or any other band like this that the clean vox are doubled?
     
  15. K Odell

    K Odell \=/Varnisher\=/

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    Vocalign is tha bomb. Such a life saver for layers. I triple every vocal that I do and it would take me ages to get everything edited if it werent for vocalign. I also never get weird phasing or artifacts with it.

    Also I would use autotune any day over melodyne. That program also messes with the highend of the track. Its been documented that there is a slight loss of highend once your track enters melodyne. Granted that can be compensated for, but still.

    I would say Joey does a good amount of doubling in parts he records. So on the AA album he probably definitely doubling things.

    also @onedaysky you should give Graphical mode a go. Its REALLY simple once you get the hang of it. Groove3.com has a good tutorial on it. You just want to make sure you make the vocals sound as natural as possible and not fuck with the singer vibrato tooooooo much.
     
  16. OneDaySky

    OneDaySky Clint

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    Thx so much man, ill def check out that tutorial!
     
  17. koalamo

    koalamo Member

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    I disagree with you on the groove 3 tutorial I love their tutorials but their auto tune tutorial was very vague and basic just going through how to use the very basic features nothing you couldn't learn from just messing around with the tools and what not (as far as I remember) if I were you onedaysky in my personal opinion I wouldn't waste the money on that tutorial there is another company that makes a much more in-depth tutorial can't remember the name right now but will post when I get home if your interested again this is all IMO
     
  18. K Odell

    K Odell \=/Varnisher\=/

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    Thats the reason I think its a solid tutorial. it showed me enough to where I knew what to do for everything else. But to each his own I guess.
     
  19. Sixstringmayhem

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    So as i was saying, would it be right to assume that most metal bands clean vocals are doubled? I'm listening to TDWP now and the vox are just so solid
     
  20. koalamo

    koalamo Member

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    Yes
     

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