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Author Topic: Terry: About Vocal Production  (Read 22564 times)

rush909

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Re: Terry: About Vocal Production
« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2005, 10:43:12 am »

this is great stuff... vocals are still my favorite thing to mix, but still the most challanging...   I kinda saw it mentioned in this thread a bit..  are there any microphone/pre-amp combinations that get you to that sound without having to do the filter/compress/add underneath trick?

There are SO many records that have that sound I find it a little hard to believe that the engineers on every one of those records went through this detailed process on every line of the vocals and backgrounds...  not saying that some don't, as I am sure they do... but all these records with that sound???  

r.  
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Curve Dominant

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Re: Airy/Breath Sound of Vocals.
« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2005, 12:38:09 am »

Bill Mueller wrote on Sat, 19 March 2005 15:02

Eric,

I have used this trick for years. It will allow you to use less compression on the main vocal as well because as it falls in gain it gets brighter and more distinct. The whispery parts get even more whispery without gettting harsh. This also keeps the track from getting harsh when louder. Mike Shipley gave you a real gift with this one.

Lucky guy,

Best Regards,

Bill


Bill,

I agree that Mike was generous in sharing this gift, but it wasn't just me he shared it with: He actually posted it on Gearslutz when he was a guest-moderator there.

I study these forums closely, and when I find a "gem" like that one, I copy it to a file, print it and stick in a 3-ring binder. And I've been building up something of a library of these binders of audio "gems."

Sometimes I see someone post something to the effect that "You can't learn audio from the internet," and I have to disagree with that. Yes, you have to practice it to perfect it, but you can learn plenty here in cyberspace, and this is only one example.

I love these forums and lurk on them religiously for that reason. I have tremendous respect for all the audio greats who share knowledge like this, and treat these forums like it's a university...to the point where I often come off like the pesky and irritating student who raises his hand and speaks out too much. But I learn faster that way.

Greg Dixon

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Re: Terry: About Vocal Production
« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2005, 01:11:44 am »

I think it was Terry, who mentioned recording a guy who couldn't sing without playing. Years ago I was recording a demo for a band, where each member sang one song. It came to the guitarists vocal and it was terrible. Really really bad. After the take he said something about not being able to sing without his guitar. I told him to grab his electric guitar and play it while he sang, figuring that if we heard it, it would just add a bit of sheen to the sound (a bit like the vocal techniques mentioned). The next take was perfect. I don't think we even did any fixes and I think he ended up just holding the guitar and not playing it.

On a similar note, I was doing 2 albums a couple of years back, with singer/pianists. They both had a couple of vocals they had tried a few times, but couldn't quite get. One of them mentioned the thing about it being strange singing without playing and I suggested sitting at the piano and fingering the notes, without striking them. It worked brilliantly, but more than that, they realized that they didn't need the keyboard, just to be sitting down. They were worried about sitting, as standing is the correct way to sing, but it makes complete sense. They do all of there singing at the piano and while that is technicaly not the best way to sing, it's the most natural way for them. I got the other singer to try it and they had equal success.
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Curve Dominant

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Re: Terry: About Vocal Production
« Reply #48 on: March 20, 2005, 01:44:38 am »

rush909 wrote on Sat, 19 March 2005 15:43

this is great stuff... vocals are still my favorite thing to mix, but still the most challanging...   I kinda saw it mentioned in this thread a bit..  are there any microphone/pre-amp combinations that get you to that sound without having to do the filter/compress/add underneath trick?


I don't always feel the need to use that trick, even though I always use the same mic/preamp combo for all my vocalists.

Sometimes, the vocalist, the song, the way they sang, the distance from the mic, the mix itself...the raw vocal just sits right and doesn't need any "tricks" to help it.

Sometimes I go to all the work of executing that trick, apply it...then delete it, realizing it just wasn't needed in the first place. Don't look at that as a waste of time, but rather an exercise in exploring all the possibilties.

Quote:

There are SO many records that have that sound I find it a little hard to believe that the engineers on every one of those records went through this detailed process on every line of the vocals and backgrounds...  not saying that some don't, as I am sure they do... but all these records with that sound???


You don't really know what was done on those records you're listening to...and that shouldn't matter.

It should be all about what you think is right, from one song to the next, from one vocal performance to the next. Do what YOU think needs to be done on the song you're working on, within the parameters at your disposal (time / expense / resources).

My concept of producing vocals, is:
1) Not all of the vocalist's charisma will be picked up by the microphone,
2) Not all that gets through the vocalist's signal chain will stand up in the mix,
3) Not all that stands up in the mix will translate to the end-user's delivery system.

That is the "extreme vocal production" approach, and you follow that only IF your production is focussed on the vocal being the focal point of your production. You hear your production on an iPod, then follow a path back to coaching your singer to deliver maximum charisma...and do whatever you have to do between those two vertexes to realize your desired result.

It all starts with getting your singer to open his/her heart, and singing like they're not really singing, but LIVING. I always tell my vocalists: "Don't SING the lyric, LIVE the story ABOUT the lyric!" Because once you've got that, the audio "tricks" aren't so important...they're easy actually, because what you've got to work with will inform them, and if you need them, and which ones and by how much, if at all.

rush909

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Re: Terry: About Vocal Production
« Reply #49 on: March 21, 2005, 08:03:54 am »

Thanks Eric...  I agree it's not about the tricks it's about the song, the performance, the story...   since the music I produce and record is a little unconventional, I try to include certain "tricks" that give me more of the "on the radio" comercial sound to bring the balances to the middle more...  speaking of this "sound".   I just recieved protool files from a prominant Jamaican artist.   and all the vocals have that whispery sound but as I can see in the session files there are no "tricks" perse...  

I don't know the chain used to record the vocals, all I know that it was recorded in the back of a VAN!  

As I said before I usually like to keep my arsenal stocked with tricks that help me get where I want to get faster, leaving me more time and room to twist the rules in other areas...

r.
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