Vocal Recording and Production For Singers | Tyler Connaghan | Skillshare

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Vocal Recording and Production For Singers

teacher avatar Tyler Connaghan

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

29 Lessons (3h 14m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Finding The Best Room to Record In Your Home

    • 3. Making Your Room Sound Killer

    • 4. Recording Software Options - The Digital Audio Workstation ( DAW )

    • 5. Choosing The Right Microphone for YOUR Voice

    • 6. Studio Headphones VS. Consumer Headphones

    • 7. The Secret You Should Know About Background Vocals

    • 8. Assessment #1: Preparation - Action Item

    • 9. Microphone Positioning Will Make or Break The Recording

    • 10. Setting The Right Volume ( Interface Gain )

    • 11. Professional Singers Record Multiple Takes

    • 12. Action Item - Finding the Right Mic Placement & Setting Gain

    • 13. Multiple Vocal Tracks To Edit The Perfect Vocals ( Comping )

    • 14. Assessment #3: Comping - Action Item

    • 15. Let The Bots Do The Work - Taming The Vocal Levels With Automation

    • 16. Assessment #4: Gain Automation - Action Item

    • 17. The Illusion of Perfect Pitch - Pitch Correction & Autotuning

    • 18. What Makes EQ an Essential Tool for Vocals?

    • 19. What Is Compression? Every Professional Singer Uses It.

    • 20. What Is Sibilance? Those Damn Unruly Consonants!

    • 21. Subtractive EQ - Getting Rid of The Nasty Stuff

    • 22. Dynamic Compression - Creating Upfront Vocals

    • 23. Additive EQ - Ready For The Magic!

    • 24. Serial Compression - Why Two Compressors Are Better Than One

    • 25. De-Essing - Taming Those Unruly Consonants!

    • 26. Reverb - Space Out on Depth & Ambiance - Guaranteed To Sound Great!

    • 27. Delay - It's Makes You Sound Killer, Killer, Killer, killer....

    • 28. Additional Effects - Chorus, Phasers, Flangers, Saturation

    • 29. Mix Referencing - Learning From Professional With Critical Listening

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About This Class

 Welcome to the Vocal Recording and Production Course For Beginners!

This course is specifically for singers who are looking to record, produce, and mix their own vocals at home. It is for people who know nothing about the world of music production, though want to get started.

By The End of This Course:

  • You’ll have all the knowledge you need to set up your room for recording.

  • You will know how to record clean and clear vocals.

  • You will know how to mix your vocals with various tools including;

    • Microphones

    • Reflection Filters

    • EQ

    • Compression

    • Reverb

    • Delay

    • Autotune / Pitch-Correction

    • Modulation Effects

    • De-esser

    • Sound Isolation

    • Vocal Comping

Here Is What You Will Learn:

  • Find the right space to record vocals.

  • The proper gear you need to record vocals.

  • How to use correct microphone placement.

  • How to set gain on your microphone or interface.

  • How to comp multiple vocal takes into one perfect vocal.

  • How to use auto-tune and pitch correction software.

  • How to EQ, compress, and de-ess vocals.

  • How to use reverb, delay, and other COOL effects on vocals.

  • What is mix referencing and why mix referencing is so important.

    • ( Learning How to Listen to and Analyze Your Favorite Professional Mixes ).

I understand how frustrating it can be to start recording and producing your own vocals at home. Even the technical terms alone can feel daunting and confusing. What I want to do is use my experience as a singer, producer, and engineer for over a decade to make sure you never feel that frustration again.

You will be provided with practical tips and techniques that you can implement into your newfound love for recording, producing, and mixing vocals

The course will likely take approximately two weeks to complete depending on your experience. Once enrolled, all materials are yours to keep for a lifetime!

Each lesson comes complete with a PDF download,which will provide you with a summary of the course, as well as other tips, tricks, and necessary links. I have also sprinkled a few action items and surprises throughout the course as well. You will use these action items as checkpoints for your progress. You will be provided with a list of my personal favorite gear so that you can have everything you need to get started right away!

I will be using Pro Tools throughout the editing and mixing portions of this course, though any DAW ( Digital Audio Workstation ), you choose to use is fine. Do make sure that you download a DAW prior to starting this course. I recommend starting with the free versions of Pro Tools, Ableton, Reaper, Logic or Garageband if you don’t have anything already.

See you inside!

Meet Your Teacher

Tyler is a producer, composer, and mix engineer at Killingsworth Recording Company in Los Angeles and owner/operator of Tyco Sound, a full-service production company with clients from around the globe. He has produced numerous records in a wide range of genres and has had dozens of TV placements with companies such as Vice, WWE, Microsoft, ESPN, and more.

A graduate of the esteemed music program at the University of Southern California, Tyler has self-produced three records under Yukkon and Attic Empire and has worked with and produced for numerous artists, including The Blah, Blah, Blahs, Stylo Beddoe, Chuxx Morris, Torrey Mercer, Urban Cowboy, Gallo, Wayfarers, Donna Adja, and many more.

As well as his work behind the scenes, Tyler has been singing for many years. He has... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hello and welcome to the course. I'm so glad that you made it inside and we have a ton of exciting things to cover. However, before we get started, I want to go over a few things. First, this course will provide you with practical tips and techniques that you can implement into your newfound love for recording, producing, and mixing vocals. Now the course will likely take around two weeks to complete, depending on your experience level. Once enrolled, all materials are yours to keep for a lifetime. It is very important to note that each lesson comes complete with a PDF download, which will provide you with a summary of the lecture, as well as other tips, tricks and necessary links. I have also sprinkled a few action items throughout the course as well. You can use these action items as checkpoints for your progress. Do note that I will be using Pro Tools throughout the editing and mixing portions of this course, though, any DAW you choose to use is fine. Do make sure that you download a DAW prior to starting this course. I recommend starting with the free version of Pro Tools, Ableton or logic if you don't have anything already. Lastly, keep in mind that recording and mixing is an art form. There are no hard and fast rules. However, having an understanding of the rules allows us to break them. I am simply here to provide you with the quote, unquote rules so that you can have a foundation on which to experiment. Very excited to get started with you guys. Let's hop in the course. 2. Finding The Best Room to Record In Your Home: Vocals are one of the most important parts of any mix, though unfortunately, not all of us have the luxury to record in a multi-million dollar studio. Instead, most of us are stuck recording in places like this. Welcome to my home. Now, if it's anything like your guises home, you probably have a few rooms to choose from when it comes to recording your vocals. Though, you're unlikely shore as to which room is best. You have the bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, the kitchen, and even your closet. Of course, because these rooms are likely untreated, you may find it a struggle to get your vocals sounding professional right off the bat. It's so easy to think that mixing can have the biggest impact on a vocal, though in all reality, the most important aspect is the recording process. The room that you choose to record and could potentially make or break your vocal sound. One beginner mistake that people often make is choosing the room to record in that is most convenient to them. Though, the room that is most convenient may not always have the best sound. And in fact, the room that is most convenient may actually have the worst tone overall, which will become very apparent during the mixing process. Notice how some of the rooms seem to echo more or have a bit more reverberation. Reverb can pull your vocals back in the mix, which can be extremely detrimental if you're going for that in your face. Pop vocal sound. This is especially true if you record your vocals with a lot of echoey room tone, that will inevitably sound further away from the listener. Now, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to fix this once your vocals have already been recorded. So the ultimate question becomes, which room do you pick? In my opinion, a small to medium-sized room works best. Now, it's even better if you have a lot of soft objects that are in the room as well as these can help to soak up those reverberations. You want to avoid rooms that have a lot of hard surfaces in them, such as Windows or countertops. Now this is why I typically highly advise against recording in kitchens or bathrooms or spaces of the like, unless you're going for a unique sound. On the other side of things, you don't want the room that you're recording to be too small. Either this could end up making your vocals sound muffled or resonant due to what we call early reflections. And we'll get more into that later. But the important thing is, don't record in a space that's really, really small. People often resort to their closets to record vocals because they believe that they're shaped just like a professional vocal booth. The thing is, vocal booths are typically much larger than standard closets. They're usually covered in soundproofing as well. Now, though the echoes are reverberations won't be as obvious as they would be in the kitchen or bathroom. They will be very loud due to the close proximity to the microphone, which will make them sound a little funky when you eventually compress your vocals. Now whenever I decided to record vocals at home, I typically resorts to my bedroom. This is because I have lot of soft objects, like I said, including my bed, a little couch, some rugs as well. And I've also done a little bit of home-style soundproofing, which we will discuss in the next video. 3. Making Your Room Sound Killer: Room noise is easily one of the most controversial topics in the world of recording. Now a great visual engineer will tell you that the room noise is crucial to get the realism of a scene. However, when it comes to recording crisp and clear vocals, room noise is not really our best friend And in many ways is sort of the bane of the recording engineers existence. Rooms are meant for a lot of things. There are meant for hanging out with friends and family, eating, watching TV, whatever. But recording crisp, clear audio becomes quite difficult in your typical room. Now that we've talked about finding the best room to record in, let's talk a little bit more about getting rid of extraneous noise within a room. You want to start by getting rid of any noisy electronics. You can turn your air conditioner off. You can get away from that pesky hard drive which has a little fan running. You can, you know, maybe not run your washer or dryer while you're recording your vocals. Finding the right time to record vocals is just as important as finding the right space. Now, think about it. You, you may have at 08:00 AM, the the garbage man comes around every day and you have that loud beeping That's outside. Maybe that's not the best time to record vocals. On the other hand, you may have your family, everyone comes home at around five or six o'clock in the evening. That may not be the best time to record vocals. You really want to find a time that is quiet in a time that you can sort of situate for yourself and for a sort of peaceful recording experience. Of course, you can also do a little bit of home-style sound proofing as well. Now, you've probably seen vocal booths before, but here is a little snippet of the vocal booth and the studio that I work in. Vocal booths are made to absorb the sound of the room around you, which allows your vocals to shine through clearly without any unwanted reverb. Now, more often than not, vocals are recorded with condenser microphones as well, which are far more sensitive than their dynamic microphone counterparts. This means that condenser microphones will likely pick up unwanted sound in the room. Unfortunately, most professional vocal booths can cost upwards of thousands of dollars, which let's be honest, most of us home studio guys just don't have. The good thing is there are a few different methods that you can use that are extremely budget friendly to better soundproof or, or treat your room at home. Panels are a wonderful option for home recording, though they can get expensive pretty fast, which is why I highly recommend making your own if you can. There are plenty of resources available online for building your own acoustic panels, and I will include some of my favorites in the PDF download. Panels can be placed around a singer to limit Reflections, which is why they're so helpful. Here's some of the panels that I use in my recording sessions. Now remember those little pillow or mattress forts that you made as a kid. Here's what those can come in handy. The idea here with the mattress Ford is very simple. All you have to do is surround yourself with as many Madrasas as you have. Now, of course, the actual design of the mattress for it will completely depend on the number of mattresses that you have and the space that you have for recording as well. If you have two mattresses, for example, you could place both of them behind the singer in a V-shape. If you have three, you can create a larger C-shaped the four mattress version, in my opinion, is best. You essentially retain the C-shaped while putting the last mattress over the singers head. Mattresses are wonderful as they use this really thick material that is perfect for capturing low to mid frequencies, which can be extremely problematic when recording vocals. Of course, on the downside, you are going to have to figure out how to store all of these mattresses yourself. Let's talk reflection filters. Now, you've probably seen reflection filters at your local music store or probably on your favorite singers YouTube channel. They are essentially half cylinders that are made out of foam and sit behind your mike stand, uh, while you are recording. Reflection filters are great as they're extremely portable, really, really easy to set up, and they're easy to store away when you're done. Unfortunately, they don't do a whole lot. This is because reflection filters sit behind the back of the microphone, which is a dead point. You'll still get reflections from above, below, and behind you if you are going to use reflection filter, I highly recommend using it in conjunction with one of the other forms of soundproofing that we talked about. Years ago, I stumbled upon the packing blanket fort, which absolutely changed my life for home recording. I still use my packing blanket fort at home today. The idea with a packing blanket for it is that you hang several acoustic blankets from a frame that is made of PVC pipe, which creates a portable vocal booth for yourself. It works to soak up the sound of the room on all sides, which helps your vocals to come out nice and dry. Plus, you get to be in your own little enclose space, which I believe helps to derive better vocal performances. Overall, you'll likely spend around two hundred and three hundred dollars on a packing blanket fort, which in my opinion is a very, very solid investment, especially if you're going to use it again and again and again when recording vocals at home, recording noise free audio is difficult, but it's not impossible. If you simply follow the steps above and make some steps for planning, then you'll be able to reduce the specter of your room significantly and record those crisp, clean and dry vocals that we all want to hear. 4. Recording Software Options - The Digital Audio Workstation ( DAW ): When you get into the world of modern audio recording, you're going to need to know about Dawes. Da stands for Digital Audio Workstation and is essentially software that is designed for the purpose of recording, editing, and mixing digital audio. Now, Dawes can also sequence midi notation. They can host virtual instruments and much, much more. But for the purpose of this course, we'll be focusing on recording, editing, and mixing audio, and even more specifically your vocals. Now as with other types of software, there are plenty of daws to choose from, including Avid Pro Tools, Apple Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Reaper, Cubase, Digital Performer, FL Studio, GarageBand, and the list goes on and on and on. Now for this particular course, I will be using a dot known as Pro Tools. It is an industry standard and is used by audio professionals and home studio owners alike. However, for beginners, I do understand that it can be quite difficult to grasp. And as you move up in tears in terms of the software, it can get pretty costly. Now as an avid Pro Tools user, no pun intended. I highly recommend starting with the free version of the software, getting comfortable with that and moving up in terms of the software tears as you begin to feel more comfortable using it. Plus, using Pro Tools is a wonderful investment. If you decide that you want to continue a career in audio recording your production, it will open up a lot more doors for you. When I began my work in the studio that I currently work out here in Los Angeles. I needed to learn Pro Tools and it was really the only way that I could start making money and start actually recording professionally. So I would definitely recommend investing in that if you can. Now with that said, Pro Tools isn't for everyone and I totally understand that you might download Pro Tools. Try it out and say, hey, you know, I kinda liked Ableton better or I kinda liked Cubase better or reaper or Garage Band or whatever. And that's totally fine. And the cool thing is everything that I'm going to teach you in this course will translate to any DAW that you use. Yes, the interfaces will be a bit different and the controls might have different names, but the ideas are all the same and this is a foundational course. So again, choose the DAW that is most comfortable for you and you'll be totally fine. There are plenty of professionals who don't use Pro Tools at all, so don't worry about that. It's about what makes you happy and inspires you to create music. Now, I'm going to leave a list with a bunch of links to all of the free versions of some of my favorite Dawes and some of the industries favorite daws in the PDF download to make sure to check that out, make sure to go out and download them, test them out, experiment with them, get a feel for them, and then choose the one that suits you best. It's all up to you. It's all completely subjective. Now, before we move on, I wanna give you a little bit of my history and the world of dawes. And actually I began recording on an 8-track machine, which is basically this small hardware recorder. You sit it on a desk, you plug a bunch of stuff into it and it records on small tapes. And while that was cool, I would not recommend it for modern recording as it has tons of limitations. After I got out of that, I began using Garage Band and this was maybe back in 2006. It was very, very young. I had we had a a Mac computer in our home and so I would just go on there and mess with it, mess with some of the instruments. Record my voice through this, you know, old laptop computer Mike, it was, it sounded awful but it was a great way for me to learn. And the cool thing about GarageBand is that any of you guys out there who own Max, who own Apple computers or Apple devices, whether it's a desktop, laptop, iPad, or iPhone, you probably have a garage band downloaded on there. It's an application, it's a digital audio workstation, just like Pro Tools or logic, and it's completely free. That's the great thing. It's very, very versatile and it's a great way for you to get started with recording. Very easy to use. It does have some limitations. There are some drawbacks to it as with any other DAW. And as you start to move more into the professional world, you may want to consider switching over to a different one that has more capabilities. But I would highly recommend if you have any Apple or iOS devices, see if you have GarageBand downloaded already. Flip it open, check it out, see if it feels right to you. And, you know, you'll already have completed this step. Very, very easy. Next up, we're going to be talking about choosing the right microphone for your voice. 5. Choosing The Right Microphone for YOUR Voice: There is a common quest for recording engineer is to find the perfect microphone that will work on any vocal at anytime. Unfortunately, this quest is a pretty difficult one. There are so many different types of Singers out there and so many different types of microphones. It's the same thing as going into a hardware store and looking for a tool that will do a 100 different jobs, it's almost impossible to find that tool. So what do you do? The best thing that you can do is start with a variety of microphones, which is exactly what I wanted to discuss today. Though. Before we hop into that, I want to briefly go over the type of microphones that you can expect to find and why you might use one over the other. Now there are two umbrella categories when it comes to microphones, including condenser microphones and dynamic microphones. Ninety-five percent of microphones that you will use for recording vocals will fall under these two categories. Let's first talk about condenser microphones. Condenser microphones fall into two categories. Large diaphragm condensers and small diaphragm condensers. When recording vocals, I typically resort to large diaphragm condensers. And you've seen these before. You know, it's that quintessential. Early 19, thirties, 19 forties Hollywood shot of this gorgeous pop singer and the microphone hanging down in the studio and she's getting ready to sing. That is a large diaphragm condenser microphone. Not only do these microphones look great on camera, but they are also fantastic for recording vocals. Now, one of my favorites is the warm audio WAS 87, which in my opinion is a really, really beautiful full bodied microphone that is incredible for vocals. Next we have small diaphragm condensers, which are commonly known as pencil microphones. These specialized and recording instruments that are really rich in high-frequency detail, such as symbols or acoustic guitar. Unless you are specifically looking to get a lot of high-end shimmer in your vocals. I wouldn't really recommend using small diaphragm condensers. Now let's move on to dynamic microphones. Dynamic microphones are far less sensitive than their condenser counterparts, which is great for home studios that don't have a lot of treatment. Essentially, they won't pick up all of the unwanted sound in a room. Like a condenser microphone would. Dynamic microphones are really, really great for singers with sort of harsh or nasally vocals. If you find that your singers vocals are a bit too pride on the top end, or they're just coming out really, really harsh in the ears. I would highly recommend switching to a dynamic microphone. One of my favorites is the sure SM7 B, which I am actually using here today. Now, this microphone was famously used on Michael Jackson's Thriller and is used on vocal tracks all over the world of all different genres. It's a true workhorse, dynamic microphone for vocals. Now, here with me I have a few different microphones that I want to test out for you. What I'm going to do is I'm going to place them side-by-side diaphragm to diaphragm and record the same line into them so that you can hear how they sound and compare them apples to apples. In the sounds of the voice. Taking my blues in the saddle, voiced taking my blues. Hopefully you understand a little bit more about how to pick the right microphone for your sound. Next, we will talk about setting up your headphones for recording. 6. Studio Headphones VS. Consumer Headphones: There's nothing they can get you closer to your music than a really, really good pair of studio quality headphones. And they're absolutely crucial for recording. This is why I think it is very necessary to get a solid pair of studio quality headphones if you're planning on recording your vocals at home. Now, people often ask, can I just use my everyday headphones? Well, if you're talking about those little ear buds that you got with your iPod. No. Studio headphones are designed for accuracy, while consumer headphones are designed to accentuate different frequencies within the frequency range. Now, your typical consumer headphone will probably accentuate the bass and treble frequencies because it makes listening to music more exciting. On the other hand, studio quality headphones will typically have a flatter frequency response, which essentially just gives you a more natural anymore truthful or honest sound that is being reproduced. So essentially, you'll hear exactly what's going on in your vocals without any trickery. First, you need to decide if you want open back or closed back headphones. Closed back headphones have little cups around the outside of the headphones, meaning the sound is closed off. These are really great for recording as you don't want the sound to leak out while you're singing into the microphone. So why would somebody use open bag headphones then open back headphones allow air to flow through the ear cups, which creates a more spacious and open sound. They can help you to locate particular instruments and mix, and they often sound more natural and accurate as well. A good pair of open back headphones can be really solid for mixing or mastering. Now if you're just getting setup in your home studio, I would highly recommend getting a few pairs of headphones to mess with. This way you'll have one for yourself, one that you can mix a record vocals with, and one that maybe if you want somebody else to come into the studio and record as well, they can have their own pair of headphones, get a couple pairs to try out. My go-to picks are these sanitizer, HDTV prose, and the biodynamic DT 17, seventies. They're super comfortable, form a really, really nice closed seal and offer a sound that's really as good as anything you'll find in their price range. Now, there are a few things that you'll want to do when setting up your headphone mix for recording. No matter if you're recording your own vocals or someone else's vocals, these same steps will apply. First, you want to make sure that you're using the best headphones possible, like we talked about. Make sure that they're not intermittent, make sure that they're actually working. There's nothing that can stop a good session faster than a sort of screwy pair of headphones. Next, you want to set the level of the kick, the snare, and the base much higher in the mix. Now the kick and snare will essentially provide the singer with a rhythmic element that they can better use to get into the groove of the song. They can better stay in the pocket of the song while they're performing. Now the base, on the other hand, provides a fundamental frequency so that the singer can stay on pitch while they're recording. Next, you want to add a chordal instruments such as a guitar or piano, bringing them up very, very lightly, just behind everything else in the mix. Now the reason that we want to do this is because it will essentially give this singer something to cue off of while they are singing. You don't want it to be too loud. It shouldn't be distracting, it shouldn't be getting in the way of them being able to hear themselves singing one special tip. Don't add anything to the sound that is modulated. You may have some tracks in there that have flanges on them. They have courses on them. Vibrato, these sorts of things are essentially changing the pitch ever so slightly, which could inevitably make your singer sing out of tune, especially if they've referencing the track that they're listening to. Hopefully by now you have a better understanding of how to set up your vocal headphone mix. Next, we are going to get into why you would want to record background vocals differently. 7. The Secret You Should Know About Background Vocals: I want to briefly talk about recording background vocals. Now this can mean H2S or AWS, harmonies, or even group vocals. The idea here is that you want to record your background vocals differently from the way that you decide to record your lead vocals. The reason that we want to record background vocals differently is that we will get a much better separation between them and the lead vocals once we get into the mixing process, separation in a mix comes from differences in the signal. Now the more minute or the more subtle the differences, the harder it will be to get that width and separation that we long for in professional mixes. If you're doing all of your vocals at home, try to plan on getting as many takes as you possibly can sing into the mike from different angles, use different microphone or different preamp on the way in, or maybe tried to sing in a deeper or higher voice with each take so that it almost sounds like there are different people singing. Alright guys, that is it for the prep course. Next, we will get into the actual process of recording. 8. Assessment #1: Preparation - Action Item: Alright guys, so now we have made it to our first action item. This prep action item will include all of the things that you need to get prepared for your first vocal recording session. First, you need to find the best room to record in. Remember to try and find a small to medium size room if you can. You can also test the reverberation in that room by clapping. If you notice that there is a lot of reverberation or the echo that's slaps back at you is a little bit annoying, are piercing sounding. Move on to the next room until you find the one that is best. Once you have your room setup, you need to choose the right microphone. I mainly use two microphones for recording at home, including the warm audio WAS 87 condenser microphone and the Shure SM57 be dynamic microphone. I will also leave a list of other microphones that I feel are great for home recording in the PDF download. Finally, you will need to get your headphones setup properly. Now there are two pairs of studio headphones that I love using at home, including the biodynamic DT 17 seventies. And these send highs are HD to 80 prose. I will also leave a list of other pairs of studio headphones that I feel are great for home recording and home mixing in the PDF download as well. 9. Microphone Positioning Will Make or Break The Recording: I'll come back. In this lecture. We're going to be talking about finding the right microphone placement for recording vocals. Now before we get any deeper, I want to say that you absolutely need to get yourself. One of these things, pop filters, pop shields, plosive shield, whatever you wanna call it. These are extremely, extremely important. They're incredibly inexpensive as well. So if you don't have one of these for your microphone already, stop this lecture, order one, go to the store, pick one up, whatever you need to do, get yourself a hold of one of these. First, pop filters are meant to kill what we call plosives. These are Bs or tease or peas or any other hard consonants that blast lot of air into the microphone. These kinds of consonants will overload your microphone. So it's a really, really good idea not to record vocals unless you have a pop filter with you. Beyond dealing with plosives, pop filters can help to cure the issue of distance. Now a lot of people will record their vocals much too close to the microphone. There are two reasons why it recording very, very close to the microphone is a big problem. The first reason is that most microphones are cardioid. Microphones. Cardioid being a type of polar pattern or the way that the Mike picks up sound. In this case, cardioid is a heart-shaped such as cardio or cardiologist. It uses the same root word and picks up the sound from the front of the microphone. The issue with cardioid microphone is that the closer you get to them, the more bass response you have to deal with. This is due to something we call proximity effect. Of course, that buildup of base is really great if you're one of those Hollywood trailer guys with a really, really big boomy voices. And though a lot of those guys do naturally have boomy voices, much of that low sound comes from the fact that they get right up close to the microphone, almost eating it in a sense, of course, in the studio for recording vocals. That's not what you want. You want your vocal to have a natural sound almost as if you're hearing the vocalist in the room with you. And of course you can throw on different effects or things later down the line. But it's important to get that natural sound right off the bat. That way you have a really clean palette to work with. Essentially to get the most natural sound, just don't get too close to the microphone. Of course, the question is, how close should you get? So I tend to stay about eight to 12 inches from the microphone, right? I also put a pop filter up in between me and the microphone. And the pop filter runs about four to five inches to the face of the microphone. So right, we have four to five inches from the microphone to the pop filter. And about another five to seven inches from the pop filter to my mouth. And essentially what this does is creates a physical barrier so that if you're working with another singer, let's say they cannot get closer than this pop filter. And in usually if I'm working with another singer as well, I'll tell them to stand four to five inches from the pop filter. And that's just a really good distance to get natural vocals. This type of Mike placement will sound really natural. It'll capture the entire tone of your voice and it will capture some really nice chest resonant as well. Now the second reason why distance is so important is something known as inverse square law. And without getting too technical, the idea is that the closer you get to a microphone, the louder the microphone is going to hear you. It also means that any type of movement when really close is going to be exaggerated. So let's say that I get really close to the microphone, right? And a slightly sway my head while talking. Let's going to be a lot more obvious than if I'm further away from the microphone. And I slightly sway my head while talking. The great thing about being further away is that you can move and it won't interrupt the recording. No matter what genre you sing, every song has some kind of movement to it, right? And as a singer, you probably don't stand stiff as a board when you're singing. Do you like to move around and, you know, in that high notes coming up, you'd like to dig in or when you're really feeling that rhythm, you sort of want to move. Well, being further away allows you to do those things while still capturing a vocal that sounds consistent through out. And I'll say this time and time again throughout this course, consistency is key when it comes to vocals. Now, on the other side of things, you should never be more than 12 inches away. Microphones aren't smart, like our ears. And what I mean by that is that they don't choose to pick up certain sounds, right? This microphone isn't choosing to pick up my voice only. It's also hearing the room around me, anything that's happening outside, it doesn't have the ability to focus like our ears do. And what this means is if I get further than 12 inches away, I'm basically getting less of my voice and more of the sound of the room around me. And for a vocal recording, I don't want more of the room. Now I do want some of the room because that's what gives the vocals a natural sound, right? Whether you're in a treated space or not, having some air around your vocals gives them a natural sound. But of course, I don't want more of that air or more of that room than my vocal tone. So I will stay within 12 inches of the microphone, never go more than a foot away. It's not really useful unless you're doing maybe some sort of background vocals or you really, really want room sound in there for whatever reason. But most of the time I say stay at least 12 inches within 12 inches from the microphone. So to summarize, get yourself a pop filter. Keep the microphone about eight to 12 inches away from your face. Keep the pop filter about four to five inches away from the face of the microphone and position the microphone at mouth level to maintain a comfortable posture while singing. Position the Mike correctly and you'll get a much better sound right off the bat. Next, we're going to discuss setting your recording levels. 10. Setting The Right Volume ( Interface Gain ): Now once you have your microphone in the correct position and you're happy with the tone of your vocals. The next thing that we want to do is set the gain or the recording levels of your microphone. So what is gain? Gain is how much you are increasing the level of your microphone's output signal. We do this because the output signal for microphones is insanely low, and it can range from negative 32, negative 70 decibels. And that definitely needs to be increased to get a recording level that you can work with. This is why we have preamps. Now to clarify, preamps can come in the form of little recording interfaces or stand-alone pieces of hardware. They come in all different shapes and sizes. So let's say that you have an audio interface that ranges from six decibels to 66 decibels in terms of gain, that means that the least amount that you can amplify your signal is plus six decibels. And the greatest amount that you can amplify your microphone signal is plus 66 decibels. Now, hopefully that wasn't too exhaustive of an explanation, but in my opinion, the best way to think about gain is essentially giving your microphone more output signal. So when you speak into the microphone, it's coming out or into your computer louder as you raise your gain. Now how does one set gain? People often ask, you know, what is the best gain setting on a particular interface or a particular preamp? And unfortunately, there is no exact answer to that question because there are quite a few variables that you have to take into consideration. First, you need to consider the loudness of the source. In this case, the source is the vocalist. Now if the vocalist is speaking really quietly, you might have to turn the gain. But if that vocalist is really, really loud, if they are belting, in that case, you might want to turn the gain down. Another variable is the distance from the sound source. Now, as we discussed in the mic placement lecture, it's very important to keep your microphone about eight to 12 inches away from your face. Now, of course, if you're Singer is a little bit further back than you might want to turn up the gain to compensate for that. And if they are getting really, really close, you might want to turn down the gain to compensate for that. Third factor is microphone sensitivity, or the output level of a particular microphone. So if you have a really quiet microphone, such as a dynamic microphone like this, Shure SM 7B here, you do have to add quite a bit of gain. On the other hand, if you do have a condenser microphone, you may not need to add nearly as much gain because of those have much higher output signals to begin with. Let's talk about actually recording your vocals. Whether you are recording into an interface with a standard microphone that has. An XLR cable or your plug-in, a USB microphone straight into your computer. You're going to have to set the gain. Now whatever interface you're recording into will likely have a little light meter and that will show you your input levels. Green lights typically mean healthy levels, while red lights typically mean you are clipping or distorting the signal. For me. I always like to stay in the green going into my computer. A healthy level going into your interface means a healthy digital level going into your computer. The digital level in your computer is represented in dBFS or decibels, full scale. You want your average signal to be around negative 18 dBFS, peaking around negative ten dBFS. Although never peaking higher than negative six dBFS. You can visualize the dBFS level in your DAW on one of your channel meters. The reason that we don't want our peaks to go above negative six dBFS. Is that peaks higher than that begin to take away headroom. Now headroom is defined as the space between the peak of our recording level, which in this case is our vocals, and 0 dBFS where things begin to distort or clip, of course, like I always say and will continue to say throughout these lectures, is that clipping is bad. You don't want your signal to clip. Basically, if I am recording a vocal take and it peaks out around negative ten dBFS, then I have ten dB of head room to play with before my signal begins clipping. That means I can add volume, I can add a little bit of compression, which I will eventually do and have my vocal get louder and louder and louder before I hit that 0 dBFS Mark, and I get that nasty distorted sound. I think the settings for gain ultimately come down to how dynamic your sound sources or how dynamic your vocal is. That is why I always recommend testing out the loudest part of the song when getting ready to record. That way, you know how loud the song is going to get and you won't turn the gain up anywhere past that level that can handle that loud part of the song. What I like to do is set my gain levels differently for separate parts of a song, especially if the song is very dynamic. So let's say that I'm recording, you're really, really soft verse part. For that specific verse part, I will turn the gain a little bit further and record. Then for the loud chorus parts, I'll turn the gain a little bit down and record that part separately. This way I don't have to fiddle or find a middle ground between the two dynamic parts. I can just record them separately with different settings. And it'll be easy as that setting gain correctly is so important. And if you do it right, it will make your mixes ten times easier when you eventually get to them. Next, we'll be talking about recording multiple takes. 11. Professional Singers Record Multiple Takes: Now one thing that I would briefly like to discuss is the idea of recording multiple takes. By this, I mean, recording multiple takes of the same versus the same courses. The same pre-chorus is the same harmonies, etc. Now these multiple takes can eventually be stacked on top of each other to create those big, cool stacked vocals that you often hear in modern pop recordings. Or we will use them in something called comping, which we'll talk a little bit later down the line. As a rule of thumb, I always like to record three to five vocals for each part of the song. This means that our record, three to five vocals for the verse, three to five vocals for the pre-chorus, three to five vocals for the chorus, the bridge, and so on. It is very important to make sure that your settings are the same each time you record so that they can eventually be pieced together a little bit later on. Now, make sure to record three to five vocals for each part of your song and you'll be, well on your way to a pro recording. 12. Action Item - Finding the Right Mic Placement & Setting Gain: Now that you are set up and finally ready to record, we're going to experiment with microphone placement. Now to do this, you're going to need a few things which include a microphone, a microphone stand, an interface. If you're using a standard microphone with an XLR cable. However, if you are using a USB microphone, simply plug that straight into your computer. And lastly, a pop filter. Begin by placing your microphone about eight to 12 inches from your face with your pop filter, about four to five inches from the face of your microphone. Now remember that if you have a really dynamic song, one that goes from soft to loud, really quickly, give yourself a little bit of room with that gain. Make sure not to set it so high that so when you do get to that loud part, you don't end up clipping or distorting because we don't want that. As you are going through in singing, makes sure to experiment with the microphone placement and the microphone level. You can move it left, right. You can move it closer to your chest or further above your mouth. And while you're doing this, make sure to note any changes that you hear. Microphone placement that standard right in front of your face may not actually sound the best for your particular vocals. So again, experiment and find what works best for you. Also, remember, make sure to download the PDF that goes along with this lesson as it will take you step-by-step through finding the right Mike placement and setting your gain. 13. Multiple Vocal Tracks To Edit The Perfect Vocals ( Comping ): All right guys, let's talk about capturing the perfect vocal take for our project. Now the question is, how would you go about capturing the perfect vocal tic? While it is true that many of us are flawless musicians and singers and can easily come into a recording studio and record one take perfectly and be done for the day. And not everyone is that gifted. And in fact, even the people that are that gifted don't typically use that one Take method these days, one of the most often used production methods is to get one final great take by compiling bits and pieces of prior takes. This process is known as comping, otherwise short for compilation, and is used by recording and mixing engineers all over the world for all different kinds of music. It may not come as a surprise to you, but many vocalists are pretty fond of the comping process. This is because it makes their job pretty easy. They simply sit in the studio, record three to five passes of the entire song, and then they go home. It then becomes the job of the producer or engineer to come together all there takes into one final perfect take. Let's hop in to a session and see how comping it's done. All right guys, so now we are in this session and before we get started, I want to talk a little bit about the importance of keeping notes on takes as you record. It is very, very important to label your takes during the recording process as it will make the process of comping so much more efficient. And what do I mean by taking notes is essentially, every time you record a line, record a phrase, make a note on it. Was the phrase really good? Is it usable? Was it not so good? Maybe it's one that you might want to stick in the background or not used at all. And there are a couple of ways that you can take notes. For starters, you can take notes within your dog. So here in Pro Tools, if I go to the track name over here, double-click. So let's say this was Chorus one, right? And I really like this take, I could write right here. Great. Take. Use this one or something. You know, for example, that's just something I could, right? And let's say this one was chorus too. So I could write here, maybe this one wasn't so good. I can write, let's not use this one. Right? And you can get as detailed as you want. But the important thing is that you're making notes so that when you get to the comping process, you can go through and you can see which ones that you're going to use right off the bat. So this song that we're going to use is called like that. It's an, by an artist named Tory Mercer. I produce a song for her. I mix the song for her, and she's an absolutely fantastic singer. But as with most singers that I work with, I comp all their vocals, which of course means taking all of the tapes that I recorded and kind of Frankenstein ing them together to create one great take. So the first thing that I wanna do is get my session set up for comping. Now as you'll see right here, the top that says like that Voc session. And this is because for this particular session, I had a lot going on within my production session. So I actually. Pulled out a demo MP3 or the instrumental and recorded all of my vocals separately in a different session. This is really nice if you're using a lot of CPU heavy BSTs are plugins or things like that. That way you don't have to stress about latency or anything. Just bounce out a demo and make an entirely different session. So you'll notice that I don't really have much going on in this session. It's actually just these vocals and this demo mp3 of the instrumental track. And it actually gets set up for comping. I want to adjust some solo things right here. So as you'll see, this solo at the top is grayed out. This is going to work a bit differently in different Dawes, but the idea is that you want to solo, command solo your instrumental track or command solo your instrumental tracks if you're still in your production session, that way this will remain so load regardless of if you solo other things in the session. The next thing that I want to do is go up here and I wanna go to Options, solo mode and click X. Or what XOR is gonna do is as I move through the different vocal takes, each solo that I solo, we'll cancel out the last solo. And this is actually really nice because then I can quickly go through each vocal, take listened to each one, and I don't have to worry about going back and unsettling one and then soloing the next. It just makes things faster, which again is the goal here to make things as, as efficient as possible. So now let's look at the takes that I have for this focal. You'll notice that I actually have a bunch of vocal takes here. Now I actually have five of the course, and I typically do that with everybody that I record a record five vocals of the same exact phrase. So five vocals for the core is five vocals for the first five vocals for the pre-chorus, whatever. It just gives me options when I get into the comping phase. When I'm recording, I like to stack the vocals one on top of the other. This just makes it easier for me to visualize. You can also create playlist over here, right? So here are some different playlist. Some of those have vocals, some of them don't. And to create a playlist, you can go new and let's say chorus. Take two, if we had it, right. And now I have course take too. And that's a playlist that I can go to in here. But for now, let's stick with course one. Now you'll notice that I have some tuning plug-ins already on here. And this one in particular is waves real tune. It essentially tunes the vocal in real-time and I'm not gonna talk too much about tuning right now. But the reason that I do this is I just want to see how these vocals are going to react to any tuning that I put them through. This is because I know that I'm going to tune them regardless once I get into, into that part of the mixing process. But I just want to see for right now how it will react to some mild tuning. That way I know when I'm piecing these vocals together, I don't get one that I really, really like. And then eventually I go to tune it and you know, for whatever reason the tuners sort of wigs out and doesn't work correctly. So I try to keep my Auto-Tune at a pretty mild setting when I'm in the comping phase. Okay, so we're actually going to start this process by adding a new track. And this new track is where you are going to comp your vocal. So let's call this comped chorus for now. Okay, so what I'm gonna do is I'm going to move through all of these vocals and start getting a good comped vocal together. And I'll sort of explain what I'm doing along the way and any other sort of rules that I am following. So let's first start by highlighting this beginning two phrases, the chorus and I'm gonna go up here and hit Control. And then click. And this is going to allow me to shuffle through my loop function or my record functions. And I'm going to get to my loop function right here. It's very important that I'm loop on play and record. So you want these to be up there. And essentially I'm just going to loop these 2 first phrases of the chorus. And I'm gonna go down MNO listened to each one simultaneously trying to find the best one of the one that I like most. So let's do that really quick. Okay, so for me I really, really liked this first one the best. So I'm gonna take this, I'm going to command E, cut it from the other part of the course. I'm going to pull it up into our comped chorus track, right? And now I'll go through and I'm going to listen to the rest. I'm going to try and pull in the second phrase and see if that fits well. Let's try that. Cool. Okay, so it's kind of a tie between this one and this one. I really like both of these. I'm gonna pull this one up just for now. Right? So let's put these two together and see what they sound like. Now here's a couple of things you're going to want to note. One thing is I cut at parts where there were silent. As you see, I'm not cutting in the middle of words and not cutting in the middle of phrases. I'm not cutting it weird parts you cut in moments of silence because this is going to be the least noticeable when you actually have your vocal all splice together, right? If you do like a particular word and phrase, but not the rest of the phrase, you would want to splice on a hard consonant. It'll make the cut far less noticeable in the mix. So let's listen to this phrase really quick and listen for any hard constants that we could possibly cut on. So let's say we didn't like this word thing right here. Right? It has that t That in it. So I would potentially want to cut on that to get something. Another thing in there, instead of cutting on the ng of thing, I would cut on the th of thing. So let's maybe try and get this one right here, right? Kit that up in there. And we will smooth that out. See you. So really not that noticeable. You barely notice that I made that cut there. And it's very, very important to make a note of that. Goes wanna make sure that the energy levels in the phrase or the same as well. So obviously I'm, I'm splicing together a bunch of different phrases here. And she may have been more energetic recording one than another. So I always wanna make sure as I go through and I'm kind of Frankenstein, this vocal, that from one phrase or from one word to the next, the energy is the same. So let's listen for that really quick. Cool. So she was pretty consistent with her energy. And that's one thing you're going to want to look out for. If, if the energy isn't consistent through the whole phrase, it might make it sound a little weird, like it was actually they come together and you don't want to make it sound like it was come together, right? It should be seamless. Alright, now one other thing that you're definitely gonna wanna do is once you are all done, you're going to want to take this take your entire vocal, and you're going to want to cross fade it. Now all Dawes work differently. But for Pro Tools you can essentially just highlight the entire thing. Press Command F. And usually I just leave it at the default setting right here. Press okay. And what this is gonna do is it's going to crossfade any of the clips that I put together. So this is going to get rid of any possible clicks or pops or unnecessary artifacts that I don't want. And it's very, very important, always crossfade your clips when you've cut them. One of the last things to look out for is breaths. Right now, we don't always want to cut breaths. Sometimes you might want to COP breaths. It really depends if you're working on a very, very sort of pop driven song, Something that's over the top produced. Maybe it's okay to cut your, your singers breaths out. If you're working on something that's a bit more natural or you want a bit more of an organic feel, you definitely want to keep the breaths in there. So let's go through this comped cores that we have really quick and check out any of the breaths. So we have a breadth right here, right? Lets make this, these wave forms a little bigger so you can see it. So you can see your breath right there. Right. So I don't want to cut that out. A lot of people make the mistake when they're copying of when I say they hear okay, I want to cut on silence so they start cutting out the breaths. That's not what I mean. I mean, cut on parts that literally have nothing going on in them. A breath is very, very important, so make sure not to cut that out. Here's what it sounds like. Cutout. You know, it sounds okay, but it sort of takes out the human character of it. And I really like to keep that in if your breaths are getting too annoying when you begin mixing or when they're in the song, instead of cutting them out completely, just turn them down a little bit. Do you know? You can turn down that specific part by turning down the volume or you can turn down that part by going in here and just turn it down the clip gain and we'll get more into clip gain and gain automation later, but that's something to keep in mind. So once again, very, very important things to note. Find moments of silence to cut your vocals. Ad number two, if you like a particular word in the phrase, but not the rest of the phrase, Try splicing on a hard consonant and this will make the cut far less noticeable in the mix. Number three, always make sure that the energy levels in the common phrase or the same number for always make sure to crossfade When you're done, all dogs have cross fading features and this will get rid of any clicks or pops. Number five, watch out for cutting breaths by accident. 14. Assessment #3: Comping - Action Item: Now it's time for your vocal comping action item. For your vocal comping action item that we're going to do is we're going to take the three to five vocal passes that you record it earlier and combine them into one. Perfect take. Now remember to download the PDF included in this lesson so that you can follow it along and comp your vocal perfectly. Next, we will move on to vocal tuning. 15. Let The Bots Do The Work - Taming The Vocal Levels With Automation: Today we're going to talk a little bit about gain automation. And yes, the phrase gain automation can sound a bit scary, but I promise you it's not. And in fact, it's one of the most crucial, yet often most overlooked tips for getting your vocal to sit right within a mix and before you start adding any EQ, compression reverb delay or any other effects. Vocals, you're going to want to automate them. Automating gain on your vocals allows them to be consistent before they hit any other compression that you'll eventually add. This gain automation will make your compression much easier to apply and it will make a better and more natural end result since your compressor won't be working so hard in the end, your vocal will sound far more consistent in the mix, which is what we're going for. Remember, consistency is key. So like I said, cane automation is incredibly important. And before you start adding any EQ or compression or effects to your voice, you want to make sure that you work on automating it. Now, automation gain on your vocals allows them to be consistent before they hit any other compression that you will inevitably add. I don't think I've ever done a he modern mix without any compression. So be prepared for, for adding that compression. And what gain automation allows your compression to do is work far more naturally. It makes compression much easier to apply and it will make for a better and more natural result since your compressor won't be working so hard, your vocal will sound far more consistent in the mix as well. Now here's a little bit of what gain automation looks like within a DAW. You can see this section has been gained automated. Some pretty crazy curves going on here. And I do this with with just about every, every mics, right? And as a note, you don't need to do this with all of your vocals. I typically only do this with my lead vocals because those are the ones that really, really need to stand out. So don't think that, you know, because I'm doing this for this vocal, I also need to go and do it for all of these vocals. Obviously, I have a lot going on in this particular track. So today we're going to be working with a song's called magic motion, and it's by a band named vinyl motel. You can check them out. Great little group. They have some, some really fun songs. So now I want to talk about the process of gain automation. And everyone does, is it a little differently? And even for myself, I'd do it differently depending on the track I'm working on, right? If I'm working on a, a pop track that is really heavily processed, then I will typically go through and really, really carefully automate every single words so that every word is very, very crystal clear, upfront and audible. If I'm working on something that's a little more raw, a little more organics such as Iraq track. I might want to keep it a little more natural sounding. So I might go through and just automate, you know, every other phrase, maybe not every other word. So let's listen to this track really quick and see what we can do. Then we okay, cool. So I can see that right here. And then you can, sometimes you can see the waveforms and it makes the process of gain automating a little bit easier. But I can hear that this phrase right here, these couple of or to the end get a little bit quiet rights. Right. So something that I would do is I would maybe take this right here, come AND cut it. And I usually like to do clip gain automation. It, it, it, it works here for me. You can do this or you can go over here and go to volume and raise the volume on these particular parts. But I typically like to do clip gain automation, so I'll stay at this waveform right here, highlight the clip command E. And now we'll raise these two parts, right? And the idea here is you want consistency. So I'll typically try to raise them to sort of match the other vocals going on in the line. Not too much. I don't want to overdo this because again, we're still going to have compression in the end, but I just want a more even signal to send into compression. All right, so let's take these up just a notch. And maybe this word over here, maybe that's a little bit too loud. Let's maybe try and bring this one down, right? And let's listen to this phrasing, right? So it's a little bit better. And that's the whole idea. Now, like I said, for a pop track, for something like this, I might wanna go through and really automate every single word, every single phrase, maybe even little ends of phrases right here, right? Maybe I would like Day. So I want to turn that up a little bit. Right? So it really depends on how much you want to automate, how, how really crystal clear you want everything to be, but that is essentially the idea. Now do note that this can end up taking many, many hours, especially if you are dealing with really big sessions. If I were to go through and automate this and automate these and this and then Bala blah. And then I have also in the chorus, I have another female lead vocal doing all of that can take a very, very long time. So if you are pressed for time, you can use a plugin like waves vocal writer. I absolutely love waves vocal writer. I think it's just an incredible plug-in and has really, really helped sort of speed up my, my gain automation process. So I'm going to take this instance of vocal Writer offer the quake. I'm going to start over so you guys can sort of see what I like to do when I use this. So essentially what vocal writer does is it acts as a giant fader, such as like a fader on, on a console that you might see an SSL console or something of the like. And essentially what it will do is it will look at the waveform as the song rolls through and it will sort of ride the volume on it for you, right? So essentially doing automatic gain automation and OA. And the really cool thing about that is you don't have to go through into yourself. So usually right off the bat, I sort of leave the settings here. It kind of works really well. Of course, you can go through and you can change, you know, how fast it's writing your vocal. Within what range, you know, you can create a much smaller range here and keep it really, really consistent or leave the range a little wider and keep it a bit more organic. Let's see what this does really quick with it on. We've come a long way, said we a rat, it's so low. Re node a Bombay. Got that one way. He lets us into it off. We've come a long way, said we a rat and solo re node a Bombay. Got that one-way ticket. Come all. Alright, cool. So I do have some some compression. This book goes pretty heavily compressed, i think going in just because we knew it was gonna be this distorted vocal, but I still want to get a little bit more consistency here. So what I'm gonna do, and what I typically do with this plugin is I like to go to right? And for Pro Tools, this is going to work differently in every Dava for pro tools, you need to go up here, throw box, writer, fader and add. And essentially, essentially you're going to add it into the plugin automation over here, right? So then I can go to here and I can see that the vocal writer, writer fader is now part of the automation. So now I'm going to let it essentially write out the vocal automation for Me. Click Read, Touch. Now I'm just going to play the track and let it do its work. Alright, so pretty cool. So the automation is now written out. And of course you can go through and make adjustments if you want to say, I think, Okay, maybe you're right and there's a little too hard right here canal, it's bringing that whole thing down. So I'm going to turn off the back to read, write. And I can go crazy with this if I want. Really can sort of make my own adjustments based off of what vocal writer is doing. And usually vocal writer is pretty solid. I don't really have to change many things. And there are some things that it goes a little bit too heavy-handed on. And if that is the case, then yes, I will go in and I will automate myself. But usually it's fine ME. I always start with vocal writer to do the bulk of my work or the bulk of my heavy lifting and then I make any necessary adjustments that I need to make down the line. 16. Assessment #4: Gain Automation - Action Item: Your next action item is going to be gained automating your comped and tuned vocal. Now before you get into the process of gain automation, I highly recommend going and downloading the vocal writer plugin from waves. You can simply visit the waves website, type in vocal writer, and download it right there. It's very, very easy to install. They give you step-by-step instructions on how to do it so you can stick it right into your DAW and get going. Of course, you don't need the vocal writer plug-in. But as you can see from the previous lecture, it just makes things a lot easier, makes things a lot more efficient. But of course, you can gain automate without it. As always, make sure to download the PDF that goes along with this lesson so that you can follow along, check off the boxes and get your gain automation right. Next we will be getting into editing background vocals. 17. The Illusion of Perfect Pitch - Pitch Correction & Autotuning: Alright guys, so today we're going to hop into the process of tuning your vocals and want to first talk about how important it is to manually tune or pitch correct your vocals, as there are plenty of plug-ins available that come with an auto tune feature, essentially allowing you to set the key of your song, the scale that your song is in. And you let the plugin sort of do the work for you. There's a plug-in that I love to use when I'm just trying to tune really quickly. And that is waves Tune realtime. It sounds just as the name suggests. It tunes your vocals for you in real time. There are a lot of things that are great about a plugin like this. Though, if you're serious about tuning your vocals and getting a professional radio ready sound, this isn't the best choice and you'll see why. Now, for this type of plug-in, you simply set the key and you let it shift the pitch for you. And while that sometimes works, it's not the most accurate all the time. And there are plenty of types of manual tuning software such as Melodyne and terrorists AUTO-TUNE when it's in manual correction mode or waves Tune. And those are far, far more accurate and they're often used by professionals more so than this type of auto tune plug-in. Of course, you can use this type of Auto-Tune and plug-in and still get a subtle sound. Or you can crank it a lot and get a, a T Pain AUTO-TUNE style sound that is way over the top. But if you want your attitude to be very subtle, just as if it's slightly pushing the notes into the perfect state, then you'll want to do it manually. Regardless of that, I want to go over this automated style of tuning and then we'll talk about manual styles of tuning. So like I said, this is called waves Tune real-time. It is by the company waves. I will leave a link to it in the PDF download so you guys can check that out really quickly. I want to play the song without it. So right now we're in a vocal session for a reason song that I did. And I have a demo track of the instrumental right here as well as a ton of vocals and stacked all the way here. But for now we're just going to be listening to a single vocal and this demo track, I'll turn the vocal up so you can hear it a little bit. Cool. So as of right now, everything is completely dry. This vocal was simply recorded and it's sitting on top of this little demo track in our vocal session. So now I'm going to open up waves Tune real time. And I know that this song is in the key of F major. So I am going to go to this little drop-down menu and click F-major. If you end up using this plugin for any reason, you will need to know the scale of your song for it's to work properly. Now the cool thing about this is it does have a couple range features down here. And this singer that I'm working with, she is definitely more in the Alto, mezzo, soprano range. These are basically old Italian terms that are often used in coral settings to describe a voice, soprano, the highest base is the lowest and, and there's a bunch of in-betweens here. I like to give it a range to work within. I find that it works a little bit better. So I'm going to select alto, Of course, if you don't know, if you're unsure, you can keep it on generic. But for now we're going to set alto and we're going to leave all of the settings to default, and we're just going to listen to what it does. Essentially what you're looking at is that it has now these these little pink minus signs, it is blocked out any notes that aren't in the key of F major. So let's say that she accidentally moves up to a b, which you should be seeing a B flat. Well, what this tuning software will do is push that note back down to a B flat. Let's listen it really quick. Cool. So it's still fairly subtle, although I don't think it's quite capturing all of the notes. I can still hear that some are flat, some are a little bit sharp. It's not terrible. She's a great singer, and so it's not extremely noticeable. But in a lot of pop music, vocals are often tuned perfectly. So that's sort of what we're aiming for with this song. Now of course, you can crank it a little too far. If I were to pull this note transition, dial down all the way to 0 as well as the speed to 0. And this is when we're going to get that auto tuned T Pain style sound. Let's listen to that. Right? So it's a little bit over the top. It's not going to work for this style. Now, this plugin and this kind of AUTO-TUNE is very, very helpful when you're in a pinch. My, I often like to use this on background vocals when I don't need to be as careful of how I am tuning the vocals. I think even if you know, you can hear the auto tune a little bit on background vocals, it's not gonna be as obvious because they're usually tucked behind the lead vocal and other instruments and such. So it's not that big of a deal. However, when you're dealing with a lead vocal and especially a lead vocal in a pop song, you don't necessarily want to hear the Auto-Tune happening. You just want to hear the right notes, right? And so for that, we're going to use a manual style of tuning. So I get rid of this waves Tune real-time plugin. And we're going to pull one up that I often use. It's also by the company waves, and this is waves Tune. Now, this works similar to Melodyne. It works similar to on terrorist AUTO-TUNE, which are other popular types of pitch correction software. However, I think this one is much better for beginners. And because this is a beginner course, this is the one that I want to go over. I do really enjoy using Melodyne. I think it's a fabulous software and I urge you to check it out if you want to work with a professional studio standard pitch correction software. However, I think waves Tune works just as well. It's much easier to use. It's much easier on your computer's CPU. And yeah, it's just a great transparent pitch correction software. So what we're going to let this do is we could go down here and do the same thing where we could select the key and have it pushed the vocals into the nodes within that key. Though, I just like to let it run. And when you let it run for the first time, a top your vocal, what it's going to do is it's going to designate each syllable and each note into a little blob here. So let's let it run and we'll see what happens. So as you can see, now we have all of the vocals lined up right here. You can see all of the notes and they're actually arranged on a keyboard, which is really, really helpful. So if you know your music theory, if you know your piano in the notes on the piano, then you'll know which notes it believes the vocals are trying to hit. So now that we have the vocals printed on here, we are going to listen back and see what waves Tune did. Because when you run waves to a top of vocal, what it's going to do is it's going to push the notes into certain places where it thinks they should be. Then I saw you go. Cool. So it arranged the vocals are nice way, it sounds pretty good. I can already see some spaces where it was wrong. So we're gonna talk about how to fix that and how to change things. Before we dive in, I want to talk about what we are seeing here so you can get a better understanding. So these blobs that you are seeing, these big square blocks here, these are the actual notes or syllables, the lines, the squiggly lines that you see in here, these are vibrato from the voice. So essentially what waves Tune has done is it has guest pretty well where the notes should be. Now we can go in and see whether it's right, whether it's wrong and manually tune things. So let's start by listening And we'll listen for any notes that might be wrong. Stowe. Notice that Mies has a little weird. So what we do is we can move this my squared down, which it was at a D sharp, but I want my right there. So we're going to move that down and we're going to play that back. Yes. Sounds good. And I did notice there was a wrong note over here as well. That then should be on the D. What I'm doing here is I'm just going through and I'm looking at all the nodes that I think are wrong or that I'm hearing that are wrong. And I am changing them and putting them where they should be by simply dragging them into place. Then I saw you, then. Cool. So that should be a D. So I dragged that blob from C sharp to D. Now as you can see, there is a vibrato squiggle right here is actually pretty low on the end of the spectrum. And it is almost borderline C sharp, which means that it's off pitch by a micro step or a few cents. So the way that we can change that is by changing the note transition, the speed and no transition. And you also saw those on the waves Tune real-time plug-in. And we can use those to smooth out the vocals and make them sound a little bit better. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to highlight this whole word. This is then. And I am going to crank the note transition back and bring it closer to that D, because that is what we want. Then I saw you have it. Nice, and there we go. It sounds great. We can compare that to what we just did or what the note was originally. Then I saw you have then I saw you with and then we change it to the correct pitch. Right? Easy as that. Now of course you can have this be far more subtle by simply highlighting everything and changing the speed. I think 15 to 20 milliseconds is always pretty good for standard vocal pitch correction. However, you can make it a lot more obvious by bringing it down to 0 milliseconds and we can listen to that now. Then I saw you everywhere, right? So it's a little more obvious that there's pitch correction on it. We can also bring it up to 800 milliseconds. I would never use this setting because I think it wouldn't really do much anyway, but we can listen to it. Essentially, it's just saying how fast the tuner is working in recognizing the vocals. So I, I like to keep it down around 15 to 50 milliseconds, I think is a good range to stay within whenever you're tuning vocals and you'll find Speed and no transition on just about every pitch correction software out there. So I would highly recommend remembering those numbers because they can be very helpful. Note transition that deals with the change from one node to the other, or it also deals with the vibrato that is with in the little box here, right? So if I have a much lower value for the node transition, then it's going to be a lot more obvious that i'm Tuning. It's going to sound quantized. It's going to sound a little bit jumpy. If you have a higher value, the glide is a little bit more natural. So if we were to change the note transition between these two nodes right here, saw you, right? Let's change the note transitions right there. Let's crank it to 0. Then I saw you write and you can hear that there's now auto tune on that phrase. Or we can keep a backup at 800 and it would be a lot smoother of a transition. I can also hear that that wears a little bit out of tune and I'm going to bring that up. Then I sell you a very cool and it's already sounding so much better. Now the last thing that we need to talk about is the ratio. And the ratio sets how much of the designed correction curve will be applied to the audio that the plugin has detected. So if we zoom out here, we can look at the whole vocal and we can highlight this all. And we can bring down the ratio for everything. And as you can see, the lines are slowly starting to move. And what's happening is that the pitch correction that was applied is now being phased out by the natural vocal. So essentially what we're doing is we're mixing in that pitch correction, that perfect pitch correction. And this can be really, really nice if you're working with genres that are a bit more natural sounding, such as jazz or folk rock. And you want pitch correction, but you don't want to hear it. But you can work in a much more subtle manner by turning this ratio down and mixing in the tuned vocal with the raw vocal. Now of course, there are plenty of other tools here, and I could essentially make an entirely new course on pitch correction and the different tools within it. But what's important to know is that you should definitely use a manual pitch correction software such as wave tune, and let it run across your vocals, let it detect the notes and then go through each vocal and manually change the notes as need be. 18. What Makes EQ an Essential Tool for Vocals?: Eq is a massive subject for audio engineers. And it's so fundamental to the process that most of your time spent mixing music will actually be tweaking EQ plugins. Now, of course, it's important to have an understanding of the basics when it comes to EQ, as bad EQN can do more harm than good EQ or equalization in music is the process of changing the balance of different frequency components in an audio signal. Now, our ears can detect a huge range of frequencies, roughly from 20 hertz to about 20 kilohertz. Each element of your mix has energy in different parts of that range. So you can think of EQ is the tool that you would use to manipulate your frequency content in your mix to get something that's more balanced and clear. So one of the main questions is, why do we EQ? Well, let's start by considering an example. Let's say we record our vocals atop a guitar track, though they each have distinct tones or timbers, there are frequencies within each town that overlap with one another. In fact, when they are overlapping too much, it can become difficult to hear either one of them on the recording. This effect is called masking. Eq is used in mixing to reduce the effect of masking so that each instrument can be heard clearly. Now, EQ essentially provides every instrument, in this case vocals, with its own space in the mix. It is important to know that EQ does not just create new frequencies, right? You have to get the recording correct at the source. Let's say you have a bad vocal, right? Eq is not going to be able to polish that. It's just going to be able to sculpt it so that it fits a little bit better within the frame of your mix. Let's start by going over the controls found on an EQ plugin. To do this, we will talk about the most popular type of EQ, which is known as a parametric EQ. Now, there are plenty of other types of EQ's out there, including graphic EQs, analog style EQs, dynamic EQs, and much more. But going over each one of those individually, you would be far too in-depth for this course. So for this particular lecture, we are going to just talk about parametric EQs as they're the most functional and they're the most popular in modern mixing. Now, all does come with free parametric EQs. You'd be hard-pressed to find a DAW without one, regardless of the dog that you are using, the parametric EQs will have the same controls. And as we go through the controls found on parametric EQs, try to follow along in your DAW. The filter type determines the general shape of the EQ band. Now there are four common filter types, including high and low-pass, notch, Bell, and high and low shelf. Let's first talk about high and low pass filters. High and low-pass filters are named for the frequencies that they leave unaffected, rather than the range that they cut. A low cut is known as a high pass filter and a high cut is known as a low-pass filter. Essentially with a high pass filter, you're allowing the high frequencies to pass through and the low frequencies are getting cut. With a lowpass filter. The low frequencies are allowed to pass through while the high frequencies are getting cut. You want to reach for these filter types when you're trying to clean up any frequencies at the extreme end of the spectrum, the steep drop-off around the corner frequency can easily tame very boomy, low-end or piercing ultra high resonance. Bell filters are your standard tools for boosting and cutting. Their shape can be manipulated using the q parameter. Bell filters are your go-to choice for sculpting and tone shaping. You can choose how much you affect the particular frequency that you're working with, with the shape of the Q, You want a much wider Q if you want to affect a greater range of frequencies, and a much narrower Q. If you want to effect a smaller range of frequencies. Shelf or shelving filters boost or cut all of the frequencies above or below the corner frequency. This EQ type is very effective for making abroad tonal changes. You can think of high and low shells as the treble or base controls on your stereo system. Notch or band stop filters are used to selectively eliminate extremely narrow frequency ranges. You can use these to eliminate offending room resonances that can arise from recording in untreated acoustic environments. Of course, you'll want to be careful because using too many notch filters that are very steep can create a comb filtered or phase shifted sound. And we don't want that. The slope of a filter refers to how aggressively the sound beyond its corner frequency is attenuated. Filter slope is usually associated with high-pass filters and low-pass filters. Though, some modern EQs allow you to choose the slope of Bell or shelving bands as well. Slope is measured in db per octave. Now the higher the number, the steeper the drop off around the corner frequency of the filter. You want to use less severe slopes, six db per octave or 12 db per octave if you want to create more of a natural cut-off. Now of course, if you're trying to just get rid of all the frequencies from 1 and below, you can use something a bit steeper or more aggressive, like 24 dB per octave and above. Q is short for quality factor. You can think of it as the bandwidth of an EQ band. Now q values of a less than one will give you broader EQ curves, while values greater than one will give you tighter, more selective boosts or cuts, gain determines the amount of boost or cut you apply with your EQ and it's measured in db. Positive gain values indicate a boost while negative ones may get a cut. The frequency is the center of your EQ bands action. This control determines the range where boosts or cuts will occur. It is very important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect filter. So if you set your frequency around a certain number and pull it up or down, you're not just affecting that frequency, but also frequencies around it. So always keep that in mind when you're mixing. The first rule of EQ is less is more extreme. Tonal shifts can have a negative impact on your sound, which is always why I tried to use as little EQ as possible on my vocals. Now with that said, there are two basic approaches to EQ that we needed to talk about. Those are additive EQ and Subtractive EQ. Additive EQ is boosting frequencies to achieve the results that you want. While subtractive EQ is cutting offending frequencies out. Now there's plenty of debate as to whether you should focus on one or the other, though my opinion, each has their own space in mixing. 19. What Is Compression? Every Professional Singer Uses It.: Compression is one of those effects that we use all the time in mixing. Though, it can be incredibly confusing as to how we use it and why we use it, especially if you are new to mixing. And the unfortunate part about that is compression is one of the easiest ways to screw up a mix if not done properly. Now before you ever go and just toss a compressor on a vocal and call it a day? You must first understand the basics of compression. Think about it this way. One of the aims of mixing is to make the vocal as dynamically consistent as you possibly can. And you want to be able to hear every word audibly in the mix. You want to be able to hear every phrase, every note, every breath that you want in there, right? And that is what a compressor helps to achieve its consistency. And there are two main reasons why we use compression on vocals. Number one is to add more dynamic control. And number two is to shape and enhance the tone of the vocal. Now the use of compression differs by genre. In pop, EDM, RMB, heavy rock, and even hip hop, heavy compression is usually accepted and in a lot of the time actually required. Now in more natural genres such as folk, classical, and even a lot of indie styles of music. Less compression is required as we typically want a more natural sound. Now of course, it's also important to have an understanding of how a compressor works. So to do that, let's look at the anatomy of a typical compressor. Now the first thing that I wanted to talk about is threshold. That threshold determines the level that the compressor kicks in. And when the audio is louder than the threshold level, the compressor turns on. The lower that threshold, the more that the audio will be compressed. Next is the ratio. The ratio determines how much the volume is reduced by. Now, the higher the ratio, the more aggressive or noticeable that compression will be. Now to understand ratio, you need to understand the numbers. So for example, let's say we have a ratio of four to one, which is often used for vocals. That means for every one dB that a vocal goes above threshold, 1 fourth of that DBI will come out. So you always divide it by four, right? Same goes bird, two-to-one, for example, you have a ratio of two to one. That means for every one dB that, that vocal goes above that threshold, 1.5 of a DBI will come out. Now let's look at attack time. Attack time determines how quickly the compressor is going to kick in and reduce the volume of your vocal. So a really fast attack time makes your vocal really controlled and really sort of thick sounding. A slower attack time can make your vocal sound more exciting and sound more punchy. Now for vocals, I typically recommend using slower attack times. They just have a more natural sound and we'll get into that a little bit later. Next, there is released time. Release time determines how long it takes for your compressor two, disengage and allow the audio, in this case your vocal to return to a normal level. Next is the knee, and you won't find the knee control on all compressors, but you will find it on a lot. So let's talk about it really quick. Now, the knee determines how aggressive your compression will sound. A soft ni, which is around 1, makes your compression far more subtle sounding, while a hard Ni around 0 makes the compression far more obvious. For vocals, I typically recommend sticking to a soft money. Lastly, there's Makeup Gain. Makeup gain will increase the output level, and this is going to compensate for the loss in volume due your compression, right? So you can think of it as your taming your vocal with compression and then increasing the volume so that once you have that consistent volume, you're turning it up to get it to a level where everything is heard. Now that you have a better understanding regarding the anatomy of a compressor, we are going to talk about siblings. 20. What Is Sibilance? Those Damn Unruly Consonants!: Vocal recordings often have a tonal harshness that is called civil aunts. Siblings is the S or sound that is created by sharp consonants such as S, T, and Z. These consonant sounds can produce harsh, resonant peaks in vocal recordings, anywhere between two kilohertz and ten kilohertz, depending on the voice, unpleasant siblings can be very irritating to the ear, especially when you're listening to music in ear buds or headphones. So of course, what we need to do is find a way to tame the siblings. So it's not as annoying. And one of the ways that we do that is with a DSR, plug-in. Dsrs are specialized compressors that focus on a specific frequency range. They are the most preferred mixing tool for dealing with siblings in a mix. Dressing at temporarily reduces the level of a specified range when a civil and sound exceeds a threshold. This method of controlling frequencies often works better than using an EQ to cut those problematic frequencies. For example, a static EQ such as the parametric EQ that we talked about in our AQ lecture will continuously cut out those frequencies, even when no siblings is happening. A DS, or on the other hand, will only cut those annoying frequencies when siblings is occurring. Now the end result is a far more natural and transparent sound. There are several ds or plugins with different options, though most of them use the same parameters. These basic steps will help you to set up your DSLR and find a starting point. 21. Subtractive EQ - Getting Rid of The Nasty Stuff: Alright guys, we are in our mix and the first thing that we're going to do is talk about surgical EQ or subtractive EQ. This is one of the very first things that I like to apply when mixing of vocal. Now before we dive into surgical or subtractive EQ, I first want to heavy guys, uh, listen to the tracks that you can hear what we're working with. And keep in mind that right now this track has everything already on it. It's already fully processed. There's EQ, there's compression, there is some delay, some reverb, and even some background vocals that are sort of holding down the foundation. So you're gonna hear all of that. And then what we're gonna do is strip everything back, start mixing it from scratch. So let's listen to this pre-chorus going into the course really quick, my body on the track. Okay, so also keep in mind that everything you are hearing right now was all recorded in a home studio. So you can get these same exact results when recording at home, as long as you follow all of the prior steps. Now let's strip everything back and get into our first step, which is surgical EQ. Alright guys, so as you can see, I have stripped back all of the plug-ins that were on this vocal, so none of those are engaged anymore, none of those are working. And if you go up here to the actual vocal, as you can see, I already gain automated it. In this case, I've used clip gain automation and vocal writer, like we talked about earlier. And the next step is of course, surgical EQ. Now, surgical EQ is going to be used first thing to cut out any nasty elements that we don't want. Later on, we will use additive EQ to sort of shape the tone and make it fit a little bit better in the mix. But the reason that we use surgical EQ first is so that compressor won't. But the reason that we use surgical EQ first so that the compressor won't exaggerate any of the ugly stuff that we don't want. Any of the nasty room resonances or frequencies in our particular vocal that we just don't like and don't need in our mix. So we're surgically queue. There are few things that you're going to want to do. You're going to want to first get rid of any low end rumble that isn't necessary for our vocals. And we do that using a high pass filter. And number two, you want to hunt down any nasty room resonances and get rid of them. Most of the time when you're recording at home in an untreated room, there are going to be some frequency buildups. You're just going to want to get rid of, and to get rid of those, we're going to use what is called the boost and sweep technique. This is one of the best techniques for maintenance prior to really diving into our vocal mix. So first, let's do that. So we're gonna go down here to our vocal bus. And of course you can do this directly on your vocal track as well. But for me I have this routed to my vocal bus, which you can see is chorus. And I am going to get rid of this. Start over with our EQ. And of course for this one I am using the parametric EQ that comes stock in Pro Tools. Now before we do this, let's listen to this track really quick so you can hear what it sounds like without any plugins or any processing on it. So as you can see, it sounds pretty good. It was recorded well, I used the correct microphone. I used a treated home studio environment. But there are a lot of things that we can do to make it sound better. And for Subtractive EQ, I typically like to solo the vocal. And most of the time, I will recommend against settling the vocal because of course, you want to mix your vocals in context of the rest of the track. But for this, we're just looking for those nasty room resonances were looking for nasty buildup. And for that reason, we want to have no distractions. So we're going to only look at the vocal. So let's solo or chorus vocals. And we're just going to listen and see what we can get rid of here. Body on the show and spread in the sunshine soaking up the cell from the sea that Addo been up to. So the first thing that I'm going to want to do is use a high pass filter to get rid of our low end rumble. And to do this, I'm going to listen to the voice and I'm going to raise the frequency until I start to notice that the vocals thinning out a bit too much and then pull it back just a little bit. I usually like to set this at about 12 db per octave, gives it a really nice natural roll-off. You can go a lot higher, lot steeper, 24 dB per octave. Some EQs allow you to go up to 96 db per octave. It depends on the EQ that you're using, but I typically like to keep it more natural around 12 db per octave. So we're going to listen to the vocal. I'm gonna roll it up when it starts sounding a little bit. Then I'm going to back that EQ off. Arianna show spread in the sunshine. So clean up the cell from the sea that Addo been up to it, dreams to live full body on the show and spread in the sunshine. Going to disengage and engage as high pass filter listening to see if I can hear any differences. Body on the show and spread in the sunshine soaking up the soap from the sea that auto been up to it. I think I can bring this down just a little bit more. Body on the shoulder, D9 spread in the sunshine. So gain at the cell from the sea that I'd been up. Nice. I like that. So a lot of the times you won't really hear anything below about 50 hertz. It's a lot of sub and low end rumble. But what do you have a lot of vocals in a mix that will eventually build up and cut into your headroom. And so you want to get rid of that in all tracks that don't need it. And for vocals, you don't really need those sub frequencies. Most of it's just air conditioner, rumble or sound or noise that's built up in a room, air. It's not something that you need. And if you want your voice to be really warm and full, I wouldn't really recommend going above, you know, let's say 70 hertz here. If you have a really, really dense makes with a lot of instruments going on and you need some extra space. You can definitely bring that filter up to about a 100. But for now, for this ogle, I liked the way it sounds at 70, so I'm going to keep it right there. And that just works for this vocal course. You're gonna have to experiment. Now, we're going to find any nasty elements in this vocal with the Boost and sweep technique. Now, to do the boost and sweep technique, we are going to take one of our bands. So I'll take this orange low mid frequency band right here. I'm going to turn up the queue pretty high. I want to really high Q value for this because when I pull up this gain, I want this bell filter to look really narrow. And essentially what I'm going to do is I'm going to sweep around the frequency spectrum, listening for anything that sticks out. And these will be small areas that get extra loud or sound or the nasty to you, to your ears. Once I find those, I'm just going to reduce the gain so that I try and cut those things out or at least reduce them a little bit that way I don't have to deal with them later in the mix as I start moving into more compression and effects and things. So let's do that really quick. Body on the show and spread in the sunshine soaking up the cell from the sea that Addo dreamed to sue. Adi on the show. Spread in the sunshine. So gain at the cell. Okay, so I'm hearing this nasty room resonance at around 342, body on the show and spread in the sunshine, so gain at the center. And the funny thing is I recorded in this particular rooms so much that 342, no matter what I record, it's always a nasty room resonance that I cut out. So as you guys begin recording at home even more, you'll start to better understand the frequencies in your room. That way you'll be able to cut things out right away. You'll know off the bat. Okay. 342 in my room. It doesn't sound that great, so I'm always going to cut that out and things will become more uniform as you continue along. It's what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take this gain, I'm gonna turn that down. And I'm gonna keep this Q value pretty narrow here. Again, we're just doing a little bit of maintenance, a little bit of clean up. I don't wanna go too drastic with these. We'll do that later if we need to. But for now, just getting rid of a little bit. Let's listen. Body on the show and spread and the sun shines so clean up the, so fun to see that shadow been up with dreams to very subtle. But we're giving the vocal a little bit more brightness, a little bit more tightness. And we're allowing other instruments that sit within this range to pass through a little better. Let's see if we can find a more nasty room resonances body on the show and spread in the sunshine soaking up the, so fun to see that auto been up with dreams to sue live food. This is a great example of something that if I found it, I may think, okay, I'm gonna cut this out, write this sounds really booming, sounds kinda gross. But in my opinion, the vocal is already pretty bright and it doesn't really have boomy low-end when this isn't engaged and boosted by 18 db, right? Let's listen to it without it body on the show and spread in the sun. And so even though it sounds kinda nasty when it's boosted this much, if I start cutting it out, I'm just going to thin out the vocal. So you need to be really conscious of that as well. You have to make decisions based off of the vocal that you're working with. If I start to boost this 200 hertz and I hear that this is really nasty. And I also note that I have a vocal that may sound just boomy overall, cutting that 200 does not going to be a problem if I have a vocal that's fairly thin and I find that this frequency right here is maybe a little too boomy. I might not want to cut that even though it sounds a little too boomy, because actually this 200 is providing that vocal with a little bit of fullness. So in this case, I'm going to leave it alone. Let's maybe look in the higher end, really quick body on the show and spread in the sunshine soaking up the soap from the sea. That adult band up trained to live. Arianna shown iron spread in the sun shining so clean up the cell from the sea. That auto. Alright, so around two K, it's a pretty irritating frequency at there. So I'm going to do and take that and reduced the volume and then listened to make sure that it sounding better than it did before. Body on the shoulder D9 spread in the sunshine soaking up the cell from the sea that Addo been up to with dreams to sue, to live full. Again, very, very subtle. But what it does is it helps to reduce the harshness of the vocal and later on down the line, if we need to add anymore brightness to compensate for that, we can do it with additive EQ. But there you have it. That is the idea behind subtractive EQ, and it's one of the best ways to maintenance your vocal prior to moving into more detailed processing, which is additive EQ, compression, saturation, and more things that we will eventually get into. Next, we're going to get into dynamic compression. 22. Dynamic Compression - Creating Upfront Vocals: Alright guys, so we are now back in the session. And the next thing that we're going to do is add our first compressor, which is going to act as our first dynamic compressor. And looking at the mixing formula that I provided you guys and the PDF download, you'll notice that I like to add different compressors in different stages of my mixing formula. Now, rather than using one compressor with aggressive settings, I would much rather use two compressors with more subtle settings. This way I end up with a more natural result in the end. And with that said, sometimes having really heavy unnatural compression is okay. And you listen to hardcore rock or EDM or metal music and you can hear the compression in the vocals. But most of the time we want it to be fairly transparent. And your first goal with your main compressor is to get rid of any major peaks in your tone and sort of even out the vocals a little bit more. Now, there are a few compressors that I typically go to do this. And the first one that we're going to start with is the regular stock compressor that is in Pro Tools and this is the Dine three compressor limiter. Now the first thing that we're going to do is pull it up and just listen to what it does to the vocal. For this, I'm actually going to keep the vocal soloed as well. This way you can hear the compression better body on the show and spread in the sunshine. So gain at the cell phone, the see that? Alright, so first I'm going to adjust the threshold and you'll hear how much the compressor reduces the vocal in volume. Body on the show. Spread in the sunshine soaking up the cell on the sea. They had been up to it. So as you can see, when I'm pulling the compressor all the way down work getting a volume reduction of well over negative 18 db. Body on the show a spread in the sunshine. So now for my first compressor, I typically like to stay around the range of negative 3dB. The first compressor is only to really tame those peaks. Body on the show a spread in the sunshine soaking up the self-fund, the see that Addo been up to it, dreamed too soon to live full body on the show. Spread in the sunshine. So cane up the cell from the sea that Addo been up to it. Cool. That sounds nice, sounds natural, doesn't sound like it's very, very aggressive, which is exactly what we want, especially for a song like this. Next thing that we're going to do is adjust the attack time. And for vocals, I typically recommend avoiding really, really fast attack times. You want your vocal to be at the front of the song, right? And if you use a very fast attack time, it squashes what we call the transients or the, the beginnings of words or phrases. And this will make your vocals sit further back in the mix. So for vocals, I typically recommend starting with an attack time of around, let's say, 14 milliseconds and then adjusting from there, I'll show you what the attack time sounds like. If it's very, very low, then very, very slow, and then we'll come back to 14. Body on the show dined spread in the Sun shines so clean up the cell from the sea that at o, right? So you can hear that, that really fast attack time is sort of squashing the beginnings of our words body on the show and spread and, and it's pulling the vocal back. Now let's do a really slow attack time. Body on the show dine spread and the sun shines so gain up the self-fund, the see that adult been up to drain, right? So that slow attack time really isn't even helping us at all. It's not compressing in any way. So that's why we want to stay here in the middle. Let's start around 14 and see what that sounds like. I'm gonna show a spread in the sunshine silky and will adjust to taste. We want every word to kind of come through body on the show and spread in the sunshine. So clean up the cell from the sea that I'd been up to. Dreamed too soon, can live. Cool. So for this particular song, I'd actually, I'm going a little bit higher around 15.5. I think that sounds a bit more natural to bit more subtle. And for this song I like it. I always recommend sort of grabbing a dial, closing your eyes and just kind of twisting it a little bit and tell you find that it sounds best. You don't need to always use these numbers. They're just really good starting points. Now as for the ratio three to one, it's really works really well. I don't need a change that I think for this particular vocal, I find that typically a ratio anywhere from 1.5.1 to 3.1 works really, really well. So set the threshold obviously so that it is engaging and, you know, you're getting a good two to three dB of gain reduction over here. And then you can set the ratio and you can just adjust it to taste. I'll show you what it sounds like if I put a really high ratio on their body on the show and spread in the sunshine. So gain up the cell from the sea that Addo been up, dreamed to sue. So as you can see, it's really, really limiting or putting a cap on our vocals. And that's getting rid of all the dynamics. And we want a little bit of dynamics, right? We don't want to totally squash are vocal and squash the life out of it. We just want to tame it. Body. Spread in the sunshine, so gain up the cell from the sea that I'd been up, dreamed too soon. Yeah, the 3.1 sounds really, really nice to me. Now we can go on and set the release as well. And for the release, I typically like to start pretty slow and just adjust it so that it feels like it's breathing in time with a track. And to do that, I'm going to Ansel though these really quick. So yeah, this released 68.8, just works for this vocal. I highly recommend keeping it somewhere around here from 40 to about 80 milliseconds usually works. 40 is probably a really good cutoff point. I wouldn't go any faster than that. I wouldn't really want to go any slower than 80 because then the compressor will just continue to clamp down on your vocal. So you really want to keep it around this 68. And then let's talk about the me. So for me I'm actually soften this up really quick because I want a softer knee for this particular song. It's a really sort of soft song. And I don't feel like I need a really hard knee or really hard compression. So let's start around 15 for this particular song right in the middle. So I'm going to increase the gain because remember we're reducing the gain. So I want to increase the gain a little bit so that it is the same as when it came in. I'm going to bypass it. Cool. So now it is the same going out as it was going in. And I think this nice sounds really nice, nice soft DNE for this particular song, for more aggressive songs weren't aggressive genres. You can use a harder ni for software songs such as this one, or for folk, jazz, classical, anything like that, I would recommend softening up the knee. So again, I'm cool. And there you have it. There is our first compressor taking care of those front end dynamics, just evening out the vocals a little bit so that we can do more work on them. Remember, it's always very important to volume match. And if you need to solo, to do that, you can solo your vocals. Play it while bypassing and an bypassing and make sure that with each the volume is the same, the volume is consistent. That way if you make any mistakes, you can go back and you won't ruin the volume of your vocal body on the show. Diane spread and the sun shines so clean up the, so fun to see that shadow been up with, dreamed too soon. And you'll also notice that this compressor added a bit more brightness to our vocals to. Now really, really quickly, I want to talk about two other compressors that I typically like to use to control dynamics right off the bat. One is our Vox from waves. Are Vox is really, really great. It's really, really easy to use as it only has a couple of controls here. So let's try this out really quick and see if we can get some cool results. Body on the spread. And to get some compression, all I have to do is pull down this compression. You'll see the gain reduction right here. On the right, we're getting about 3DB of gain reduction. And as you can see, it's actually getting, you can hear, I should say, it's getting much, much louder as I pull this compression down. So with this particular compressor, we will adjust the gain, turned the gain a little bit down so that we can match it with the vocal coming in. So gain of body on the show. And I'm actually going to make it a little bit louder because I sort of want this compressor to be a little bit louder. I have the vocal coming out a little bit louder out at this one. Body on the show. It just sounds so good, it's so easy to use. I would highly recommend picking this out. This is our Vox or Renaissance box from waves. Another one that I really like to use is the CLIA 76. And this is another compressor from waves. It is a, an emulation of an old analog compressor known as the 1176. And this one I'm not using on this song because it has a much more present effect on the vocal and can sometimes make vocal sounds a little bit harsh when used in the wrong songs. And this one is really, really great for heavily processed vocals, pop, EDM. It's also great for rock and hip hop. It's got a little bit of edge to it. So I would highly recommend downloading this one too, if you can. Let's check this out really quick. So as you can see, I have a ratio of four setup, right? When I open it up, where it is important to notice the attack and release settings on this one are backwards. So actually a faster attack is this way and a slower attack is this way. Same for release. Faster release, slower release. So let's start by adjusting how much input we are putting into the compressor. And then we will adjust the output, which is basically the output gain. There are no threshold controls on this compressor either. It's basically how much input you are putting in will correlate to how much gain is being reduced in here. So gain up to nice, we're getting a good 3DB of gain reduction. Suggests that output to make it similar to our input coming in. I'm going to slow down this attack so that it's not as aggressive. And I'm also going to slow down this release as well. Just a tad. Let's turn up the output gain a little bit. So gain up. Cool. And that's how those other two compressors work. So once again, you can either use the regular compressor that comes stock with your doll, that's going to have all the same controls as the Dine three compressor that comes with Pro Tools, you can also use the waves are Vox really, really great for taming those transient peaks right off the bat and also the CLAs 76 from waves, there are a lot of 1176 reiterations or emulation. So you can check those out online to just look up 1176 plugin. I'll have all of the info in the PDF download for you as well. 23. Additive EQ - Ready For The Magic!: Alright guys, so now that we have adjusted our problematic frequencies in our vocal with subtractive EQ. And we've compressed a little bit using the handy our Vox. We are going to start adding a little bit of character. And we're going to do this with additive EQ. Now, when doing additive EQ, it is very, very important to do it within the context of the mix. Really the only type of EQ that I think you could do without the context of the mix would be surgical EQ. And that's getting rid of any room resonances or resonant peaks, or just really annoying parts of the vocals that you know, you're not going to want regardless of the mix. Now, when I say doing it within context of the mix, I mean that for instance, your vocal might sound really nice with a ton of low-end on its own. That when you put that vocal in the mix with the rest of the instrument, it will probably sound muddy. This is why I never recommend E cuing your vocal when it is so loaded, listen to it with your other instruments playing and decide what it needs. As an example, it's very, very common to have a heavier low-end when mixing hip hop vocals to add a sense of power. It's also very common to boost the mid-range when mixing rock or metal, these help vocals cut to the mix past that giant wall of guitars. And in pop, EDM, a lot of indie music, even it's very common to boost the high-end. It adds a little bit of presents, a little bit of xi1 and helps your vocals to sound more expensive in this song. That's probably what I'm going to be going for. But again, I won't really know until I get within the context of the mix. So let's listen to what we have so far. Let's listen to this pre-chorus again. On my body, on the spread in the sunshine. So let's listen to it in context of the mix, shall we? Okay, so at sounding pretty good, we got rid of the annoying frequencies that we didn't want. We compressed a little bit, so it's sitting nice. I want to add a little bit of top. And here I'm thinking of the vocals sounding a bit dull. So to do that, I'm going to pull up one EQ that I really, really like and that is the SSL VQ from waves. There are plenty of EQ's out there. I really prefer this one. I've been using it forever. It just I know how to use it well, so you know, that's one thing I'll say too, is when you begin downloading plugins, you don't need to download a million, download a few and get to know them really, really well. It's better to have a few tools that you feel like you're an expert with, rather than have thousands of tools that will just feel overwhelming when you open up your session. So this SSL VQ from waves with a really cool, it sounds great. And the other thing that I like about it is that it is an analog style EQ. So beyond adding frequencies like irregular digital parametric EQ would do, it also adds a little bit of flavor and a little bit of character to the voice as well. So what I'm going to start by doing is like I said, I wanted to add a little bit of brightness. I wanted to add a little bit of top end. And usually where I'll start is I'll go between eight to ten kilohertz. And I will add a little bit of a top shelf boost. And we talked about all the types of filters in our what is E q module. So make sure to go back and look at your filter types. I'm going to use a high shelving filter here. And what I'm going to listen to the vocal in context of the mix and boost until I feel that I'm getting the brightness that I want. I'm the spread in the sunshine. So gain up. Right right there at sounding really nice. I'll show you what it's like if I boost all the way up and you can hear the frequency a little bit better. Body on the right. So it's really, really areas. It's high, high top end of the frequency spectrum. But of course I don't want that much in my mix or else it's going to sound harsh. The listener is not gonna be able to enjoy it very long because their ears are going to start hurting a lot. So we're going to pull that back down. I liked IT around about three dB, three and say 3.5 d b, 3.5 dB boost up there. Now of course, it doesn't need to be at 8K either. If I wanna go a little higher and maybe get more of that ten kN up. That actually might sound even a little bit better for this particular vocal because 8K, remember five to AK, That's where a lot of that siblings lives. So when I pull up that AK, I'm also pulling up siblings. So maybe ticket that airy sound. Let's try and put this ten care of it. The nice, okay, so now what I'm gonna do is I'm going to bypass and an bypass to make sure that the decision I just made is what I actually want my body on the spread in the data. Right? So that ten K it up and there are 9.8 k. Boost. Really, really nice, adds a, a sense of air and presence to my vocals as well. And I typically do that same boost on a lot of these types of songs as well as like I said, pop songs, EDM songs, it just seems to work. Now of course it's not going to work all the time. Don't feel that you need to boost up there if you already have a really bright, airy vocal, adding that top end is only going to make it sound harsh. You don't necessarily need it. It all depends on the vocal you have and what you're going for. Let's listen again and see if there's anything else that we can add to make our vocal standout a little bit in sound a little bit better. On the spread in the data. Okay, so I think I want to add a little bit of presence to the voice. Now for presence, we usually look between around 3K, 26K, three kilohertz to six kilohertz. That's sort of where vocal presence lives. And for every vocal it's going to be a little bit different. So you need to experiment to find what's right for the particular vocal that you are mixing. One thing that I really recommend doing to kind of get used to what certain frequencies sound like is when you choose a frequency, let's say I choose 4.5, right? What I'm going to do is I'm going to boost that all the way up so I can hear what I'm boosting and then bring it back down to a practical level. Let's try that with a mixture of the graph. Right? So you could hear when I boosted that 4.5 k, It's got a lot of presence, a lot of bite to a lot of edge. And that's usually the sound that you get with 4.5 K. And as you do this more and more, you'll know exactly what you're looking for and you'll know what frequency to use to get there. And I know that 4.5 k has a lot of bite. I know that around four to five K has a lot of bytes. So if I ever need more bite with my vocals, that's usually where I'll go to get that. Let's listen to that body on the spread in the data. Now I'm gonna experiment, I'm going to roll this from three to six K and C. What I like more spread in the gain at the soma. I really, really like that 4.34.5 k area adds a little bit of presence. It sounds nice. I noticed that when I started getting closer to six K, It began sounding a little bit harsh, so I tried to take it back down a little bit. A lot of this is just listening really carefully. You know, you have to listen with intent and know what you want to do. That's as simple as that. You know, it it doesn't need to be complicated. Yes, there are a lot of numbers involved. Once you get to know what those numbers are often used for, it becomes so much easier to do this. Make sure that you check the vocal EQ sheet that I left in the PDF download. This will show you different ranges to look for and adjust within your vocal recording depending on what you're looking to do. Now, I really liked, like I said, this 4.5 k over here. I think it added a bit of presence. And one thing that I still want to adjust to see if it's helpful is the q right here. And like I said before, with EQ, I tend to cut narrow and boost wide. And there's a bit of science behind it, but there's no need to go into that right now. Instead, what I'm going to say is when you are boosting on an EQ, try to start a little bit wider. It'll just sound more musical, it'll sound more natural. You can narrow it in if you're starting to boost frequencies that you don't want to hear. But for starters, try to boost with a wide q. Let's listen. Body on the spread in the sunshine. So gain at that. Cool. I really like that. Now that I'm listening to the vocal within context of the mix, there's a little bit of sharpness in the presence that I'm not liking. And typically that sharpness or that needs salary or that frequency that sort of pokes at your inner ears, sits between two to three K. So I think about a knowledge, a little bit of that out actually. And let this 4.510 K really take the presence in the vocal beyond the sun shining. So add sitting right there, kinda wanna get rid of a little bit of that. I'm not sure if I'm liking it for this song. A kinda want the vocals to have air redness, to have presence, but to be a little bit warmer as well. So because I'm cutting, I'm going to start fairly narrow body on the spread in the data. Yeah, even, even just taking one dB out of that two k makes the vocal sound allow warmer, gets rid of that pokey newness that just doesn't fit with this song. So there we go, was as simple as that. So obviously I use a little bit of subtractive EQ here as well, but for the most part we use additive EQ. We added a little bit of color, we add a little bit of character. And I think the vocal sounding pretty good. So again, make sure to check out the PDF downloads, get that vocal EQ cheat sheet. And next up we are going to be discussing a second round of vocal compression. 24. Serial Compression - Why Two Compressors Are Better Than One: Alright guys, so the next thing that we are going to do is add our second compressor. And keep in mind that a second compressor is optional. You don't necessarily need it. If you find that you can hear your vocals completely, then it's totally fine. You don't need that second compressor. Of course, if you can hear all your vocals, but you want to add a second compressor just to see what it sounds like. Please do, please experiment. I always encourage experimentation. And sometimes you don't even want a second compressor to help catch peaks, but rather just to add something interesting to the tone of your vocal. Now, for the second compressor, I always, always recommend using an LA to a emulation. For this particular one. I have the CLI to a CLIA 2A is a fantastic compressor plug-in. It is an emulation of the old-school Universal Audio LA 2A. And it is one of the best tonal compressors out there. It's super easy to use. They're only a couple of controls, and it just makes vocal sound incredible whether you're working with aggressive genres or softer genres of music. It always works. And I highly recommend if you're going to invest in one plug-in, invest in the LA two-way. Okay. So before I go any further, I'm going to bypass us really quickly and play the vocal body on the spread in the sunshine, so cool. So the vocal sounding really, really consistent to me and that's why I'm only going to add a tiny, tiny bit of compression with this CLAS 2e to engage it. Body on the shown. As you can see right off the bat, it comes off super loud. So I'm going to adjust that gains so that it's the same coming out as it is going in body on the spread in the data. And then I'm going to apply a little bit of gain reduction. And I can do that by turning this knob either to the right to add more gain reduction or to the left. Two had left less body on the show. That's the beauty of the LA 2A, is that it's very, very subtle. So even when I get into a negative five dB of gain reduction, it's very, very subtle sounding, so it won't sound aggressive like other compressors would spread in the sunshine. So gain at the, on those Ss though it's really, really work in. So I am actually going to keep it around maybe negative one to negative two dB on those peaks. That body on the spread in the sunshine so gain up the sea ice. And it's also adding a little bit of fullness to the vocal, which I love. I think that that's pretty much it. When you're using a second compressor, you want to, again aim for about negative two, negative three dB of gain reduction. You only want that gain reduction on the loudest syllables. In this case, those Ss were pretty loud. And again, we're going to tame those are the DS or next. But depending on the genre, you can also opt for a little bit more gain reduction. You can even experiment with placing this second compressor before this EQ. But I would say try it this way, first with the tonal EQ and then the second compressor. The amount of compression that you add is going to depend on the genre, depend on the sounded depend how much you'd need it. This part is fairly consistent right now. It's a fairly consistent part without many Peaks, without many dynamic changes in the vocal phrasing. And so for that reason, this single compressor is doing enough work. I didn't really need this second compressor. I'm only using it to get the tiny, tiny peaks that are still pumping out. As well as getting a more interesting tone. This LA 2A adds a nice analog warmth to the vocals, which I really, really love. Next, we're gonna move on to DSA. 25. De-Essing - Taming Those Unruly Consonants!: All right, so in this lecture we're gonna talk about decreasing. And as you probably heard in the last video or maybe even the total EQ video before, that, our vocal was starting to sound a little bit stupidity on the top end with all those Ss, especially in this particular phrase, which is why it's such a good phrase to talk about dressing with. Now, of course, as you remember, dressing is made to tame siblings. And siblings is very common in vocal recordings. S's and T's and Z's can be really, really harsh when listening to them, especially if you're listening to them in headphones. And so what we wanna do is tame those to make them easier for the listener to listen to. So to do that, we're going to use a DSLR. And one that I really, really like is this DLSR from waves. Very easy to use? Of course, you'll find a DS or in any DAW, usually come stock. But this particular one is one that I really enjoy. It sounds good, and it works for me. Find what works for you. This one in particular works for me and I recommend it. So to show you how to use a DSLR, I'm actually going to solo the vocals right here. And essentially what you have is a threshold, just like a compressor, you pull it down and when your vocal comes above this threshold right here, it's going to turn it down. That difference is it's not going to turn down the whole vocal, but the frequency that you set it to. And with DSA is we're really focusing on where those S's and T's sit. The cool thing is most he answers will have a listen function, which in this case is this S chain right here. So when I hit this S chain, it's actually going to so low this frequency and so low the sounds within that frequency that are being pulled down. This way I can sort of search for where those S's and T's sit in this particular vocal. So let's listen to that really quick. Just what that sounds like alone. So right there you're only hearing the S's and T's and this vocal. Let's turn this off and listen to the vocal alone without any DSI body on the show and spread in the sunshine. So gain at this. Now let's engage the stressor body on the show. Spread in the sunshine. So cleanup. So as you can see, it's pulling down those Ss a lot as threshold is set really, really low and it is getting rid of those Ss, way too much body on the show, spread in the sunshine. So the idea here is to get rid of S's and get rid of teas or any other sibling consonant without making it sound like the singer has a Lisp. That is the best advice that I can possibly give you. So we want to be subtle, subtle enough to tame the harshness of those continents, while also allowing the vocal to sound fairly natural. Body on the show, nine spread in the sun. So I'm gonna start by engaging this as chain. And I'm gonna bring this threshold all the way down and listen for where those S's and T's sit in this particular vocal. I'm gonna do that by just going through these frequencies here. So right around 6695 on this particular vocal and for other vocals and might be different. I highly recommend just looking from about 5K to 8K for most vocals. Now that we know where those Ss sit, I'm gonna go back to the regular vocal and listened and heard up, bring up the threshold, excuse me, bring down the threshold just enough so that we get rid of the harshness of those Ss without making it sound like there's a list in this vocal body on the show and spread in the sunshine. So gain up the cell from the sea, that auto body on the show and spread in the sunshine. So gain up the cell from the sea that I'd been up to it dreamed too soon. Body on the show, nine spread in the sunshine. So gain up the cell from the sea that I'd been up to. I'm going to show a spread in the sunshine. Body on the show. Spread in the sunshine. So gain up the cell from the c that add OK, cool. So as you can hear this ts her is taming the harshness that's coming from all those essays in this prey's body on the show dine spread in the sunshine so gain up the salt from the sea that Addo. Now let's listen to it within the context of the mix to see if that works. Body on the shone spread in the sun. So gain up the so that I can maybe even pull it down a little bit further. Now that I'm here, I get in the context of the mix body on the show and spread in the sunshine. So gain at the cell. Body on the spread in the sunshine, body on the shoulder bag and spread in the sunshine. So gain up this. Actually I want to pull it a little bit higher because that spread his Saturday a little bit less be body on the spread in the sunshine, so gain up body on the right there. There it is, very natural sounding ds saying, make sure to do that with your vocals if you're noticing that they are sounding really speedy. This is especially true if you have a lot of essays or tease or sibling continent in your vocal phrasing. Do note that you don't need to use a ds or if you're not noticing that those sibling continents are a problem, only use it if you feel that you need it. 26. Reverb - Space Out on Depth & Ambiance - Guaranteed To Sound Great!: Alright, so just so you guys know, all of the techniques that we're going to discuss can be done with any stock reverb plugin in any DAW. And for this particular lecture we are going to use the stock reverb that comes with Pro Tools. So I'm going to play this vocal really quick. And you're going to hear that it sounds good. And everything that we've already done so far, though, it needs a little bit more space to fit within the mix. Let's listen again. Body on the spread in the gain at the cool. So yeah, it's sounding nice. It's sounding QED sound uncompressed. You can hear everything really clearly, but it's lacking depth. Now, when most people think about reverb, what they'll do is they'll go straight to the track, which in this case is right down here, this chorus. And they'll go through here. And then we'll add a reverb plug-in straight on the track. And then they'll begin shuffling through the different presets, Hall, church plate room, ambient, and looking for the preset that fits best with their vocals. Unfortunately, there are a few reasons why this way isn't the most optimal way. For starters. Number one, you don't have a lot of flexibility when you place a reverb directly on your track. Number two, you will drain the CPU on your computer. If you start using reverb on multiple tracks, it becomes a bit difficult for your computer to process all of those plug-ins. Luckily, there is a way to use one reverb on all of the tracks you need with a little bit of flexibility and customization. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to come up here and create a new auxiliary track. I'm going to use stereo ox input and then create. And depending on the DAW you're using, it might say stereo bus, it might say stereo group track. But for this one, that's how it's done. And then we'll click this and I will rename it to reverb. Keep it real simple. And then what I'm gonna do is I'm going to solo safe it by pressing command and then clicking it. And what this will do is it will keep it so load. While the vocal is playing into it. I'll make the inputs, whatever is available. So right here, 73, 74, fine, that's works. And then I will make the output, the mixed bus where everything is going. So in this case, you can keep it on mixed wine if everything is going to mix one, which down here it, it is. So for this, I will just keep it on mix one. Then I will make the output the same as where all of my vocals are going. And as you can see on here, I have all of my vocals running two bus 5152, and this is my vocal bus. So I'm going to run the reverb to the same place as my vocals. Voila, there we go. Now, instead of having the reverb on the track, let's put the reverb now on R plus. Now the reward that you use is likely going to have a wet and dry knob or a wet and dry slider. And that you can see is right here. You're going to turn this all the way to 100% wet because this particular track is going to be fully affected. Now we need to go to the actual vocal track and we need to send vocal track in to this reverb so that it can be affected. So we're gonna do is we're going to create a send and send it to bus 7374. That's because that is the bus that this reverb is on. Ascend is simply a way to send a copy of audio to different places within a mix. So beyond its own bus that you can see that the, the vocals are already getting sent to its own bus and to this vocal bus, we're also sending a copy of it to this vocal reverb. And I'm going to click on this and make sure that this fader is. Now for this one, I'm not going to pull it all the way up because I don't want to send so much into the vocal, but we're just going to solo vocals and listen to the sound as I pull this fader up body on the show and spread in the sunshine, so gain of the cell. Alright, now we have reverb happening. And the cool thing is, is if I mute the reverb track while the vocal as playing, the reverbs gonna go away and spread in the sunshine. So, so I have a little bit more control over my reverb. It's set up correctly, and this is one of the best ways to set up reverb. I can now send other tracks to this reverb as well, such as my verse tracks or maybe even a guitar track or a drum track or whatever. And then I can use the fader over here to adjust how much of that signal I'm sending into the reverb. So I might want to send my background vocals into this reverb a little bit more to push them further in the background. And my lead vocal is a little bit less to keep them more in the foreground. Now let's look at the different types of reverb that we have up here. By default, you're mostly going to see these settings up at the top. And this can include Hall, church play room, room to ambient and non-linear. Most reverbs are going to have settings similar to this. Let's play the vocal really quick and listen. Body on the show spread. Now let's play the vocal with the music really quick and listen. Body on the spread in the data. Sounds really nice. The vocal has a little bit more space, and you can also adjust this decay tie right here. And the decay time is essentially how long that reverb is going to last. So if I put it all the way over here, let's not put into infinity, but maybe at really high 48 seconds body on the show. I, it just sounds like a huge wash a vocals. And that will take about 48 seconds to completely decay. We typically don't want that much for vocals. I can also turn it really, really short as well, body on the show. So again, it puts us in a smaller space. Now for me, I really, really like room reverbs on vocals. So we're going to go on this room reverb really quick. Let's listen to the vocal with a room reverb. Body on the spread in the sunshine. Yeah, that sounds really, really nice. And it sounds like the vocals are in a room, right? It sounds like they were recorded in a room. We can also try plate to body on the spread in the sunshine. See that dreamed. Plates tend to sound a lot brighter. They're really, really good for pop music, EDM music, R&B music, and sometimes rock, even too. You can also go with Holland church if you want a truly affected sound. Let's try this. Sure, the church reverb body on the show that I dreamed to x2. Alright, so for this song, because it's so slow, I think I could use a hall or a church reverb. I think I'm going to use the hall reverb. And what I'm gonna do is I'm going to turn this down just so it is barely audible, just so it's giving the vocalist sense of space. I don't want the reverb to be extremely noticeable. I just want the sense of space to be noticeable. Body on the spread in the data. Body on the spread in the cool. Alright, and the next thing that we're going to do and something that I always, always, always do with vocals is EQ, the reverb. Now, the reason that we EQ reverb is when we send vocals into reverb, we can get a lot of low-end buildup, which is just going to take up space in our mix. And a lot of high-end buildup, which just kinda sounds harsh and speedy and kinda nasty. And That's why we use this technique called the Abbey Road reverb technique. And the Abbey Road reverb technique goes way back to the 19 sixties. And it was originally used in Abbey Road Studios, which is famous for hosting the beetles. And what they would do is they would create high-pass and low-pass filters to put after their reverbs and essentially cleaning up in E queuing the reverb. So I usually like to start by taking out a lot of the low frequencies and the reverb because we really don't need those, as well as the high frequencies because those can tend to sound really speedy and harsh. Let's listen really quick. Body on the spread in the sunshine. So gain up the self. That auto body on the show. Spread in the sunshine. So gain up the sell button, the C. Alright, so we've gotten rid of that high end siblings in the reverb, but solo vocals, you could hear it a little bit more. Body on the show. Spread in the sunshine. So gain at the, so fun to see that auto been up with dreams to x2. Getting rid of that high frequency content does two things. It gets rid of the siblings and the reverb and the reverb to sound further back, separating it from the lead vocal, which creates a really nice effect, a very realistic reverb effect. And it just sits better in the mix. So I always recommend using this Abby Road reverb technique. If it works, you don't need to use it. If you feel like you want a little bit of low-end reverb in there. Or if you want some really high-end sparkly reverb for this song, this works 95% of the time it works for me. But of course, as with everything and mixing, there are no hard and fast rules. So experiment, this is just a really good helpful technique to know. Let's listen to the vocal one more time with his reverb gain at. That. Sounds really nice. And one more thing that I want to do is adjust as pre-delay. And essentially what pre-delay does is and essentially what pre-delay does is it helps the reverb to start just a little bit later than when the vocal hits it. And this helps to keep the vocals a little bit more upfront and clear while also getting that sense of space. So what I'd like to do is I usually like to give it a little bit of pre-delay And we're going to solo the vocals. You can hear this pre-delay a little bit more clearly. And my body on the spread in the sunshine, so okay. So as you can see, the vocals hitting the reverb and the reverb is happening 37 milliseconds later. And my body on the show spread in the sunshine, so gain at the self. And I can go crazy with that and make it sound almost like a delay effect. But we're just gonna go a little bit, maybe around ten milliseconds here. And my body on the show spread in the sunshine. So gain at the, so that helps us to get the transients are the beginnings of the phrases in there before the reverb starts. So once again, experiment with the presets, experiment with the high and low-pass filters on your E Q. And experiment with adding a little bit of pre-delay. And you'll find that this is a very, very simple technique to add space to your recorded vocal. And my body on the show. Spread in the data? No. 27. Delay - It's Makes You Sound Killer, Killer, Killer, killer....: So the first thing that I want to do is get rid of the reverb that we use in the past videos. So I'm gonna do is I'm gonna mute that. We're going to listen to the vocal again, dry, spread in the data. So as you can hear, it's lacking that space. And one of the first things that I like to introduce two vocals that are lacking space, especially if I feel like reverb might be a little too much for the song, is slap back delay. You can think of any extremely short delay as a form of slapback to lay. So for this, I'm going to use the same auxiliary track that we use for a reverb. Money, get rid of the plugins that are already on there. And instead I'm going to replace them with a delay plug-in. Again, you want to do it the same way if you're creating a delay for the first time, or if you're using a delay and a reverb, what you want to do is create an auxiliary track. That way you have just as much control as you would with your reverb plugin and create an auxiliary track for that delay plug-in. So for this particular delay, I'm going to be using eco boy by sound toys. I would highly, highly recommend picking this up. Eco Boy is one of my absolute favorite delay plugins. It's extremely versatile. And honestly, if you buy this, you'll never need to buy another delay plug-in ever. Again. It's absolutely incredible. So next I'm going to rename this to delay just for B, the visual ease, and I'm going to unmute it. So we're still routed from 7374 into 7374 and this one is still routed out into the vocal bus. Now before we dive into echo Boyd, do note that you can use any delay that comes stock. You're going to have pretty much all the same controls or similar controls that you have the money. This one's very fond, very versatile. So start by setting your mix knob all the way to wet. Keep that all the way at wet. I always like to start with a preset to, and in this case, I'm going to go to vocal and I'm going to go to analog vocals clapper. Now there are a bunch of different slaps on hears, classic tape, slap, classic tapes, lap 30 IPS. I really liked this one. I always start with a preset and then make adjustments from there to your liking. So slap back delays there really, really short. They don't give you much feedback. You could think of a slap back delay is when you clap your hands in an empty room, the sound collapse back at you really quickly. And that's the sound that we're looking at. It's pretty much how it got the name slapback. So let's solo the vocal and give that a listen. I am my body on the show. Spread in the sunshine. So see that Adobe dreams to. So as you can here you're getting that slap effect. Let's maybe. Go over to the classic tapes lap. And my body on the show spread in the sunshine and silk gain at the cell. So as you can see, this analog one is a little bit darker and kinda like that. So I'm going to stick with that. But it gives the vocal or really nice sense of space. And it almost sounds as if the vocal was recorded in a large room or a club. And then you can obviously adjusted after that to decide how much slap you want. You can make it really, really subtle. And my body on the show spread in the sunshine so gain, we can also make it very obvious. And I read in the sun shining. In my opinion, slap back delay is one of the best places to start for vocals. If you're looking for a sense of space, it's a great substitution for times. You feel like reverb is a bit too washy for your vocals and we slap back delay. You get a nice sense of ambience while still maintaining a vocal sound that is in your face. Let's listen to it with the mix really quick so we can hear what it sounds like. On the spread in the sunshine. That sounds really nice. You get a nice sense of space. Now of course, this is just one type of delay. There are plenty of different delay types out there that you can take advantage of. And one that you might be a little bit more familiar with hearing is a delay that is a bit more drawn out and repeats itself numerous times. So to do this, I'm still going to stick with a cowboy in here. But instead I'm going to go to a clean ping pong preset. The reason it's called ping-pong is, is because it bounces back and forth from your right speaker to your left speaker, and back and forth and back and forth. And this is one of those delays that you're probably used to hearing. So let's solo and listen to what it does right off the bat. Can then find my body on the show. All right. So that's pretty, pretty wild right off the back. For starters, I would say let's pull this feed back down just a little bit. And the feedback is essentially how many times it's going to repeat itself. So I don't want it to repeat itself that many times it's pulled on the feedback gun. Then since this is a pretty slow song, I'm also going to change the delay time as well. So right now these are at 1 eighth notes. Take those to one sixteenths. Gum that cool. One more thing I'm gonna do is I'm going to roll off this high-end here. This is very similar to the Abbey Road technique that we talked about earlier. I'd like to take this, roll it off too so we get that speedy sound out of there. The delays become a bit less prominent than the vocal and it helps with that separation as well. Yeah, we get a lot more separation just by doing that. And then what I'm gonna do is I'm going to pull down the center so that we don't get as much delay. Gum. Their body on the show, spread in the sun. And then let's play that with the track body on the spread in the gain up from the sea. So delay like this sounds really, really nice. It gives you a larger than life effected space. And this can be very appropriate depending on the style of music that you're working with. It's great for the slow jam, psychedelic style music. It's great for heavily processed electronic or pop music. Makes sure to experiment with the delay times and get something that feels rhythmically correct with your song. Hopefully you guys now have a better understanding as to how to use delay. Next up, we will be getting into how to use additional effects on your vocals. 28. Additional Effects - Chorus, Phasers, Flangers, Saturation: All right. So we're coming to a close here though. Before we do, I want to briefly talk about a few additional effects that you can use to spice up your vocals. Now, there might be a couple of reasons as to why you want to do this, including the fact that, you know, you recorded your vocals at home. They sound great though. There's something about them that's a little bit boring and they don't sound as interesting as they could. So what do you do? Well, you have a few options to consider. And in this lecture we're going to talk about a few cool effects that you can use to spice up your vocal. Now it is very important to note that not all of these will work for your vocals necessarily. It really depends on the song and what you need. However, knowing these things can provide you with tools to reach for it when you feel that your vocal is lacking. So let's listen to this track and you'll likely notice that the vocal sounds really great. Again, it's everything that we've done so far, but I think there's a little bit more that we can add body on the spread in the sunshine. So for our first effect, we're going to try distortion. And let's start by picking a distortion for our track. In this case, I am going to use decapitate her by sound toys. That is one of my absolute favorites, though there are plenty of distortion plug-ins out there. The reason that I like to capitate are however, is that it has a mixed knob. And what we would like to do is have our distortion mixed in just slightly in a way that the vocal isn't completely distorted, though, has just a little bit of heat or saturation under it. So what I am going to do is I'm going to set the drive, which is the amount of distortion in this case, and then set the mix knob at around 50-50 to start. So let's try this with the vocal soloed. I body on the show and spread in the sunshine. So gain at the, been the see that dreams to sue. So as you can see, very, very subtle though. It gives the vocal a little bit of something extra. A brings a mid-range forward, gives the top end a little more shimmer without making it sound harsh. Now, this is definitely not appropriate for every vocal out there or for every part of the song necessarily. I mean, in this song I could have no distortion in reverses and maybe in the chorus is right when the chorus part hits, I bring that distortion up and that can help it to sound a little bit different. And of course you can go 100% wet as well. But what that's gonna do is it's going to make the vocal distorted body on the show and spread in the sunshine. So gain at the self-fund, the c that add o. And for this particular song, we don't really want that. I kinda wanted to keep it. Keep it nice and subtle. Almost go for a vintage, saturated feel as if it was recorded and an old studio with an older microphone. Let's listen in context to the mix. Body on the show. Yeah, to me, that sounds nice. It gives it a little bit of analog warmth in just a tiny, tiny bit of grit so that it doesn't sound like it was just recorded in a plane chain home studio. Now let's check out some modulation. And in this case I want to group together phasor, flanger and chorus. Let's first talk. Chorus. Chorus is an effect that gives your vocal a thick or wavering sound. It's often used in pop or EDM music, gives the vocals are really nice wide sound. And one of my absolute favorite chorus plug-ins to use is micro shift by sound toys. Let's open this up and listen to what it does with the focal body on the show. As you can here right off the bat, it really widens it up. Let's set this mix knob a little bit lower on the shoulder and spread in the sunshine. So clean up the so that gives it a nice wide sound. On this particular plugin, you can set the focus as well and the focus will focus in on a certain frequency. So for this, I'm probably going to want to set a little higher because vocals sit a little higher. Body on the show and spread in the sunshine soaking up the cellphone to see that auto. Dreams to readjust that delay over there you can hear we're getting a little more of a psychedelic sort of sound, body on the show and spread in the sun. Now if I want to use this on vocals, I'm typically doing it pretty subtly. This way. I get a little bit of a spread, a little bit more of an upfront sound, but it doesn't sound like it's spread out to wide where it makes the listener sick to listen to body on the show spread in the sunshine. So clean up the cell. See that, widens up that Boko just a little bit. Now let's talk. Flanders. Flanger is create a cone filtered effect. Can sound really Wu She almost add drain pipe or vocal like qualities to your vocal. And if you want your vocal to sound like a guitar from the 19 seventies, Flanders can be a lot of fun. And one of my favorite flanger plugins is metal flanger. By waves. Meta flanger sounds awesome. Let's check out some settings. And usually for this one, I'd like to start with a preset. One of my favorites to go to is dave pen, sotto pen, sourdough flange vocal one. I'll start from there and let's just listen to what this sounds like. Me on the shoulder and spread in the sunshine. So clean up the been the C, that gives it some nice movement. It gives it some weird phase fuzziness, some, some just weirdness, and it's kinda cool. I usually turn the mix down a little bit and then just bring it in so it's just barely noticeable body on the shoulder and spread in the sunshine. So clean up the salt from the sea that I'd been up to can be very interesting to add that to certain vocals. Lastly, we have phasor and phasors are really odd compared to the other two. Without getting too technical, they feed a copy of the vocal signal and run it through something called an all pass filter. Now, this reverses the phase of sum of the frequencies creates peaks and valleys in the signal. And the frequency of the filter can change a lot depending on the settings. Now, one of my favorites to use is phase Mistress by sound toys. Let's hear what this sounds like on a vocal. That dreams to body on the shoulder, spread in the sunshine. Da-da-da. You can definitely hear that sixties psychedelic sound in there. Really, really great for psychedelic music. Really crave for adding a little bit of old school vintage character to your sound. So of course, all of these effects won't necessarily work for every vocal track. There just really, really good affects to have in your back pocket. If you need to make your vocal more interesting in your mix, makes sure to experiment with all these. And you can bring something really, really cool into your mixes. Next up, we're going to discuss mix referencing. 29. Mix Referencing - Learning From Professional With Critical Listening: All right, congratulations you guys. You've made it to the very end of the vocal production course. I'm hoping that you'll feel a lot more confident in recording, producing, and mixing your own vocals at home. Now, before we go, I want to talk a little bit about a technique called mix referencing. This technique is used by countless professional producers and mix engineers around the world. I've used it throughout my mixing career and it is one of the best ways to make sure that your mix sounds professional. So what is mix referencing? The idea with mix referencing is quite simple. You're just comparing your mix to a professionally mixed and mastered track through out the process. So whenever I talk about mixed referencing, I like to use the painting analogy. So over by my home here in Los Angeles, there is this big hill and it's called Mount Washington. And when you walk up to the top of Mount Washington, you can see the entire LA skyline. It's absolutely gorgeous. Now, let's say I were to walk up there one day and taken the view, just me and then come back down. And someone were to ask me to paint the LA skyline just by memory. Well, I'd probably make a lot of mistakes because doing anything by pure memory can be very, very difficult, especially something as complex as painting and entire skyline, right? Well, let's say I were to go up there and take my phone or my camera with me, take a snapshot of the LA Skyline, then come back down the mountain and someone were to ask me to paint from that picture. Right. Using that picture as a reference. Well, it probably be a lot more accurate at that point because I'd have a reference there, right. If I forgot. Oh, was there a building over there? I can't really remember. Was this ridge, this mountain ridge pointy, was it smooth? I could just look at the reference and know right there. So that idea correlates to mix referencing. Whenever we have a, a mix and we're struggling to decide whether a decision that we're about to make as good or not, we can reference a professionally mixed and mastered track to make sure that we are on the right page. The idea here is that you never want to mix blind. Mixing blind leads to inaccurate mixed decisions. Now, it would take me an entirely new cores to go through and talk about how to use reference tracks in different Dawes. So instead, I want to suggest a solution that pretty much everyone can use no matter what platform you're working on. And that is using a streaming or music platform such as iTunes or Spotify for mixed referencing. So the idea is that you have your DAW open Pro Tools able to unreason FL Studio, Cubase whatever you're using. As well as a tab that is open with your reference track. So that could be on Spotify, could be on iTunes, it could be on amazon music, whatever you use. And the idea is that while you're mixing, you flipped back and forth between your mix and the professionally mixed and mastered track that you are listening to write. So let's say that you're mixing a hip hop song that sort of in the vein of Kendrick Lamar. Well, you might want to pull up a Kendrick Lamar reference track. And that way you can flip back and forth between your track and Kendrick Lamar's track. You can see, hey, or your vocals sitting at the same level as in the professionally mixed and mastered Kendrick Lamar track. How is the EQ with your vocal compared to his vocal, right? And this can go for any genre you, you're mixing rock. You might want to reference a Led Zeppelin track. If you're mixing an indie song, you might want to reference a grizzly bear track. You know, you have options here. The one thing I will say is that you want to make sure that whatever you're referencing is at the same volume level as your mics. Otherwise, your decisions will be skewed. And it is very important to know that whatever you're mixing will probably not be as loud as your reference tracks. So make sure to turn that track a little bit down, get them in an even volume before you start referencing, as it'll be the only way that you're going to make accurate volume decisions, first of all, but also EQ and compression decisions as well. Now when a lot of people hear me talk about mixed referencing, they say, Hey, isn't that stealing, isn't that copying? I don't want to copy another artist. And what I say is that your mix, your music. It's inherently different from those other artists out there, right? It's uniquely you, you're not stealing from anyone, you're not copying from anyone. Rather, you're looking at professionals and what they've done in their own mixes and they're on productions. And you're learning from that and taking that and using those techniques and tools in your own mixes. So no, it's not copying, it's not stealing. It's just a technique that you would use in any learning scenario. Now really quickly before you head off and start mixed referencing on your own, I want to talk a little bit about a plug-in that I use for mixed referencing at home that has been extremely helpful for me and that is referenced by mastering the mix. Now reference is a really, really great tool when it comes to mix referencing. Essentially it allows you to import any professionally mixed and mastered track into your DAW so that you can compare that track with your own mix. It also gives you helpful hints as to what parts of the frequency spectrum you need to boost or cut to get your song sounding more similar to your reference track. And it also gives you compression tips as well. It's very, very helpful. It's great if you're beginning, especially because a lot of beginners don't really know what to look for in their home studio in terms of sound. So I would highly recommend checking that out. I will leave a link to that in the PDF download for this lecture. So make sure to get that if you can, because it is one of the best and most helpful plug-ins that I would honestly recommend to anyone, beginners and experts alike. Once again, thank you guys so much for taking my vocal production cores. I hope that it was helpful, I hope that it was inspiring, and I hope that you can use all of the techniques and tools that I have provided to begin recording, producing, and mixing your own professional vocals right here in your home studio. Good luck, and I cannot wait to hear what you guys are working on so long.