how to boost vocals without crackling

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joetink
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2010/02/04 12:47:07 (permalink)

how to boost vocals without crackling

Hi guys,
I've been looking around a bit on here for some advice on recording vocals, and i've picked up some tips, but i haven't found anything that specifically addresses my issue.  everyone on here has been awesome in the past with helping me out, so i figured i would try to see if someone might have some suggestions. 

everything in my mix sounds great - except the vocals.  I'm recording using either a Samson condenser mic, or an SM58, depending on the particular sound i'm going for.  I'm recording into a M-audio firewire interface and using Sonar 7.  vocals are going in quiet enough that they don't clip, but whenever i try to raise the volume on them, i get crackling.  I've tried using compression, i use the VC64 plugin, and no matter what i do i just cannot get rid of the crackles.  I've tried recording vocals quieter, louder, and everywhere in between.  The vocalist i'm currently working with has a VERY aggressive voice, and he's not 'eating' the mic by any means. 

I'm not foolish enough to think i am going to be a pro at mixing vocals overnight, but where do i need to start with this?

thanks guys!
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    bdickens
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    Re:how to boost vocals without crackling 2010/02/04 12:54:06 (permalink)
    Turn down everything else.

    Byron Dickens


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    batsbrew
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    Re:how to boost vocals without crackling 2010/02/04 13:32:23 (permalink)
    +1.


    the whole idea with mixing, is always about balance first, and overall levels and headroom second.

    if you're tracking your vocals with GOOD levels, there's nothing that you should be doing that would add 'crackles'.

    this just sounds wrong all the way around.



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    Guitarhacker
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    Re:how to boost vocals without crackling 2010/02/04 13:47:14 (permalink)
    bump the buffers up a few ...see if that solves it.

    If the vox track is nice and clean at a low level... try the normalize function... that will boost the levels up to 0db.... if that's not enough..... turn the rest of it down....

    my 2 cents

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    Frank Haas
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    Re:how to boost vocals without crackling 2010/02/04 16:18:13 (permalink)

    vocals are going in quiet enough that they don't clip, but whenever i try to raise the volume on them, i get crackling

    that's just how it works !
    it doesn't matter if you try to record them louder (which results in clipping) or if you try to increase level after you've done the recordings.. the result will always be the same: crackles..


    I've tried using compression, i use the VC64 plugin, and no matter what i do i just cannot get rid of the crackles
    I might be wrong, but could it be that you still have to learn how to use compressors ?
    the VC64 is quite difficult to learn if you have no experience with compressors.. but it's worth to learn that one.. it's the best compressor plugin you probably have !
    Applying compression correctly doesn't result in crackles,..neither on the track itself nor on the master out..
    a little lesson on the VC64..
    start with the "full reset"-preset
    EDIT: you have to enable the compressor first by pressing the power-on-icon above the meter-window
    under the meter-window press "GR" (gain reduction)
    turn the ratio to 4:1
    now turn the threshold counterclockwise until you have at least 7dB of gainreduction (see the meters to check the value)
    now increase the gain-out to that amount of compression (7dB) !
    play with the settings but always remember to set the output to the amount of gainreduction you use!
    let this just be part I of the VC64.. if you think that was of any help, we could proceed further..

    there are a lot of other options you have.. eq can also be your friend (building "pockets" on the other tracks for your vocals!)

    I'd also check that the master output is not clipping.. a little compression/limiting on the master output can be helpfull..

    Also make sure that your project runs @ 24bit !!

    reducing the volume of the other tracks is a good way to fix your problem too.. but besides doing that I think you need to "control" your levels with tools like compressors.
    post edited by Frank Haas - 2010/02/04 16:21:17
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    CJaysMusic
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    Re:how to boost vocals without crackling 2010/02/04 21:49:02 (permalink)
    everything in my mix sounds great - except the vocals

    You just need to create a mix that works for you.
    You need to probably learn how to use complimentary EQ. This will make every instrument, even vocals have its own space in the mix, by eliminating all the frequencies that are not used on every track and boosting the predominant ones for each track.
    Using complimentary EQ techniques and making sure your other tracks are not too hot (loud) and a bit of dynamic controlled processing (compressors) you can have a great sounding mix with your vocals up front.
     
    Of course you need to have recorded a decent vocal track. If its to thin, it wont come thru, no matter what you do. Having a good vocal shine thru starts in the recording stage.
     
    There are allot of books on this subject. Ive read a few too many. You should also
    Cj
     


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    #6
    skullsession
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    Re:how to boost vocals without crackling 2010/02/05 10:38:44 (permalink)
    Troubleshooting 101.....

    If you SOLO the vocal before the boost, does it "crackle"?

    If you SOLO the vocal after the boost, does it "crackle"?

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    joetink
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    Re:how to boost vocals without crackling 2010/02/07 12:54:22 (permalink)
    wow, some awesome info here!  thanks for the tips on with compression.  i certainly do use compression a bit, and i do eq each track, but i know i could do better at it. 
    skullsession - when i push the vocals too much they are crackling even when i hit solo, so i know i'm pushing them too hard.

    Frank, as i get going i might pick your brain a little more on the VC64.  i'm still just in the initial stages of learning to use it.  i've heard good stuff about it, but it certainly is confusing at first.  maybe i'll post a clip and get some feedback from you. 

    thanks guys!
    #8
    Frank Haas
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    Re:how to boost vocals without crackling 2010/02/07 13:40:36 (permalink)
    yeah sure,
    just drop me a pm, we could go through your project and figure out what the problem is.
    #9
    dontletmedrown
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    Re:how to boost vocals without crackling 2010/02/07 14:40:03 (permalink)
    Make sure your volume boost is not sending your master bus into the red.  Easiest way is to make a quickgroup of everything except vocals and drag the faders down until the vocal is nice and loud.

    Good luck!
    #10
    SilverfoxUK
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    Re:how to boost vocals without crackling 2010/02/19 06:02:30 (permalink)
    A good practice for starting a mix is to identify what you want to be the loudest instrument, normally (depending on the type of music) this will be the vocals.

    If this is the case then (after dropping all faders) you FIRST bring up the vocal to a level allowing good amount of headroom and THEN bring up everything else in relation.

    Simples :)

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