Best Effects for Vocals

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foomonkey
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2005/01/15 14:31:41 (permalink)

Best Effects for Vocals

I have been working on several songs in HS. I have a couple of great singers but I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to adding a bit of reverb and/or delay on the lead vocals. All of the HS presets for reverb and delay seem to sound really cheezy when I apply them.

I know this is really subjective but, in general, what are the most professional sounding effects that I can use on vocal tracks? Also, what kind of EQ settings work best on vocals.

Andy Pierce
http://www.andypierce.com

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    AT
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    RE: Best Effects for Vocals 2005/01/16 12:35:09 (permalink)
    Every singer is different, and every song/style etc. is different so there is no "good" answer for every song. Hopefully, you'll work with the same singers long enough to find the right settings.

    First, good recordings. A good mic, preamp, singer and mic placement will save a lot of grief. Get the equipment and singer first. Then play with mic placement. Also, an experienced singer will "play" the mic. Simple things like pulling back a little to belt out lines and closing up to the mic for softer lines can really, really help the performance. Live singer usually eat the mic on stage; this doesn't always help in the studio. As producer/engineer, you can point these things out to a singer.

    A pop shield also helps, since there is no way to get rid of 'splovsives once they are recorded.


    In general, be gentle with compression/EQ. Hopefully, you got the sound in performance. Unless you are going for an effected sound, all you want to do with comp/EQ is help the sound set better in the song. Light compression, like 2 to 1 or so can even out a performance. EQ is usually better for reducing frequencies than adding. "Air" is above 8KHz usually - adding a little shelving EQ can help. I usually roll off vocals below 100 Hz or so with another shelving EQ. Then, with a wide Q I usually add extra punch to a vocal. The frequency depends upon the singer's natural resonance as well well as arrangement - it is no use trying to make the singer stand out if it is fighting for the same same frequency bandwidth as the guitar, keyboard, etc. And if you get up past 2500-3000 KHz you might have a problem with silibance. So, spend the time playing with it.

    As far as which tools - HS has some good ones, even if they are a little plain.

    The first package that comes to mind is Waves - they make good, if expensive software but they have some $100+ packages expecially for vocals, guitars, etc. But look around and try some demos until you find a package you like and can afford. And check out the VST effects. There is a nice convolution reverb out there for free.

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    #2
    boten
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    RE: Best Effects for Vocals 2005/01/16 12:37:23 (permalink)
    Here is also some information about recording vocals and compression settings.
    http://www.tweakheadz.com/how_to_record_vocals.htm
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    thetankster
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    RE: Best Effects for Vocals 2005/01/16 13:04:35 (permalink)

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    foomonkey
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    RE: Best Effects for Vocals 2005/01/16 20:55:28 (permalink)
    Thanks for the info, especially to you AT. That is good stuff. tankerster, that Presonus PDF is excellent too! I realize probably my best tool is going to be experience. Right now, the "studio" is just a spare bedroom which I have done nothing in the way of acoustic treament. That probably contributes to the problem as well. I probably should have described my setup. It includes:

    Cakewalk Homestudio 2004 XL
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    M-Audio Luna Condenser microphone (w/pop filter)
    2 Shure SM-58's

    Thanks again!

    andy
    < Message edited by foomonkey -- 1/16/2005 9:07:41 PM >

    Andy Pierce
    http://www.andypierce.com

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    bill durham
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    RE: Best Effects for Vocals 2005/01/16 21:03:19 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: foomonkey

    I have been working on several songs in HS. I have a couple of great singers but I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to adding a bit of reverb and/or delay on the lead vocals. All of the HS presets for reverb and delay seem to sound really cheezy when I apply them.

    I know this is really subjective but, in general, what are the most professional sounding effects that I can use on vocal tracks? Also, what kind of EQ settings work best on vocals.

    Andy,

    I can only relate my experience and it is from trial and error not any learned experience. I like plate reverbs... they sound the best to me. The way I use them is a carry over from the old analog mixer days...I put the effect in the effects bin of an Aux . When you open the reverb and select the plate option, make it 0% dry signal and 100% wet. That way you will get only verbed signal out of the Aux. One other thing, add the parametric eq to the Aux effects bin as well. Create a High Pass Filter with a center freq of 200hz and a -6dB gain below the 200hz mark. This will help keep the verb from muddying up your mix. A rule of thumb point of the Aux send is around 10 to 15 dB below the level of the dry signal. This should make it audible without being TOO MUCH verb!

    Hope this helps

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    novelwriter56
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    RE: Best Effects for Vocals 2005/01/16 23:30:05 (permalink)
    There some great suggestions posted already, but I would like to add something here also. Being from the analog days as Bill Durham, I always liked what they called digital delay. What I do with HS is copy the original vocal track, then paste it to a new track, but have it offset just a smidge. After it is pasted, you can do all kind of things with the second track. You can add reverb, echo, chorus, EQ, etc., then lower its volume. You can add no effects, and send one to one side, and the other to the opposite side. You can keep both of them set at 0% and use the effects on the second track. The possibilities are up to you.

    If you go to this link, http://www.lulu.com/content/96239 there is a preview of a song I did with HS where I did the vocal track, then copy/pasted it onto a second track, added echo to the second track, then lowered its volume so it in the background. Unfortunately, my vocal skills are rather lacking, so I do what I can to cover it up.

    Michael

    Some HS created songs reside at www.myspace.com/vernsson
    #7
    foomonkey
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    RE: Best Effects for Vocals 2005/01/17 06:34:03 (permalink)
    Good idea! I haven't thought of duplicating tracks. I have cloned tracks in order to experiment with other things like EQ and compression. That way I can don't screw up the original. Using both vocal tracks is an excellent idea. Thanks!

    I like what you did with the delay at the end of your piece there. Quite interesting.

    Andy Pierce
    http://www.andypierce.com

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    #8
    MusicMan7575
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    RE: Best Effects for Vocals 2005/01/17 12:30:29 (permalink)
    Very clever idea on offsetting a second vocal track! I ran a recording studio years ago, and I can relate. Thanks for sharing. ;)
    Rick
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    jtnymn9
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    RE: Best Effects for Vocals 2005/01/22 08:23:27 (permalink)
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    sinc
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    RE: Best Effects for Vocals 2005/01/22 09:27:59 (permalink)
    I recently discovered that it's possible to get effects similar to double-tracking by using a "detuner". I'm not exactly sure what a detuner is, but it sounds like it's somewhere between a chorus and a flanger. Adding a short delay rounds it out nicely.

    (In case you don't know, "double tracking" is the technique of recording two vocal takes, and mixing them together. Think John Lennon's "Double Fantasy" album. It's a bit of a pain to actually double-track, though, because it takes a lot of dicipline as a singer - you have to sing both tracks nearly identically.)
    #11
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