PDA

View Full Version : Big gang/crowd vocals


Raoul23
04-18-2013, 12:18 PM
Hi guys I'm recording a band at the mo who want some gang vocal like this. Check out http://youtu.be/2NTyyCwwDfY?t=3m6s

Can people suggest how to do this. Is the secret to record about 20 takes of the 4 band members shouting the lyrics ???

BroomPole
04-18-2013, 12:56 PM
Just finished recording a punk band with some similar shout outs. I usually find when doing it the best results come from 3-6 dudes in a semi circle around a LDC. Then double take it panning one left and right. I find it gets pretty muddy really fast if you go much over two or three takes. At that point you might want more people.

That song you posted sounds to me like what I just recorded with two takes though.

cheers
Kevin

Raoul23
04-18-2013, 01:03 PM
Just finished recording a punk band with some similar shout outs. I usually find when doing it the best results come from 3-6 dudes in a semi circle around a LDC. Then double take it panning one left and right. I find it gets pretty muddy really fast if you go much over two or three takes. At that point you might want more people.

That song you posted sounds to me like what I just recorded with two takes though.

cheers
Kevin

Cheers Kevin for chiming in we did try 3 of the band members shouting the part twice and I even panned them full left and full right. I just found it doesn't sound as crowdy if that makes sense. In the link I posted I thought there were more people in the gang ?

TruestPain
04-18-2013, 01:31 PM
To capture this in a studio session. Would this be the same technique as to capture a "crowd" or what could appear as a crowd* vocally, such as when certain songs have like a chant going on or repeating a specific sentence of a hook or a bridge.

How and what is the best way to capture this?

Raoul23
04-18-2013, 01:32 PM
To capture this in a studio session. Would this be the same technique as to capture a "crowd" or what could appear as a ground vocally, such as when certain songs have like a chant going on or repeating a specific sentence of a hook or a bridge.

How and what is the best way to capture this?

Yeah that's what I'm after the BIG crowd chanting sound

Craig F
04-18-2013, 02:28 PM
it is a good time to have friends & girlfriends stop by to make the group larger
having people move around between takes and if the can change there range even better

Stig Eliassen
04-18-2013, 02:52 PM
Also, keep some distance to the mic(s). When did you ever have 50 people 1' away from your "ears"? :D

ondruspat
04-18-2013, 03:29 PM
Craig and PT's suggestions are both good ones. Also remember to do a few takes where no one cares about singing in key. Part of a crowd singing is the disonance of crappy singers!!! :D:p:D

Craig F
04-18-2013, 04:41 PM
I took a mobile rig to a party one time for the party track
DA-88 w/ a mix on 1&2 (mono, phase flipped on 2)
mic pres
stereo LDC
and a pair of powered speakers

fun night

Bill@Avid
04-18-2013, 05:10 PM
I dont know if this is helpful or what youre looking for but this was my tried and true big hair big chorus formula circa 1986.

Id collect up all of the guys in the band that could sing (three if I was lucky maybe four). More than a few people and it would get pretty loose and unintelligible.

Id position them standing arms length from either side of a c414 in figure 8. (+1 on the distance makes a crowd). I had a pretty vanilla room, not too live not too dead, and arms length provided just enough room sound.

Id get one take that sounded good and tight and then do three more playing only the original take for reference to keep things tight. When I had four tight takes this was usually enough to get a big polished sound. A little HPF EQ and some sucking out the boxy mids is it was pretty straight forward gang vocal.

Heres where it gets stupid. If I was going for that huge noise reduction out sound Id repeat the steps above and ask the guys to pretend to be someone else. Id take looser and pitcher takes as well. Usually this set would get mashed with compression and eviscerated with EQ so that all you got was the presence and sibilance. You could EQ the pitch out of them so the just added the suggestion bad singing and some extra mass. I would blend this second set with the polished set to make them a little uglier.

On rare occasions if the song called for that extra push over the cliff Id mult them as a group, cut all the lows and mids, and then excite or distort just the high frequencies then bring this up in parallel behind the original. Sometimes Id noise gate them really tightly and get them to snap in and out of existence. In reflection I think we were trying to emulate (no pun intended) sounds of background vocals that we being triggered by live acts using the 8 and 12 bit samplers of the day.

Good times! That was cathartic, sorry for the novella :-)

TruestPain
04-18-2013, 07:41 PM
between 8 to 12 people divided into male and female depending on what kind of sound you're trying to get... In the most open room possible that would fit everyone comfortably without bring a harsh ambient sound along with the vocals.


I was actually planning on doing this myself for the first time and was seeking out a gym or an auditorium of some sort to where I could use the space and the natural sound behind. Haven't quite decided or figured out how I would like to execute it.


I've seen it done before.... and its not that difficult to have accomplised. I would say that the mixing part is probably the hardest... you'll be dealing with multiple hi and lows, mids... ect ect

YYR123
04-18-2013, 08:39 PM
I dont know if this is helpful or what youre looking for but this was my tried and true big hair big chorus formula circa 1986.

Id collect up all of the guys in the band that could sing (three if I was lucky maybe four). More than a few people and it would get pretty loose and unintelligible.

Id position them standing arms length from either side of a c414 in figure 8. (+1 on the distance makes a crowd). I had a pretty vanilla room, not too live not too dead, and arms length provided just enough room sound.

Id get one take that sounded good and tight and then do three more playing only the original take for reference to keep things tight. When I had four tight takes this was usually enough to get a big polished sound. A little HPF EQ and some sucking out the boxy mids is it was pretty straight forward gang vocal.

Heres where it gets stupid. If I was going for that huge noise reduction out sound Id repeat the steps above and ask the guys to pretend to be someone else. Id take looser and pitcher takes as well. Usually this set would get mashed with compression and eviscerated with EQ so that all you got was the presence and sibilance. You could EQ the pitch out of them so the just added the suggestion bad singing and some extra mass. I would blend this second set with the polished set to make them a little uglier.

On rare occasions if the song called for that extra push over the cliff Id mult them as a group, cut all the lows and mids, and then excite or distort just the high frequencies then bring this up in parallel behind the original. Sometimes Id noise gate them really tightly and get them to snap in and out of existence. In reflection I think we were trying to emulate (no pun intended) sounds of background vocals that we being triggered by live acts using the 8 and 12 bit samplers of the day.

Good times! That was cathartic, sorry for the novella :-)

Nice

Novela but nice none the less

mblanton66
05-14-2013, 09:21 AM
Odd trick I learned by mistake which gives that large, muddy congregational response type sound: Next time you've got your guys around a condenser mike doing their group thing, somewhere else in the room also track with another mic getting reflected sound off something hard (in my case it was 2" from a large cymbal). Mix that in with the other takes.
And make sure they know you MEANT to do that.

jryser
05-14-2013, 10:40 AM
We inadvertently got an absolutely killer room sound when somebody left their headphones turned up next to one of the overhead mics. Yeah, we meant to do that!


Sent from my Pro Tools beating heart.

Craig F
05-14-2013, 10:56 AM
got to love the happy accidents

TruestPain
05-23-2013, 06:43 PM
Happy accidents can definitely bring happy results.


that should be a seperate post.... I'm sure the lot of us here have made mistakes where we probably thought "[bleep][bleep][bleep][bleep][bleep], now this has to all get completely re-done."

When in-fact, it actually all works out.

Kristo Kotkas
05-27-2013, 03:19 PM
There are so many comp/eq/VI plugins out there but so few creative ones. Would love to see a *multiplier* plugin from someone. For gang vocals or anything else that needs to be multiplied... like a cowbell :D

led5150
06-27-2013, 08:21 PM
Here's a piece of gear I use all the time for crowds which doesn't involve lots of takes or lots of people.

It's actually a live guitar/vocal FX pedal for live performances, but works great for creating realistic sounding crowds, if tucked behind 4 or so real voices.

It's the TC Helicon Voicelive2. Its mono in stereo out, so you'll have to route a track from PT to an out of your choice and send it to the TC unit.

Generally, I'll have the singer do 4 passes of whatever the crowd section is. Maybe an octave underneath and any harmonies and then run each of these tracks through the TC using one of my 2 favorite settings "Arena Chant" or "The Masses" and voila! Giant crowd! Of course, you'll have to high pass these tracks, and generally I'll dip out a nice chunk around 2.5K to get the "machine" sound out, but with a little tweaking and tucking it can sound pretty natural. Or not, which is also really cool.

The way the TC works is basically changes the formant, pitch, and timing of the vocal and splits it into up to 4 voices. Each of the 4 voices pitch, formant, detune, pan etc are customizable in the menu (took a minute to get the hang of it, but it's pretty straight forward when you get used to the interface) but a lot of the time the default settings sound pretty cool! It will default with reverb and delay, but you can switch these off with the corresponding buttons.

And there you go, 20 "voices" (including the original) for only recording 4 tracks.

Another cool plugin for this if you're not willing/able to drop the $700 bucks for the TC is Quick Quack's "VST Chamber". I like this too and sometimes I'll use a combination of the TC and the plugin to get crazy crowds. Also, a track through the TC and then into the plug has some really insane results, not recommended for the meek of heart.

Kris75
07-06-2013, 04:26 PM
Get as many people as possible that have the ability to sing. Put up an Omni mic in the middle of them. Get them to be far away from the mic.

When I do this, I will usually take over a restaurant or pub. A place that reminds people of crowd noise.

Then I will play back the song through speakers and have the crowd sing along. I will then get everyone to stay in the same spot and record a pass of just the playback.

After everyone has sung (I usually will do 6-8 passes) I duplicate the noise track to match the number of takes I did of the gang vocals and invert the phase of them and pan them appropriately to remove the playback track from the vocal tracks.

If you listen to the end of "War and Fire" from this link you will hear the results.

https://www.facebook.com/taylorandthemakers/app_178091127385


Great results!!

khaudio
09-09-2013, 07:23 AM
There are so many comp/eq/VI plugins out there but so few creative ones. Would love to see a *multiplier* plugin from someone. For gang vocals or anything else that needs to be multiplied... like a cowbell :D

You can use granular synthesis to do this. Make the grain envelope long enough to hold an actual sample, with a subtle shift in pitch/timing of each grain.

I've used this technique to "multiply" rain in kyma (http://www.kylehughesaudio.com/2/post/2013/02/tempest.html).

For vocals, it would be tricky, particularly in the timing- the grains would have to be extremely long to capture an entire line, and a cloud of short grains may sound more like reverb. However, live pitch shifting and time smearing of some other sort would likely do the trick.

This is all, of course, after recording all that can be used.

Also, Bill@Avid, thanks for posting those tips! Very helpful.

KaiXXX
12-06-2013, 05:59 AM
I normally go for the "Bruce Swedien"-style Blumlein setup (two figure of eight mics (e.g. 414) in MS configuration. Group of about 5 people (=the band) about one arms length in distance (semicircle or circle). 4-5 passes.

I found it to be important that everybody should shout a bit higher than they would normally do. If everybody is shouting low, it will sound like the crowd is about to fall asleep... higher sounds more energetic. Might record one or two lower passes for variation though.

Also, I really like to add (at least) the lead singer with the normal close micing technique. Just mix it in (not dominating over the crowd). Since the close miced sound is completely different from the stereo-setup, this adds great depth into the crowd-mix! (in reality I first record the lead singer and then the crowd, the lead track is also the guide for the crowd).

I'd really like to hear some more ideas about effects (delay, reverb etc.)
I personally will use a pretty heavy echo and also reverb obviously. I found that "church-type" reverb is not really working for me, rather a medium sized hall or plate...
Might add some Dimension D and/or little microshift (chorus type effects basically).

One plugin I like to use on shout vocals to get variation out of double tracks is Antares Avox Mutator. Just some slight adjustments and it sounds like the singers twin brother (or so...) ;-)

Might also try some distortion (maybe just on some tracks!?) like Decapitator or some guitar amp type plugins or hardware (Sansamp...).

KaiXXX
12-06-2013, 06:06 AM
Here's a track I did a couple of years ago which is kind of similar to comeback kid.... Gang vocals a pretty tight and direct (no arena sound) ;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OevWK9oxddA

AhwatukeeComputerRepair
07-26-2015, 04:02 PM
I would suggest getting as many people as you can in the room to shout the lyrics. Even if its Girlfriends, Boyfriends, Even you as the mix engineer can go out there and throw your voice in the crowd.

Try to put a small or medium reverb on the crowd after you pan it to the left and right. Try a hard pan and a soft pan then pick which one you like better.

Andy Gone
09-22-2015, 01:01 AM
I used to use a convolution plugin to create a crowd effect, but really it is much easier to get as much people as possible together and record a couple of takes :) Then you parallel-compress them and voila.