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View Full Version : How do I do lead vocals?


SWBoatman25
10-01-2015, 05:04 PM
Hello, I am trying to figure out a few ways to get the best sounding vocals.

Male singer, alternative rock with a bit of acoustic and electro pieces in the songs.

I am open to suggestions from different genres and styles. What are good ways to go about doubling vocals? I read somewhere that it's better to have 3 tracks of the main vocals instead of doubling because you can have one in the center, then pan the other two.

Any suggestions for a thicker lead vocal that has worked for you?


Also, random side question: I've always wondered what effect is put on the vocals of some artists to get an, airy, angelic type of effect. Like that the band Empire Of The Sun uses in their songs (particularly "Half Mast") or the band In The Valley Below with "Peaches"

Thanks, cheers :-)

dr_daw
10-01-2015, 08:56 PM
Step one... a talented artist that knows how to sing in a studio.

Step two... a good microphone that works for that artists particular vocal style and the style of music being recorded

Step three... a good microphone pre-amp (Even just a good interface may provide the sound you're looking for)

Step four... a good sounding room

Step five... proper mic placement, take your time here move around the room to ensure you're finding the sweet spot to keep room modes down and sibilance.

Step six... Gain staging on the recording, then on your audio processing, then on your effects

Step seven... Double them if you're looking for that Dave Grohl sound, but this is easier said than done. It takes a talented artist to perfectly double their part.

Step eight... EQ the vocals to sit in the mix, if everything else is done properly you may only need a HPF to cut the room rumble.

From there, experiment. If any of this seems confusing, grab a book on recording...read it...understand it....read it again. Then try stuff, and try it again. Getting a good vocal sound takes years and even then can take hours.

At the end of the day, if one of the above steps are off....it's extremely difficult to polish a turd.

TOM@METRO
10-01-2015, 10:48 PM
And then there's this.

http://www.sfxmachine.com/tppro/

dr_daw
10-02-2015, 06:15 AM
And then there's this.



http://www.sfxmachine.com/tppro/


AMAZING!!! Nothing like a gut busting laugh at 615am!!! Was not expecting that, that is absolutely amazing! +1million

albee1952
10-02-2015, 12:44 PM
AMAZING!!! Nothing like a gut busting laugh at 615am!!! Was not expecting that, that is absolutely amazing! +1million
Dang it! My secret is out:eek:
:eek::eek:

sw rec
10-05-2015, 09:53 PM
Jusr when I thought I had it all!

Emcha_audio
10-06-2015, 05:55 AM
:D LOL, the guy that write that website, has some major time on his hands :p

amagras
10-06-2015, 06:20 AM
Not AAX... [emoji22]

albee1952
10-06-2015, 08:28 AM
Not AAX... [emoji22]
There must be a wrapper for it:p
:p:p

Southsidemusic
10-06-2015, 09:53 AM
There must be a wrapper for it:p
:p:p

"Turdwrapper" does have a nice ring to it :D

john1192
10-18-2015, 06:55 PM
i read down to this point and thats what i see .. TurdWrapper .. LOL

how did you get there from here "How do I do lead vocals?" .. a respectful laugh .. haha

and everyone knows that "TurdWrapper" was bought out by Avid .. so not sure about a foreseeable update to TurdWrapper 2.0 AAX-Native / AAX-DSP ... unless you are on a support plan :rolleyes:

sw rec
10-22-2015, 09:46 AM
Robert Byrne (Shenandoah's producer and major-league songwriter), as we'd start setting up a mix, used to say "Alright, let's polish that turd!!!"

ArKay99
10-23-2015, 07:11 AM
i read down to this point and thats what i see .. TurdWrapper .. LOL

how did you get there from here "How do I do lead vocals?" .. a respectful laugh .. haha

and everyone knows that "TurdWrapper" was bought out by Avid .. so not sure about a foreseeable update to TurdWrapper 2.0 AAX-Native / AAX-DSP ... unless you are on a support plan :rolleyes:

Perhaps one could get crowd-funding for it and develop a 3rd party solution, only to get it's license pulled in the end because it won't give the end user the experience only a true AVID product can deliver...

ArKay99
10-23-2015, 07:29 AM
Back on topic for the OP... You guys are heartless...

The steps outlined by Dr. DAW are the best way to get predictable results and should be used almost invariably as a procedure for not only mic'ing vocals, but just about any instrument requiring a mic to record. Even going through a D.I. , once the signal leaves the D.I. providing you have the gain and impedance set up properly following the signal through to the DAW and gain staging it are extremely important.

Getting the signal into the DAW with least amount of unwanted artifacts is the most important point. Going with the 'polish the turd' jargon, another more useful saying that has helped me is, 'garbage in, garbage out.' It's far easier to fix something at the source (the mic), than it is afterwards in the mix.

The best guide and advice I can give you would be to use your ears and have a good monitoring system that you can trust that translates well. If you have good ears and good monitors, you're 95% there. the next 4% is a good mic and decent interface. The last 1% is where the art of recording comes into play and it's where the men are separated from the boys...i.e. experience and talent come into play.

One last point to make here. Even if you have the best recording and the best mix possible, there is one last step to a great production...mastering. A good mastering engineer can make a mediocre production sound great, and a conversely a marginally competent one can ruin it.

As far as getting doubling efx and airiness, those are techniques that can be applied, but there is no 'formula' for that last 1% that will give a truly 'polished' end product...'turd vs. gold'. That comes only with experience and attention to detail with your ears. Other things that you can experiment with are different polar patterns on the mic used, bass rolloff, proximity to the mic, and the proper application of compression. I have found that even a mono voice can be made to sound expansive using sound field altering efx such as M/S processors and the correct and matching efx such as very short ambiance verbs and/or delays, which can always be enhanced by a good mastering engineer. As I said above, when you are hearing a tune on the radio or earbuds or whatever, most likely it doesn't sound like what came off the mixing desk.

Dr. DAW outlined the formula for getting the first 99% of the process.