View Full Version : Vocal/Track comping, what's the best way ?

12-11-1999, 06:18 PM
I am a new Protools 24 owner. Can anybody
give me some good ideas about the fastes or smartest way of how to comp voc tracks together to one track ?
Thanks, Sebastian

George Cumbee
12-12-1999, 08:46 AM
I am sure there are many different ways to do it, but the best I have found is this. Create a new track alongside your original vocal track(s). Listen and choose the best phrases from whatever track and drag/highlight that phrase, copy, then paste into the new track. Of course exact spotting will be required. You can go to spot and click on the pharse and click the up arrow to pin point the SMPTE position, then OK that and the phrase should be correct in time. If not select it and nudge it either way by frame, 1/4 frame etc to get it right. That actually works well if the singer has slight timing problems. You can place them where you want to.

The procedure works if you want to keep all the previous tracks completely in tact.

The other way is to decide which orig. track is best overall, then pick the replacement phrases from the other tracks and copy and paste them into that track or make new regions (highlight, then seperate region) in the others of best phrases and just slip and spot them into the best overall track.

I think either of those two work fine. Some prefer to do what we used to on 2". Just setup a buss out on the vocal tracks and assign to a new track. Put that track into record with input from the selected buss and play the song with a marked lyric sheet and mute tracks as needed to create a new comp track. Do it in Quickpunch so if you mess up, you can just back up and punch in.

Hope that helps.

George Cumbee
Classic Recording, Franklin, TN

12-12-1999, 10:29 AM
I'm watching this thread with great interest. In the past, I've loved comping vocals in SVP, by placing all the takes in one track & copying them phrase by phrase (or in some cases syllable by syllable). But (waking up and smelling the coffee) I'm trying to wean myself from my old method .. any other methods? Thanks folks.


Rail Jon Rogut
12-12-1999, 01:38 PM
I too lay all the tracks in order from take 1 to take N and create 2 new tracks above these tracks. The top new track is Voc Comp Alt lines and the second new track is Voc Comp -- I assign them both to the same voice. For this process, I keep Mute Frees Voice checked. Keep the Alt Voc track muted until you want to hear an alt line.

To build my comp. I do pretty much the same as George:

I highlight my selected phrase on the source track (let's say take 3) and hit Command+C to copy the phrase to the clipboard, then while the Shift key is depressed, I click on my destination track (Voc Comp) and press Command+V to paste it. If I want to have an alternate line for that phrase, I paste it to my Alt Voc Comp track.

I don't like to buss the tracks to a new Record armed track, because then you have to worry about processing delays.


Recording Engineer

KK Proffitt
12-14-1999, 10:03 PM
BTW, if you screw up with placement in the comp track, you can always go into spot mode, use the grabber and switch the edit back to original time stamp. This is great also when you've forgotten to group a stereo pair, nudged one side and zipped past "undo" into another edit.

KK Proffitt

Zep Dude
12-16-1999, 03:53 AM
I use Logic and pretty much the same technique as above -create a comp track. With Logic I make sure the regions for each track are all named (take 1,2 etc), create a comp track, cut each section out of the original takes and drag them to the comp. Cutting (instead of copying) gives a nice visual map of where each comp phrase comes from.

At this point I'll apply any processing (pitch, timing, level adjust etc) to the comp. If it's just a few sections, I just do it with audiosuite to those individual phrases. If it's a lot of pitch stuff I'll bus the comp to another track, (record) process and drag those new lines back to the comp. I don't worry too much about processing delays with a vocal unless it's some percussive scat type track. Most of the time you either can't tell the difference or the slight delay makes it feel even better in the track.

Like Rail mentioned, It's helpful to have a second "alt comp" for those phrases you also like.

Another helpful idea is to have a third track called "blackmail comp" onto which you assemble all the worst phrases. If you don't get paid for the gig or the artist is really abusive to you, this can be useful http://www.digidesign.com/ubb/images/icons/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by Zep Dude (edited 12-16-99).]

12-16-1999, 11:28 PM
Thanks everybody for all the great info on vocal comping. It will save me a lot of sleepless nights. Thanks again,

Oli P
12-17-1999, 05:54 AM
If you just make a new take (playlist) on the same track all the time, instead of making new tracks, you get to keep the same inserts and sends...

When you then want to comp the vocal, create a new take called "Vocal comp" and one for alternate phrases if desired.

Then you just select the take you want to monitor, and when you find something you like just highlight it....click "command+c" and go to your "Vocal comp" take.....the highlighted area stays on...so all you need to do is click "command+v" ...and it is copied.

This way is actually faster than creating a lot of tracks, and saves you from matching the sound on the different channels.

Zep Dude
12-17-1999, 10:41 AM
Good point Oli, and one that I forgot to mention. In Logic, it's a little awkward to have multiple takes right on top of each other but I do in fact have all the vocal takes assigned to the same track. This leaves you with let's say 5 different vocal tracks all assigned to channel 1, thus everthing gets the same DSP processing and you don't waste DSP resources with 5 seperate channels (and your time setting up the different channels). Just make sure you keep all of them muted except the one your auditioning. The only time I wouldn't do this is if a certain take doesn't sound like the others and needs it's own EQ or level in order to match the other takes. In that case whenever that track needs to go to the comp I bus it while the others can just be dragged over.

Captain Crunch
12-17-1999, 05:29 PM
my method is not so different as everyone else's but, I move stuff differently. I line up the 4 or however many source tracks, and stick a comp (and overlap/options track if needed) track beneath them. Then after auditioning each take for the best of a specific line, using the smart tool, I select the keeper, command E to separate it, then do control-option-command (which turns smart tool into a grabber) and pull down. The command part of that keeps it lined up with the source, and the option leaves the original in place while making the copy. This is a little faster and is totally precise, and saves a lot of time later if you have to figure out where something came from too.

Rail Jon Rogut
12-17-1999, 06:08 PM
Hi Cap'n

Using my technique, there are also no problems with anything not being lined up correctly - you're copying and pasting without changing the selection in Pro Tools. You also have a visual display in your comp track of where each phrase came from, because when you copy and paste, the pasted region contains a name based on the region you copied it from.


Recording Engineer

12-18-1999, 01:07 AM
Here Is a completely diferent approach!
Take let say 5 voc trks. Create a new trk inputed from lets say bus 5. Select output bus 5 on all of your voc trks. Go into Prefs, and unlatch solo buttons. Hold command while clicking solo buttons of any trk you don't want to be affected when a solo button is engaged. Select auto Input and enable Record on the comp trk. Remember to eliminate any
plugs that Don't absolutely have to be on you primary voc trks. Now you are ready to comp on the fly. The Record enable trk will receive input from only the trk that is solo'd. Only one trk can be solo'd at a time in this mode, which means one click enables the next trk while disengaging the last. This takes a moment to set up, but for me, there is no quicker smoother more flexible way to audition any combination of trks for your
producer. Not to mention, it creates a brand new region that won't go away if you later decide to delete old voc trk,and audio files to conserve memory. This is a very simular method to the traditional analog style of making records,
but faster. I hope you try it! I think you might like it!

12-18-1999, 10:23 PM
I just want to add one other thing to SVP users, After I finish recording and before I start comping, I copy all the takes and paste them into another sequence and name it "RAW TRAKS". Now I know I have a saftey of all my takes and I can go back and reference any original take for timing, name, etc.
This also protects me from "deleting any unused audio" which the sequence would not normally reference! (I sometimes compact audio files soon after the recording in order to save space and to allow the computor to work more freely)
Good luck, hope it helps