Thread: Vocal Tracking
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Old 11-17-2010, 05:57 PM
firsty33 firsty33 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Eagle River, WI
Posts: 162

Originally Posted by O.G. Killa View Post
8 tracks is nothing! LOL try working with 30 to 40!!!

Here's some things I do...

setup mono or stereo aux tracks for your different groups of vocal tracks.

For example, I have one mono aux for lead vocals. Any lead vocal tracks I create (Verse1 Vox, PreChorus 1Vox, Chorus 1Vox, etc) all get bussed to that Aux. All the effects I put on the lead, I put on the Aux, not the channel itself. The only things I put on the channels themselves is corrective effects. For example if we used a second verse from a take a couple weeks ago and it sounds different, I might put EQ on the track to make it more closely match the other tracks.

Same thing with doubles and backgrounds. For those I usually create stereo Auxes so I can pan the source tracks into the Stereo Aux. So I'll have this...

LeadVoxDbl 1
LeadVoxDbl 2
BGVox 1
BGVox 2
BGVox 3

For more complex songs I use numbers and letters. for example, if I am going to triple track EACH harmony part in a 5 part BG Vox harmony... then I'll have

BGVox 1A
BGVox 1B
BGVox 1C
BGVox 2A
BGVox 2B
BGVox 2C

You can group the tracks together. And if you want you can create a separate stereo aux for each (BGVox 1 Aux, BG Vox 2 Aux)

Color coding is also your friend.Color code the different sets of tracks so you can quickly see which is which.

A typical track list for vocals for me on a big mix will look something like this...

Lead Vox SubMix(Aux)
Lead Vox V1
Lead Vox P1
Lead Vox C1
Lead Vox V2
Lead Vox P2
Lead Vox C2
Lead Vox Bridge
Lead Vox C3
Lead Vox Outro

Adlib(Or Riff) Vox Submix (Aux)
Adlib 1
Adlib 2
Adlib 3

VoxDbl Submix (Aux)
VoxDbl 1 (Or Center)
VoxDbl 2 (Or Left)
VoxDbl 3 (Or Right)

BG Vox 1 Submix (Aux)
BGVox 1A [1st harmony part]
BGVox 1B [1st harmony part]
BGVox 1C [1st harmony part]
BGVox 1D [1st harmony part]

BG Vox 2 Submix (Aux)
BGVox 2A [2nd harmony part]
BGVox 2B [2nd harmony part]
BGVox 2C [2nd harmony part]
BGVox 2D [2nd harmony part]

BG Vox 3 Submix (Aux)
BGVox 3A [3rd harmony part]
BGVox 3B [3rd harmony part]
BGVox 3C [3rd harmony part]
BGVox 3D [3rd harmony part]

BG Vox 4 Submix (Aux)
BGVox 4A [4th harmony part]
BGVox 4B [4th harmony part]
BGVox 4C [4th harmony part]
BGVox 4D [4th harmony part]

Now... when you start mixing... hide (but leave active) all the audio tracks and just leave the Aux tracks. Now all your vocals are on 7 Aux tracks that you can automate and blend as needed... if you need to tweak the blend within any group, show it, tweak/automate the audio tracks, hide and go back to mixing.

On HD systems I use VCA tracks as well for a similar purpose, but you can't put plugins on VCAs. So for things like the lead vocal, I'll usually use a VCA and an Aux. But for the BG Vox, I'll use 4 VCAs (one for each group) but have all of them sent to one Aux instead of 4 auxes.

And this also works for guitars as well. I normally use 3 or 4 mics on each guitar cabinet. And I'll usually end up doing at least 4 or 5 passes of guitar, which turns into 20 audio tracks for guitar. I use the GTR 1A, GTR 1B, etc system so I can see which set of tracks is which... and I usually will bus them to Aux channels or use VCAs to manage controling their overall levels.

And... obviously, this also works for recording live string sections, brass sections, etc... Frequently when recording orchestral music we have the section double and/or triple themselves and then also do "divisi" parts. Each pass will have between 6 and 16 tracks (depending on how I am mic'ing the section). Using the 1A, 1B, 2A, naming system on the tracks tells me instantly if this set of tracks is the same part as the one above/below it or if it is a new part.

And another little added benefit... it helps keep the track names short, which is really helpful if using a controller with scribble strips like a C24 or an ICON.

Hope that helps!
It helps immensely, thanks much!! Wow 30 to 40 tracks sounds mind boggling. I'm using LE btw. I'm gonna give this a shot following your guidelines and see what happens!!

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