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  #1  
Old 06-26-2002, 01:45 AM
Joz Joz is offline
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Default are your singers stable in levels?

what's the percentage of signers on your recordings that keep the recorded levels stable?, without tracking with a compressor/limiter.
I like tracking without a compressor, but more than 90% of the time I have to! especially to hard drive.

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  #2  
Old 06-26-2002, 05:11 AM
sdevino sdevino is offline
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Default Re: are your singers stable in levels?

I never use anything on a vocal going into pro tools.

I maintain 0VU cal'd to about -18dBFS.

Have the vocal hitting around -18 dBFs to -12 dBFS (depending on how strong the singer is) and I never get an over.
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Old 06-26-2002, 11:33 AM
adam_w1 adam_w1 is offline
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Default Re: are your singers stable in levels?

Don't worry..some singers without good voice control need LOTS of compression or you will have a nightmare. You could also automate lots of rides in the mix to even things out without serious compression. When you do compress, the trick is to use as a transparent compressor as you can when you have to record one of these crazy level swing guys. Maybe bolt on a compressor plug on the channel when you are tracking, give it a bit there and you'll probably find yourelf applying less on the way in, giving yourself options later. Of course with rock n' roll you might want to compress the crap out of it anyway for added rooooock !
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Old 06-27-2002, 01:01 AM
MissHiss MissHiss is offline
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Default Re: are your singers stable in levels?

I almost always compress the vocal when recording. In the first place, if a singer is really good, it is inevitable that their loudness range will vary dramatically in some songs. That's the nature of expressing one's self through song. Besides, it is also often the only way they can give their voice a precise sound on any given word.

Yes, I could compress the vocal after recording, but I haven't heard a plug-in yet which can match a good tube compressor.

There is, however, an obvious advantage to not compressing during recording. You can apply compression more precisely after the fact, and you can experiment with different ratios and thresholds (and to a lesser extent attack and release times) to see how something fits in the mix.

For that reason, I record most stuff without compression. Vocals just happen to be a different animal for me and usually need more natural sounding compression.

Of course I could record them without compression into PT, take them out of the 888, feed them to a tube compressor and then back in, but you go through a unnecessary DAD and you don't really get the effect of compressing while tracking live.
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Old 06-28-2002, 11:32 PM
PTUser NYC PTUser NYC is offline
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Default Re: are your singers stable in levels?

I'm a pro studio singer, and a veteran of literally thousands of NYC recording sessions. I've seen LOTS of vocals get recorded, and I almost always (98%) see a compressor in use.

My friends and I have excellent studio technique, and we don't need the compressor to maintain a consistent level. We like the sound.

Usually, I'm seeing no more than 3 or 4 db TOPS of gain reduction, often less. This isn't about leveling out a performance, its about shaping the envelope. I think asking a singer to sing without a compressor is like asking a guitarist to track without an amp or compressor. Sure, you get more flexability with the sound later, but at the expense of letting the player have the feedback from the device. Imagine asking a guy to plug his strat into a D.I., and then tracking it dry. You'd think a little compression might be in order too? And not because he can't play evenly.

I like the little hiccup at the beginning of the attack, and I find that if I'm hearing it when I track, I can tailor my performance to fit it well.

With such small amounts of gain reduction, it is rare that you will come to the mix and wish that you had used even less. You can always use more later, if you choose. I just hate those few sessions where there is no compressor at all. My diaphragm always hurts after those sessions from trying to simulate that little hiccup. Its a comfort factor, and I think that for most engineers in most situations, that advising tracking vocals without some compression is a mistake.

Now I respect that there are lots of ways to do things, and I have known AMAZING engineers who did not use a compressor tracking. They rode the fader in real time like a virtuoso though.

I'm not going to say always, but as a working singer - PLEASE give us a little compression, we need it like a guitarist needs an amp or a compressor.
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Old 06-29-2002, 08:29 AM
Kenny Gioia Kenny Gioia is offline
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Default Re: are your singers stable in levels?

Amen.

I always compress on the way in and then I manually ride the vocal like crazy on the mix.

Although adding a second compressor on mixdown makes for a nice effect.
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Old 06-29-2002, 08:48 AM
Jules Jules is offline
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Default Re: are your singers stable in levels?

Recent vocal chain on a semi pro singer

Neumann M149 roll off at 60-80hz
Neve 1073 (flat) roll of at 50hz (? first one)
DBX 160 vu to catch loud peaks only
UA1176
Cranesong hedd (valve & Tape sim added)
into PT mix + (via AES into 888/16)

WAY too dynamic and no mic technique,

It worked...

and coped with whatever she came up with

[img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

SSL / Smart / BSS / units are also good at catching peaks prior to a 'regular' compressor on 'wild singers'. IMHO
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  #8  
Old 06-29-2002, 08:56 AM
sdevino sdevino is offline
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Default Re: are your singers stable in levels?

OK I will clarify what I said earlier. I never use an "external compressor" when I record vocal, but I always use a plugin compressor and something close to the desired time FX desired so the vocalist can work the effect while tracking.

The nice thing about this is I am not printing the effect, so I can make some minor adjustments in mixdown (where I also ride the fader).

My point was you don't have to use an external compressor unless you are looking specifically for the sound of that particular external compressor (i.e. bomb factory LA-2 plugin does not cut it if you want an LA-2 sound).

My other point is that there are great sounds to be had with some of the plugin compressors (especially Waves Ren-comp), so there is no need to be boxed in by the "traditional" sound unless that is your goal.
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  #9  
Old 06-29-2002, 02:34 PM
Kenny Gioia Kenny Gioia is offline
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Default Re: are your singers stable in levels?

Steve,

I don't want to argue with you but I whole heartedly disagree.

I tried tracking with every dynamics plug in made, and none seem to work correctly for me.

Either they don't do anything, or they pump too much. Maybe I'm spoiled but no plug in touches the Distressor or an LA3a for vocals.

Again, I'm not trying to argue, but I don't want novices to think they suck just because they can't get a good sound with a plug in compressor.

Because I can't either.

Looking forward to that Sony though. The one on the Oxford is definately usable.
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  #10  
Old 06-29-2002, 03:17 PM
sdevino sdevino is offline
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Default Re: are your singers stable in levels?

You are allowed to disagree. I find a key to getting a sound similar to LA-3 or LA-3 or any opto based compressor is to use a very slow attack and and a very slow release. The opto couplers used in those compressors are really slow to respond, which is why you get so much punch.

But I agree with you that if you are after a true opto sound the best thing to do is use the real thing, if on the other hand you want something a little more contempory (different not necessarily better) than a lot can be done with a plugin. But again your point to the novices is a good one.
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