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  #1  
Old 09-02-2019, 07:25 PM
ZacMenton ZacMenton is offline
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Default Vocal Process Chains and Buses

Hello,
I am getting very very confused as to all the things that I need, and am QUITE AFRAID of over-mixing my vocals. I am currently struggling with the sliders on buses, because without any effects at 0.0db gain, they make my sound louder? First off, how would I stop this from happening? I assume that I may need all the buses running quieter than the vocal track, although this would mean the effects of my vocal processes (EQ, Comp, Gates, De-Esser, Autopitch) would not have as much as an effect (is this true?). Second, I have an ideal order for my processes, but do not know how I can efficiently chain them, and in fact I have no clue how to chain outside of my own theories. In my type of mixing, I aim to have at least 2 EQ's, 2 compressors, a single gate, one de-esser, one vocal tuner, a reverb and a delay. All this begins with a volume automation to get my vocals not to be extra loud on certain words, and make the compressor's jobs easier, testing this yielded great results, HOWEVER, would it be more efficient to have the automation last as part of my dithering chain (mastering stage)?
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:46 AM
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Ben Jenssen Ben Jenssen is offline
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Default Re: Vocal Process Chains and Buses

It's very difficult to understand how you are working and what might be your exact problem, you need to be more precise in describing it, maybe post a screenshot, and you might be using terms wrongly also. But I'll try.
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Originally Posted by ZacMenton View Post
I am currently struggling with the sliders on buses, because without any effects at 0.0db gain, they make my sound louder?
Are you bussing the vocal track to aux tracks to use the plugins there? Then don't. One track, plugins on that track, there are room for 10+ plugins on each track.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZacMenton View Post
because without any effects at 0.0db gain, they make my sound louder? First off, how would I stop this from happening? I assume that I may need all the buses running quieter than the vocal track, although this would mean the effects of my vocal processes
Again; one vocal take - one track only!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZacMenton View Post
In my type of mixing, I aim to have at least 2 EQ's, 2 compressors, a single gate, one de-esser, one vocal tuner, a reverb and a delay.
No serious mixer works like this. You must listen to the track, preferably on good speakers in a well-controlled environment, and decide what is good/bad about it. To dark, too bright, too much mid-tone? Maybe insert a basic PT EQ and see if it sounds better with a little low end cut, maybe it needs a little top-end boost? And do try things out with other instruments playing. You want the vocal to "sit" in context. Then maybe a bit of soft compression to give it more power. Less is more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZacMenton View Post
All this begins with a volume automation to get my vocals not to be extra loud on certain words, and make the compressor's jobs easier, testing this yielded great results, HOWEVER, would it be more efficient to have the automation last as part of my dithering chain (mastering stage)?
Neither makes any sense. When you're happy with the overall mix, you can decide if you can make it even better by automating different tracks. Your approach will cause problems with setting compression on the track.
And seriously: forget about dithering, you clearly don't understand it. Same goes for mastering.
You should concentrate on mixing, read some articles, watch some youtube videos.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZacMenton View Post
a reverb and a delay.
This is where sends and busses come in. It helps to understand where this came from; in the old days you would typically have an analog mixer with a couple of sends on each track, and an outboard reverb unit connected to the bus out of one send and routed back into a track on the mixer. So every track that had a bit of its audio going from its send via the bus to the reverb would come back on the mixer reverb track and mix in. The reverb would always be set to 100% wet (no direct signal). So, create a mono aux track and set the aux track input to f.ex "Bus 1". Now insert a stereo reverb on that aux (it will become a mono-in, stereo-out. Set its output to Master 1-2 or whatever you call your main outs. Now any or all tracks can have a reverb-send on them.
Delays would typically be used on one track only, ie your vocal track would have a delay as one of the last plugins on it.
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:19 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Vocal Process Chains and Buses

Ben makes some very good points, so I will approach from a different angle. Remember that all of this is suggestion as rules can be bent or broken, but only experience will tell you when to do that

Balancing the level of the vocal is something to do, but NOT with automation(yet). I suggest using Clip Gain to manually "level" the vocal(even out loud and soft bits) BEFORE any plugin processing. Doing this first may allow you to use less compression and/or automation. It also will allow the vocal to "drive" plugins more evenly(why? So if you use a "character" compressor, it will be driven in a way that imparts the "character" more consistently).

Break down "processing" into 2 separate categories. Those that "correct" the sound(like compressors, EQ and De-Essing) and those that "enhance" the sound(like reverb and delay). "Correction" plugins belong inserted on the track. Reverb and delay belong on separate AUX tracks and you send the vocal to those via send and bus. Once you are happy with your "corrective" plugins, that's when you use automation to balance the vocal with the music(using automation).
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2019, 02:07 PM
ZacMenton ZacMenton is offline
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Default Re: Vocal Process Chains and Buses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Jenssen View Post
It's very difficult to understand how you are working and what might be your exact problem, you need to be more precise in describing it, maybe post a screenshot, and you might be using terms wrongly also. But I'll try.

Are you bussing the vocal track to aux tracks to use the plugins there? Then don't. One track, plugins on that track, there are room for 10+ plugins on each track.

Again; one vocal take - one track only!

No serious mixer works like this. You must listen to the track, preferably on good speakers in a well-controlled environment, and decide what is good/bad about it. To dark, too bright, too much mid-tone? Maybe insert a basic PT EQ and see if it sounds better with a little low end cut, maybe it needs a little top-end boost? And do try things out with other instruments playing. You want the vocal to "sit" in context. Then maybe a bit of soft compression to give it more power. Less is more.

Neither makes any sense. When you're happy with the overall mix, you can decide if you can make it even better by automating different tracks. Your approach will cause problems with setting compression on the track.
And seriously: forget about dithering, you clearly don't understand it. Same goes for mastering.
You should concentrate on mixing, read some articles, watch some youtube videos.

This is where sends and busses come in. It helps to understand where this came from; in the old days you would typically have an analog mixer with a couple of sends on each track, and an outboard reverb unit connected to the bus out of one send and routed back into a track on the mixer. So every track that had a bit of its audio going from its send via the bus to the reverb would come back on the mixer reverb track and mix in. The reverb would always be set to 100% wet (no direct signal). So, create a mono aux track and set the aux track input to f.ex "Bus 1". Now insert a stereo reverb on that aux (it will become a mono-in, stereo-out. Set its output to Master 1-2 or whatever you call your main outs. Now any or all tracks can have a reverb-send on them.
Delays would typically be used on one track only, ie your vocal track would have a delay as one of the last plugins on it.
I appreciate your response. Thing is I only do things this way based off summarizing several different methods of mixing. Rob Mayze's Musician on A Mission mixing course helped me figure out some things which I have noticed work quite well. And for compression, I do not aim to use multiple large compressors, however I have read throughout the internet using 2-3 compresors to cut a little bit of volume (2-3 per comp) range at each step works better than using a single compressor to hash off 6 decibels at once.
And, I may not be the best at explaining, but trust me, I do my research. Dithering is VERY important to me, as I have noticed it's use in many of my vocal tracks. The example being my last project, where I had a very efficient noise gate running, once I added the dithering, it was night and day, although you can BARELY tell the difference, the sound was quite more pleasant, and with my vocal range tending to stay in a higher frequency, I tend to use either Type 1 or Type 3 dithering at 20 bit, which I have SEEN the improvement in sound, where it was more pleasant to hear the very very very minute frequency noise throughout the audio.

Thank you very much. This definitely helps me focus my perspective onto less things and do realize I was looking at things a little TOO holistically. Also, as for mastering, wouldn't I require some mastering if I was planning on releasing something for the public?
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Old 09-03-2019, 02:09 PM
ZacMenton ZacMenton is offline
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Default Re: Vocal Process Chains and Buses

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
Ben makes some very good points, so I will approach from a different angle. Remember that all of this is suggestion as rules can be bent or broken, but only experience will tell you when to do that

Balancing the level of the vocal is something to do, but NOT with automation(yet). I suggest using Clip Gain to manually "level" the vocal(even out loud and soft bits) BEFORE any plugin processing. Doing this first may allow you to use less compression and/or automation. It also will allow the vocal to "drive" plugins more evenly(why? So if you use a "character" compressor, it will be driven in a way that imparts the "character" more consistently).

Break down "processing" into 2 separate categories. Those that "correct" the sound(like compressors, EQ and De-Essing) and those that "enhance" the sound(like reverb and delay). "Correction" plugins belong inserted on the track. Reverb and delay belong on separate AUX tracks and you send the vocal to those via send and bus. Once you are happy with your "corrective" plugins, that's when you use automation to balance the vocal with the music(using automation).
Thank you very much! I agree with you both on setting correcting plugins on the single track, and will proceed to use this to make my workload a lot more simple (I have previously been doing this however run into delay issues which I THOUGHT sends would fix, however this is only true for reverb effects)
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Old 09-03-2019, 02:23 PM
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Ben Jenssen Ben Jenssen is offline
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Default Re: Vocal Process Chains and Buses

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZacMenton View Post
Thank you very much! I agree with you both on setting correcting plugins on the single track, and will proceed to use this to make my workload a lot more simple (I have previously been doing this however run into delay issues which I THOUGHT sends would fix, however this is only true for reverb effects)
Again, I urge you to be more precise and avoid confusion for everyone; what do you mean, "delay issues" and "only true for reverb"?
Anyone can bus audio around in PT to their hearts content, but it sounds to me like you've just messed things up because of lack of knowledge, and you should just put some effort into learning the basics.
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2019, 02:34 PM
ZacMenton ZacMenton is offline
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Default Re: Vocal Process Chains and Buses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Jenssen View Post
Again, I urge you to be more precise and avoid confusion for everyone; what do you mean, "delay issues" and "only true for reverb"?
Anyone can bus audio around in PT to their hearts content, but it sounds to me like you've just messed things up because of lack of knowledge, and you should just put some effort into learning the basics.
Like I said, I know my basics, I am just TRYING to have a complex mix or try new techniques that I haven't used.
As for delay issues, I am talking about sample delaying in pro tools; I get high values using reverb on the audio track but no issues using reverb on a bus (Is it not common knowledge to not put reverbs on all the tracks and bus them instead). And I haven't used any of these theories in actual mixing, BECAUSE I don't want to mess up.

My last used technique (I wish to improve) is VERY basic, with only an EQ, compressor, and noise gate.
I am familiar with dithering, although I have read to use it pre and post mastering. Stereo widening has also been useful to help my vocals sit in the mix.
I understand your concern, and respect to you, but I am talking about things that I haven't tried yet, because it seems that that is what the professionals are doing. I take it you are a professional yourself, thus I will heed your warnings and listen to your advice. Thank you for taking the time to help me.
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  #8  
Old 09-04-2019, 08:36 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Vocal Process Chains and Buses

Hmmm, I've been mixing probably as long as you've been alive and have never used a noise gate plugin on a vocal. Why is this something you feel you need?
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Old 09-05-2019, 05:43 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is online now
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Default Re: Vocal Process Chains and Buses

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
Hmmm, I've been mixing probably as long as you've been alive and have never used a noise gate plugin on a vocal. Why is this something you feel you need?
Maybe because he saw a YouTube video showing one used on vocals. Recently when I was trying to decide whether to buy the Fabfilter Pro G gate I did my usual research in addition to having tested it myself a while back and I ran into a video where the fellow used it to gate out the fan noise in his room while recording the narration for aid video. You know - cut out the noise when he stops speaking or between word pauses.

For me I'd turn the fan off and get a quieter recording space.
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2019, 08:47 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Vocal Process Chains and Buses

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Originally Posted by musicman691 View Post
Maybe because he saw a YouTube video showing one used on vocals. Recently when I was trying to decide whether to buy the Fabfilter Pro G gate I did my usual research in addition to having tested it myself a while back and I ran into a video where the fellow used it to gate out the fan noise in his room while recording the narration for aid video. You know - cut out the noise when he stops speaking or between word pauses.

For me I'd turn the fan off and get a quieter recording space.
No doubt
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