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  #11  
Old 12-06-2018, 01:44 AM
amagras amagras is online now
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Default Re: r&b vocals mixing tips

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Originally Posted by yl956 View Post
im not trying to make the artist sound like khalid as in the way he sings.. im talking about the smoothness of the vocals as heard in some 90's rnb music...i was hearing some tracks from boyz II men and to me it sounds like all the frequency's in the vocals are smoothed out i mean you dont hear no harsh frequency's jumping out like in some of todays hip hop n r&b music...it just sounds balanced out frequency wise
If there's something I've learn from producing hip hop and RnB artists is that what all of them call smoothness is half the work of the singer and half Autotune...in its most aggressive setting!
In the case of singers in the style of Key Sweat and other 90s guys it has to be done more carefully so that it won't sound robotic which was probably originally done with a mix of vocoder, pitch and formant shifters and careful tracking to capture the performance right from the beginning (you won't get a vocal to sound like that if it wasn't recorded with that intention). In my opinion Waves Tune does the best job at hiding artifacts etc for those styles but like Christopher said, you just don't simply repeat a formula someone wrote for you, you need to learn to work with your singers and create a formula for each one of them, and being in a good space that you know well and lets you hear what's really going on helps a lot.

Also remember that BoyzII are some of the most badass RnB singers out there, no processing in the world can replace that
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Last edited by amagras; 12-06-2018 at 01:58 AM.
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  #12  
Old 12-06-2018, 04:09 PM
yl956 yl956 is offline
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Default Re: r&b vocals mixing tips

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Originally Posted by Southsidemusic View Post
It is the Analog era hehe and the artists you mention recorded in million dollar studios with professional engineers and producers with many years in of knowledge aswell as CLA or Dave Pensado or similar mastering and mixing the songs so that sound won’t come easily by thinking you can just throw in a few plugins and be done. It takes a long time to learn.

We get that sound when we track thru our SSL4056G+ Console and use a expensive mic and great outboard gear HOWEVER if you have a good understanding of mic placement and you have atleast 1 channelstrip or a good preamp you should be able to get a decent vocal recording.

Understand that getting that smooth well recorded sound take time to learn obviously ( turn on KIIS FM and listen to how BAD recordings are nowadays ) and thats down to amateurs in bedrooms with a laptop and a good idea getting released and the radio plays the songs a week and then a new batch comes out!!

And as I said several times - You will NEVER EVER get good vocals without a Well Treated room and as you said in another thread you haven’t got any accoustic treatment so you will get harshness and hard sounding stuff! It really is that simple.

We have paid over 400.000 USD just on our rooms to be treated and that is not including one piece of gear, just the build

So unless you atleast read up about the basics of treating a room and get a few accoustic pieces and place them correctly you wont get anywhere.

For less than 1000 USD you will have the material for getting atleast a wardrobe treated aswell as a few bass traps and some damping where you sit and use the computer. I would ratber sell my monitors and get accoustically correct vocalroom and mix in headphones if I didn’t have much money to spend.

A well treated ( doesn’t have to cost that much ) is soo much more important than good monitors and or a great mic. That TLM you have is good enough to use for recordings for commercial release.

Remember that the more plugins you need to use for fixing a bad sound the worse the audio will get. We use a little busscompressor from the SSL console and a little outboard EQ like Pultec or RED series and some 3-5K from the SSL EQ and after we have make sure to only use minimal plugins for effects and stuff like delays and reverb but still rarely any compressors or eq after the vocal is recorded with great outboard gear.

If you dont have expensive outboard stuff and only use plugins you need to learn what they actually do to the audio and how much to use as using plugins the wrong way will also kill your sound very quickly.

As long as you don’t take the issue with your untreated room seriously this discussion is moot!

ok got you that was really helpful thanks for the info,defiantly going to invest in some treatment.i guess sometimes i set my mixing standards way to high i always try the best to get my mixes to sound like high quality productions then i get frustrated because i cant get it up to that standard i set. i always find myself going back and trying different things thinking ill find a magic one way solution that will get me there smh. it takes me so long just to finish a mix because i keep messing with it always thinking i can make it sound better.then i start to lose the excitement i had with the mix from when i first started creating, by the time im done i dont even care about the song anymore,i dont know if thats a good thing or a bad thing.but thanks for the help well appreciated
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  #13  
Old 12-06-2018, 08:47 PM
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arche3 arche3 is offline
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Default Re: r&b vocals mixing tips

It's part your gear and part your lack of experience.

I worked as a tracking and mix engineer in NYC for many years. I'm a producer and composer now but I still cut vocals with the writers I work with. I really enjoy this. Always have.

RnB/pop artists that I have recorded their vocals .

Whitney Houston
Beyonce Knowles
Maria Carey
Boys 2 Men
112
Christina Aguellera
Justin Timberlake

Tons more that were not as big.

Imo cutting vocals is when the magic happens. When you get the hairs on your neck to rise and you just know the song is a smash hit.

Technically I had a preference for certain microphones. And gear. Simply because I knew how to work it and I knew it would sound good so I almost never deviated.

A lot of the nuance of that sound is gear given a top level talent. I'm not saying cheap gear would sound bad. But I sort of am. Rather I can get a sound faster and at times i don't even need a singer to do a mic check if I use specific gear. I've used it so many years I can set it in the general setting that I like and it will work and I can adjust as they cut the 1st few vocal lines.

For RnB vocalists I always wanted a very detailed mic.

I always asked for a specific U47 from a specific rental company If that was not available I asked for a telefunken 250 or a 251. or as a last resort a U67. A neve 1073 mic pre and a LA2A compressor. Sometimes 2 of the same compressor. this is everytime I cut vocals with top artists.

Over the years I gravitated to a Sony C800g and Avalon 737sp mic pre. Because it had a built in opto compressor and eq. And I can use this same setup for rappers. This is what I still use for just about every vocalist in my own studio.

For tracking. For your situation. Get a good clean microphone. You don't want any distortion in your signal chain. And you need a large diaphragm TUBE mic. TUBE. The mic pre needs transformers. And tubes as well if possible. But transformers more important. You need to have a low cut filter in an eq. Preferable it's on the mic pre. And you need an optical compressor. If the gain structure is setup properly in this type setup you can hit so much compression. And it will not sound like it is compressing even with extreme amount of compression. So you get that bigger than life sound.

Some people used to lift the high end with a shelf going in. But I never did as I preferred to add it later in the mix.

If I was doing a budget vocal chain these days I would just get a used avalon 737 mic pre and a u47 clone. You will nail that classic RnB vocal sound with it. I know I would be able to with it. Well it might not be budget but imo this is minimum level of gear for that vocal sound. Otherwise it's too hard to get it to my standard fast enough.

If you used a u87 and a SSL console mic pre and compressor it just will not sound the same as a c800g and avalon imo. It will lack some girth and air.

I've tried tons of gear. But I always went back to my go to setups because to me it sounds the best with minimal fuss.

To Clif note this.

Tubes
Transformers
And optical compressor.

That's the sound for tracking.

(Mixing is another different thing. )

This is rather gear focused but imo that specific vocal sound is part what gear we chose to be used when recording these top artists.

Last edited by arche3; 12-06-2018 at 08:58 PM.
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  #14  
Old 12-06-2018, 08:56 PM
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Southsidemusic Southsidemusic is offline
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Default Re: r&b vocals mixing tips

That "budget option" with a Avalon and U47 clone will cost the OP over 5000 dollars or more second hand depending on which Tube mic U47 clone he choses so I think that is out of the question but great advice and I agree 100% with the Avalon being a great Channelstrip and allrounder for someone who wanna setup a rec studio with the right basic quality gear.

We use our two Avalons often enough to let them stay in the studios here and it os an easy quest to get a great sounding vocal in seconds with our Sony 800G or the U47 FET. I am a slave to Manley mics and we have all 3 condensors. Was extra impressed with the new silver Manley as our GOLD has a bit too much highs and our Ref-C has a great pop vocal sound but might be a bit too eager to colour the audio but the Silver is everything between so IMHO an awesome mic. Might be somewhat too close the the Brauner VMX we have but totally different vibes.
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  #15  
Old 12-07-2018, 01:53 AM
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chrisdee chrisdee is offline
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Default Re: r&b vocals mixing tips

Great advice from arche3 and Southsidemusic.

Just to add a low end alternative, I have had a bit of luck with smoothing out harsh vocals with the Soothe plugin.

With Soothe you can boost some of the frequency bands where the harshness is most noticable to dampen these areas more. As a starting point try setting the sharpness to 2 and selectivity to 1 and the depth somewhere between 5 and 20. Be carefull with the sharpness and depth. Too much just sounds weird to my ears.

Another thing you can do if you have a built in EQ on your preamp is to EQ down the 1k, 2k, 3k or 4k area a bit. That has helped with softening up things for me.
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  #16  
Old 12-07-2018, 11:34 AM
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arche3 arche3 is offline
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Default Re: r&b vocals mixing tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southsidemusic View Post
That "budget option" with a Avalon and U47 clone will cost the OP over 5000 dollars or more second hand depending on which Tube mic U47 clone he choses so I think that is out of the question but great advice and I agree 100% with the Avalon being a great Channelstrip and allrounder for someone who wanna setup a rec studio with the right basic quality gear.

We use our two Avalons often enough to let them stay in the studios here and it os an easy quest to get a great sounding vocal in seconds with our Sony 800G or the U47 FET. I am a slave to Manley mics and we have all 3 condensors. Was extra impressed with the new silver Manley as our GOLD has a bit too much highs and our Ref-C has a great pop vocal sound but might be a bit too eager to colour the audio but the Silver is everything between so IMHO an awesome mic. Might be somewhat too close the the Brauner VMX we have but totally different vibes.
Agree about the Manley gold. I was on the Manley hype in 2001ish? But the gold always was too bright to me. I even had a pair of Manley monoblock amps. Those big ass tube monsters powering my proac 100 near fields I'd cart around to studios for mixes. I got rid of them for cellos. And now ucd mono blocks that were custom made. Only Manley stuff I still have is the massive passive. I love that. Other stuff I fell out of love due to too much tubes in my signal chain. And I guess my taste changed.
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  #17  
Old 12-07-2018, 07:04 PM
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chrisdee chrisdee is offline
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Default Re: r&b vocals mixing tips

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Originally Posted by arche3 View Post
Other stuff I fell out of love due to too much tubes in my signal chain. And I guess my taste changed.
Have you had or tried the Voxbox?
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  #18  
Old 12-08-2018, 09:23 AM
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Bob Olhsson Bob Olhsson is offline
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Default Re: r&b vocals mixing tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by arche3 View Post
Imo cutting vocals is when the magic happens. When you get the hairs on your neck to rise and you just know the song is a smash hit.

Technically I had a preference for certain microphones. And gear. Simply because I knew how to work it and I knew it would sound good so I almost never deviated.

A lot of the nuance of that sound is gear given a top level talent. I'm not saying cheap gear would sound bad. But I sort of am. Rather I can get a sound faster and at times i don't even need a singer to do a mic check if I use specific gear. I've used it so many years I can set it in the general setting that I like and it will work and I can adjust as they cut the 1st few vocal lines.

For RnB vocalists I always wanted a very detailed mic.

I always asked for a specific U47 from a specific rental company If that was not available I asked for a telefunken 250 or a 251. or as a last resort a U67. A neve 1073 mic pre and a LA2A compressor. Sometimes 2 of the same compressor. this is everytime I cut vocals with top artists.

Over the years I gravitated to a Sony C800g and Avalon 737sp mic pre. Because it had a built in opto compressor and eq. And I can use this same setup for rappers. This is what I still use for just about every vocalist in my own studio.

For tracking. For your situation. Get a good clean microphone. You don't want any distortion in your signal chain. And you need a large diaphragm TUBE mic. TUBE. The mic pre needs transformers. And tubes as well if possible. But transformers more important. You need to have a low cut filter in an eq. Preferable it's on the mic pre. And you need an optical compressor. If the gain structure is setup properly in this type setup you can hit so much compression. And it will not sound like it is compressing even with extreme amount of compression. So you get that bigger than life sound.

Some people used to lift the high end with a shelf going in. But I never did as I preferred to add it later in the mix.

If I was doing a budget vocal chain these days I would just get a used avalon 737 mic pre and a u47 clone. You will nail that classic RnB vocal sound with it. I know I would be able to with it. Well it might not be budget but imo this is minimum level of gear for that vocal sound. Otherwise it's too hard to get it to my standard fast enough.

If you used a u87 and a SSL console mic pre and compressor it just will not sound the same as a c800g and avalon imo. It will lack some girth and air.

I've tried tons of gear. But I always went back to my go to setups because to me it sounds the best with minimal fuss.

To Clif note this.

Tubes
Transformers
And optical compressor.

That's the sound for tracking.
...
This matches my experience!

We also used Neumann KM-86s at Motown with great success. One thing I'd add is that a really great studio allows the singer to work much farther back without losing presence or the sound getting castrated by too much compression. It's ironic, I can get a great drum sound in a living room but vocals always benefit from a proper studio.
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  #19  
Old 12-09-2018, 10:14 AM
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arche3 arche3 is offline
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Default Re: r&b vocals mixing tips

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Originally Posted by chrisdee View Post
Have you had or tried the Voxbox?
Yes. But usually the studios that had these in NYC usually were rentals that were left over. So I would use it at times. I always thought it was too many buttons and stuff. Since I'm a creature of habit I never pulled it in on a tracking session that mattered. And when I did a tons of tracking all the sessions mattered so I rarely used it.

It sounds good imo. But the other gear I was much more used to so i always went with other stuff.

And why is there a desser on it ? I'm not going to deess going in...
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  #20  
Old 12-09-2018, 11:17 AM
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arche3 arche3 is offline
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Default Re: r&b vocals mixing tips

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Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
This matches my experience!

We also used Neumann KM-86s at Motown with great success. One thing I'd add is that a really great studio allows the singer to work much farther back without losing presence or the sound getting castrated by too much compression. It's ironic, I can get a great drum sound in a living room but vocals always benefit from a proper studio.
Hi Bob.

I actually learned a lot of nuance about recording assisting engineers such as yourself when I was coming up in this industry. Maybe this is why I have a fixation on tubes and transformers. What I love about this type of gear is it's very easy to get stuff to sound good. Not a lot of fiddling necessary.
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