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  #1  
Old 01-08-2009, 09:42 AM
jmitchell1532 jmitchell1532 is offline
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Default Backup Vocals

Hey guys/gals/people. Thanks for all the advice recently. I have a quick question. I have been recording alot of harmonized back up vocals lately (pretty much oohs and ahhs) and I wanted to know if this technique made sense to "gel" the tracks togther.

Lets say there are 8 tracks of harmonies. Should I send them all to one aux track with reverb/eq/compression, or should I do it seperately (compress/eq) on each track and use the aux only for reverb?

Or am I doing it completely wrong? haha!

Plus (and very, very sorry for a newb question) but, when I do use eq/comp, does the EQ go on top, before the Comp, or is it the other way around? I always think I get this backwards.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2009, 09:47 AM
wolfskin wolfskin is offline
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Default Re: Backup Vocals

Yes, using an aux for all the reverb is a good way to save CPU resources. You may want to EQ individual tracks, unless they are the same voice needing the same EQ settings.

Personally, I like to EQ before compression in the chain, but I've heard this debated endlessly. There's different reasons to do this either way.
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  #3  
Old 01-08-2009, 10:01 AM
77pro 77pro is offline
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Default Re: Backup Vocals

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmitchell1532 View Post
Hey guys/gals/people. Thanks for all the advice recently. I have a quick question. I have been recording alot of harmonized back up vocals lately (pretty much oohs and ahhs) and I wanted to know if this technique made sense to "gel" the tracks togther.

Lets say there are 8 tracks of harmonies. Should I send them all to one aux track with reverb/eq/compression, or should I do it seperately (compress/eq) on each track and use the aux only for reverb?

Or am I doing it completely wrong? haha!

Plus (and very, very sorry for a newb question) but, when I do use eq/comp, does the EQ go on top, before the Comp, or is it the other way around? I always think I get this backwards.

Thanks.
There really is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to do things. Experienced engineers will have a workflow that works for them...and the resulting discussion about these methods can be endless.....but it really comes down to how it sounds.

Try different methods...eq>comp...comp>eq and listen carefully to the results so you can decide yourself which sounds better.
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  #4  
Old 01-08-2009, 10:14 AM
Eless Eless is offline
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Default Re: Backup Vocals

when thinking of things like this, take a step back and think about what each link in the chain is going to contribute to what's already been done.
by compressing first, you are accentuating certain frequencies that might not have been so prominent before. by doing EQ after that, you get a chance to tame these a little better.
by EQing first, you're making it sound the way you want it, frequency-wise, and then putting a compressor in the chain that will accentuate the changes you just made.
notice that I lean more towards compression first... just the way I like to do it. though there are circumstances where I would EQ first, I usually find myself adding another EQ in the chain after the compressor to tame it a little bit.
it all boils down to what sounds good. if you're not sure which to do... do them both, then pick whichever one gives you the better result.

as far as background vocals go, one thing to try is to bus them all to a stereo aux (or mono if stereo is unnecessary) and put some LIGHT compression on there; nothing more than 1 or 2 db. this will effectively do what you're asking: gel the vocals and get them to sit better with each other.
however, don't forget that by doing this you still might have to go to each individual track and tweak here and there.
and though it's already been answered, i want to reiterate: yes, keep the reverb on a SEPERATE aux and use aux sends to get your signal to it.

hope this helps. just kind of rambling on my lunch break!

-cory
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  #5  
Old 01-08-2009, 10:22 AM
SixChurchStreet SixChurchStreet is offline
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Default Re: Backup Vocals

For me if I have a bunch of vocal tracks, i might want my amount of reverb to be different on each tracks. simply put, maybe you want your oozin ahhs to be a little more saturated with verb, and your lead vocals a little drier.

Again, with compression and eq, i might want a little bit different settings on backups than I want on lead...

so i'd decide how many different groups I'd like to put my vocals in, say there are three... lead vocals, harmonies, and oozin ahs.

I'd make one Aux track for each of these groups. Set each of the individual vocals tracks output to the appropriate Aux. On that Aux, I'd put the EQ and Comp.

Then I'd make another Verb Aux track. stick whatever reverb in to an insert. then go back to those three sub groups and Bus them to the verb. this way i can turn each one up or down as much as i want, making them wetter or drier.

this way, i've used only 1 verb instead of 8, 3 comps and 3 eqs instead of 8 each of them. that's a lot of cpu savings, and better control and organization too.

but again, do what works for you. that's what I would do. it's not for everyone, but i like it!
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:23 AM
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solidwalnut solidwalnut is offline
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Default Re: Backup Vocals

Well there's cetainly a number of ways to approach this. And the approach often depends on what you need to accompish. The situations can be different from time to time. For a general set-up, though, here's another opinion:

Each vocal track should have it's own eq as voices and ranges are different. Send each vocal to the same bus.

Create a mono aux track and name it something like 'bgv effects'. Select the bus from above as the input. Send the output of this track to a separate bus.

Create a mono aux track and name it something like 'bgv master'. Select the output from the bgv effects bus as the input to this track. Set the output to separate bus (to be then picked up by a Mix Master stereo aux track if you desire), or directly to your monitors (default is Aux 1-2).

(You could skip the bgv master step if you wanted and just send the output of the bgv effects track directly to Aux 1-2, but these additional master steps just give you more control over the final output).

Insert a compressor and reverb in the bgv effects track. Adjust the level of each vocal to be effected by adjusting each bus send level on each individual vocal.

To balance between dry and effected adjust the individual audio faders and the bgv effects fader.

Many ways to accomplish this! PT is pretty capable in my short acquaintance with it.

Steve
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  #7  
Old 01-08-2009, 10:33 AM
jmitchell1532 jmitchell1532 is offline
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Default Re: Backup Vocals

Thanks everyone. I'm pretty much doing all of that, and I do experiment with Comp/EQ or EQ/Comp etc, so I guess it comes down to what sounds better for the song. Thanks guys! As always, great, great help.

This site is the best way to learn new techniques.
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  #8  
Old 01-09-2009, 08:25 AM
jmitchell1532 jmitchell1532 is offline
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Default Re: Backup Vocals

Not meaning to bump my own thread, but I had another "technique" question. Say I wanted a "synthetic" sound on my oohs and ahhhs. I had an idea, and I tried it last night. I took some of the takes, and chopped them up a bit so the start of the vocal isn't there, did a few very quick fades, panned the tracks all over the place, and sent them to a submix of reverb and comp. I then, mixed those with the original background vox. Pretty cool sound.
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  #9  
Old 01-09-2009, 08:42 AM
SixChurchStreet SixChurchStreet is offline
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Default Re: Backup Vocals

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmitchell1532 View Post
Not meaning to bump my own thread, but I had another "technique" question. Say I wanted a "synthetic" sound on my oohs and ahhhs. I had an idea, and I tried it last night. I took some of the takes, and chopped them up a bit so the start of the vocal isn't there, did a few very quick fades, panned the tracks all over the place, and sent them to a submix of reverb and comp. I then, mixed those with the original background vox. Pretty cool sound.
That's what it's all about, experimenting.

The White Album wouldn't be the White Album if they just did what everyone else was doing in 1968.

One cool thing I've been getting into is reamping. You can reamp whatever the heck you want to. You could easily send your vocals thru a guitar amp, guitar stomp boxes, etc, and mic it up and bring it back in. The possibilities are endless with this stuff.
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  #10  
Old 01-14-2009, 03:27 PM
jmitchell1532 jmitchell1532 is offline
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Default Re: Backup Vocals

Six, how would I go about re-amping? Sounds like a cool idea. Would I have to set the outs of the vocal buss out of the interface and into the amp, then mic?
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