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Go Back   Avid Pro Audio Community > Legacy Products > 003, Mbox 2, Digi 002, original Mbox, Digi 001 (Win)

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  #1  
Old 02-05-2009, 10:26 PM
Mike Teslow Mike Teslow is offline
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Default "Normal" compression for vocals on pop or rock song?

Hi, excuse the ignorance, but does any know what the "normal" compression would be on lead vocals on a pop or rock song? I realize it could be a range, but I assume there is a sweet spot for male vocals.
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:01 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: "Normal" compression for vocals on pop or rock song?

You really need to let your ears guide you on this but a starting point might be 4:1 with the threshold set for 3-5db of reduction with attack set moderate to fast. If that doesn't even out the levels, you could either add a second compressor(higher ratio, higher threshold) or use the Audiosuite GAIN plugin to increase the levels of the softest words and phrases, or lower the loudest ones if there are only a few(this takes longer than slapping heavy compression on the track, but it will sound better).
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:06 AM
akakpaws akakpaws is offline
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Default Re: "Normal" compression for vocals on pop or rock song?

Start with the vocal presets provided by your plug-ins. Those settings are always a good place to start. Then tweak to taste.
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:29 AM
Mike Teslow Mike Teslow is offline
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Default Re: "Normal" compression for vocals on pop or rock song?

Thanks for the tips. The reason I asked was I was wondering what the pros do, as a general rule, to get a "radio" sound, to get the vocal to "leap out" of the mix. I'm trying to figure out how to get that "polished" sound. I'm sure it's the fine balance of compression, EQ, chorus/reverb/delay, etc. It would be nice if there was a plug-in that combined all these things so I wouldn't have to work so hard.
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:59 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: "Normal" compression for vocals on pop or rock song?

Don't forget that the "radio sound" is not all the recording as radio stations have limiters that they slam pretty hard so their broadcast is as loud as possible without pissing off the FCC.
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:16 PM
Bob Olhsson Bob Olhsson is offline
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Default Re: "Normal" compression for vocals on pop or rock song?

The loudest vocals on the radio are generally recorded using no limiting or compression by a performer having incredible chops for "working" the mike to minimize peaks.

All limiting and compression introduces distortion which causes a broadcast processor to turn the gain down more than it will for undistorted audio.
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:21 PM
Mike Teslow Mike Teslow is offline
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Default Re: "Normal" compression for vocals on pop or rock song?

Interesting, I hadn't thought of the radio station limiters. Regarding the next post, I can think of plenty of pop/rock stars who don't have good voices nor chops to work the mic, so I'm thinking there is "magic" in terms of the processing. Nevertheless, it's hard to believe that someone like Bono, ie, something with a great voice, still doesn't have boatloads of processing to make his voice "jump out" of the mix (ie, Zooropa). Just trying to figure out that toolkit.
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:38 AM
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TOM@METRO TOM@METRO is offline
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Default Re: "Normal" compression for vocals on pop or rock song?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teslow View Post
Interesting, I hadn't thought of the radio station limiters. Regarding the next post, I can think of plenty of pop/rock stars who don't have good voices nor chops to work the mic, so I'm thinking there is "magic" in terms of the processing. Nevertheless, it's hard to believe that someone like Bono, ie, something with a great voice, still doesn't have boatloads of processing to make his voice "jump out" of the mix (ie, Zooropa). Just trying to figure out that toolkit.
Hi Mike

Much of what you call jumping out of the mix has to do with methodical music production. Instrument choices and their placement, EQ curves, dynamics, environment (reverb etc.) as well as manipulating the unique vocal tracks of an individual singer.

Carving out the perfect “cradle” for vocals, where the track can deliver the perfect amount of energy and at the same time allow for vocal articulation is one function that defines a great producer. Also knowing exactly how your work will interpret in mastering is critical.

It’s really not as much the tools as how they are used. An old 1176 limiter can be amazing in the hands of an artist and truly annoying in the hands of a hack.

One might ask: What kind of guitar does my favorite guitarist use? Or he might ask: How many years of study and practice (and how much raw talent) did it take him to get there?

The point of all of this rambling is; the boatloads of processing comes primarily from just one processor >> You.

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Old 02-08-2009, 10:00 AM
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Default Re: "Normal" compression for vocals on pop or rock song?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TOM@METRO View Post
.... Watch me take heat for this.
O.K., the heat starts now ....

You should have said all this AGES ago, man!
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:48 AM
Mike Teslow Mike Teslow is offline
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Default Re: "Normal" compression for vocals on pop or rock song?

I think "Tom@Metro" makes good points, especially around "methodical music production" and it comes down to "you." However, I usually read about successful producers who seem to have a "bag of tricks" whereby they set up their mixing and/or mastering environments in a pretty consistent way.
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