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Old 10-30-2009, 07:23 AM
session48 session48 is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 105
Default HELP with Distorted Vocals

I was given a PT session from another studio and some of the main vocal track parts sound distorted or breaking up.The vocalist said he tracked using a Rode K2 with no compression. The levels are good and there's no digital clipping on the track.

Here is a link to hear some of the vocal parts
The person who recorded the track wants to avoid rerecording the vocals.
I'm using Pro Tools 7.4LE version . I've tried EQ,compression, etc.

Any suggestion on cleaning these vocals up and eliminating some of the distortion?

Any help would be appreciated!
Thanks in advance
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Old 10-30-2009, 07:44 AM
getz76 getz76 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 1,491
Default Re: HELP with Distorted Vocals

It is pretty clear that they are clipping the analog preamp.

It might sound fine in the mix, actually, depending on the song and arrangement.

I have no idea how you would fix that. Maybe some audio restoration software like Izotope RX?
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:46 AM
daeron80 daeron80 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
Posts: 3,837
Default Re: HELP with Distorted Vocals

It can't be actually fixed, but it can be minimized and obscured. You can also distract from it, take the ear's attention to some other element during the worst of it.

To minimize it, I'd try dipping a little around 300-600 somewhere to compensate for the muddiness the distortion adds. Just a couple of dB. Maybe another small dip wherever that little harmonic war is going on, probably in the 1k vicinity. It won't help much in solo, but it may help the problems be masked better by the track.

Tritone's free Color Tone plugin (you need Pluggo, which can reduce system stability on some systems) can sometimes smooth out some of the harshness of distorted tracks. Use a heavy amount of something really old school, like the V76 setting. Probably only on the distorted sections. Print an effected version to a separate track and crossfade it in where needed.

You may be able to obscure it by doubling the vocal with a delayed, pitch-shifted, or chorused version that is very dark - like roll off around 2 kHz, give or take an octave.

You may be able to distract from it with some wild effect like flanging the vocal during the phrases where the distortion is the worst. Or if you can duck it down a little and push a fill, that might help.

Sometimes, an autotune type thing will partly replace the original waveform with a synthetic one. That could actually nearly fix it, although at the expense of the cool pitch inflections.

Good luck with it!
David J. Finnamore

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Old 10-30-2009, 10:41 PM
samwise samwise is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 44
Default Re: HELP with Distorted Vocals

I think it sounds kinda cool

Smack compress the hell out of it (20:1 or SMACK) with attack at 3-5 and release at 6-8. Adjust imput and output to taste. Make sure you roll off about 150hz before it though. Then send it to a nice verb. It will hide it pretty well.

I know it sounds crazy to compress vox like that, but its amazing! It can also show you some ugliness if youre not careful, so dont be shocked if you have to EQ or gate a bit.
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