[MIXING] How to get that special vocal effect?

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by Izem, May 22, 2018.

  1. Izem

    Izem Newbie

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    Hello everyone !


    I am a new home studio engineer and I am facing a problem.


    It has now been about three months I am mixing my songs in my home studio ; so I am starting to get not awful results. I am doing rap/trap songs on beats I get online or from friends (so I only mix my vocals).


    Here is my problem : even if I am kind of satisfied of the results I can get considering my experience in mixing, I still can't get that effect on voice I am looking for and that (imo) make the song more professional.




    Better than words, let's listen to this effect I am looking for:


    As you can notice, the voice of the guy is not exactly the same when he talks at the beginning than when he raps. Of course his rapping part is processed and mixed but there is this effect on his voice that make all the difference: is voice is kind of smoothen/flatten.






    I am wondering what part of the mixing process (EQ, compress.., if not all) smoothen the vocals. Because that makes the vocals fit the beat pretty well. Or maybe it is the mic?


    I am very interested in getting more information.


    Btw, you can check a mix of mine here (I am French so it's French trap aha)[​IMG]:





    You can here than my vox aren't as smooth as in the vid. [​IMG]


    If anyone has any clue of how I can get this effect, I would be very grateful.






    Izem
     
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  3. WhiteMidnightProductions

    WhiteMidnightProductions Noisemaker

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    Advanced use of compression, EQ and multiband compression working together. You heard it yourself, they do sound a little flatter. The mic plays a big factor as being the first in line after the source but your vocals just sound more dynamic. Do some compression and EQing to find the tone you want first and then put a compressor with a fast attack and fast release to reduce the dynamic range. Cheers.
     
  4. 5teezo

    5teezo Platinum Record

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    The general sonic characteristic of a vocal is mostly the result of the combination of a Mic and a PreAmp. Record your vocals with a Shure SM7B Mic and it sounds like this. It pronounces the lows pretty nice.

    If you don't have that: lowpass around 10 kHz and a Boost in the low mids to make the vocal sit on Top or balance the sonics with a Multiband Compressor. Done. BTW, there are differnt EQ/Compression decisions from song to song.

    Side Note: The vocals and everything else in the video (beats, music) you are refering to be "smooth" is what I would refer to as mediocre at best! This is a Mixtape type of miixng approach of Mixing Vocals into existing instrumentals, like in radio. To me, that doesnt sound like a record and I wouldn't take it as a good example for mixing vocals!!!

    Tip: You could try achieving more bass and body in your vocal recording by utilizing the proximty effect...
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  5. beatmagnus

    beatmagnus Guest

    I think you might be looking for leveling techniques. A classic approach has been to use an 1176 to adjust the attack and decay factors followed by an LA2A to level volume differences throughout the vocals, and then eq, although some prefer eq before compressors, try both. I love 5teezo's idea about the SM7b
     
  6. Izem

    Izem Newbie

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    Thank you for your answers guys! Actually I have a NT1-A that pronounces the lows but I have to cut a good part of them otherwise it sounds boxy.


    • I think you're right WitheMid, what I am looking for is consistency. I think I have to mess with compressors; but even when I use two compressors (1 that slightly compress the vocals with a slow attack and a slow release then 1 more agressive with fast attack and release) the vox remain not consistent like I wish they were. I even do manually a gain automation with the raw vocals but that don't seem to make a difference.


    • 5teezo my reference of a good mix is more something like :


    I think the mix is perfect, the vocal is present, consistant but also very dynamic, I can't understand how it is possible. It is also very well glued to the beat!


    • Beatmagnus I can't afford this kind of stuff aha. I am doomed to rely on my NT1-A and my Scarlett 2i2 :dunno:
     
  7. Antonis Mavidis

    Antonis Mavidis Noisemaker

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    try medium attack and super slow release in the main vox with a gain reduction around 7-9 db
    but be prepared to work a lot with automation regarding breaths and other parts of the verse plus a lot of precise de-essing
     
  8. Izem

    Izem Newbie

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    Hey guys I am working on automation but unfortunately I can't find a way to see the output (after all the effect applied) volume in Pro Tools 12. The green meter next to the tracks doesn't vary along with an increase/decrese of volume.

    Can you guys help me, or maybe you know a plugin that will do the job ?

    Thx, i'll send you a song I am working on with a precise volume automation.
     
  9. Sylenth.Will.Fall

    Sylenth.Will.Fall Audiosexual

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  10. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    Yep, those tools are great and the Waves offer looks great too.
    TBProAudio Gainrider also works very fine.

    But you can also try those opto, tube and tape compressors, which have, according to reality, no knobs for attack, release, threshold and ratio. Makes it a lot easier.
     
  11. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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  12. Izem

    Izem Newbie

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    Actually I always start my mixes by manually gain automate directly on the raw audio vocal track. So I don't know If I need theses plugins. I was asking for a meter for the output signal (after being through all the plugins (EQ, revebr..)) because I noticed that even if I gain automated my vocals at first, after going trough the EQ, the automation of the signal wasn't as efficient as the beginning automation (surely because when you EQ you take out some frequencies and not others, so the final output may vary from the initial input).

    I assume that even with a Vocal Rider, the problem will be the same.
     
  13. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    Move the vocal rider after the eq then if it changes the tone. Also, if you are trying to emulate the fellow on the video (who is lip syncing the rap for the video if you didn't realize. As he moves left and right further and closer from the mic the tone remains consistent which would not be the case as one moves around, the frequencies interpreted by the microphone in capture are either attenuated or pronounced. It doesn't sound as if he recorded it in the same room also from what I heard when he is speaking to the camera) you would need to try to use a similar signal chain. The U87 mic or clone is a tube mic and compresses the signal in its trademark way on the way in. Your Rode is not the same and cannot get close to it's sound. Also, the preamp, depending on which it is might also have a bit of a compressive quality if the signal is running through one or more transformers or even one or more tubes in that kind of circuit. You might find it hard to difficult to near impossible to get that sound with the mic you have and using, I assume, using the preamp of your interface. People chase the sound in their head by experimenting with different gear and for some it is never ending. The good news is that in the last few years a new batch of fine gear emulates the before almost unattainable and will get one very close to the more expensive stuff for a whole lot less money. Warm, Stam, Advanced Audio and others are making cool stuff for reasonable money on the mic front, and there are very sweet tube and transformer circuit mic pres on offer that one need not sell a kidney to own and use. Judicious use of software compression and equalization sometimes just isn't enough and the hardware is where one needs to look in order to achieve the desired goal.
     
  14. Izem

    Izem Newbie

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    Yo guys I tried to mix another song in a new way: no compressors, only manual automation. Here the result, plz tell me what can be improve ?


    PS: I only have access to 1 output (my DT headphones), so i wasn't be able to check the balance between VOX and beat.


     
  15. figroll

    figroll Member

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  16. TW

    TW Rock Star

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    The sound comes mainly as allready mention form the preamp and the mic. And maybe an outboard compressor. Yes 1 or 2 db before you hit the converters can work quite good on vocals.

    Your example rap vocal is really heavily compressed compared to your 2 songs.
    Try multible compressors every single one doing only a little bit of gain reduction after your vocal riding.

    Oh i forgot to mention, you could try the waves mv2. It is one of my favourite plugins. Use it as the last plugin in your effects chain to even out minor imperfections you still might find in the dynamics.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
  17. korte1975

    korte1975 Platinum Record

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    smooth upfront vocal : fast attack , 10-15db gain reduction , small need for eq , maybe deess at the end of the chain. :like:
     
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  18. Izem

    Izem Newbie

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    Hey guys, I kind of managed to get my vocals less dynamic. I achieved this result by using a compressor + doing manual automation (I achieved better results doing it manually than with a Vocal Rider).

    The problem I am having now is that my lead vocal is not wide enough. I feel like I hear the lead vocal straight into my face. I added a little bit of reverb but still.

    Somebody got any advice ?

     
  19. Kwissbeats

    Kwissbeats Rock Star

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    how long does that take per verse? do you get to revisit it later on?
    I actually never automate anything till the bare end, that's what 5 individual 1176s are for.

    because they are on it during recording (Read: Not printed), the vocals tend to be very dynamic when I record. but very stable after the 1176s
    in the rough mix, I just make sure the gr meter hits 0 in the silences (so not overcompressed) and I'm good to go.

    to make the vocal get a wider feel, I would suggest a good stereo delay (I prefer H-delay) timed at 1/4 or 1/8 with a leveling compressor after it like a La2a (cakewalk ca-2a is a nice emu) and you might wanna automate the panning of the atmos/extras.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
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  20. SquareDjay

    SquareDjay Platinum Record

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    Sing at a constant distance of the mic will help and facilitate A LOT your mix.A good mic and good preamp(your soundcard or separate hardware preamp) do a lot of things too.

    And try tweaking attack/release times,they change dramatically the final results.
    Personnally I don't think automating the volume is the good solution,you should get the dynamic range/volume without that.
    When you use a compressor it's important that the needle of your gain reduction is swinging.
    Try different compressors,each of them sound different.
    1176 compressors to shape your transients and then LA2A.Or LA2A+LA2A,you can try.
    LA2A are awesome(maybe the best) with voice recordings.
    This not a universal solution,each situation is different according to your equipment,your voice,etc...
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
  21. YFManagement

    YFManagement Member

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    i know the sound you're going for as this the genre i do.
    its need more side excitement on the vocal side as it just sits in the middle. (Taste Of course)
    Sidechain send out your lead vox to some EFX .

    Example
    ------------------------------
    EFX A Chain
    Tempo Sync Delay - 100 %Mix 1/4 - 1/8(Ping Pong)
    Hi & Lo Pass Filter (To Taste)
    Trim -12db
    (Automate Send To Only Focus on The Groove And Bounce of the Vocal)
    ------------------------------
    EFX B Chain
    Tempo Sync Delay - 100 %Mix 1/4 - 1/8 (Center DLY)
    Hi & Lo Pass Filter (To Taste)
    Modulating Pan / Flanger
    Side Chain Compressor (For Lead Vocal Ducking)
    ----------------------------
     
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