Getting female vocals to sit right.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:55 AM   #1
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Getting female vocals to sit right.

I just recorded my friend singing some lyrics for me at a studio. The mic was good, she sung well and they sound nice. Has anyone got some tips to make them sit well in the mix. Much appreciated. I'm looking for the commercial poptart sound.

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Old 07-05-2012, 09:27 AM   #2
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

The obvious EQ, compression, reverb, delay and perhaps some de-essing. Also leaving some room (mix-wise and/or EQ-wise) in the overall mix for the vocals to sit in.

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Old 07-05-2012, 10:23 AM   #3
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

I have all those going on except i couldn't get a reverb to sound decent, what kind of settings should i be looking at. I also used a stereo enhancer which has made it sound better but i still cant get it to sit right.

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Old 07-05-2012, 10:39 AM   #4
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

It depends on the reverb and its settings. Also it's a matter of taste when it comes to room size, diffusion, pre-delay and the length of the tail. Some just add a decent room or a plate reverb and it sounds great. Sometimes certain reverbs also needs low and high cutoffs or roll-offs, and maybe even some EQ on the reverb itself to get it to sound good.

Try to keep the vocals mono and centered, and use sends/aux for the reverbs. Less is more, most of the time.

What are you using stereo enhancer on? I'm confused.

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Old 08-05-2012, 10:10 AM   #5
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

Quote:
What are you using stereo enhancer on? I'm confused
On the vocal itself, is this a no no?

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Old 08-05-2012, 02:29 PM   #6
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

Compress it with fast attack/release settings to bring it out more to the front. Often, it needs an EQ boost around the upper mid freqs for the brightness. Tiny bit of reverb (decay of 2 seconds and 15% wet is often enough, depends on taste).

Most important: Is the voice in key with the rest of the song? Does it need some pitch correction?

Cheers!

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Old 08-05-2012, 04:03 PM   #7
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuiJuris View Post
On the vocal itself, is this a no no?
vocals are usually recorded in mono, so adding a stereo expander (exaggerating the differences between L and R, and thus carving out the mids as in M/S) is pretty useless. Adding stereo expander on spatial effects however can be effective, but again - it carves out the mids (the M in M/S).

edit: To be honest I think we need some audio example. We can't guess why it doesn't "sit" right.

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Old 10-05-2012, 10:40 AM   #8
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

Quote:
Most important: Is the voice in key with the rest of the song? Does it need some pitch correction
Yep it is, thanks for the tips!

Quote:
To be honest I think we need some audio example. We can't guess why it doesn't "sit" right
Thanks man i'dd love you too, however I'm only on the net at work these days so upping something is more pain than it's worth. I am moving to canada in less than two weeks and i'm scrambling like mad to finish this music, as soon i will have no studio moniters . If i still can't get it to sit after this weekend I'll up something on monday and hopefully you'll be able to lend a hand. Thanks for all your help dudes I really apreciate it.

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Old 14-05-2012, 10:10 AM   #9
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

Offer her a chair.

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Old 14-05-2012, 01:45 PM   #10
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

About reverb.

* Make the decay time flow with the song. I usually tune it using the snare track.

* Long predelays (50-100 ms) help to keep the vocal clear. If you time the predelay to your song (e.g. 60ms for 120 bpm), you can make the reverb a bit louder without it starting to bother you.

* The type of the reverb should follow the feel of the song, so the listener accepts it. Like, small nasty room for garage-y punk feel, natural and inconspicuous for acoustic, cathedral for big and epic.

* De-ess the signal that's going to the reverb really hard. I have even cut out all sibilants and transients by hand from a vocal track and sending that to the reverb (not to the main mix of course). Leaving pretty much only vowels gives you a really melodic reverb.

* Use side-chain gating if the tails are bothering you.

* Use side-chain compression if you want the tails but the vocal part itself is getting muddy when you're raising the level of the reverb.

* Sometimes, even often, using a delay instead of reverb can give you the same effect with a lot more clarity.

Last edited by mimicry; 15-05-2012 at 11:18 AM.. Reason: Typos.

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Old 15-05-2012, 10:49 AM   #11
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

Quote:
Offer her a chair.
haha the least i could do saying i didn't pay her.

Mimicry you gave me a chance to use the thanks button, top stuff!

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Old 16-05-2012, 08:25 AM   #12
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

Allrighty I'm getting desperate 5 days to go. Any suggestions?

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Old 16-05-2012, 11:38 AM   #13
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

The only thing that bothers me is the piano. I would push it really far back with reverb or by attenuating the highs. Otherwise it's distracting and kind of competing with the vocals.

I'll try to show you what I would do, effect-wise. I marked the melody with a piano:

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This is not to show specific types of effects but the timing. As the vocals already sound great dry, you can use the high notes at the end of 1st, 3rd, 5th etc line to fade in different effects and create some "wow"-moments. If you leave the rest dry, these will really jump out.

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Old 17-05-2012, 09:31 AM   #14
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

Thanks again Mimicry, you were right,I eqed the piano right back in the mix.It Sounds much better and way to go above and beyond with the demo. Your clearly one awesome dude. I also found she was sharp ( which is unusual) on some notes, I'm much happier with it now that I've made the changes.

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Old 17-05-2012, 11:35 AM   #15
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Re: Getting female vocals to sit right.

Quote:
Most important: Is the voice in key with the rest of the song? Does it need some pitch correction
You were dead right top tip.

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