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16 bit vs. 24 bit, again - recording vocals sans compres

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by sserendipity, Sep 25, 2002.

  1. sserendipity

    sserendipity Member

    I've heard of a number producers on and offline who are recording vocals without adding compression until >after< the A/D conversion.

    The argument is that by capturing at 24 bits, the nuances that compression brings out have been captured, so using DAW based compression, either on the fly, or after the track has been laid down - if the vocalist is ok monitoring their voice 'raw' - becomes an option.

  2. eclinton

    eclinton Guest

    I've been pretty happy recording vocals directly to drive without compression. Depends on the singer having some dynamic control, I think.

    peace, the dog
  3. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    if you have a good analog compressor, and the skill to use it (not that it takes all that much skill), I find your better off compressing on the way in for vocals.
    1. The dynamic range of the final mix probably dictates that your going to have to do it anyway at some point.
    2. No digital anthing (eq/compressor/ect) is as good imo as it's analog equivalent, and since the vocal is "so" important....
    3. Once you've "got it right" at the source, you'll be ahead of the game, and will not have to dedicate any valuable dsp towards compressing in the daw.

    4. And lastly....who cares what "producers" are doing to "record vocals"...that's for us engineer cats to do...let them pick the resturaunt's and leave the recording to us....LOL
  4. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    OK...what's the concensus on the RNP compressor? I keep hearing all this good stuff about it, and then find it retails for only US$200. Is this thing any good? Is it an analog unit, or is it digital? Any comments???
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I personally like to compress things (not just vocals) a little at the tracking stage and then a little at mix. I have found that this approach yeilds the most natural sounding results. The object of compressing normaly is to get "real world" dymamics / levels (120 to 150 dB) recorded to a medium that has sometimes as much as 60dB less dynamic range (90 dB).
    When you do this in multiple steps you can get very good results and achive dynamic control without having to resort to high ratios / drastic amounts of reduction and all of the associated artifacts. This approach is also why recordists should leave a little extra dynamic range for the mastering engineer to deal with. Let the mastering house take care of that last little oomph factor you want....... Fats
  6. DoubleHelix,
    the RNC is a great unit and probably the best value on the market today. You can find them for as little as $165 shipped on Ebay.
    On topic-I also agree that compressing on the way to tape is the best way to go. I went through a spell early this year where I didn't compress going to tape and I have come back around. REcording digitally, imho, makes dynamic control all the more important, getting into that golden -3 to -7db range. You definitely want to avoid peaking out, and still want a strong signal. Doc.
  7. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    I simply never use any compression during recording (other than a foldback to monitor for the singer). It leaves ALL the options open for later. All of them. It just depends on the track..what I choose to do. Yes, 24 bit dig. compression works quite well in many areas. The waves C4 is a fav. (for a track/Channel)
  8. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    I''d agree. Vocals. They are in general, just too damn dynamic. And the more processing of ANY kind that you do in a daw...the worse it gets. If you input a great sound, and treat it as much as possible like a tape machine, including keeping the "digital" faders near or on zero....sonically you'll be best off. With That in mind, I still say compress on the way in. How many really good analog compressors to you have anyway? Are you going to mix back through an analog console? If not, you're first best place to nail the sound is before it get's AtoD'd. And unless your going to gain ride all over the place in the daw (another bad thing...those "faders " suck.....quite literally, there somthing that happnes when they leave unioty...it's been debated and hashed out elsewhere) your going to have to compress anyway.

    My only caviate with thios is. You must have a good compressor. This might mean an RNC. Mixerman has some and speaks highly of them...I've never used one so I'll leave it at that.
    But, I emabn something more like a real 1176, or Tube-Etch, summit, LA2A, 160, etc...a good compressor. If all you have is a project quality one, and your still a novice, then follow Bill's advice, because in that case, the digital tools become equla with the budget analog ones and your skills probably need the extra chance a compressing later.

    So....Good compressor and skills? do in on the way in in analog.

    Budget gear and newbie...try the above AND try no compression.... and see what you like.
  9. sserendipity

    sserendipity Member

    Thanks for all this excellent advice guys. I have a feeling that this place is going to be my 'secret weapon' :>

    I'm going to start recording vocals to two tracks from now on - one track through a nice compressor, and one compressed after it's laid to disk. This way I don't have to be afraid I'll screw anything up :>

    I've heard this debated before, though again it was resoIved that working with 24 bit or 32 bit files would prevent the effective reduction in dynamic range.

    If you have a link or a keyword I could use to find the debate you are referring to here, I would appreciate it. Pretty much every mix I do has the screen faders flying all over the place :/

    Again, thanks for all this invaluable information!

  10. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Well yes...you must do rides..I was making a point in the extreme. It's why I prefer to mix analog when it' s appropriate (album mix). PT doesn't sound as good once you start automating. Also, the better you record, the less automation you need. Although I mix alot in PT..faders riding all over the place two.

    One thing we must realise. Sometimes we're talking theory&laboratory....nad then there's the real everyday world. The first is Platonic and Idealistic...the second is more like a Mad Magazine spoof. :c:
  11. sserendipity

    sserendipity Member

    I've never liked the sound of protools (or, I'll confess, much else about it) - though I haven't used it for a couple of years now, so all could be better :>

    I believe that P/T's internal resolution was somewhat limited, and least in 5.x. Could someone tell me if I'm wrong?

    After getting booted by Logic Audio, I've grown fond of Cubase SX very quickly. It uses a 32 bit float resolution.

    Yes, when it comes down to it, "what, you, worry?"
    and wear your biggest set of ears :>
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Johnathan said,"I'm going to start recording vocals to two tracks from now on - one track through a nice compressor, and one compressed after it's laid to disk." This is a really cool thing to do. Only don't compress in the DAW instead play back with both tracks up....compressed and uncompressed...the best of both worlds. You can make it sound really loud but not squashed.....Fats

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