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Compressor and filter help

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Bucka, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. Bucka

    Bucka Guest

    Ive been recording for awhile now and ive been looking for a way to tweak my vocals and clean them up, and make them sound better.
    Ive been told to run them thru a compressor and filters. I have no compressors that i know of, and i have no filters that i know of. I feel stupid for asking but what are they, and how do i use them? Do they have diffrent names, am i just over looking them?
  2. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    are you recording onto a computer?
  3. Bucka

    Bucka Guest

  4. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    First off, I would suggest that you don't record through a compressor or filters. Get the best sound you can with mic placement and room acoustics, etc. Your recording software (what are you using?) should be able to use "plug-ins" that you can apply and tweak after the fact, without permanently altering the recorded sound (unless you really want to). Note that there are hardware (usually rackmount) devices that you can buy specifically for these applications, but at this point you are probably best sticking with software.

    Search this site for lots of information on compression. It can be a good way to help your sound, but it is even better at screwing up your sound. Use sparingly, use your ears, read up on the advice here. A compressor plugin might be listed under "dynamics" or something in your software.

    By filters I presume they mean EQ (equalization). Again, do your homework here. A bit easier to explain, though - an EQ filter would affect only certain frequencies of your tracks, and either boost or cut their gain. Like Treble/Bass or Hi/Mid/Low controls. Those should be fairly easy to find and use in your DAW software.

    But first - you want to make your vocals sound "better". Can you specify what it is you don't like about them now or what you want to improve?
  5. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Just realized you might be referring to a pop filter (like a windscreen that goes in front of the mic and stops popping "p" and booming "b" sounds). That's definitely hardware...
  6. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Good info Mark.

    Bucka - this post should help ya:
    (Dead Link Removed)

    Pay attention to the info provided by Shotgun.
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA

    What software are you using? And can you be a little more specific about what you mean by "clean up" your vocals? What do you think is wrong with them now?
  8. Bucka

    Bucka Guest

    I am currently using CWMC3, but upgrading to ProTools M-Powerd in the near future. When i say im tryin to "clean up" my vocals, its mostly noises in the back ground and small volume differences. I dont have a vocal booth or isolation at the moment (my studo is still under construction) but untill then id still like to make the best of my recording. And yes i am using a pop filter. My program is able to use plug ins but i dont have any software of the sort(vocal wise), Would any one recomend a good program?
  9. Bucka

    Bucka Guest

    And to just assure every1, i dont record with effects, i add them later if there needed.
  10. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Hey Bucka, check out http://www.gvst.co.uk/ for a bunch of free downloads of vst plugins. Including compressors. For small background noises in between your vocals (not while you are singing), you can use a gate plugin (like GGate on the site I mentioned). I've used GGat with good success to get rid of background HVAC noise in vocal tracks, for example...

    For small volume differences, a compressor might be just the thing - after the take. If it's your own vocals, then perhaps you could refine your mic and vocal technique to maintain the dynamics you want from the start.

    Of course, you could buy software that does the same thing as the GVST stuff (maybe better), but you can't beat the price of freeware!

    (ps - another useful one if you sing like me is GSnap - pitch correction :))
  11. drewfinn

    drewfinn Guest

    aw gvst is for windows :( woulda loved the pitch tuner for my falsetto backups) i found that even for small noises ie computer hardware, isolation is key. clear out a small space in 1/2 your closet near your recording set up, and...viola instant studio magic w/o major studio construction. egg crate on the hollow closet door will help.

    this place was the cheapest i've found so far. u just have to cut it yourself

    i had a question about protools basic compression plugin (the one they give you w/ the software) i pretty much use a sprinkle of it on everything as i record from the beginning to avoid clips/peaks--since it is compression and a limiter in one. are there other plugins/freeware for mac that may only contain a limiter? pt7 used to have em separate, then they wised up...

    p.s. the 'vocal levelor' preset in the pt7 compressor/limiter with gain (red) almost at zero or 1 and 'height' or yellow dial pushed up a couple clicks works great for recording a vocal take using a 'hot'/phantom condensor mic. then i go back and reset the compress/limit to a 'cleaner' setting. the trick is in the knee? just did it through experimentation--it might be way off. followed my ears.

    to hear the difference in vocals that are isolated as opposed to having the condensor mic in the same area as hardware (but not pointing at on the hot side)
    'nvrswamoor' 'myfunnyval' 'gitm' not isolated (vocal chorus of three or more vocal tracks recorded on top of one another--that means a bunch of hard drive buzz on top of each other too)
    'offer' and 'geturself2gether' single voice trippled/panned 100R/0/100L ish then chorus--all in a make shift vocal booth (closet) the guitar in 'offer' was recorded 'at' the closet with the door open and me in between the condensor mic and computer. i think just recording into an area that is not of the same acoustical realm/area of the buzzing of the machines will make a difference too. maybe try hiding in a nook or cranny of thomas' english muffins. haven't recorded with the foam in the closet yet...

    vote drewfinn isolation campaign 2008--cheers

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