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Controlling dynamic vocalist

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by heartsoffire, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. heartsoffire

    heartsoffire Active Member

    Sep 22, 2002
    Boston, MA
    Home Page:
    Any advice on controlling a dynamic vocalist?

    My signal chain is:
    Soundelux ifet7 in "V" mode
    Langevin Dual Vocal Combo
    Digi 002R - Pro Tools LE 6.9

    Female vocalist that has some very quiet parts and then some VERY loud parts (i.e. belts). I try to get the hottest signal possible, but in order to avoid digital overs, I have to keep the signal quiet.

    I've tried engaging the limiter, but many times she pushes it too far that you can hear kick in (-10 to -20db reduction).

    It's frustruting because we can have a great session and it gets ruined because of some clipping.

    I've suggested "working" the mic, but she is a young artist and is still working on the concept of a studio mic.

    I have the option of putting a FATSO into the chain, but I'd rather not have that much processing going on while tracking.

    Any other suggestions?
  2. MilesAway

    MilesAway Guest

    If you've got a halfway-decent signal chain (sounds like you do) and a good, quiet vocal room, you shouldn't *need* a "hottest-possible" signal to get a great sounding vocal track. When i've come across vocalists like this, i just take a "scream-your-head-off" level and hit record. A touch of compression (post-tracking) evens out the performance and you're good-to-go.

    Beyond that... a few minutes/hours helping her "work-the-mic" might be a worthwhile investment. Even a simple "lean back when you sing loud" will make your job much easier...
  3. Fozzy

    Fozzy Guest

    The first thing to try, surely, is to set the gain so that the loudest bits don't clip and then listen to the quietest bits to see if the signal/noise ratio is still acceptable. If it is then you're done though you'll almost certainly want to add compression when mixing.

    If the quiet sections have too much noise (e.g. hiss) then you could do one of these:

    1. Teach her to work the mic.
    2. Add compression at record time, before the A/D.
    3. If she is consistent from take to take, and if the music lends itself to it, you could do a second take with hotter levels, let it clip on the loud bits then comp the loud bits from the first take with the quiet bits from the second take.
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    I realize that "riding the fader" is "old school", but even today...I have to keep my fingers on the output control for a LOT of vocalists...What can I say, it's an art!
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    I bought this collar for my dog who barked too much. You put it around her neck and when she gets "dynamic" it takes care of business. You do have to then filter out the screams and then the occassional sound of urine hitting the floor, but in general, it's VERY effective at fixing these kinds of problems.

  6. GregP

    GregP Guest

    :lol: :cool:
  7. maintiger

    maintiger Distinguished Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    Home Page:
    hey Jeremy-

    If you are gonna apply that collar to your vocalist make sure it is electrified. That way when your singer gets dangerously close to clipping he/she can get a shock beforehand and thus avoid the problem altogether.
  8. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:
    In addition to what's already been said I'll second the valuable use of tube compression but also a SDC with an omni capsule can sometimes really help a singer that has a hard time with dynamics.

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