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Gating while tracking vocals - Yes or No?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by jrmixman, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. jrmixman

    jrmixman Guest

    Looking for comments on gating/expanding
    while tracking vocals?

    Thanks in advance for the input! - jrmixman :D
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Why do you want to do that?

    If it's because there is a lot of background noise .. like a computer whinning in the background, soemtimes there is no alternitive ... but it's still not the best way to do it. Think of gates as a necessary evil ... only use them when they are absolutley needed.
  3. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    No. Gate it in the mix if needed. If there's a really good take and the settings on the gate are slightly off a bit, or the dynamics of the track are more than the gate can handle and it clamps off the end of a vocal phrase, what then?
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member


    I only recommend using gates when tracking or mixing as a last ditch effort.

    The problem with gating at mix from my perspective is that the gates found in most DAWs really suck ... they trigger falsely and don't close when needed ... they just cannot be tuned in as well as some outboard gates can .. That's why I say do it on the way in if you have to ...Of course if you are working with a stand alone recorder and a console then what you say is how I would do it too. Another solution if you are in DAW is to go in and edit the noise out between vocal passages ... That's how I would do it.

    In the best of situations, the engineer would deal with the noise problem some other way ... isolate the singer, deal with the noise at its source. Even though signal masks noise, the underlying hash will make elements sit differently in the mix because the track with the noise will be less "transparent" .... Clean tracks mix best.
  5. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Kurt, I do use a standalone HDR and console to track, and mix in DAW. Spot on observations. I did vocal tracks last night during a driving rain, and have no iso booth in my studio space. I was able to find a quiet spot and put up some temporary treatments. After setting levels, I cranked up the monitor pot and listened......no rain on the track. My mentor was an old school staffer from Capitol, the early years, and was adament about using processors while tracking only when nothing else will work.
  6. jrmixman

    jrmixman Guest

    Thanks for the advice. I do not have a big noise problem.
    I have a basement studio and can temporarily turn off the boiler,
    tell my wife to keep it down upstairs!

    I think the main prob I have sometimes is headphone bleed.
    Have any recommendation on that issue? I guess I can turn it down in the cans but sometimes singers want it louder or even
    remove the headphones and listed in one ear piece.

    I have an older pair of akg k240 and sony 7506. Can any one
    recommend another pair good for tracking vocals?

  7. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Teh Sennheiser HD280 are nice for tracking... quite sealed and very well built and comfortable. You can also get pretty much perfect isolation cheaply with earbuds.
  8. DaveRunyan

    DaveRunyan Active Member

    If you are using a DAW and need to gate I would do it at mix down. Some plug ins work just fine for certain tasks but on vocals I usually take the time to edit the track manually. Just go in and remove the noise between words being careful to leave the proper breath noises and such. I also sometimes just automate the mute button where needed. If you have a really noisy track then you will probably have the noise in the parts of the track you want as well wich will actually appear more evident when you gate it so......... I only gate if it actually helps the whole product and not just one track.

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