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Getting Started here. Song posted

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Comanchesniper, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. Comanchesniper

    Comanchesniper Active Member

    Hi, my name in Michael. I am just getting started home recording. I am fortunate to have a friend that writes her own music and wanted to do some recording.

    I wanted some idea of what I should do to the vocal track to really make her shine.

    Any feedback will be appreciated!




    Here is the Song

    Falling In Love
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    That's a very nice song and a very nice vocalist. It's sweet sounding but it is certainly rather thin. Her dynamics were actually a little too natural. So perhaps a small bell shaped curve boost around 150 Hz would warm her up nicely along with some more serious compression. And perhaps followed by some gentle downward expansion between -6 to -10. Otherwise, you are actually already close and it only requires a little more tweaking. You see, she was actually a little too far up of the piano. So additional compression will allow you to keep her more in a place within the mix where you want her to be while also bringing up the piano.

    Let me know how that works out?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  3. Comanchesniper

    Comanchesniper Active Member

    What am i looking for in compression? I have read so much about it but it seems more like an art than a science. Also you mention expansion. What exactly is that. I am using Sonar X1, is that a plugin of sorts?
     
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    You are going to have to look at your program more carefully. Compression and downward expansion is actually created within the same stock programs compression presets.

    Yes, and this is where science meets Art and Art meets science. The sciences that the compression is already in your software. The art is in learning how to utilize it well. So you have indicated you have read so much about it but don't know what it is. Downward expansion is the inverse of compression so it's basically a compressor working in a backwards way. Not all audio programs have the ability to draw your compression curve. Adobe Audition does, Sony Sound Forage does, Steinberg Wave Lab does and Sonar, I really haven't played with but I believe it does.

    Typical compression settings to start with would in all likelihood come from one of your presets. The setting is generally known as a soft knee which is slightly more desirable sounding than a hard knee. Compression settings for vocal applications will generally start around 4:1 and go all the way up to 20:1 for those screamers. So since she's not screaming, 4:1. And you want her to have up to about 10 DB of gain reduction happening and maybe even less than that, maybe more than that. So you basically adjust the threshold so that she is barely creating -.5 DB of gain reduction. Then when she starts to get slightly louder there will be more gain reduction. You don't want it slamming too much gain reduction on her quiet passages. You don't want an extremely fast, that's don't want an extremely fast attack time. You don't want, that's don't want an extremely fast release time. At that time should be around 2-10 milliseconds. Release time should be somewhere between 100-400 milliseconds and you will have smooth sounding compression. Which is more important than also including any downward expansion. You can actually live without the downward expansion until you master how to utilize compression.

    Generally compression in software may have a window that shows the curve of the compression. That window is generally labeled in a square box with a grid and a line that goes from the lower left-hand corner to the upper right-hand corner. Along the horizontal it's labeled in DB and in the vertical it's labeled DB. Then you will see some point markers and the top of that diagonal line at the point will be pulled down slightly indicating the compression curve or angle. Some programs do not display that and just give you options for attack, release, ratio. So don't utilize any extremes because those can sound horrendous too fast on anything is too much. Too slow on everything may not be as effective. So you have to reach a pleasing compromise between both extremes. Medium attack and release times are best suited for vocals. Lower compression ratios as opposed to higher compression ratios are better suited to vocals. So you might want to just try to go to the Adobe site and try one of the trials for Audition? Because multitrack audio programs are basically like your choice of underwear, socks, pants, shirts. You want what fits and feels best. You want a program that speaks to you in your head and that's why we all have our own preferences as to which multitrack programs we all use. Some emulate compressors with a GUI that looks like a hardware device in a control room. Others look like plots you would see in a geometry class. And surely you have seen drop-down menus in your program that indicate compression? So it's a matter of fiddling around in your program to find your compressors/compression. And then utilizing and listening as you tweak. This will smooth her out both in the upper and lower dynamics. So it may be indicated as dynamics processing.

    You'll find that third-party plug-ins can also be purchased and utilized within your program. But all of these programs already have some kind of dynamics processing without the need for third-party plug-ins. Because plug-ins come in many different ways such as DirectX, VST, RTAS. And your choice will be dictated by what your multitrack program is designed to accommodate. For instance, RTAS is generally designed for ProTools whereas the Direct X & VST is generally more compatible with most other programs. And that is only if you decide to purchase some other third parties plug-ins. Though as I said, every multitrack program already has built into its some kind of compression features, already within the program. The plug-ins are more designed to emulate certain types of hardware compressors and/or types and styles of compression such as emulating an optical compressor, an FET style compressor, a RMS compressor or a Peak detecting compressor. The RMS style mimics that of the hardware DBX units. Whereas the Peak detecting compressors mimics that of the hardware U A 1176 devices. And both have their place and differences. Some also indicate Optical style of compressors which are relatively close to the RMS types.

    Some folks even utilize hardware compressors that they loop out from their computer audio sound card to the compressor and loop back into their soundcard to record that track on a separate timeline channel for those folks that want to utilize their specialized analog hardware compressor/limiters. I utilize both software and the latter description with my hardware devices such as my UA LA-3 & my UA 1176 units when I am working in a hybrid fashion. I've also purchased the IK multimedia, T-Racks VST plug-in which is designed to emulate tube style dynamics processing with a GUI that looks like hardware devices without that visible plot. It just shows knobs and meters that mimic my hardware devices do. This is called workflow and we all have our own technique of workflow. Understanding your software before you try to jump on the hybrid workflow bandwagon is generally required before you can do that. That's because you have to understand what you are doing before you can do that. So you learn first from the software and then you can move on to a more hybrid workflow if you should so choose.

    Some who like Sonar also utilize Radar recorders, LOL. Nomenclature slang can get confusing based upon their concepts and marketing.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
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