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How to make a fat vocal track?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by FUNKY, Aug 14, 2001.

  1. FUNKY

    FUNKY Guest

    Hi guys
    Can someone tell me how to achieve a fattt vocal track for rap /rnb music?

    Do you have some tips about this?
    Compression, Delays used..

    Are you doubling the vocals and how?

    How you achieve the fatness and the stereo spread effect?

    Thanx
    FUNKY
     
  2. tubedude

    tubedude Active Member

    Don;t tell anyone I told you this or I might be thrown from the Recording union...
    fat vocals start with a great mic into a great preamp into great converters. Thats almost all there is to it. Almost.
     
  3. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Originally posted by tubedude:
    fat vocals start with...

    (a phatt rapper!)
     
  4. a few things come to mind:

    - get the artist comfortable with the mic, and let me experiment with "working" the mic to try and find a point you are both happy with

    - make sure the artist is comfortable with this process

    - back up the mic a tad more than you have it at that point

    - try a dynamic mic, re-20 and 421s come to mind, anyone ever try a 409?

    - compress to taste, depends on the imput signal's tone and what you want to do with it's image in the sonic landscape
     
  5. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    Be sure to double the main vocal. Use a warm and present mic and preamp. Don't be afraid to compress a lot! Also don't forget a third track of "overdubs" where the rapper emphasizes bits and pieces of the main rhyme. A lot of rap vocals are done with Neumann mics. I've had great luck with a U87 and a Manley Vox Box.
     
  6. I know some ways, mix-FX wise.
    Sorry if this is too 101ish...

    1-Take a stereo delay and set both sides to less than 30 msec delay, no feedback.
    Hard pan one to the left and the other to the right, then check them in mono to make sure they don't cancel (15 msecs and 30 msec is good, for example). Mix to taste with vocal. If you get trouble understanding the lyrics, then it is too much, back a little.
    Want bigger? Pitch shift the left side up 8 to 18 cents and the right side down (same amount you raised on left). It's humongous, and dirtier, watch out!

    You can add ANY effect you like on top to further the effect (rev, long delay, etc).

    2- Divide 60 onto (sic?) the song's tempo: You'll get the millisecond value of a quarter note (usually). Divide that number onto 2 and 3 and paste each result to the left and right side of your delay respectively...
    You'll have Dave Pensado's take on the vocal fatness subject.
    The detune trick works great here too (take his word for it, no credit stealing here) and you can add some feedback to give it a more "reverb quality". You can do anything here (chorus, longer/shorter/silly delays, extra rev...)

    3- I don't like normal reverb so, for a special effect (very big), I will use a less-than-a-second-decay reverb and pre delay it no less than a 100 msecs (usually much more) matched to the song's tempo. I wouldn't use it for the whole song but for the chorus or something, to change the feel.

    All these additions tend to change the sound and increase sibilance, (depending on your gear). Have your eq/comp/de-ess and hi-cut (the last, for the effects) ready.
    You can play with eq, de-essing, and compression to imitate yor idea of God's voice, too. :p

    There are a host of other things like doubling a little...or a lot (Queen's ex producer doubled some rapper's voice 15 or more times on the lead vocal, the whole song...that must have been quite a pan...or no pan scenario!). Double with a megaphone or guitar amp (or better yet sans-amp) and auto pan the signal for a mean, distorted sound.

    In all truth, I use any of this on any vocal, not just rap/hip hop, it all seems to work great on making things big.

    Compress with care, starting with 4:1 ratio and making sure the vocal is sounding closer to you, not farther. Use the output volume and bypass to A/B at the "same" level. If any signal is louder, it will appear to sound closer (again, sorry if this is too beginnerish).
    Start with a fast release and try to keep it there. If you are going to compress a lot use a medium attack , if you are going to compress a little ( 1 to 2 db's), use fastest attack so it behaves like a limiter and then increase the ratio to taste. You can gild the lilly on the mix with a second compressor. It gets enormous, if you use a little.

    Are these General rules? Never. Just my humble take.
    I like 1176's for vocals or Summit DCL-200, if I want a warmer sound.

    Use the best preamp you can get and try as many mics as you can on the vocal (with the signal path you have) listening AFTER the converters or recorded tape, that way you will get the best sound possible (which for me translates into "closer, more present, more flattering and less problematic" in order of importance) with the gear you have. You will be surprised by the unlikely winners many times. Remember to listen at the same volume, always.

    Experiment a lot.

    Jesus! It was a long time since I wrote in a forum, does it show?
     
  7. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    Listen to Alberto Ortiz. I mixed a record for the guy, and he gets one of the best vocal sounds I've heard.

    Mixerman
     
  8. FUNKY

    FUNKY Guest

    Hi..
    Thanx for the help..

    Tell me If i'm doing something wrong..

    This is my setup..
    I have a Rode NT1 mic and AKGC3000 and aslo runing them thru my AArdwarks 24/96 card preamp..
    I record it in Cubase (TrueTape 32-bit) in a mono track..

    Tell me..Should the vocals be in mono or in stereo later?

    You said something about the stereo delays? Does it have to be (the vocal) in mono or in stereo for this purpose?

    P.S. What stero delay plugin do you use mostly?

    Thanx
    FUNKY
     
  9. arneholm

    arneholm Guest

    Well, the vocal is usually tracked mono and panned dead center, later some effects like delay and/or reverb and/or something else like chorus/whatever is added to give the vocal some sense of space or deptht or whatever you would call it.

    First you have to get the vocal tracked correctly. I personaly have not has an experience with either the Rode NT1 or AKG C3000 mics but what I've heard from others here and there "fat" ain't a word to describe any of those mics. Extremely bright could be more accurate description to the Rode and harsh is what I have heard about C3000. A friend of mine called the 3000 the "ugliest sounding mic there is".

    Also, seems you have to experiment a bit with the placing of the mic - singing directly into it isn't always the best idea. Try pointing it somewhere to the chest and see what this does. Try to get as good a sound to the tape (computer) as you possibly can and then start worrying about adding delays and verbs and whether the vocal is in stereo or in mono...

    Also... most of the guys here don't use 'plugins'... So they probably aren't as big experts in this area that you perhaps think. Basically use whatever delay plugins that sound good to you, are easy to operate and don't hog the computer processor off so much. I personally like Timeworks Delay plugin a lot, but I'd imagine that there are others as good as this...
     
  10. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    Originally posted by alexander:
    Hi..
    Thanx for the help..

    Tell me If i'm doing something wrong..

    This is my setup..
    I have a Rode NT1 mic and AKGC3000 and aslo runing them thru my AArdwarks 24/96 card preamp..
    I record it in Cubase (TrueTape 32-bit) in a mono track..

    Tell me..Should the vocals be in mono or in stereo later?

    You said something about the stereo delays? Does it have to be (the vocal) in mono or in stereo for this purpose?

    P.S. What stero delay plugin do you use mostly?

    Thanx
    FUNKY


    Except in rare instances, it's best to keep the vocal up the middle and mono. The stereo delay thing is just an effect. The effects that you prefer are very subjective. I've never really been into stereo delays on vocals, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't use that effect sometimes, and it doesn't mean that I won't be into them in the future.

    It also doesn't mean that I wouldn't enjoy listening to a song that had a stereo delay on the vocal. Actually that sort of thing san be the impetus to get one to do it oneself.

    Tastes are constantly metamorphing in ones life.
     
  11. Well, I am going to risk saying something after Mixerman, but he said he wanted a discussion forum, so...

    Vocal should be recorded in mono, stereo mics are extremely risky unless you want to tape the singer to Hannibal Lecter's harness. :p (or use MS but you'll have to worry about real estate)

    For example, the vocal Mixerman's referring to was recorded with two simultaneous mics taped side to side (SM57 and Neumann TLM 103), which is quite extraordinary and never to be done without the absolute need to do it (unless you're trying to lose your marbles on purpose) but it involved filtering out all bass on the 103 (3KHz and down) and moving the tracks timewise on Pro Tools (1 to 5 samples) to put them in perfect phase (by ear). Also I did lower the volume 10 db in respect to the 57.
    The truth is that I felt that the 57 was the perfect mic for the job but the singer wanted the 103's "aura", so I did put it there.
    But when Mixerman got it he told me he had to filter some high end to make it sound more analog!

    So the moral is (for me): Go with your gut, don't underestimate dynamic mics, ever, and try to keep things simple: Vocal recording (to me) is the single most difficult part of producing an album.
    With the mics you have you must have dynamic mics around (Shure SM 7, SM57, SM58, Electro Voice RE-20, Beyerdynamic M-88, Sennheiser 441 etc.) to counter overly-bright condensers. Follow Arne's and everyone's great recording advise and be happy.
    plug-ins I use (shamefully) the Pro Tools core delays (does anyone want to inherit me two PCM 42's? There's only one in my whole tiny country). Cut highs and mids to make it more analog. Record one or two tracks of a tape machine feeding your system with the recording heads and nudging it to taste. Or use the venerable Yamaha SPX-90, it's the best for the above tricks (it is a pain to connect it digitally, though).
    Remember, the "numbered" tricks I suggested above must be added to the vocal in mixing, you have to have a good recorded voice and performance to get the effect you're dreaming of, and there's plenty of good advice to achieve that on this thread.

    Try to enjoy, that's the real hard part.
     
  12. By the way, thanks for plugging me in, Mixerman, I wish I deserved it!
    Sorry for the late reaction, it must be Costarrican mother's day wine, I guess... :D :
     
  13. zip

    zip Guest

    Originally posted by ortrejos:

    For example, the vocal Mixerman's referring to was recorded with two simultaneous mics taped side to side (SM57 and Neumann TLM 103), which is quite extraordinary and never to be done without the absolute need to do it (unless you're trying to lose your marbles on purpose) but it involved filtering out all bass on the 103 (3KHz and down) and moving the tracks timewise on Pro Tools (1 to 5 samples) to put them in perfect phase (by ear). Also I did lower the volume 10 db in respect to the 57.



    Thanks for this info....you saved me some headaches! I was considering some vocal stereo mic recording without really considering phase problems.

    I think I'll stay with the doubling technique... :)

    zip >>
    :c:
     
  14. First off try a few different mics. The most expensive mic isn't always the best mic. Krayzie Bone sounds great on a M-149... he's just got that kind of smooth voice. Eightball on the other hand sounded better on a BLUE Mouse. I've been using cheap Marshal MXL mics on a lot of rap vocals lately (by choice) and I love the way they turn out. Use your ears and don't pay attention to what something looks like or costs. Some of my favorite gear is "crap" to a lot of people.

    Other than that, I'm a big fan of 1176's on the vocals come mix time. Slam them hard and they'll add a nice grit that will sit the vocal on top of the track without making it sound like it's not PART of the track. I usually like to use a small amount of slap delay (set shorter on the left side and a little longer on the right side) and a little bit of a short room/plate reverb down low.. This will give you a little wider sound. I'll also use the vox double (again, very little of it) from the H3000 from time to time.
     
  15. CFS

    CFS Guest

    For Hip Hop vocals you need either a u 87 or the AKG Tube which I really like but isnt as abundant. I like going to an alan Smart comp or an LA 3 depending on the vocalists and to tape or Disk I EQ with a Massenberg EQ. The u87-Jensen Mic Prea,pAln Smart- Massenberg combo usually has meb being very surgical cause they want it silky and poppy which I hate but if it needs to be done whatever. For the more charater filled stuff like a Wu Tang style vocal I use the AKG Tube-Jensen or Pendulum Pre- LA3 To massengberg usually addiung air band EQ on the massenberg. The Latter chain you can hear on Little T and One Track Mikes album and their single thats on MTV.
     
  16. dove_g

    dove_g Guest

    I don't understand this first part? What's stereo delay? To use some stereo delay FX?

    In my opinion I have get an idea to record double rap, twice the same exact thign. Then one move to LEFT other pan to the RIGHT.
    And one move a little 15-20ms in the right, to get some widness.

    Am I correct, will I get some good FX with that? Or Alberto think on something else?

    Thank you.
     
  17. chye

    chye Guest

    i'm about 3 yrs late on this topic so i'm leavin.
     

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