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Panning Pop and RnB Background Vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Exmun, Jun 15, 2003.

  1. Exmun

    Exmun Guest

    I've been studying several RnB and Pop mixes. I've noticed the separation that they get with the mixes among the backgrounds, leads and the instruments. It seems that the backgrounds are often being panned hard left and right with the leads, kick, bass and snare center. The instruments such as keys and guitars seem to be at 3,4,8 and 9 o'clock. Is this how you guys mix these types of music? I'm making reference to mixes like Toni Braxton's album, Brandy's album, even Celine Dion's album.

    Does my assement of the panning taking place sound like what's really going on in those mixes? Even so, how does this translate to well balanced mono compatability, given the hard panning of the backgounds?
  2. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Two things I can think of are-
    - mono compatibility becomes a problem with phase relationships (copy/paste tracks and add slight delay causes major phase relationship problems, while tracks recorded from two different takes have less headaches)
    - The backgound vocals aren't center-stage - they just add to the fullness of the sound, so minor phase cancellations will not be as obvious as, say, in distortion rhythm guitars in a rock song, or the reverb of a snare.

    Just my thoughts.
  3. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    never do this....it sounds like comb filtered $*^t and does not succeed in acting as a "double".
    When a double is necessary, get them to do it. Or if your in the practice of having them sing multiple takes and building a comp, use your 2nd best takes and build a double comp. If your using Pro Tools, the "vocalalign"
    audiosuite plugin works wonders at lining up the duoble to the original.
  4. Exmun

    Exmun Guest

    Thanks Recorderman. I usually double and triple track unison vocals anyway.
  5. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Yikes.. Recorderman's quote makes it look like that was my advice! NEVER do that!
  6. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    Apr 20, 2002
    St Louis
    Sometimes in a pinch, I'll use a pitch shifter and detune a background vocal and then re-align the track to compensate for the slight delay of the pitch shifter. It works well and offers some what of a chorus effect without the the vibrato. You can also vary the pitch slightly. I think some plugins do this automatically.

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