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Using limiter on vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by sampsoniter, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    ok , now before I record vocals I adjust the mic volume first to ensure a zero to minimum amount of clipping concidering my position and potential peak volume. After I'm done recording and tweaking any volumes as needed I have a vocal wav with zero clipping.......therefor I shouldn't need to apply any kind of limiter to it , yet I've found that using the T racks limiter with the "vocal presence" preset makes them sound like 10 times clearer and more alive then i have been able to make them sound by tweaking the EQ........I thought limiters hurt the quality of sound, not make it better or more pronounced?........if this is just an illusion of some kind and I am really hurting the quality or dynamics of my recording , what are some good plugings I should be using instead to master vocals?

    if anybody can help me out here I'd appriciate it.
    please , thank you and much love.
  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    welcome to the world of recording

    dynamics control is probably the hardest thing to grasp and I believe it is where the bulk of the magic lies ... way more than EQ

    compressors and limiters are the stapel diet of pop recording
  3. Groff

    Groff Active Member

  4. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Why do I love my LA-2A so much? Oh yeah, this is why.
  5. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    mmmm-kay! Kev touched on it already. What you are speaking of is dynamics managment (differences between the loudest and softest parts).

    I'm assuming you are doing vocals over some kind of pre recorded / sampled / midi tracks.

    The reason your vocals sound better "in the mix" when they are compressed is that all the sounds you are using (midi generated sounds / samples) were compressed when they were recorded.

    This has the effect of making them appear louder, so anything that is overdubed (vocals etc.) will most likely sit in the mix better when compressed as well.

    However, you are not increasing the quality of the vocal track. There is no plug / hardware device that will increase quality. All processing degrades a signal. There's no such thing as a "Good-u-lator".
  7. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

  8. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    lol , ok thnx for responding.....I didn't know limiters were a for of compression or worked the same way..........and ya , you say that all processing degrades a signal , so then are you saying it is best to do as little plugins as possable?
  9. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    oh and by the way I'd have to say the closest thing I have to a "Good-ulator" would be the BBE sonic maximizer plugin....tiz great
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Compression and limiting are essentially the same thing. Compression usually refers to ratios below 8 to 1 or 10 to 1 and higher ... while compression is usually ratios lower than 8 to 1.

    Yes ... the rule of thumb is as few plugs , as little eq and compression / limiting is the "best" way to record. But keep in mind that in audio rules are made to be broken. You have already experienced this yourself when you observed that adding limiting made it "sound better".

    Learn the rules .... then break them. That way you have a handle on what you are doing and why you are doing it instead of blindly poking and hoping until you make a mistake that sounds good.
  11. sampsoniter

    sampsoniter Guest

    ok , thnx this sounds like good advice. I appriciate it.
    but one thing I guess I did notice after limiting is that the vocals sound a bit thinner......that I don't really like , but at the same time so much more crisp or clear......
    and since I have your atention if you don't mind I have just 2 little questions.....
    I usually leave my mixer's mic eq flat when recording vocals , then I just adjust accordingly in t-racks....so
    1 - should I be adjusting the eq on my mic preamp and avoid adjusting the eq after vocals are recorded , or does it make any difference if I record through a flat eq then tweak after?

    2 - prolly verse stupid question , but should I have any "gain" on for vocals?.....I always thought it just added noise , but was starting to wonder if this is making vocals sound too thin

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