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Vocal Saturation/Distortion

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by dayn72283, May 10, 2006.

  1. dayn72283

    dayn72283 Active Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I'm sure there are several methods to the same end in this case, but I was wondering how the vocals are tracked/processed to get the sound you hear from groups like Rancid, Arctic Monkeys, The Hives, etc. I know that most of these recordings are already limited to the max, but the vocals have a certain "old tape" quality. Is this generally done during tracking with a certain pre and mic combo (even recording the vocal on reel-to-reel and transferring to the mix later), or is it better done when mixing by bringing up the mids and/or something else?
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    I'm sure you will find many opinions from many different folks here how to get the best distortion out of your equipment?

    There are already numerous emulation programs available through software. But if you are really adventuresome, try looping your clean microphone track back out 1 track of your DAW through a nice microphone preamp, overload the preamp, then plug into a tube guitar amplifier, play with the volume and tone controls. Then Mike with a SM58 and rerecord that back into your DAW to another track. Voila! Beautiful distortion..... If there was such a thing.

    Looking for distortion in all the wrong places
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. There are many ways to get the distorted sound you are going for. No 1 way is the best. Just different
    If I were trying to reproduce that sound I'd start by overdriving the mic pre amp and then go straight to tape, disc whatever.
    Just make sure you don't clip your recorders inputs. My Great River mic pre is good for stuff like that. Plenty of gain (distortion) on the input knob, and it's easy to get a good level with the output transformer turned down on the output knob.
    If you have a pre amp simular with lots of gain, you should be able to get fair results.
    Lastly I would also add some effects to the vocals tracks during mixdown. But for the most part, I'd record the vocal tracks distorted, rather than try to distort them later.
  4. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Pretty much what Remy said.

    I've used stompboxes, overloaded my SCA N72, sent the vocal through a guitar amp, used distortion plugs.

    Sending vocals through a distorted amp is what I normally do when I want a wild sounding Ministry style vocal.
  5. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    the only thing that i would add as i've done all of the above and then some, would be that you should try to reamp vocals more often than re-record them distorted. you will get a tighter sound, unless of course you would like to get that doubled vocal sound. no hard fast rule, but i always double vocals anyway, but i do it by grabbing all of the takes and making 2 comp tracks, 1 main and 1 double.

    Then I will use vocalign or manually line everything up and reamp the first track if i need more grit. Sometimes I will use plugins if I'm lazy, but most of the time I will try to overload my N72, art tube mp, or reamp it through a marshall or other amp with distortion pedals and delay pedals to mess with the sound.

    I also like layering a lot of vocals for different parts say, additional vocals for a chorus or whatever.


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