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Volumes on Vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Toxsick, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. Toxsick

    Toxsick Guest

    I was wondering if their is another way of getting all the volumes on the vocal on the same level...usually when i record my volumes go up high sometimes and lower at other times...i normalize or higher limit the vocals but it still doesn't balance out and level everything the same...i use compressor at times but it ends up compressing my vocals real bad where it doesn't sound natural anymore...any suggestions?
  2. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Change the parameters.

    If this is for rock and roll, RemyRAD likes to suggest you put the ratio to 4 and then set the threshold at whatever will elicit 10dB of reduction during the louder parts.
    Adjust attack/release to suit.
  3. Toxsick

    Toxsick Guest

    What if it's for hip hop vocals? I just want them leveled out but not overly compressed
  4. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    The bottom line with recording anything is that if it requires enough compression and/or limiting to squash the sound, then there's something wrong with the delivery. I've been playing punk for a lot of years, and there are plenty of punk vocalists whose volume level will vary so much, the only way to fix it is to use too much limiting and compression (at least that's what a lot of old records sound like now that I know about these things). You could always draw in volume envelopes, which has worked well so far for me. I think the bottom line with this is that (and this is not a personal attack on you, but a generalization) most hip hop vocalists really don't have control of their voice like a trained singer does, and so you probably will have to use more compression than you want to on most hip hop vocalists. You could try riding the faders, too.
  5. Toxsick

    Toxsick Guest

    Hmmm i guess i see what your saying...but thing that really confuses me is that some hip hop vocalists will have such loud smooth vocals in their songs, and it sounds like they did not need much compression. But at the same time, it seems like they have a lot of energy in one line and lower energy in another but at the end all volumes are the same. I'm just tryna figure out how I can make the volumes for my vocals similar to this.
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    So - cut out the smoother parts and put them on a separate track, and use different compression settings on those parts.
  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Can I ask you a few quesitons to help think about some recommendations?

    Are you using a hardware compressor or software compressor?

    Are you compressing while you're recording the vocal or compressing the track with a plug-in after you record it.

    Are you Normalizing before or after you do the compression?
  8. Toxsick

    Toxsick Guest

    Alright i'll answer your questions one by one:

    1) software compressor
    2) I use compressor after i record not during recording
    3) normalize before

    if i normalize / compressor certain parts that are lower, the volumes sound way off like the smooth parts will be nice and then itll go up high or sound different for the parts that got normalized / compressed / highered in volume
  9. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    If you're ITB, you can automate the compressor and/or the fader to get what your looking for...

    Back in the day, that was all but impossible to do for much more than a single track bounce to a backup.
  10. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    From the results you're describing, that's exactly what I thought you'd say.

    If you can, try putting a compressor on the channel while you record. As it's been recommended 4:1 ratio is common for vocals. I would use soft-knee if it's an option for vocals . Sing through the loudest parts while watching the meters on the compressor if it has them. If you can monitor gain-reduction, follow Remy's advice and try to peak out at about -10dB gain-reduction for the hottest sections.

    Then if you feel you need more compression, use a little software compression after you track it. You may not need 4:1 this time.

    Normalize it last - and only if you need to. If you do the first two you may not need to milk every fraction of a decibel out of it.

    I think you'll get better results if you can do things in this order. Normalizing first, I think, cuts into how effective the compressor can be.
  11. Toxsick

    Toxsick Guest

    Oh man i've just tried it and its amazing! haha thanks a lot...but i have one more question and this may make me sound extremely noobie...i have a preset called classic soft knee so i put that on and it has four different sections:

    compress 5:1 above -10db
    compress 2.5:1 below -10db
    compress 1.5:1 below -24db
    expand 1.2:1 below -40db

    am i changing all the ratios to 4:1 and all dBs to -10? Sorry I'm just not good with compressor settings
  12. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    You're welcome!

    To be clear, you don't want the threshold to be -10dB. You want to adjust the threshold so you get 10 dB of gain reduction when you're really belting out the vocal. (again you can only gauge that if you have meters that work in real time while you're tracking - or at least setting the levels before tracking)

    I'd skip the presets, if you're getting something you're happy with. If it doesn't have a hard-knee/soft-knee 'button' skip it.
  13. Toxsick

    Toxsick Guest

    hmmm weird i tried to put everything to -10dB in the beginning and vocals were leveled out and sounded nice..do i leave it or change it up?
  14. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Trust your ears, not your eyes. If it sounds good to you, leave it alone! Maybe save a preset of the setting(s) you are getting good results with. It may be that setting the threshold at -10dB was the right setting to get 10dB of reduction.

    Like they say, "if it ain't broke - don't fix it"
  15. Toxsick

    Toxsick Guest

    haha thats true well anyways man that's what i really needed...not too compressed and not to loud on some parts and i've got it now! Thanks to the max!!!!!
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Learn to 'work' the mic. Learn to deliver your lines in an even way with your voice without thinking about using any compression..
  17. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Just a thought -
    I've been doing this for a long time and I've never normalized a thing. Ever.
  18. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    I'm having a deja vu. :O
    Even more off topic, I have normalised.
    And compressed badly.

    Mainly because I had no idea how to work the tools and I still have crappy ones.
  19. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Why not? I don't use normalization much, but you've made comments like this before, and I've never understood your reasoning. I thought that normalization was just a floating point multiplication of the track data. Is there more to it than that?
  20. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    So is normalization a crutch? Are you saying that a good engineer shouldn't need to normalize even if he's recording some caped and mascara'd death metal singer who is eating the microphone? Or am I getting you wrong here?

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