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name that effect. if you can

Hey, I have been mixing hip hop vocals for a couple years now and there is a certain effect that I am trying to recreate. Its kinda hard to explain but a lot of the mainstream rap has it. It sounds almost like the lead vocal is over processed, it sounds like there is some sort of light grain distortion applied to it. let me know if you have heard what I am hearing and how that could be recreated...thanks.
-C

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Pro Audio Guest Wed, 02/14/2007 - 18:45
ShutDownProductions wrote: Hey, I have been mixing hip hop vocals for a couple years now and there is a certain effect that I am trying to recreate. Its kinda hard to explain but a lot of the mainstream rap has it. It sounds almost like the lead vocal is over processed, it sounds like there is some sort of light grain distortion applied to it....let me know if you have heard what I am hearing and how that could be recreated...thanks.
-C

Specific song examples would really help.... or even what artist generally tends to use that effect that your thinking of... even though its probably fairly common.... but just to try to narrow it down so we're all thinking of the same thing.

RemyRAD Wed, 02/14/2007 - 20:28
Maybe you are referring to the "toy megaphone into the microphone trick"?? It's a cool funky overload distortion from the battery-powered megaphone. Check Toys "R" Us? Really. A friend of mine did that with her latest CD and it was pretty cool sounding. And accomplished for under $20! That's my kind of audio!

Giving good audio for $20.
Ms. Remy Ann David

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 02/14/2007 - 20:33
ShutDownProductions wrote: Hey, I have been mixing hip hop vocals for a couple years now and there is a certain effect that I am trying to recreate. Its kinda hard to explain but a lot of the mainstream rap has it. It sounds almost like the lead vocal is over processed, it sounds like there is some sort of light grain distortion applied to it....let me know if you have heard what I am hearing and how that could be recreated...thanks.
-C

I went and listened to about 20 of 50 cents songs, and though I'm on my Internet computer (no detailed monitoring so I cant listen closely unless I drag out my headphones).... I really dont hear anything special going on there.

I dont hear any vocoding of any kind, and I dont hear any distortion or grainy type effects. I really think its much simpler than that, and I dnt think they are relying on any palette of advanced effects.

What I hear is just crafty use of compression and EQ by an engineer who know how to mix. Again, that was just 50 cent I was listening to... nobody else.


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Alright, this is just pure speculative horsecrap.... but I dug this info up anyway from the mix engineer Steve “Steve B” Baughman who I guess is pretty well known in that genre, and this is one of the things he had to say in an interview for whatever its worth:

"I usually choose the vocal chain we do with G-Unit and 50 Cent. Typically, that is a Neve 1073 followed by a Summit TLA-100 compressor to a Teletronix LA-2A. Sometimes on harder vocals, like with 50, where I might need to bring down the peaks, I will use the dbx 160 followed by the Sony 800G mic."



Also, for what its worth, here is another more detailed article which has a whole gear listing for what Hi-Tek and Baughman like to use for that genre of music. Scroll down the article, or read whole thing if you like.

http://www.africasgateway.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=8761
You also might want to scan any interviews for producer "Hi-Tek" (aka Tony Cottrell) to see what he might have to say about how get goes about getting certain sounds.


And another article:

http://remixmag.com…


Hi-Tek's opinion differs. “Some people don't stand in front of the mic the right way,” he says, “and you've got to use compression to adjust the way they go to tape.” Capturing the best possible vocal take makes things much easier for Hi-Tek because he can go back and make that vocal gritty if he wants to, but he can't make a gritty recording sound smooth. For that reason, he pays attention to the environment for recording vocals and prefers a nice-sounding vocal booth or room. He recommends using the highest-quality mics and preamps you can afford.

Hi-Tek records vocals either straight to 2-inch analog tape or to an Alesis ADAT or a Tascam DA-88 digital tape machine. He never records into Pro Tools. “I don't like the computer's flat sound,” he says. “You need to have some type of tape sound. It has to sound like a record.” When working with Hi-Tek, MCs usually get just a few bars of a beat to rhyme over, with perhaps a hook or chorus in place. Then, with the vocals recorded, Hi-Tek will build the remainder of the track around them. He'll even cut up vocal parts in the sampler. “The vocal is just another instrument in the track,” he explains. “So whatever we have to do to make it sound good, we do it.”



Some of it doesnt necessarily relate to the vocals you were asking about.... but just something you might want to know, if your looking to emulate a particular kind of sound.

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 02/14/2007 - 20:54
You mentioned a vocoder-type sound: the intentional overuse of pitch-correction software as an effect adds a mechanical, 10KHz sound to vocal parts, and this seems to be a growing trend in pop vocals today. Maybe multiple-track your lead parts and pitch-correct the tar out of some of them.

Edit: this, too, is entirely speculative as to how the sound is attained.

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