making vocal stand out in the mix

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by JT916, Apr 10, 2002.

  1. JT916

    JT916 Guest

    i do understand the term " ducking" to make vocal stand out in the mix with heavy guitar parts.
    Julian, if you are in here, can you show me how to do this inside Protool????
    thank you.
  2. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Fletcher tells of a trick where you but a gate on say, an extra ambient gtr mic track (keeping the close mic in the mix at all times) and setting up tthe gate to only have the extra track very audible when the singer is NOT singing...

    So you could do this 3 ways in PT

    1) Drawmwer plug in set to ' duck' on the amb gtr track, set up a mono send bus on the vocal track (pre fade) then 'pick up' that bus on the plug ins KEY input. Fiddle with the gate till it always shuts down, whenever the singer sings..

    2) Use a compressor plug in on the GTR (must have a KEY input) send the vocals via a bus to the Key input and have the gtrs compress down whenever there is singing.

    3) Fade it in & out by hand.

    Good luck!


    I have to try this out myself one day!

    I am sure there are many other tricks folks use....anyone else?
  3. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    I'm probably going to regret this at some
    point but here goes.....................

    I'm going to TRY and give this away one more time. I guess people didn't understand (or maybe I'm obtuse and they (you) don't care...

    ....It involves using a modified DOLBY A card.
    Either in recording or mixing you send an Aux send to the modified Cat22 card (usually in a 361 module) and return it to your mix "around" -10 relative to the source. Dolby's job is to Expand the top end on signals below the threshold. That means "air" when the singer is softer, and not brittle when there loud. It is much more subtle and cool than anything aphex ever dreamed up (excepting MAYBE there tube beta version). The reason to use a modified Cat22 card is to bypass the Lo & Lo mid compression circuits so that it only affects the top end. I know how to do the mod. I'm not a Tech per say...but I can do this. I'm NOT in this for a buck...I'm jsut trying to be nice and pass along good back,,,that sort of thing. But, this is as close as you can get to a "secret" trick that you've heard on more than a few records. It lets you "hear the tonsils" so to speak, and you can pull the vocal down into the track farther because it sounds apparrently louder. Ask MM if you're an unbeliever.
  4. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Meanwile back to the vocal 'stand out' trickery ...

    look what I found (re dolby A exciter idea above) ale/forsale.html

    Cool eh? anyone interested I can help hook you up with FX. I am chummy with them.


    P.S. Recorderman, do you have to have the whole rack? PSU & all :eek: just to get one card going?
  5. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Hey , we have a bite!

    thank you Julian for chiming in.
    First, a little history.
    Ray Dolby was an engineer in the aeronautics biz (if I'm not mistaken) who came up with the brilliant concept of noise reduction. Basically the way dolby works is to make things brighter (especially up in the frequencies where tape hiss redsides) when you "encode"(read:record) with it. Then when you "decode" (read:playback), it dulls things just as much as it has previously brighted them. This in effect lowers the tape hiss level.
    Now, in the sixties, the Beatles palyed around with the original 2 track version of this, the Dolby 201 or Dolby Stretch as it was known. Big grey units ( I think like 6 spaces...I haven't seen one in a while and I'm working from memory). Anyway, since they liked to break everything to see what would happen, ect. They started to use it to encode only. Not only that...they found that by removing several of the cards (thereby passing the lo / lomid compression) they could get it to not "pump."

    Fastforward, many years, to a time I don't know exactly when....Keith Olsen, a BIG name from the '70's/'80's had a nice dinner with George Martin and plied him as to the "secret" of those breathy Beatle vocals. George alluded to the Dolby Stretch.
    Keith, being very good with the electrical engineering end (not to metion the producing/arranging/recording & mixing ends)
    deciphered how to do this with a Dolby Cat.22 card, which was at the time the more cost effecttive and ubiquitous version of the older Dolby 201. He found out how to mod these cards so that they do not pump.

    You need a Dolby Cat.22 card, probably had for about $100 last time I checked. This goes into a dolby 361 module, another couple hundred for one of these. You can try it , and get an idea of it, without the mod...but it isn't quite the same.

    Anyway, if your mixing. Send and aux of the Lead vocal to the Dolby361/Cat22. into the line in. take the "to record" out and bring it up on the desk. Relativr return volumn will be in the -6 to -10 db area. The 361 sholud be set to normal encoding.

    This is truelly a cool effect. Since it is level dependent expansion, you get more "air " the sofer they sing, end less effect when there over the "0db" threshold. Therefore, playing with the aux send (sendind less input makes the Dolby work more,i.e. more "air").
  6. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    I might just try and get a little system set up. I remember setting this up with some giant Dolby A units for some American producers was I was an intern. The used it on acc gtr too if I recall.

  7. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Hey, Julian, I thought the trick I remembered from Fletcher was to use the vocals to feed the sidechain of a (not particularly colorful) compressor. Stomp down the live mics when the singer's on, let 'em breathe when off. RNC is plenty fine for this. One tip, if effects are essential to the vocal part, use the processed signal to feed the sidechain, or your agonizingly synched multi-tap delays were for naught.

  8. Yes the Dolby trick is very cool! :) You can do something similar with the not so well known dynamic eq unit they put out about 10 years ago that used an SR circuit at its heart. :w:
  9. Geoffc

    Geoffc Guest

    There must be a way to (roughly) simulate this Dolby effect with plug ins, using, say, a BBE plug in or other enhancer. Using an aux send, the plug in, and a compressor plug in. Any thoughts?
  10. One thing I've used to make a vocal stand out is: 1)copy the track. 2) leave the original track for the most part alone eq/compression wise 3) compress the crap out of the copy track 4) add a ton of eq in the 4-6 k range to it and blend it in w/the original track to taste. Don't think this would work too well w/ an overly sibilant vocal but if you don't have that going on it kinda works like an exciter.
    Bob Green
  11. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    That's it.
    I normally do the CAT22 card mod for $100.
    But I'll cut that in half to $50 for anybody that sends me one postage paid.

    And no...the BBE and Aphex do not sound the same (of course no two things sound the same).

    Anyway...I'm not doing this for a paltry $50. It's just something I've known about for a long time and it raelly works at letting the vocal be more apparrent AND lower in the mix. It can fix a badly processed vocal by adiing the "air" and life back in.
    Like I said...ask MM about it.
  12. Pete

    Pete Guest

    Hey I found these.

    SW0041 Dolby 361 frame SR & A Noise reduction cards offer GBP
    SW0042 Dolby 361 frame SR & A Noise reduction cards offer GBP

    is this what I need ( plus the cat 22 card) what is a reasonable price to offer for this 361 frame.? thanks
  13. droog

    droog Active Member

    Nov 3, 2001
    what if one was to use just the top band of the multiband compressor (bypassing the rest)in the aux chain?

    would that give similar (not same) results?
  14. bette

    bette Guest

    Yippee, I own 4 of these 361 units AND 4 of the dolby A cards, and I always thought that these cards are absolutely useless (I use telcom c4 cards for decoding german broadcasting tapes). But now...

    Where can I get a manual or at least some hints to make the modifications? (I would prefer not to send my cards to the usa and back to germany: too expensive and risky)
  15. Fenster

    Fenster Guest
  16. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Give me a little time. I'll see if I can either get a picture from a digital camera or draw a diagram, etc.

    My intentions are just to turn this cool tip on to you guys. The money is only for my time if I were to do the mod. I can tell you it's pretty staright foward. It invovles the removal of two resistors. I get to it as soon as I can, amongst my other duties.
  17. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Just a Little more time...I was down at my room last night, writting. I opened up one of my CAT22 cards to refresh my memory, and indeed it's as I remember...just the ends of two resitors desoldered and ju mped with wires to other locations on the circuit board. I need to hook up with a digital camera to get pictures...when I do I'll post.
  18. Masternfool

    Masternfool Active Member

    Dec 3, 2001
    This "Dolby stretch" has been used a lot on Elton Johns Piano also...Listen to the snare on TOTOs song Rosana...Dolby stretch on the Reverb maybe?
  19. ironsheik

    ironsheik Guest

    Any word on this? I just saw 2 Dolby 361 units go on Ebay for $150 with the Cat 22 cards. Not bad me thinks...
  20. crazy_guitar

    crazy_guitar Member

    Nov 28, 2001
    OK so I wonder if this works. Make an aux channel out of the vocal track, on the aux, EQ it so it has a lot of "air", then put a compressor the an expander, set the key input coming from the original track in a way that when the original track is louder, the aux channel will be almost muted, but when the original track is quiet, the aux wont be muted. So the "air" will be there mostly during the quiet parts. The expander would make the dinamics of the compressor more aparent. Wouldn't that be a similar mechanism used by the dolby thing trick????? what I just explained may not work but the idea is to make the quiet parts only appear in the aux track, not the loud parts, and that track has to be Eqed to have a lot of air.


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