Metal Vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Dwrek, Jan 17, 2010.

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    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. Dwrek

    Dwrek Guest

    Alright, so most of my recording experience is via live orchestras, acoustic projects, etc.
    I've been working with some friends on some metal stuff they're recording, and I've got the guitars and drums sounding stellar, but I can't get the vocals to sound as heavy, or as full as you'd hear in most professional recordings. So basically, I want to know what plugins/effects/etc that are commonly used to achieve these sounds. I've heard a lot of people will put a ton of reverb or delay on the vocals, but I really have no clue.
  2. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    I don't record metal first thought is mic/preamp choice coupled with the vocalists technique. As far as plugins IMO there is only so much one can do to a vocal, you can add reverb and in some rock that reverb is pretty heavy but reverb can make things sit further back in the mix. Chorus and or delay can also be used. You didn't mention compression which is used on nearly all rock or pop vocals these days. These are the "standard" vocal effects used, though there may be something endemic to metal. There are no rules other than the rule there are no rules so you need to add these until you think it sounds good for the genre you are working in which was a pretty big and definitely ongoing learning curve for me.
  3. Robin.bjerke

    Robin.bjerke Active Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Try using an SM58 through a tube preamp with a compressor before the signal goes to tape. Sounds awesome for growling and the likes.

    You also need a thick, fairly long reverb to make everything sit together nicely.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    And don't forget to high pass filter that SM58.

    Muddy is always muddy until you wipe off some muddy.

    Just snow other way to go
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. Dracual

    Dracual Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    I went to a meeting here, and talked to a guy that engineers the band "purified in blood", I asked him about vocals and he said that he first rode the fader, for proper automation, then added not less than three compressors. the first one with medium rel/att at around 100 ms, 5-6 dB reduction, then one with 200-250 ms up to 20(!) dB reduction and soft knee (he said he used the waves plug-ins, i guess C1 maybe) and then a third, bit faster with less than 10 db reduction.

    I tried only doing the compression, it worked for me, but kind of half-assed, but when i started automating it was amazing:
    what I did, on growling vocals, was that i watched the peak spectrum on the track, and used automation to make the sound look really flat, so instead of the "blobs" you see in waveform, i almost made squares. I did not add more than 6 dB on the start and end of each phrase , and used the highest peak for reference volume.

    As a result, the vocalist got MUCH better articulation, and sounded quite pro.

    Hope this helps :redface:
  6. Robak

    Robak Active Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    No one mentioned the crucial bit - vocalist should have a suitable voice. Even in metal music you need to work with someone who can "sing". Metal vocalists differ a lot. A little EQ and some (sometimes a lot of) compression should make it sound at least acceptable. Automation is allways a good idea Dracual is right about that. It's good to do some doubling (not the whole part but just some important words or phrases). My favourite fx on metal vocals is the micropitchshifter in my Eventide H3500. It should be easy - if it isn't then it might be the vocalist.
  7. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    Square waves instead of I am getting old....I am starting to resist change ;)

    No offense Dracual, but I would like to keep the dynamics alive in the vocal. Give me blobs.

    Dwrek can you post some examples?
  8. fused

    fused Active Member

    Mar 1, 2010
    Home Page:

    you cant go wrong with a sm7b... high spl....takes a load of abuse... try putting it through something aggressive with high gain like an API....

    biggest mistake is dont print TOO HOT! keep it around -20db with peaks at -10db..... leave plenty of room for plugs.....

    what DAW are you using?

  9. Robin.bjerke

    Robin.bjerke Active Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Interesting, will have to try it out. Thanks!
  10. I have recorded Metal Vocals in a studio where the back wall was a curtain that can be drawn back to expose a cement wall....believe it or not, that was a great backround for Metal Vocals...very bright sounding!!
  11. Psilodigm

    Psilodigm Guest

    If its screaming or shouting try a compressor > (soft) distortion pedal or plugin > compressor (for start)... much playing to be done with it though. I've not tried it myself but many renowned metal groups use this both live and in studio; Fear Factory, Slipknot, Divine Heresy, Chimaira etc.

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