Vocal distortion FX and VTB-1

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by tripnek, Sep 17, 2003.

  1. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    I do a lot of metal bands and they tend to want distortion on the vocals for some or all of the tracks. I've tried using plugins like the grungilizer, I've run the track through the Line 6 POD, Sansamp Bass DI and a few other Guitar distortion boxes. For the most part the bands are satisfied, but I'm not happy with the results I've achived at this point. I'd like to use tubes, but I'm really not exited about running vocals through a $1500 guitar amp. Ive heard of people using tube mic preamps for this. The adverts for the Studio Projects VTB-1 suggests it is capable of "hard distortion FX". Have any of you tried this? Any other methods to accomplish this effect?

    And for those using the VTB-1, how does this thing stack up to your average low end mixer pre (i.e. Mackie, Alesis, ect...)for sound quality. The advert says "the VTB-1 is a totally discrete circuit" which I would associate with the high end pre's, but for $129???? Whats your opinion of the unit? Any comparisons you can give to other units? Will two of these sit on a single space rack shelf?
  2. invisibl

    invisibl Guest


    you say you are not happy despite the band being happy with the results.

    What are you not happy with exactly please?
  3. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    Don't get me wrong, the FX I'm getting aren't terrible I'm just yet to be satisfied. Clarity and warmth seem to be lacking especially compared to comercial recordings using this type of effect. It may just be the quality of the mic pre's, but it seems logical that using tubes of some sort would be better. Just curious as to what methods other people are using. And specifically the ability of the VTB-1 for this effect as well as other uses.

    [ September 19, 2003, 06:35 AM: Message edited by: tripnek ]
  4. pumpcat

    pumpcat Guest

    Try cloning the vocal track so you have two identical tracks. Run one clean with moderate compression, and the other with distortion. Mix the two to get the desired balance of grit and clarity. Watch out for phase issues between the two tracks.

    Also, try using different EQ on each track. For example, HPF on the clean track, and a LPF at the same frequency on the distorted track.
  5. I have created distortion on vocals using several devices : TL Audio FAT-1 stereo valve compressor, Line6 POD, SPL Mike Man mic preamp into ART DI/O tube driven A/D converter, guitar amp simulations in a Roland VS-2480 (VS8F-2 effects board).

    They all work, but sound different. At the moment I've taken to using the guitar amp simulations on my Roland VS-2480 (to me these sound very similar to the effects in a Boss VF-1 which I used to own). What I do is use them as a loop effect rather than an insert. This allows me to blend the distorted and undistorted vocals to create the sound that I want. Having the undistorted vocals there retains some of the clarity of the vocal sound.

    The Roland effects seem to be good for getting very obviously distorted vocal sounds. The POD tube preamp setting is great for distorting a vocal quite considerably, but it being unnoticeable in a busy mix except for the added presence and slightly fuller sound.

    Using a preamp (like the VTB-1) to create vocal distortion is fine, but I would suggest using it as an effect (either insert or loop) during mixing rather than when recording.

    I can't comment on the VTB-1 because I have not used it, but I have heard good things said about it. Be aware that valves don't always equal warmth. It really does depend on the circuitry and the valves.

  6. tonio

    tonio Guest

    Hey Pete,
    How do you like the TL Audio FAT-1 stereo comp?
  7. wwittman

    wwittman Active Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    My favourite distortion trick is to crank an La2a all the way up an mix it back in on another channel.

    but i have to say that i recently mixed a hardcore record from ProTools using the Antares Tube plug-in and that was a really nice LITTLE bit of grungey distortion sound... nicely subtle.

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