Vocal Headroom - Gain

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by freelight, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. freelight

    freelight Guest

    I've run into a small problem on the vocal track for the project im working on...I'm recording a male vocalist through an e300(2) and an Aphex 207. Normaly, to set an appropriate gain on my preamp i turn on the live monitor feature in Nuendo and set accordingly...making sure it sounds "loud enough" and there's ample headroom on both the LED readout on my preamp and the guage in Nuendo. However, in this situation the vocalist goes from an almost whisper-like tone to a much louder and intense tone. it's not possible for me to record each part in segments...so i've been running into some clipping issues as well as parts that require a major boost in volume, be it a gain incrase after a compression, or simply "cutting" the track and adjusting the volume, however, this is not a subtle change and largely effects the natural and overall sound of the application...
    do you have any ideas, for both this situation and for future projects that may require such concepts...?

    thank you very much guys.
  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    One way you could do it is to split the signal coming out of the mic (or just use TWO mics) and run it into TWO preamp channels, each one set for best/optimum gain - one for loud, and one set for max sensitivity. Track them each to their own tracks, and fix it all up aftewards, in mixdown/post.

    Your 'Loud" padded-down channel wont have enough usuable gain for the low stuff, but on the other hand, your 'Low" channel will be fine for the quiet stuff. while peaking and crapping out during the loud passages. Crossfade from one to the other when mixing down afterwards, and you should be all set.

    Another way to do it is to have serious comp/limiting going on in the front end, but I've never been a fan of that. I'd try the 2-channel approach first, see how you like it.
  3. TornadoTed

    TornadoTed Guest

    I've had this problem before myself. Better mic technique often cures it, make sure he goes right in close on the quiet bits and pulls well away on the louder sections. This with a little bit of compression may do the trick.
  4. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    A time honored technique is to "ride the gain". After a few passes, you'll get to know where the trouble spots are. Set average gain levels slightly favoring the softer vocal passages, and duck the gain on the hotspots to prevent clipping. Any of the real quiet areas can be brought up during the mix with low ratio compression or expansion. I'm personally not a fan of a vocalist changing distances from the mic (at least in a recording environment) as it affects the tonality due to proximity effect. You wind up with more bass in the soft spots, thinner sound in the loud spots. Ultimately, it's a matter of the vocalist needing to improve their studio mic technique by learning to be less dynamic without losing all sense of dynamics.
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    I take it that you haven't found that "MicLim" feature on the 207 to be very useful? You ain't the only one...
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