what are you doing when record vocal ?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by fiast, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. fiast

    fiast Guest

    Hi all,

    i newbie here ..
    just asking a quite simple question here ..

    what are you doing when record vocal ?
    1. are you using compressor for that ?
    2. are you using equalizer for that ?
    3. or are you just using preamp n just flat it ?

    hmm ..my friend told me that when we record vocal ..
    we need compressor ..that not only just compress the vocal but also
    give colour to the vocal ..
    is that right ?coz i really confused for that ..
    why vocal need to colour when we record that ..
    all i know that colour vocal or whatever not in record ..but in mix ..

    please share about that to me ..

    cheers .
  2. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Welcome to RO!

    You will find all kinds of people with all kinds of theories here and elsewhere. The best route is usually the simplest.

    Good Mic (or at least not bad) e.g. SM58

    Preamp - colored or neutral (tube or solid state - preference) But... if you're using it on many tracks or overdubbing mulitple vocal tracks, a cheap pre will make itself known by an ugly build up of that color. Spend $ or go neutral is my motto. The sooner you learn this lesson the less $ you will waste.

    Be careful what room you record the vocal in. If its untreated with lots of bad reflections, you'll be better off with a dynamic mic rather than any condenser. Again, learn the lesson sooner to save $.

    EQ/Compression are probably better left as an effect or side-chain on the final vocal track to make a vocal sit in the mix. If they're "needed" before that stage your problem is probably
    1. poor vocal performance (garbage in=garbage out)
    2. poor room - eq/compression don't really fix these
    3. poor signal chain - mic or mic pre

    Fix 1-3 and then see where you stand before adding eq/compression. If you don't know how to fix 1-3 start using the search button on this site.

    Good Luck

  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Of course like rear ends, we all have an opinion. And I have a big one.

    With the advent of digital recording, we all found ourselves recording to a format that did not have 65 DB of dynamic range & signal to noise ratio. Back in those analog tape days, you really wanted to get it right going in on to tape. Today, with 16-bit & 24-bit most people think it's not necessary. But I think it is. Why? Because it changes how the bits are packed and that changes how it sounds. it's a difference in density that doesn't quite hold true when you do it to a digital recording. But at least these days, you can record both simultaneously without as much fear of running out of tracks. And if you combine the original unprocessed track with the processed track, you'll find more magic in that. I like doing that. So it's never just either/or any more. And I'm one of those folks that still works in 16-bit because its dynamic range is still greater than that of analog tape, which I'm still used to. I don't need no stinkin' 24-bit blah blah unless my clients request it specifically. We are speaking in rock-and-roll terms, not fine arts orchestral. There are advantages to using 24-bit when dealing with that genre. So many quiet passages.

    Old-fashioned type
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  4. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Home Page:
    If there was any advice I could offer to a newbie on this forum, it would be to listen to Remy.
    Yes, she seems to speak in tongues sometimes. But there is great wisdom and insight hidden within. Like a guru! Seriously.

    Phil's reply is spot on though. That's the kind of "textbook" answer I was searching for when I started.
    He, Remy and others have taught me to look at technique first. If you can't make a decent recording w/ a 58/57 through a decent, clean preamp, what good will big $$ gear do you?
    That's like wrecking a Toyota and expecting to do better w/ a Ferrari.
  5. fiast

    fiast Guest

    actualy i'm not good in english ..but i think to understant ..

    btw i wanna know ..
    when you all record vocal ?
    are you just using preamp only ?
    or using preamp with compressor / equalizer / both ?
    can you all share why ?

  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    I mix direct to 2-track (sometimes 1-track) and have no outboard compression, so my processing is purely preamp and then EQ.

    If I had compression, there'd be a little of that too, but purely to control the live sound aspect.
    My processing is hastily applied ITB afterward.
  7. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    I think that if you are a beginner/novice it would be best to go preamp only for recording vocals. While very experienced engineers sometimes use compression as part of the recording chain it is because they are sure that the sound they are recording is exactly what they want. It is my understanding that adding compression to tracks already previously compressed can give poor results. If you record direct you can add as much or as little compression after the fact by using plug-in software. By the way ITB means "In The Box" or in the computer.
  8. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    I agree with this approach as well, but it requires a bit more working knowledge of routing or splitting. If you can handle that... by all means then you should have the best of both worlds. (that is if you don't create signal loss or artifacts with the split.)

    I'm assuming we're talking about hardware compression.

  9. fiast

    fiast Guest

    yes you are right .. :D
  10. I like to record in clean...Good clean preamp only, no compression or eq. It's all afterthought for me. My theory is that I can add anything later, but once it's recorded you can't take anything "outboard" away.
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