Tips for getting a clean sound on vocal recordings?

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Re: Tips for getting a clean sound on vocal recordings?

Post by Hippie162 »

The Elf wrote:Seriously, rather than buying a plug-in your money would be better spent on Cubase Pro - VariAudio really is that good. It is seamlessly integrated with Cubase and lets you fine tune each and every note to an exacting degree, which is what you need to keep it sounding natural.

I am thinking that Pro might be the best way to go as I am finding so many limitations along the way with Artist as I am quite ambitious with what I want to achieve. I have seen you can auto generate harmony voices in pro also, thoughts on that or naff?

My credit card is now looking very tempting!

I just wanted to say Elf you were so right about the drum pattern.. I decided to just remove altogether for now and it is a completely different song (for the better).. much more intimate and more like my references in style. I may add some light percussion or claps / clicks and that is it. And also wanted to say thank you as you give really good advice :-)
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Re: Tips for getting a clean sound on vocal recordings?

Post by The Elf »

Hippie162 wrote:I have seen you can auto generate harmony voices in pro also, thoughts on that or naff?

It can work well, as long as the auto-harmonies are not too exposed in the mix. Often I've used the auto process to create the harmony lines, then had the vocalist learn and perform them - and then sometimes layered the real harmonies with the auto ones. This all helps to create big, lush BVs.

Layering a real lead vocal with a near-fully corrected one can also make good doubled vocals.

And then there's the auto-alignment, which is also good for tightening up the timing of doubles and harmonies.

As long as these things are used to enhance, as opposed to create/prop up, a performance, then they are all to the good. It's when I have vocalists delivering me sub-standard parts, then telling me I can 'do something with that' that I begin to get twitchy.

Hippie162 wrote:I just wanted to say Elf you were so right about the drum pattern.. I decided to just remove altogether for now and it is a completely different song (for the better).. much more intimate and more like my references in style. I may add some light percussion or claps / clicks and that is it. And also wanted to say thank you as you give really good advice

You're welcome. It's just about passing the knowledge on.
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Re: Tips for getting a clean sound on vocal recordings?

Post by Hippie162 »

So I took the plunge and upgraded to Cubase Pro11 :shock: Which is taking all day to download it seems..

I will post an updated mix once I have sorted the issues discussed if that is ok with you guys :-)
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Re: Tips for getting a clean sound on vocal recordings?

Post by The Elf »

Good for you! :thumbup:

Read the pages on VariAudio three times carefully before you begin to try it out. And the secret is in how you implement it, so come back before you use it in anger...
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Re: Tips for getting a clean sound on vocal recordings?

Post by Hippie162 »

I have started cleaning up my vocals now on the track and wondered if you guys could answer me a couple of queries?

Regarding automation; I have so far done the volume automation on the main vocal using the fader, sort of riding it as the vocal plays and trying to keep the volume at the same level on the meter. My question is, should I not be automating the pre gain instead? I remember Elf telling me to try and leave faders at unity.. but then was wondering if other people sort their volume automation and then render the audio down (or not? does it matter?) - I was planning on doing this prior to compression so I guess I would have to use pre gain?

I have started getting the hang of the control parameters in Variaudio and am so happy I have it now, you can't even hear the vocal has been corrected which is what I wanted :-)
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Re: Tips for getting a clean sound on vocal recordings?

Post by The Elf »

Set the gain such that the peak level is around the -10dBFS mark with the fader at unity. Now leave it there!

Then automate the fader.

It sounds like you’ve headed straight into automation, though. I would be looking at other measures before going there, such as Part levels.

The aim is *not* to have the vocal level steady throughout the song - it is to have vocal level be appropriate to the mix throughout the song. This is a creative process - not a technical one.

Also, I would group the vocal and automate the Group, rather than the track. By doing this you can more easily trim the overall vocal level.

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Re: Tips for getting a clean sound on vocal recordings?

Post by Hippie162 »

Ah! Thank you Elf!

That has cleared it all up in my head.. I started by sorting part levels using a mixture of direct offline processsing first and the volume tool in Variaudio when required and then went onto automation.

That is why I only did the main vocal and then stopped, easy to undo the lot and start fresh tonight :-)
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Re: Tips for getting a clean sound on vocal recordings?

Post by The Elf »

I wouldn’t use offline processing to sort out levels. Be consistent with your methods, such that you have the flexibility to change it at any time - it will be a cyclic, re-iterative process until the vocal sits correctly for you.

Many Cubase users never discover Part -automation, and this is great for fixing syllables. After that would come track (or Group - as I’ve explained) automation. Each layer has its place, but be methodical - if one method starts fighting other you can end up tying yourself in knots!

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Re: Tips for getting a clean sound on vocal recordings?

Post by The Elf »

I should add that I personally don’t favour VariAudio for level changes, but that’s just me. I just think any process you have that is ‘invisible’ can be a bit of a stumbling block.

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Re: Tips for getting a clean sound on vocal recordings?

Post by Hippie162 »

Thank you for this Elf.

That's good advice, I started it with the audio files in a fresh project to play about last night so luckily I have all the original dry audio still to start with a clean slate.

Group tracks .. yes I will do this as I have doubled parts in places that will need to be grouped !

Thanks again :-)
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