How do i Effectively Use pre amps and get pro vocal sounds?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by Nightshivers, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. Nightshivers macrumors newbie

    Nightshivers

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    Sep 26, 2007
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    Pandamonium Fortress
    #1
    Well I am just getting in to using actual pre amps for vocals instead of onboard plug ins for pro tools.. whats the significant differene.. Also I know everyones voice is difference.. but whats an effective way to get the vocals to sound "PRO" when recording.. I usualy just compress the heck out of em.. oh I'm recording acousic guitar and vocals.. if that helps. Basically the best settings for a 3 band EQ and Compression: ratio,knee, blah ect
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #2
    ?????????????
     
  3. colinmack macrumors regular

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    Feb 25, 2006
    #3
    A high-quality tube preamp makes a lot of difference, and of course a high-quality vocal mic - you can easily spend thousands+ on each, but there are some bargains like the Shure SM7 that will give you fantastic results (and are used by a lot of pros).

    For me it's the same formula: a good mic, a good tube preamp to add warmth/tone, pop shield, and 2 or 3:1 compression on the way in does the trick...I never EQ vocals while tracking (always try to get the right sound from selecting mics, mic positioning, etc. - more flexibility when mixing, easier for punching, etc.).

    Once it's tracked, I tend to not use much EQ (excessive EQ on vocals tends to make them sound a bit unnatural), but I normally compress it further, add some subtle stereo harmonizing for fullness, roll off a bit of low rumble, and add a touch of 10K+ air. If there are a lot of backup vocals they often need some shelving between them so they fit together, but that's about it.
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    a high-quality anything preamp can make a big difference, doesn't have to be tube. and if one can't drop at least $1500/channel for a tube pre, imho one should stick to solid state.

    i'm still curious to see the mic pre plug-in, though :)
     
  5. Nightshivers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nightshivers

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    #5
    k cool thx.. Any ideas for some good pre amps.. right now I just use the Audio Technica At2020 and 2021 for recording the guitar as well.. how do those fair up for price to performance
     
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #6
    actually, i like the 2020 a good bit, considering the price. haven't used the other one.

    in most cases, you need to spend $1000/channel to get a truly good pre. but the exception is the $475 dual-channel FMR RNP (really nice preamp). i don't use mine so much anymore, but it's a great starter pre, and will outclass any of the motu/m-audio/presonus/mackie/etc pre's in that price range.
     
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    Jul 18, 2002
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    toronto
    #7
    oh, and to your original question of making a pro vocal, it takes a lot. talent, gear, performance, room, engineering skills... in no particular order.

    the song i just finished mixing had a good vocal performance, but a bad mic, pre and room. here's the list of things i used/did to get it in shape:

    1. automated levels
    2. automated down hard consonants
    3. reverb
    4. h/w compression, in parallel
    5. h/w EQ
    6. s/w EQ
    7. 2x de-essers
    8. 3x stereo delays (or was it 4?)
    9. chorus
     
  8. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #8
    I think the OP isn't talking about gain, they are talking about a magical effect (software or hardware) that will sprinkle fairy dust on the vocals and make them sound professional.

    Nightshivers: It's garbage in, shined up and polished garbage out, here.

    You need a good performance - in tune, on time, and with emotion that works with the song. You need to record it with a minimum of unintended distractions, like P popping, sibilants, volume and tonal variations from moving in and out of range, overemphasized proximity effect, and the like. Using a pop filter and schooling the vocalist in technique (as well as the mic selection) is important here.

    Compressing the #*$& out of a vocal is a technique that may make it sound like certain types of professional recording, but used in the wrong place will make it sound lifeless and squashed.

    The room sound is a major component of the vocal sound. You can choose between a live or a dead space, but it should be free of resonances, external noises, and distracting echoes.

    The microphone has to be right for the voice and the song. Not that it has to be a $2000 mic, but that it has to reinforce the qualities of the voice, and give a tone colour appropriate to the song.

    In short - a recording sounds professional because it was made professionally--- which means with a multitude of recording choices made though experience, disciplined experimenting, and good, hard listening.

    There is no "make it Pro" button you can press. No "magic Ratio".

    A good place to start is at the library, and read as many back issues of Sound on Sound, Recording, EQ, Electronic Musician, Mix and other magazines as you can. They are full of case studies, how-tos, interviews with engineers and producers, and equipment reviews and comparisons.
     
  9. Nightshivers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nightshivers

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    Sep 26, 2007
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    Pandamonium Fortress
    #9
    gotcha.. yeah I have a great studio setup and I got the vocals.. its just I didn't know what techniques you all use to get a real harmonized sound.. its just sometimes and I'm sure all of you.. have trouble getting everything to "flow" right.
     

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