Multing Lead vocals

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joninc
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Multing Lead vocals

Post by joninc » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:18 pm

Been doing a lot of mixing lately and wondering if any of you do the michael brauer type mix thing where you run a vocal to a few different compressors and blend together for presence and tone. Not that you are necessarily slamming them (but maybe you are and just blend in a little of that channel with the more natural main channel)....

He does this with hardware compressor OTB. I sum OTB but all my stuff is balanced internally (Cubase) so I am messing around with doing this ITB (by duplicating the channel and applying different processing) in an attempt to bring the vocal more consistently forward without it sounding too obviously compressed. It's partly also an attempt to get a more solid/thick vocal tone.

(Yes I realize you can compress and eq the main channel and I am doing some but I've found over the years that if you do too much processing on the main channel the resulting sound is less natural sounding than doing things like this in parallel and blending to taste)

Do any of you do this ITB? Any tips on things that have worked well or not so well?

Do you run into phasing problems with various plug ins having different amounts of latency?
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Re: Multing Lead vocals

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:45 pm

I just did this on a record I tracked and mixed. The biggest part of the vocal was uncompressed and I did a ton of volume automation to get it to sit where it needed to be. For the most part that was all that was needed but there were some songs that needed a more aggressive tone without departing from the vocal sound we'd established. For those I doubled the track and put an 1176 plug in on it. All buttons in, fast attack, fast release. The compressed track would get snuck under the main one. The blend was 80-20 or 90-10 clean to compressed. Basically just enough to give the voice some hair and make the diction really clear when the mix got dense.
This mix was all in the box but I've done similar things in the analog world. I didn't notice any real phase issues in the box. They might have become apparent if I was mixing 50-50 clean to comp but for my needs it was all good. It's amazing how little of the compressed track you need if you've done some decent fader riding on the clean vocal.

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Re: Multing Lead vocals

Post by drumsound » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:36 pm

I've not gone full Brauer, but have used parallel compression on vocals a fair amount of times. It really depends on what I want from the vocal. Sometimes one compressor and automation works, sometimes a couple compressors in series on the main track.

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Re: Multing Lead vocals

Post by Matt C. » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:27 pm

I don't go super crazy with it but I do regularly do some parallel compression. I haven't had phase issues related to latency, but you do need to watch out when EQing one of the parallel tracks - it will introduce phase shifts (some types of filters more than others) to that track and might create some interference when summed with the main track.

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Re: Multing Lead vocals

Post by vvv » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:16 pm

Because of the way my DAW works (CEP2.1), I do this every mix, and I do it with compression and verb.

I typically use a limiter and edit the original vocal track for clicks and pops at the same time, going thru and leveling the volume (I usually have to bring up some syllables, sometimes spot de-ess, etc.) I can usually edit a 3.5 minute lead vocal in about 5 or so minutes, after monitoring the playback a few times while overdubbing other stuff.

Then in mixdown, I like a fairly fast compressor taking it down about 4-7 db (I initially record with opto and/or 1176 hardware comps). I parallel that software-compressed track with the unprocessed track and also with a parallel verb (typically a plate setting), often having about 60% vs. like 20% and 20% - as a start, then I tweak to the final mix.

I like to mix from a typical starting position, and then adjust as the mix comes along; the above is how I start, using the same fast compressor and a small plate. I thereafter might vary the compression, the reverb, add delay, adjust EQ ... I find that if I start this way with a known, lightly-processed lead vocal sound, I can more readily hear what the mix "needs", ex., a bigger reverb, a brighter EQ, a touch of distortion, etc.

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Re: Multing Lead vocals

Post by Magnetic Services » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:30 pm

I can't be the only one who clicked on this thread because it looked like "MUTING lead vocals"

Anyway, I rarely fuck with more than one compressor on a vocal track but what I sometimes do (including literally minutes ago) is split the vocal onto separate tracks for different sections. In this case, part 1 has light compression and a bit of reverb, part 2 has moderate compression and a tiny bit of amp sim and delay blended in, and part 3 has no effects but more verb.
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Re: Multing Lead vocals

Post by losthighway » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:14 am

Magnetic Services wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:30 pm
I can't be the only one who clicked on this thread because it looked like "MUTING lead vocals"
I read that the lead vocals from this song were a harmony that covered the entire lead performance by AC Newman. They muted the lead to focus on the harmony performance and he said, "This is how the track is supposed to sound". And then Neko was like, "But I sang it super straight without any style cause it was supposed to blend in. As a lead it's going to sound like I'm half robot." And he was like, "Yeah, I know. It's amazing."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4QY5UKfGJ8

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Re: Multing Lead vocals

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:24 am

^^^^^^ that's cool.

usually don't mess with multiple compressors on vox, but i do like to sneak just a little of the uncompressed vocals in under the compressed ones. basically i just put the compressed vox where they're not quite loud enough in the mix, then bring in the dry track just enough to pop the vox out.

andy hong has talked about taking a mult of the vox, rolling off the lows and highs and squashing the midrange, then bringing that in under the main track. been meaning to try that for ages.

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Re: Multing Lead vocals

Post by drumsound » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:29 am

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:24 am
^^^^^^ that's cool.

usually don't mess with multiple compressors on vox, but i do like to sneak just a little of the uncompressed vocals in under the compressed ones. basically i just put the compressed vox where they're not quite loud enough in the mix, then bring in the dry track just enough to pop the vox out.

andy hong has talked about taking a mult of the vox, rolling off the lows and highs and squashing the midrange, then bringing that in under the main track. been meaning to try that for ages.
That can work on many things, not just vocals. I'll do it with BD sometimes to add attack in a controlled way, or sometimes EQing in only very lows and cutting everything else off. The midrange thing is also good for guitar solos.

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Re: Multing Lead vocals

Post by vvv » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:16 am

losthighway wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:14 am
I read that the lead vocals from this song were a harmony that covered the entire lead performance by AC Newman. They muted the lead to focus on the harmony performance and he said, "This is how the track is supposed to sound". And then Neko was like, "But I sang it super straight without any style cause it was supposed to blend in. As a lead it's going to sound like I'm half robot." And he was like, "Yeah, I know. It's amazing."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4QY5UKfGJ8
That is really cool! Now if only I could sing harmonies ...

I wonder if this is how, say, Interpol does it. :twisted:
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