Vocal Recording Question

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Papanate
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Vocal Recording Question

Post by Papanate » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:10 pm

I've been recording my Daughter (15 years old - great voice) for the last couple of years. I use Logic Pro X, Apogee Duet USB, and Various Microphones.

Recently I've been using the Sterling ST-55 Straight to the Apogee. I've been puzzled by the results though. I use either the Logic, Waves and Izotope plugins. To my ears when I run the Microphone straight into the Apogee Duet the results are really good. Nice presence and a full sounding voice. On occasion I use Nectar 2 and some of their chains. No matter how much I tweak the chain Nectar seems to smear the vocals.

When I use the similar Waves components - the results a bit better. My go-to plugin chain are the Renaissance EQ, the CLA-76 and/or the Renaissance Vox compressors, and then Renaissance Reverb and H-Delay. I really have to back down the Reverb and H-Delay to keep her vocal presence up front.


I'm curious as to why there is this much change in overall quality between Nectar and the Waves/Logic Plug ins. Any Insight Folks?

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losthighway
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Re: Vocal Recording Question

Post by losthighway » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:37 pm

I can't speak to the Nectar plugins, as I've never used them. I can only affirm that you're already doing the right thing: using your ears critically.

Sometimes less processing yields stronger results on vocals. I'd say keep using what works and forget the rest. If you feel like you're still on a hunt for a sound that could lead to trying some other plugins, or joining the lot of us who keep shelling out big bucks for hardware. Good preamps and nice hardware compressors can add a little something nice, but that's a matter of if you're interested in spending a lot of money to add a little something nice.

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Nick Sevilla
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Re: Vocal Recording Question

Post by Nick Sevilla » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:09 pm

Papanate wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:10 pm
I'm curious as to why there is this much change in overall quality between Nectar and the Waves/Logic Plug ins. Any Insight Folks?
Different companies make different products ?!?

I demoed the Izotope Nectar stuff. Was NOT impressed. I found them "fuzzy / phasey" sounding. Boxy. Totally unpleasant to me. I have used only their noise reduction plug ins sometimes, but that is not for processing vocals in a mix, it is a utility tool for fixing noise issues, so I do not expect it to be "crystal clear pristine" sounding.

I have been using Waves, Nomad Factory, and UAD plug ins to great success. I do not feel another company can come along and knock those out of my regular use.

When I record vocals I use a clean and simple gain circuit (Focusrite Platinum, Allen & Heath 8200 series console preamp, 500 series Tonelux mic pre), which are all solid state (not tube), plus a real LA2A compressor, or a real Urei 1176 compressor, sometimes both (if rock and roll, and the vocal is a little too wild) straight into a Focusrite Red2 converter (line inputs).

I think you should just stop using the plug ins that do not get you the sound you want. Don't get suckered into using a plug in because the company TELLS YOU it is AMAZING ON VOCALS. That is pure marketing b.s. Keep using your ears.
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Re: Vocal Recording Question

Post by drumsound » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:24 pm

I agree with the guys above. Keep using the things you think make the mix better, and skip the things that don't.

ON the delay and reverb, are you inserting them, or running them on aux sends? If you're inserting them, try to put them on and aux insert fed from a send on the vocal track. It gives you a lot more freedom in the mix, and allows things to be adjusted more simply.

asterisk
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Re: Vocal Recording Question

Post by asterisk » Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:47 pm

I don't know how helpful a comment this is, but it's worth saying: perhaps you just prefer vocals on the dry side? I know that I often do. I process something and then I find it doesn't suit. And it bugs me sometimes, because, you know, I have these plugins. Some of them are expensive. I almost feel compelled to use them. But it's about getting to the sound that you want, that you think will work. Sometimes that's not going to be very compressed, or won't feature big reverb, etc. And that's totally OK.

Papanate
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Re: Vocal Recording Question

Post by Papanate » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:00 pm

drumsound wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:24 pm
I agree with the guys above. Keep using the things you think make the mix better, and skip the things that don't.

ON the delay and reverb, are you inserting them, or running them on aux sends? If you're inserting them, try to put them on and aux insert fed from a send on the vocal track. It gives you a lot more freedom in the mix, and allows things to be adjusted more simply.

Both Delay and Reverb on on Buss 1 and Buss 2 respectively. I was just a bit surprised that the Nectar plugs muck things up so much.

Papanate
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Re: Vocal Recording Question

Post by Papanate » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:17 pm

asterisk wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:47 pm
I don't know how helpful a comment this is, but it's worth saying: perhaps you just prefer vocals on the dry side? I know that I often do. I process something and then I find it doesn't suit. And it bugs me sometimes, because, you know, I have these plugins. Some of them are expensive. I almost feel compelled to use them. But it's about getting to the sound that you want, that you think will work. Sometimes that's not going to be very compressed, or won't feature big reverb, etc. And that's totally OK.

Interesting that you say that - I changed things up on the second day of recording. I moved the vocals to the Living Room - Couches, Big Soft Chairs and the room is shaped somewhat like a Hexagon. I also changed the vocal mic to ...wait for it....one of the original Studio Projects C1s I bought back in the days. I had a CAD vocal shield back about 12"s and a Pop Filter 2" in front of the C1. I reconfigured the vocal chain - stripped it to just the CLA-76 and then put the Waves Abbey Road Plate on a Buss- and I didn't put the Plate on the vocals when recording. I also put the H-Delay on another buss but didn't use it.

The presence peak on the C1 benefited my daughters vocals a whole lot. She went from sounding like she was hiding behind things to right up front and dry - and the CLA-76 was barely touching the vocals. She was blown away by her vocal sound - and was glowing after she heard it.

So that long winded approach was to say you are right - I love her vocals on the dry side it really suits the songs we are doing - which are intimate Piano and Guitar type affairs with vocals prominently featured.

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Re: Vocal Recording Question

Post by ashcat_lt » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:02 pm

Papanate wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:10 pm
(15 years old...) for the last couple of years.
How'd you manage that? I told mine he wasn't allowed to turn 10, so he's had seven 9th birthdays.

Papanate
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Re: Vocal Recording Question

Post by Papanate » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:04 am

ashcat_lt wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:02 pm
Papanate wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:10 pm
(15 years old...) for the last couple of years.
How'd you manage that? I told mine he wasn't allowed to turn 10, so he's had seven 9th birthdays.


Ha! That made me laugh out loud. It's like kids are on a rocket to adulthood - as time goes by incredibly fast.

You quote reminded me of a blues guy in San Diego - who at every gig claimed he was sober and gave a toast to his wife about being sober. We always joked that his toast was - And here's to telling my wife I've been sober for the last 20 years.

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