distorting the vocal

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MoreSpaceEcho
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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Sat Jul 19, 2003 9:51 am

yet another vote for the mini marshall. that thing sounds way better than it has any right to. great for drum loops too, and hell, it even sounds good on guitars! for vocals, i'd recommend saving it for mix. every singer i've worked with who wanted distorted vox, they want WAY more distortion than is neccessary, and it makes it really tough to get it to sit right in the track. same principle as recording guitars with less distortion than you think you need. although i s'pose you could just blend some of the clean vox in with the super disorted track for a little clarity. anyway, preamp and compressor abuse works great too. i usually prefer that to out and out distortion...

scott

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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by djslayerissick » Sat Jul 19, 2003 12:16 pm

"although i s'pose you could just blend some of the clean vox in with the super disorted track for a little clarity."

exactly - this way you can add all the distortion you want to your hearts content, but still be able to understand the freakin words come out of his mouth.....
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soundguy
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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by soundguy » Sat Jul 19, 2003 12:25 pm

for those of you who care at all about the performance you are recording, you are overlooking a VERY important thing. This goes for all the people tha say you should never track with compression as well: If you track a singer with a ton of distorrtion on the mic, you are going to get an ENTIRELY different performance than if you record the vocal clean. Just as compressing something off the tape has an entirely different thing going on than compressing a mic, adding distortion to your signal works exactly the same way and will effect your performance exactly the same way.

I have had plenty of people say "I cant sing into this mic, it sounds too good." crank the gain on the pre into a compressor, however, and magically these folks can all of a sudden sing into the same mic.

You can have all the options in the world, but if you have a lousy performance, those options dont amount to anything.

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MoreSpaceEcho
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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Sat Jul 19, 2003 1:24 pm

yeah you're right. i knew someone would call me on that :) last time i recorded a singer thru the mini marshall, we'd tried a bunch of takes with a clean mic first and it just wasn't happening. plugged the marshall in and he stepped right up. but it was a pain trying to make that work in the mix because of course we had it too distorted...

there's always next time.

scott

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stevemoss
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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by stevemoss » Sun Jul 20, 2003 8:36 pm

If I remember correctly, on 20th Century Schizoid Man (an an early King Crimson track), Greg Lake sang patched directly into the board and they heavily oversaturated the tape.

Best bet would likely be to split the input to two tracks, and overload the tape input on only one. Then, as has been said before, blend the levels on the two later to get just the right overall sound (or to modify it on the fly throughout the mix).

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leigh
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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by leigh » Mon Jul 21, 2003 12:03 am

stevemoss wrote:Greg Lake sang patched directly into the board
That's what I've been telling people for years - run vocals DI!

Leigh

62junior
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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by 62junior » Mon Jul 21, 2003 12:04 am

I'll 3rd or 4th or whatever we're up to on the SansAmp thing. Worked great for me, also ran a clean signal at the same time to give more options later. Hearing the distorted vocal in the cans definitely affects the performance too, adds a big of aggresion I think.

K.S.

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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by djslayerissick » Mon Jul 21, 2003 12:48 am

"Hearing the distorted vocal in the cans definitely affects the performance too, adds a big of aggresion I think."

i've tried that and so far it has only produced weak performances. the vocalist tends to let the distortion do all the work and doesnt push hard enough on the screams b/c it already sounds like they are shredding the cords to death as it is. basically, the technique has worked for me.... yet....

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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by timbaier » Mon Jul 21, 2003 7:07 am

I always try to make my "vocal effect" decisions early and record the vocals like that, then just live with it. If it sounds good going in, and I mean REALLY good, then most likely you'll like it later. I've never gone back on heavily effected vocals (or anything else) that I thought sounded good on the way in. Then again, I'm a little more old skool in that I pretty much always print effects to tape - not leaving so many open doors. I like to shape a song during recording, not during mixdown, since knowing what effects and sounds will be "final" and hearing those during tracking greatly affects choices made concerning other parts and instrumentation.

Like others, I've found that you get a much better performance when the vocalist can hear the effects which you're using so that he/she may "sing to" the effect. It really makes a huge difference. Generally the only thing I add later is maybe a bit o' reverb and some more compression if needed.

Back to the original post, I've found that the POD is perfect for getting all sorts of different crunches on vocals (and other things). Plus, its effects are decent enough to give you a little more wiggle.

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blameshifter
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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by blameshifter » Mon Jul 21, 2003 8:38 am

this weekend i used a shitty radioshack mic, ran it through a peavey practice amp, turned on the distortion to a level i liked and then ran a DI out from the headphone jack into the board. it was the best distorted vocal ive ever had.
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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by 62junior » Mon Jul 21, 2003 9:27 am

"i've tried that and so far it has only produced weak performances. the vocalist tends to let the distortion do all the work and doesnt push hard enough on the screams b/c it already sounds like they are shredding the cords to death as it is. basically, the technique has worked for me.... yet...."

I've found it helpful as it gives me more of a vibe when tracking but obviously that doesn't mean it'd work for everyone. Some singers yes, some no, I'd use it as a starting point though. Different Strokes I guess, pun intended.

K.S.

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wenzel.hellgren
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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by wenzel.hellgren » Mon Jul 21, 2003 12:51 pm

I use distortion to cover up unintentional distortion. For example, I recorded a vocal take that was a great performance, but the singer got way louder than we planned on. the take was great except for the clipping in parts. I ran the who track through a tube saturation/distortion plugin and it completely covered up the clipping noises.

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apropos of nothing
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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by apropos of nothing » Mon Jul 21, 2003 1:30 pm

tactics wrote:It's like gated reverb in the the 80's.Sounded good at the time.

Hey man, I like the odd gated snare. Nothing says "power-ballad" like gated snare. :biggergrin:

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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by gone » Mon Jul 21, 2003 3:04 pm

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Last edited by gone on Wed Nov 19, 2003 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: distorting the vocal

Post by xonlocust » Mon Jul 21, 2003 3:20 pm

soundguy wrote: If you track a singer with a ton of distorrtion on the mic, you are going to get an ENTIRELY different performance than if you record the vocal clean. Just as compressing something off the tape has an entirely different thing going on than compressing a mic, adding distortion to your signal works exactly the same way and will effect your performance exactly the same way.
very very true. the current thing i'm working on now, the singer is of course asking for that hives-y distortion. i've gotten this before through overloading an external pres, then going line in to my console and overloading that, then overloading the tape machine. BUT, i've never been really happy with it. this time i was using the console pre for the mic, and kept that clean to tape - but sent an aux send out into a spare channel to distort that and send to the headphone mix. this way i bought myself time to figure out a better solution (i'm liking fireproofs send to amp trick) - while still giving the singer the right feel he needed to get a good performance.

he kept wanting more and more during tracking, it just sounded like butt to me. i'm glad i kept it clean, but was able to give him what he needed during singing. also, i mean, to get in the spirit of things, he had had a 6 pack - so, if i DID do as he had asked, imagine when we come to mix and he asks why it sounds so crappy!

during mix i plan on mixing both clean and amp miced signals for clarity as mentioned above. my console just sounds thin and solid state to me (uh, well it is...) gotta get me some big transformers.

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