Recording - February 2018 - 22

RECORDING

VOCALS:

Right...From
theStart
There are times when some compression does work well, but you want
to be mindful of not overcompressing
because you can't undo compression
after you've recorded it that way. If I
insert a compressor into the vocal chain
it will be after the preamp and before
Pro Tools; my go-to compressors/limiters
for that are the classic Teletronix LA-2A

FIGURE 5

and UREI 1176-mine are original
models; Universal Audio is still making
both units today. I set the ratio to 2:1 or
3:1; I wouldn't ever go past 3:1 during a
recording, so the vocal can still breathe
and have dynamic range.

The room
( or lack thereof )

The most important variable in a vocal
recording, yet the one that nobody talks
about, is the sound of the room. The big
white elephant in the room is actually
the room itself!
If you record vocals in a small booth,
reflections off the glass and the walls
will often make your vocal sound boxy
(for lack of a better word) and have
an unpleasant quality that is hard to
put your finger on. I've struggled with

recordings like these that came to me
from other studios; no amount of EQ or
other trickery can ever completely get
rid of that unwanted sound.
If you can, always record your vocals
in a larger space, while still retaining
proximity to the mic. If you don't have
access to a larger space and you are
hearing the problem I'm describing,
one thing that might help is a reflection
filter. I've been using one made by Aston
Microphones which is called the Halo
(see Figure 6). It's a large hemispherical
purple soft cloud that you can mount on
your mic stand so it wraps around the
microphone. It works great, and I've
even used it on upright bass to keep
out leakage from other instruments or
reflections from the booth's glass door
from bouncing back into the mic.
The only downside of this solution is
that it prevents visual contact with the
singer, so it doesn't always work well if
the vocals are being cut with a band or
if the singer needs to see the producer
or a conductor. Other times, though, the
added privacy and intimacy that the
object grants the singer can actually
have a positive effect on the performance.
It's all about choices!

Let's press Record!

FIGURE 6

22

RECORDING February 2018

Here are a few considerations to deal
with before actually starting to record.
Before the singer gets there, I will
have set up my session with an empty
vocal track (and a few other empty
vocal tracks for doubles, ad libs, backgrounds, etc.). Naming tracks is super
important so that audio files get properly
named (as opposed to Audio 1, Audio
2 etc.) so I usually call the track something
like "Voc 1".
After that, the very first thing I do is
to create a new playlist in Pro Tools
on my empty vocal track, so that the
same track is now called "Voc 1.01".
This secret method of mine offers two
amazing results: (a) your takes will
actually have the same number as your
playlist, as opposed to Track 1 being on
Playlist 0, Track 2 being on Playlist 1,
etc., and (b) you now have an empty
"Voc 1" playlist where you can put your
comped vocal later (Boom!) so that the
session stays neat and organized (Boom
shacka lacka lacka!).



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - February 2018

Contents
Recording - February 2018 - Intro
Recording - February 2018 - Cover1
Recording - February 2018 - Cover2
Recording - February 2018 - 1
Recording - February 2018 - 2
Recording - February 2018 - 3
Recording - February 2018 - 4
Recording - February 2018 - 5
Recording - February 2018 - 6
Recording - February 2018 - 7
Recording - February 2018 - Contents
Recording - February 2018 - 9
Recording - February 2018 - 10
Recording - February 2018 - 11
Recording - February 2018 - 12
Recording - February 2018 - 13
Recording - February 2018 - 14
Recording - February 2018 - 15
Recording - February 2018 - 16
Recording - February 2018 - 17
Recording - February 2018 - 18
Recording - February 2018 - 19
Recording - February 2018 - 20
Recording - February 2018 - 21
Recording - February 2018 - 22
Recording - February 2018 - 23
Recording - February 2018 - 24
Recording - February 2018 - 25
Recording - February 2018 - 26
Recording - February 2018 - 27
Recording - February 2018 - 28
Recording - February 2018 - 29
Recording - February 2018 - 30
Recording - February 2018 - 31
Recording - February 2018 - 32
Recording - February 2018 - 33
Recording - February 2018 - 34
Recording - February 2018 - 35
Recording - February 2018 - 36
Recording - February 2018 - 37
Recording - February 2018 - 38
Recording - February 2018 - 39
Recording - February 2018 - 40
Recording - February 2018 - 41
Recording - February 2018 - 42
Recording - February 2018 - 43
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Recording - February 2018 - 45
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Recording - February 2018 - 78
Recording - February 2018 - 79
Recording - February 2018 - 80
Recording - February 2018 - Cover3
Recording - February 2018 - Cover4
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