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Thread: How to tame multi Vocal tracks, VOl, EQ

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    pure.fusion is offline Dedicated Member
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    How to tame multi Vocal tracks, VOl, EQ

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    Hi all,

    I've got a bunch of raw vocal tracks, with quite widely varying volumes etc. Yes, It would have been better to have it done properly with real singers and real engineers but that's not what happened!

    It's a case where very high and very low vocal parts are soft and are less constant in volume. And of course, the same vocal part in the next phrase is a different volume than the previous.

    So I'm about to launch into sorting this mess in to sets of harmonys, main vocals. I'll have to change volumes in the harmony parts to balance that mix, then balance this with main vocal.

    I posted previously here and I think the advice was to ride the fader (set up fader automation) to balance all of this. Should I do this before or after I set up EQ?

    Any suggestions here? (I can tell this is going to get messy from the get-go .. and I need all the help I can get)

    FM

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    mjbphotos's Avatar
    mjbphotos is offline Been Here, Posted That
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    What DAW are you using? In Reaper, if my vocal tracks are all over the place (usually only happens if I have tracked them in different sessions), I will normalize them first, so they are all at roughly the same volume. Then automate the volumes on them separately,,if needed. Apply EQ separately, if needed. Then I'll put all the BU vocals in a folder, balance the volumes with the sliders in that group, then automate volume on the group to synch in with the lead vocals. I won't apply compression to the individual BU vocal tracks, but will add it to the group folder.

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    Mr Clean's Avatar
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    No offence intended, but personally I would never normalize anything! Ever. It will only normalize all the noise, breath spits, esse and vocal all to the same level and sound bad. But each to their own.

    You could cut up all the vocal tracks into bits and automate the volumes of each bit in turn to get an average level throughout and then use a compressor to tame the highs and lows. That's what I do when I have vocals that go up and down in volume. It takes a bit of time but you'll get much better results that using a normalizer.
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    no normalize.


    group all the vocals into 'loud', 'soft', and 'lead'.

    send them to separate stereo 'loud', 'soft', and 'lead' sub busses.

    mix the pans from the individual tracks, but mix the levels from the busses.

    put compressors across the busses to help further dial it in.

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    Not to jump on the No Normalize band wagon, but even if I did think there was any use for normalizing, I don't see how normalizing a bunch of tracks accomplishes anything in this case. They're all still going to be proportionally as far apart from each other. If the highest peak comes in at -10db (for example), and you normalize the tracks to hit 0db, all you're doing is raising all the tracks by 10db. They're still going to be as far apart from each other as they were pre-normailizing, they're just now all 10db louder.

    If you meant that you normalize every track separately, then disregard most of what I said above.
    Last edited by RAMI; 02-11-2013 at 09:25.

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    mjbphotos's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure (yes, just checked) I didn't say normalize them together! Normalizing them separately gets them to roughly the same level so when mixing, you are not cranking one up to +10 on your automation curve while keeping others at -5 (or whatever level). yes, noises gets boosted too, but that's what you automate for - they are going to get boosted when you crank up the track volume regardless.

    As to using a compressor to equalize volumes as Mr Clean suggests - there's been a long thread here recently on this very subject, I don't need to comment more. Not sure why you would need to cut up the tracks into multiple pieces, either, that's what automation is for.

    Also not sure what Gonzo was suggesting with the 3 buss idea, except I guess if you have a TON of tracks to put together, it saves doing each one separately.

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    Mr Clean's Avatar
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    I cut tracks up because it is easier for my workflow. Especially in Reaper. If the first word of a line is too high, cut it after and reduce the volume of that slice. Done in seconds. Quicker than clicking Envelopes, ticking boxes, adjusting the timeline of automation. It's how I work. It's still automation but a different way about it.

    However, I didn't say use a compressor to equalize volumes, I said use a compressor to tame the highs and lows. This would be after doing the above and there'd be very little to tame but it would help to make the track sound like a unit. Subtle compression. Not squash and suck the life out it. That would sound equally as bad as normalizing it.

    But as for normalizing, I learned the hard way what normalizing can destroy and wouldn't use it again. It's too hit and miss and I wouldn't want any additional noise added and more automation work.
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    CMB Studios is offline Senior Member
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    normalizing doesnt really destroy anything and could be useful in this scenario... if you recorded in a poor room with a lot of floor noise then maybe... but even still.... its a decent tool when used correctly... why else would it still exist?

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    Mr Clean's Avatar
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    Perhaps Normalize tools have changed in the last 10 years and I'm out of touch and they work magic now. I still wouldn't use it.
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    CMB Studios is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Clean View Post
    Perhaps Normalize tools have changed in the last 10 years and I'm out of touch and they work magic now. I still wouldn't use it.
    lol mr. snippy... for someone that doesnt know how to regulate vocal volume you sure know a lot about how peoples advice WONT work...

    Good luck my friend.

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