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Thread: Techniques for getting vocal levels even?

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrushkiwt View Post
    First, try your best to sing properly, of course. If you have to be quiet or very loud, then just do it, because turning up the volume in the mix isn't the same thing as actually singing it that way to begin with. But after you've done your best to sing how you want it, manually adjust the waveform phrase by phrase. Actually, this is easily the most time consuming part of my mixes. The time spent manually adjusting vocals. I can spend a whole day bringing up words here and there, turning down the chorus lyrics since I'm usually belting, and back and forth for hours. Once you have it as close as you can get it by hand, use some compression for the coloring and slight evening out. Don't rely on the compression for volume consistency though.

    I take it back. Sorting out and choosing takes is the longest part. I'll usually do the entire song 12-14 times in a row, picking the best words (literally words, not just phrases or lines) and making it fit together cohesively.
    Thanks for the tips! Next thing I need to learn is compression...

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    I manually 'draw' in the automation points and drag the sections down/up as needed.
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    I think it was also mentioned but try to stay the exact distance from the mic as you can when recording vocals(especially on condenser mics). Even an inch straying towards or away from the mic can change the presence and perceived volume. My vocals are so inconsistent that I try to stay about a foot from the mic unless I am trying to pull off some intimate vibe.
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    A couple stages of compression usually does it for me. I rarely automate vocals unless I want to ease some backing vocals towards the front or rear of the mix at some point. I've got a couple of compressors that I love, and I can hit them pretty hard without them getting gross sounding, so I let them do the work instead of drawing or writing automation adjustments. Every once in a while I end up with a vocal that's too wildly dynamic and I might have to chop it up and raise/lower some sections. But I greatly prefer the sound of a couple of carefully staged compressors doing that job for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Diggler View Post
    What do you mean by "manual automation"?

    That sounds like an oxymoron...or maybe my definition of "automation" is wrong...
    'Automation does have to be 'written (created) -to exist first.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruthish View Post
    I think it was also mentioned but try to stay the exact distance from the mic as you can when recording vocals(especially on condenser mics). Even an inch straying towards or away from the mic can change the presence and perceived volume. My vocals are so inconsistent that I try to stay about a foot from the mic unless I am trying to pull off some intimate vibe.
    Thanks for this reminder. We should definitely try to sing the best we can: but assuming we don't perform a flawless vocal track every time, it's how to tweak it in the box afterward that I'm wondering.

    Also: shouldn't you vary your distance from the mic, to match the volume of your singing? I.e. pull back from the mic when you're singing louder. (Or maybe that's more for live singing...)
    Last edited by Dirk Diggler; 03-30-2018 at 03:29.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Diggler View Post
    Thanks for this reminder. We should definitely try to sing the best we can: but assuming we don't perform a flawless vocal track every time, it's how to tweak it in the box afterward that I'm wondering.

    Also: shouldn't you vary your distance from the mic, to match the volume of your singing? I.e. pull back from the mic when you're singing louder. (Or maybe that's more for live singing...)
    The problem with doing that (when recording) is it changes the tone that the mic picks up (proximity effect).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Diggler View Post
    Thanks for this reminder. We should definitely try to sing the best we can: but assuming we don't perform a flawless vocal track every time, it's how to tweak it in the box afterward that I'm wondering.

    Also: shouldn't you vary your distance from the mic, to match the volume of your singing? I.e. pull back from the mic when you're singing louder. (Or maybe that's more for live singing...)

    I will adjust my distance depending on the effect..(i.e. chorus I step farther back) but I do not adjust while in the middle of a verse to keep consistency. As Mjb stated, moving will change the tone so stay in one place and adjust the volume after the fact. Just make sure your not clipping!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruthish View Post
    I think it was also mentioned but try to stay the exact distance from the mic as you can when recording vocals(especially on condenser mics). Even an inch straying towards or away from the mic can change the presence and perceived volume. My vocals are so inconsistent that I try to stay about a foot from the mic unless I am trying to pull off some intimate vibe.
    If you have a good room, consider using an omni. Especially SDC omni's have hardly any proximity effect. That's the reason why in classical music mostly SDC's are used for vocals. DPA doesn't even make LDC's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Diggler View Post
    What do you mean by "manual automation"?

    That sounds like an oxymoron...or maybe my definition of "automation" is wrong...

    It's manual in that you manually draw in exactly what you want by hand (or some other control), but automation in that what you drew is automatically carried out during subsequent playback.
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