Natural or compress?

kickingtone

New member
When I sing -oo- -ih- or -ee- vowels they tend to be quieter than -aa- -ah- -oh- -ow- vowels.

Same thing with speech, except that it is more pronounced when singing.

So, what do you tend to do? Leave it, because it is natural? Use compression? Learn to compensate and sing your quieter vowels with more intensity?

Does this sound as if it needs compression?





(I use different coordinations in each clip, but the vowel discrepancy is similar).
 
Hey,
It's just a line that you have to find. You need to ascertain whether the performer needs corrective measures because technique is bad, or the mix needs a tweak or two to sit perfectly.
The two are very different things.

If the technique is bad it's always good to go back a step and try to work on that but, I know, not always easy or possible. :p

From your clips I'm not hearing any massive ups and downs. In fact, it's probably consistent to the point of sounding unnatural.

Just guessing here but if you're using your eyes, don't! ;)
 
oops! You nailed it. Thanks for the tip.

Haha! It sounds like a smartass remark but, really, ears first is always best.
Eyes are good too but for picking out things to check with your ears. ;)

We don't perceive all frequencies equally so a sound at one frequency might require more energy to be audible to you than a sound at another frequency.
I get it a lot - where I look at a vocal track and think damn! What's that huge bit there? Then I listen and there's no audible problem.

If you have some swells here and there that are causing issues pushing your meters too far, you can often get a way with subtle volume automation or compression with noticing too much audible difference. :)
That would totally depend on the context, though. A super loud vocal note during a lull in the music isn't likely to cause a problem, for example.
 

kickingtone

New member
Haha! It sounds like a smartass remark but, really, ears first is always best.
Eyes are good too but for picking out things to check with your ears. ;)

It's what I would normally do.

Shouldn't a compressor do different things to different vowels, then? That is what is confusing me. So why does a compressor produce a trace that is visually even, or am I only talking cheapo compressors? Or maybe I have completely misunderstood the idea of a compressor.
 
With a compressor you set an amplitude threshold and anything above that threshold gets restricted by a ratio that you set.
If it happens that everytime you sing an 'aaaa' sound it's substantially louder than everything else then, yes, your compressor will be hitting that only, or more than anything else.

The thing is, though, that you may not need to compress or level these things just because they look loud.
It's all about a: how it sounds and b: how it works in context.
 

kickingtone

New member
With a compressor you set an amplitude threshold and anything above that threshold gets restricted by a ratio that you set.
If it happens that everytime you sing an 'aaaa' sound it's substantially louder than everything else then, yes, your compressor will be hitting that only, or more than anything else.

Ha! It's beginning to make sense. I've just notices that the "compressor" function in Audacity, which I have played with in the past, has an option, "make up gain for 0db after compressing", which is on by default. Hadn't noticed it before, but it makes the compressor look as if it is doing something different. Now I know why!

The thing is, though, that you may not need to compress or level these things just because they look loud.
It's all about a: how it sounds and b: how it works in context.

The ears teach the eyes, not the other way round. I got it. :thumbs up:
 
The makeup gain is there because a compressor working your signal is going to lower the overall output.
If you have a track which is sitting nice but you want to compress it, for whatever reason, you'll find it's a little too quiet afterwards.
The makeup gain is a convenient way to compensate.
 

kickingtone

New member
The makeup gain is there because a compressor working your signal is going to lower the overall output.
If you have a track which is sitting nice but you want to compress it, for whatever reason, you'll find it's a little too quiet afterwards.
The makeup gain is a convenient way to compensate.

Seems kind of odd, to be honest, as you will probably have to adjust the gain manually afterwards, anyway.

Maybe it is so that you can adjust all compressed tracks from a known position.
 
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