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Vocal limiting question

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Anonymous
January 6, 2005 7:29:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hi all,

It's been about five years since I've done any serious recording, so you
could say I'm a bit rusty!

I'm recording some vocals with very wide dynamics... soft "head tones"
during the verses leading to loud, belted choruses. In the end, the vocals
need to flow together at a similar volume to fit in with the rest of the
song. I can think of a few ways to do this, and some of you may be able to
suggest some more. Which would be the best?

1. Set the levels according to the soft verses and limit the heck out of
the loud choruses in order to get the track recorded as hot as possible.

2. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and limit/compress during
post processing.

3. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and split up the verses
and choruses during post processing, normalizing the verses to match the
choruses.

4. Record the verses and choruses seperately, each as hot as possible.

I would think option 2 or 3 would be the best (is there any difference
between the two?) Then again, a friend of mine who studies audio
engineering suggested option 1. So, I'm thoroughly confused!

Thanks in advance for any tips. I've added a digital controller to my DAW
setup, so I'm pretty excited to finally get back in the swing of things :) 

Paul
Anonymous
January 6, 2005 1:16:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Paul Drydyk <pld@execpc.com> wrote:
>
>2. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and limit/compress during
>post processing.

If you are working in the digital world where the recording process itself
is not going to be very nonlinear, this is the easy and reliable solution,
if only because you can now do all the gain riding by hand without having
the pressure of getting it right on the first try.

>3. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and split up the verses
>and choruses during post processing, normalizing the verses to match the
>choruses.

Normalizing doesn't do what you think it does. It adjusts the level so the
PEAK levels are as high as possible. You don't even care about the peak
levels, except in that they don't go over the 0 dBFS mark.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
January 6, 2005 4:11:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> I'm recording some vocals with very wide dynamics... soft "head tones"
> during the verses leading to loud, belted choruses. In the end, the
vocals
> need to flow together at a similar volume to fit in with the rest of the
> song. I can think of a few ways to do this, and some of you may be able
to
> suggest some more. Which would be the best?
>
> 1. Set the levels according to the soft verses and limit the heck out of
> the loud choruses in order to get the track recorded as hot as possible.
>
> 2. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and limit/compress
during
> post processing.
>
> 3. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and split up the verses
> and choruses during post processing, normalizing the verses to match the
> choruses.
>
> 4. Record the verses and choruses seperately, each as hot as possible.

I suggest a combination of all four, with a twist. Record full takes saving
plenty of dynamic range for loud passages. $5 says the istrumentation gets
louder in the choruses too, so I imagine the vocal dynamics require
different adjustments, so rather than struggle for one setting that works
for verses and choruses, cut out each chorus and move them to another track
with different comp/limit settings, as if they were separate takes. It
saves a bunch of automation, and gives you the control you need. You can
even cross-fade between the two tracks.

Be wary of peak limiter plug-ins, which simply saturate peaks inaudibly to
maximize headroom, and are not appropriate for vocals. I trust you know how
to identify a suitable one. I'm partial to the T-Racks compressor for the
soft compression of vocals, but I'm not picky about the limiter, any
standard compressor set hard does the trick IMO.
Related resources
Anonymous
January 6, 2005 7:19:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Hey Paul, sounds like you're wanting some compression.

Look around at www.musicbooksplus.com

-bg-


www.thelittlecanadaheadphoneband.ca www.lchb.ca

"Paul Drydyk" <pld@execpc.com> wrote in message
news:Z83Dd.1751$%e1.91@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net...
> Hi all,
>
> It's been about five years since I've done any serious recording, so you
> could say I'm a bit rusty!
>
> I'm recording some vocals with very wide dynamics... soft "head tones"
> during the verses leading to loud, belted choruses. In the end, the
vocals
> need to flow together at a similar volume to fit in with the rest of the
> song. I can think of a few ways to do this, and some of you may be able
to
> suggest some more. Which would be the best?
>
> 1. Set the levels according to the soft verses and limit the heck out of
> the loud choruses in order to get the track recorded as hot as possible.
>
> 2. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and limit/compress
during
> post processing.
>
> 3. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and split up the verses
> and choruses during post processing, normalizing the verses to match the
> choruses.
>
> 4. Record the verses and choruses seperately, each as hot as possible.
>
> I would think option 2 or 3 would be the best (is there any difference
> between the two?) Then again, a friend of mine who studies audio
> engineering suggested option 1. So, I'm thoroughly confused!
>
> Thanks in advance for any tips. I've added a digital controller to my DAW
> setup, so I'm pretty excited to finally get back in the swing of things :) 
>
> Paul
>
>
Anonymous
January 7, 2005 12:24:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

#3, but don't normalize - this is a destructive process. What DAW are you
using? Automate the gain on the quieter clips, and add overall compression,
EQ, 'verb, etc. to taste (or not), to make the track stick together.

--
Doug Osborne

my day job: http://www.martinsound.com/

"Paul Drydyk" <pld@execpc.com> wrote in message
news:Z83Dd.1751$%e1.91@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net...
> Hi all,
>
> It's been about five years since I've done any serious recording, so you
> could say I'm a bit rusty!
>
> I'm recording some vocals with very wide dynamics... soft "head tones"
> during the verses leading to loud, belted choruses. In the end, the
> vocals need to flow together at a similar volume to fit in with the rest
> of the song. I can think of a few ways to do this, and some of you may be
> able to suggest some more. Which would be the best?
>
> 1. Set the levels according to the soft verses and limit the heck out of
> the loud choruses in order to get the track recorded as hot as possible.
>
> 2. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and limit/compress
> during post processing.
>
> 3. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and split up the verses
> and choruses during post processing, normalizing the verses to match the
> choruses.
>
> 4. Record the verses and choruses seperately, each as hot as possible.
>
> I would think option 2 or 3 would be the best (is there any difference
> between the two?) Then again, a friend of mine who studies audio
> engineering suggested option 1. So, I'm thoroughly confused!
>
> Thanks in advance for any tips. I've added a digital controller to my DAW
> setup, so I'm pretty excited to finally get back in the swing of things :) 
>
> Paul
>
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 6:04:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Paul Drydyk wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> It's been about five years since I've done any serious recording, so
you
> could say I'm a bit rusty!
>
> I'm recording some vocals with very wide dynamics... soft "head
tones"
> during the verses leading to loud, belted choruses. In the end, the
vocals
> need to flow together at a similar volume to fit in with the rest of
the
> song. I can think of a few ways to do this, and some of you may be
able to
> suggest some more. Which would be the best?
>
> 1. Set the levels according to the soft verses and limit the heck
out of
> the loud choruses in order to get the track recorded as hot as
possible.
>
> 2. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and limit/compress
during
> post processing.
>
> 3. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and split up the
verses
> and choruses during post processing, normalizing the verses to match
the
> choruses.
>
> 4. Record the verses and choruses seperately, each as hot as
possible.


Well - I would record only with a bit of mild compression, say
around a 2:1 ratio. And assuming you are recording at 24 bits, I would
set my levels so at the loudest part of the song my vocal levels never
exceeded about -8dBFs - that's about 8dB below digital zero.

Because recording at 24bits that's plenty hot, and it's quiet enough
even for the softest passages, and it won't sound better to record
hotter really.

I would compress and limit the tracks during mixdown, but do not
normalize. That is like throwing away a "generation" of recording, and
for no real purpose, If you need more level, use makeup gain on your
compressors or just push the faders up.

Will Miho
NY Music & TV Audio Guy
Staff Audio / Fox News Channel / M-AES
"The large print giveth and the small print taketh away..." Tom Waits
Anonymous
January 10, 2005 12:22:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>
>Paul Drydyk wrote:
>> Hi all,
>>
>> It's been about five years since I've done any serious recording, so
>you
>> could say I'm a bit rusty!
>>
>> I'm recording some vocals with very wide dynamics... soft "head
>tones"
>> during the verses leading to loud, belted choruses. In the end, the
>vocals
>> need to flow together at a similar volume to fit in with the rest of
>the
>> song. I can think of a few ways to do this, and some of you may be
>able to
>> suggest some more. Which would be the best?
>>
>> 1. Set the levels according to the soft verses and limit the heck
>out of
>> the loud choruses in order to get the track recorded as hot as
>possible.
>>
>> 2. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and limit/compress
>during
>> post processing.
>>
>> 3. Set the levels according to the loud choruses and split up the
>verses
>> and choruses during post processing, normalizing the verses to match
>the
>> choruses.
>>
>> 4. Record the verses and choruses seperately, each as hot as
>possible.

An alternative to the above is to split the mic to two separate mic pre inputs.
Don't have both pres feeding phantom voltage to the same mic. Set each pre
level so they don't overload, that would help eliminate any distortion in the
preamps before going to tracks. It should also help with the dynamics and
overall vocal sound.

I probably wouldn't use any compression at all on tracking. Just get the best
s/n you can.

Keep the monitoring level up so you can hear if you're "room sound" is going to
be an issue between the "loud" track and the "soft" track.

Mix to taste.


--Wayne

-"sounded good to me"-
!