Flawless Vocals: Recording, Editing & Mixing

Lesson 4/14 - Pencil De-esser Trick


Flawless Vocals: Recording, Editing & Mixing


Lesson Info

Pencil De-esser Trick

If you're getting essie vocals er which is like getting a lot of sounds and it's kind of piercing the ears those high frequencies that that's something you don't want you can use a d s sir in the box or a hardware di essere which I don't have I don't really feel the need and I don't really want teo use it physical di essere on the way in because for me there's a really fine line with d s ng on dial touch on this again later but long story short if you if you do too much s ng it's starting to sound like this and you don't you don't want the singer to sound like they have a list and I mean the worst thing you could do is to track for three hours and then realized dsr is too hot and you've got all the tracks that found ridiculous you know you know you don't want that because we're laughing about it it's funny and that's not what you want unless you know you're recording funny record and you probably still don't want that so a cool way to cut down on s ng and teo teo to tame it a little bi...

t if you're getting too much even teams high and a little bit but you won't get the effects of an actual di essere is a pen actually like a number two pencil but I couldn't find one take a pen come up to the mic here. I think I have a little bit of tape oh, you don't have to come up to the mike actually, I was speaking just in general unless you're the one recording yourself get on the side here this tape in half and no, I don't mind taping a pen to my expensive microphones so that you have to do you just take a pen through cold piece of tape? I usually prefer gaff tape or like painters tape because it doesn't leave stickiness um that's your choice literally just tape it to the microphone and make sure that the bottom of the pan or pencil tape too short. Actually, a lot of times this mike's kind of bright, so a lot of times I just leave a pen on it at all times, but I took it off for you guys to display, so you put it right down the middle of the capsule and I'm not sure if you can actually just turn this so you guys can see I just got it right down the middle, right down the middle of the capsule and what happens when he sings into it and spits into it? This this keeps a lot of the spit and diffuses the piece, but it doesn't really do anything for s ng so when the high frequencies and the kind of the extra air that comes from the s which is part of the reason that they end up so loud because there's like an air that comes through your teeth when sounds made the pen splits it up so it doesn't hit right in the center the capital is just kind of like, you know parts the waves and then you just have like a cool vocal sound without having to do a ton of d s and in the end and that's an old trick that someone taught me years ago and I do it all the time it doesn't work with every mike but it'll work with a lot of them and some will be necessary some mikes or dark enough that doesn't matter but but this one it's good something fun to experimentalist so let me get the pop filter back leave this pen for here to stare it like I said I like a number two pencil I think it's cool to look at that and but I'm just weird like that so whatever going come back over here course we're seeing are there no s and there's no ss you know you're right but what about the verse, huh? Yeah okay we'll get we'll get s is that we and even think about that, huh? Cool so that's sounding good let me listen back to this one more time and double check I don't have anything weird going on here little effect those the t let's do this one more time and you'll hear it because it's really anything with like a a quick high frequency sound yeah teo want track that one more time and we can hear I'm gonna make a playlist and pro tools which is to the top right of the track that you're on or any track um you got new and duplicate here I was going to make a new playlist just like that uh moving too fast when I make a new playlist which basically drops whatever I had into the background and then I have this new playlist that I can record on and I'll show you why here in a minute no markers for this fact I'm just going to create markers serial quick this was a live session that I wasn't actually engineering I engineered it but I wasn't running pro tools so I didn't make markers I'll normally make markers for the sections of the song, so when we're working with the vocalist I could just hit command and then five on the ten key and I can go wherever I want with these memory locations so I want to get rid of this random marker here I made a selection on pro tools hit enter call this chorus get rid of this one you understand why those over there later on I'm going to make one for leading here and I'm going to set this it doesn't need to the grid doesn't need to be set to sixteen notes for vocals usually unless you're like rapping at this speed obliged actually appreciate the speed of light is faster than sixteen cool we'll go for thirds there's absolutely no point in that single bars and I'm gonna go back for bar see if this is comfortable because I actually lost my location uh yeah for goto too I'll make a market there I'll call lead in so as I'm editing I don't have to fish around for that leading again I just go right back up tio to my memory locations here wherever I have them and I'll just go right back to the lead in messes something over here click around gonna track again go right back to the leading so on this new playlist let's track the beginning of the course again and we can hear how the tea is affected and then I could just make sure it's really worth putting that on every once in a while you could put that on have a singer and it's like that's actually worse it's a little too dole it's not focused enough so do anything when you're tracking and always double check it unless you're super confident on its and part of being confident is knowing what to double check and when not to double check so you ready? Wait let's do that one more time you totally did it yourself you want don't yeah I said it don't which is part of being used to being a studio musician that stuff like when you when you're talking with the producer engineer you start you like do things naturally too and alex alex also does a little engineering too so when I I'm trying to like break things down and say things but I know in your head you're like I got a fix out let's do that right so but let's let's do a hard t on the don't just like it was before ready yeah now it's super awkward because I pointed it out yeah it's never gonna be natural again and that's something you have to be wary about when you're tracking vocals too is like any time you ask a question or bring something up first you gotta ask yourself is this going to make the person think too much about the vocals because that's so he's like what just happened like there's no way to avoid that if you start talking about if you try to go like backwards something that's already fixed a lot of times like something that someone's fixed themselves and you bring it up anything in life really you know you start to think about it in dwell on it and then you start being weird and that's that's not what you want you don't want the still here how it it's a lot less of a tent there compared to even if that's without the pen and this is with one more time listen to the beginning of the de is with the pen that's without the pen I'm sorry and then years with theo could hear that over there you're kind of like in a weird spot in the monitors but I think people at home and for me it's really clear that in can you hear the headphones yet at the pen has kind of dispersed the bright sounds so now we have the vocal set up and we're basically ready to track just want to make sure I didn't miss anything here um yeah so that's basically everything on on how to set things up and how to prepare for a session like I said before you want to make sure that most anything you can do without the person is done before they get in even if it's like you know, even if you work in a studio where like the band is living there and staying there and stuff if you say vocals at two o'clock be there one thirty have everything set up when the singer gets there to ten you can go to a five or three fifteen what you know what whenever the singer gets there it's all ready to go and they're comfortable even down to like the effects I've added maybe have a couple options you want too many options um and then you can make setting things up as quick as possible something if you're dialing in compression on the way in which I strongly suggest pick this pick a part in the song that's super loud but don't pick apart that's like if you have a guy seeing and screaming don't pick a screaming part you're probably going toe address that differently anyways don't pick like that thirty second drawn out high note you know pick something that's comfortable it's not going to just trash his voice right off the bat but pick something loud and if you want pick something quiet too so you can see if you know you might think oh I've got sixty b of gain reduction it's awesome on this loud part when it gets the quiet part he still can't hear himself I kind of skipped over that step because I know this song I know what parts of quiet and I know that if I'm hitting ten to fourteen hear that the quiet stuff is going to get compressed a swell so you know just things to think about when you're setting all that stuff up so and chris what you just talked about we have a question from somebody who said all this takes patients what would you do if your vocalist is stuck on time and they're rushing you to finish their tracks? Is it basically just get in there early make sure everything is set up as best you can so that you are just taking his little their time is possible yeah exactly and you know you want to um sometimes you can get through stuff fast persons on an hourly budget um that's that's a little bit different situation than I'm talking about here but in that sense you have be ready to go as much as possible and don't don't mess around you know don't don't be rude about stuff but just get on it and start tracking I mean sometimes you could try if you only have an hour sometimes you could track the whole song in an hour and it could turn out great sometimes you get ten seconds and you're still not happy with it if they're stuck on a time budget obviously they're going to get what they get and get through it is get set up as much as possible and get through it as fast as you can and try to make decisions based on what you can edit later I'm going to talk about that in the in the next segment a little bit and mainly the third segment about decisions that you make when you're tracking if you're on a time limit learn learn your tools in your d a w on learn what you can fix him what you can so you can go through oh maybe this part's a little pitchy I know I can fix that later as long as all these things are there, so and we'll go into that deeper later, when tracking vocals say like a perfect vocal shock is one hundred percent. What percentage would you say is okay for a vocal take that you, khun, you know, fix in the mix? Um, I'm still going to say it needs to be one hundred percent because because that's me and I work, I mostly work with vans that have the time to make things a hundred percent, and I'm going to go into that in the next segment. That one hundred percent doesn't necessarily mean perfect pitch. Perfect timing. One hundred percent to me is a vocal that I love and, like I just talked about with them, like, even if you have all day and all night if the first take was super cool but there's a little flaws that are fixable later, just fix them later and keep that kool take if that's, if that's what you're talking about.

Class Description

Not every vocalist you encounter is going to be great, but when you do get a strong one in front of your microphone, you better know how to record them. Kris Crummett will show you how.

Kris has worked with some of the biggest post-hardcore/rock bands of the last few years; Issues, Sleeping With Sirens, Dance Gavin Dance, Jonny Craig, Alesana, and more. Throughout this course, Kris will use the actual Pro Tools sessions from Issues' self-titled album to teach you his unique approach for tracking, editing, and mixing vocals.

If you are looking for a fresh take on recording and mixing vocals, this course is for you.


Tyler Little

I'm recording with a simple solo usb mic pre into ableton, and mixing entirely ITB - but I still found this course very helpful. I was skeptical when I saw how young Kris was but the dude obviously lives and breathes music and he answered a lot of my questions. Audience participation was helpful sometimes, sometimes not. Overall, a lot of content for pretty cheap. Would watch more from him. Thanks

Elise Nicholes