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Recording Rock Vocals

Lesson 8 of 26

Arrangement and Tracking a Female Vocalist

Andrew Wade

Recording Rock Vocals

Andrew Wade

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Lesson Info

8. Arrangement and Tracking a Female Vocalist


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
3 Soundproofing Duration:24:20
4 DIY Acoustics Duration:12:34
5 Signal Chain and Microphones Duration:21:12
6 Preamps, Compression & EQ Duration:23:20
7 Working with a Vocalist Duration:36:53
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Editing Overview Duration:34:31
2 Fades and Basics of Melodyne Duration:13:53
3 Editing Female Vocals Part 1 Duration:27:39
4 Editing Female Vocals Part 2 Duration:09:51
5 Editing Vocals with VocALign Duration:17:34
7 Editing Screaming Vocals Duration:28:18
8 Vocal Effects Part 1 Duration:33:20
9 Vocal Effects Part 2 Duration:32:18
10 Intro to Mixing Duration:18:07
11 Mixing Softer Vocals Part 1 Duration:32:42
12 Mixing Softer Vocals Part 2 Duration:14:21
13 Mixing Screaming Vocals Duration:32:11

Lesson Info

Arrangement and Tracking a Female Vocalist

Arrangment and tracking so uh we'll talk about actual tracking like we're in the studio uh and there will probably be some unexpected things because we got vocalist here jessica and we're going to set her volume and we're using much of different microphones so it's going to be kind of ah little dynamic uh segment here so whenever I go into a song and think about vocals these air all the different vocal elements that I like to play with or or use it and having my disposal um these are basically the all the different colors of paint that I use in my vocal paintings so hey got the main vocal um which depending on the song could be the whole thing uh and then I kind of like to break it up into verse vocal on course vocal because we had a question about earlier and they can be different um it's cool and we'll show you how what to do what what kind of cool techniques to use backups that's typically I would say harmonies just regular harmonies and maybe some kind of, uh, any kind of repeating...

vocal with harmony on it that is all, including backups oz that I don't know how other people kind of guys all their stuff, but I think of I usually try to use the vocal kind of as, uh almost like ah keyboards sort of teo carry the chord progression and I use oz to do that sometimes there really complex sometimes they're really simple but we're gonna show all that stuff uh then you got screams which is the next segment um group singing and group chanting that is the next segment also that's going to be fun and we have affected vocals so that's just anything that's not typical someone with a any effect on it like lo fi or distortion or uh crazy reverb or anything like that okay, so uh the different elements here uh when you think about the main vocal it should be something easy to sing quickly I talked about that in the last section uh it should be an organic pattern maybe except for electronic music we're talking really about rock music but I know people like tio point out flaws so I included that except for like strong music but anyway we're talking about rock music so the vocals should feel organic like whenever you're my tests that I do and I'm going to do it here in a second with the songs that I also right, whatever you're doing production I think you know if if you can't sing or you don't really write you might want to start getting into that because it's a really valuable tool um especially when you have people come in they just you know they might be lacking in that area so uh it should be easy to sing quickly should flow off your tongue and it should be an organic pattern that's just something just that it just flows uh should be interesting whatever that's obvious um yeah okay, so this song has a complex vocal arrangement in it um and I want you to think of it like a sandwich uh sometimes whatever you're doing it um one of your creating a vocal part like this that has tons and tons of layers you don't want to say in which that just has like five types of lettuce and it you want like you want a meaty melody and creamy mani's backups and crispy lettuce screams are you know whatever you want all these different elements you don't want just you know, a bunch of the same thing otherwise you know what have you created it's just a pile of nothing so you've got to think of all the different textures and fields and all that stuff so here's a bunch of different things to keep in mind if you're trying to create what are the different things you can have a rhythm the vocal cadence that is quick and one that is slow and it's easy for those two complement each other because they're not getting jumbled together you have one that's going fast and the other one is like going slowly behind it so it's really easy to discern if you have to fast uh cadence is going at the same time it tends to get pretty jumbled and but there are some cool ways uh that you can actually do that but anyway you high and low melodies uh that's a really easy way to set different textures apart in there and your vocal arrangements sandwich and you've got a panic so so you have to really jumbled things it might be kind of cool if you hardpan one left and hardpan one right in the mix so like you can you're if you you know listen with headphones or in your car it kind of separates that and you can clearly hear each one so uh that's just the way it if you did want kind of a jumbled thing there's a still a way to clear it up you got affected vocals and no affected you know vocals without effects like with a telephone effect lo fi effect super high end super low and you know whatever you can have a guy voice and a girl voice because they sound different just different singers uh tend to stand out from each other and then you have calm maybe really airy singing and then another layer of like energetic singing so these are all the elements that it's it's cool teo you know have these in mind at your disposal just kind of in your in your brains like you know I want to make something really cool really complex you know here's all a bunch of cool ingredients stuff that I like teo to use when I do it so uh trick teo really get this stuff right is I use a mini trach and organize velocities so let's actually go into the session really quick now I do wanna apologize I'm on a mac I usually use a pc so my short cuts some of them are backwards so I might kind of look like I don't know what I'm doing but what I do I swear it's where? Okay. All right, so this is, uh the track that you guys heard in the first segment called take it slow and this little mini trach I just gotta activate a plug in here really quick so you can hear it this mini trach is everything that I have vocally in the track so for this to make more sense I'll play it for you in just a second so let's just take I don't know anything here uh when you when you are planning this stuff out veum idiots it's best to have a very simple sounding pad so I don't know what this pad sounds okay, so here we are. All right, so while you're writing uh these parts so this is this is what it looks like here it's kind of like a mess but it's actually pretty organized um what I like to do so you guys play the vocals so you guys know what the heck this is wait so that actual that end part that I just played is the what the midi is so I'm writing complex vocals it's easy it's easy you wantto put down awe like you know we have a way so you have that melody in there and it's easy to like write simple things like that but then when you try to add other things sometimes things don't really mesh and like what notes are messing with what notes so what you do is you start with the midi so you just write the the basic thing that you've written so let's take s o this is one of the odds that's in the back of the ah so uh that's the first thing that I actually wrote for this and then what you want to do eyes is I have this this is a really cool trick that I that I like to do you could make a bunch of different midi layers or each layer that you write and pro tools I don't know how it is in other programs but in pro tools whenever you lower the velocity it kind of like changes the color of the other notes so you can see and you could highlight just the different layers so this is another melody pattern here this's another melody pattern here that's another one there so you have it all there right in front of you and it's really organized and you can see what notes are messing with other notes um and when you want to hear something, this is just like this's just so you can stay, you know, in the same way stay in the same screen and easily, right this stuff, theo morning by itself, but when you put them all together, you know, sounds wonderful, hopefully so anyway, mitch is a great tool use, so what I'll do is I'll put that main melody in there, and then I'll also put the corns in there of the like, I usually grab a guitar or if you can play the piano or whatever, hopefully if your producer you're working studio, you know how to use a new instrument of some kind, so you just literally take each chord, find the route in the fifth and then the major or minor of the cord put it in there, go to the next one, put it in there, etcetera, unless you already know which wants to do so. Um then you can visually see all the chords and organize all the vocal parts and play altogether, and if you want to just one little thing, you can do it really easily, I've gotten into this before we're I'll lay down so many tracks and then at the end I listen to him like man this doesn't actually work this doesn't actually make sense and why is it sometimes you're you're forming chords that that aren't part of it and it can get really confusing so this is a really easy tips so here are all the vocals we got all these and these and these and these a lot of stuff here so anyway that's what I love that trick I use it all the time it keeps me really organized and and I got like a little road half almost there okay so this is the song let me just play uh the beginning of it because I have not heard I change this money puts in time so that's in the key that is good for a female vocal this money well that's not actually in the right key but that doesn't matter because what I'm I just want to demonstrate here s so when I wrote this song so this is for songwriters basically um when I wrote this song I wrote it so it was like really comfortable for myself and uh if I left it in this key jessica would be like saying super high or super low and that's kind of weird when you're male writing for a female vocal so this is just a little trick that use so I wrote it here like tio like for me it's like really comfortable but if you were in this key how is this for house this register for you by the way what it would be a little oh it would be like thiss money for sometime yeah so while so if you are ready for a female vocalist um for those of you who are right pop or whatever um it might seem you know like a a good keep but it's really easy to get lost eh? So what I did before this session is I uh actually you know, I had somebody else come to the studio just so I could make sure that the key was right so and that's all part of making your vocalist comfortable had I not done that jessica would be in the worst position ever right now she would start singing and everything would fall apart and I mean that happens in the studio and you want to do everything you can to avoid that so I you know, I I went the extra mile to get somebody else to even do this just so she would be comfortable so that's the kind of mind set that you need to have it's like you need to go as far as you can to get the best thing out of these other people um so that's that let's ah okay this is the next one okay, so let's uh go to the mic shootout that's the next thing like choosing the best microphone for the vocalist or from the song, etcetera? Um, what I'm going to do today is I'm using two condensers we've got the s m fifty seven in the ar e twenty um and then we're using the, uh, what we got here, then we've got the u eighty seven and the sea for fourteen that we're going to try out now. Uh, everybody's new here, so we haven't got a chance to get a vocal level, and the dynamic microphones are a lot quieter, so we're goingto take a second to just make sure that we get the vocal right so that we're not, uh, over under compressing anything or, uh, just make sure that these vocals, these vocal lovers levels are good. Um all right, so this is how we're doing it. Let me just kind of show this setup. Um, we have two two microphones side by side, like touching really, uh, as close as they can be together, right in the center of the pop hilter. So she's going to go through it a few times, just till she you know, gets comfortable with it, however, and one of the things that you want to do in the studio is kind of not make the vocalist feel rushed because if they feel rushed then you know like well, we just got to get through this you know, it's like let's just get this done but it's like you can do this as many times as you want you can mess up if you want it doesn't matter we have the time to do it so that's what I want to do I want to go through it a few times she doesn't have to get it perfect on the first try it doesn't matter you don't you don't have to expect anyone to do that you don't want to make anyone feel like they have to do that so um after we do that we're going to switch it out with those other two mikes so we can hear the differences between the dynamic and uh the condenser mikes we may be surprised who knows? I think I already know what I want to choose because I've recorded the song like ten times but um but we'll try it anyway uh let's talk about really quick uh before we do that the click track um and headphones if you have are there any headphones are here? No okay, so we brought a few just different kinds of headphones in here for you guys too see, I just wanted to talk about these different types because some people think that these little things don't matter, but they really do um these are I don't know that well here's what I'm gonna prove to you today uh I don't know what all these brands are and stuff, but it it doesn't matter what matters is that you know what you're looking for so, uh, what I want when I'm tracking vocals is a pair of headphones that's comfortable and that also blocks uh, any kind of leakage coming from out of the headphones now these feel I mean, we're going to try these order but these feel kind of loose like, you know, some sound might escape through these on then we have these really gnarly like what it's like helicopter like headphones it feel it feels like a gel seal and I put him on it's like airtight pretty pretty comfortable to be honest so uh these feel like they block out the sound pretty well um because you're gonna have like especially for these quieter songs, the click track is going to bleed and actually have some tricks where you can crank, crank the click and have it not believed and I'll show you that right before we start uh then we have another one here is a pretty cool donated they drew these the ones that you don't it yeah, he seemed pretty cool, comfortable he's my kind of block out a little bit um and check with the vocalist maybe we'll put these helicopter ones on her, and she'll fly away. No, she'll, uh, she'll be really uncomfortable. Whatever.

Class Description

Every great rock song starts with a stellar vocal. Get ready to learn the fundamentals of recording rock vocals from Andrew Wade, who’s worked with A Day to Remember, Motionless in White, and dozens more.

Andrew will cover everything you need to know about recording, editing, and mixing vocals for modern rock songs. You’ll learn about mic selection and positioning, key mixing techniques, and the secrets of time and pitch correction. You’ll also learn about how to work with each individual artist to get the sound they want.

By the end of this course, you’ll be fully equipped to work with a variety of male or female vocalists to get the results you need, from screaming to cleans and everything in between.



This is a superb course, was full of great informations and it has inspired me a lot. Learned alot of things, thanks to Andrew for this great presentation and sharing his knowledge and experience with us, also thanks to the people in the audience for bringing up good question and to the creative live team for making this happen. I really hope Andrew will come back to Creative Live someday, perhaps with a full course especially about working out and creating vocal harmonies :-)

a Creativelive Student

Absolutely essential information in this course. Very in depth. Even if you went and interned at a studio with a reputable producer, it would probably take months to absorb all the information so cohesively laid out in the course. I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking to properly record their own vocals, or for anyone looking to record other bands (whether in a bedroom, or a million dollar studio). Loved watching, learned a TON (learned a lot of great pro tools shortcuts as well). Well worth the money. Thanks for doing it Mr. Wade.