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Recording Rock Vocals

Lesson 6 of 26

Preamps, Compression & EQ

Andrew Wade

Recording Rock Vocals

Andrew Wade

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Lesson Info

6. Preamps, Compression & EQ


  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

Preamps, Compression & EQ

Now where that goes from there is into the prem's uh there's a bunch of different kinds of pre amps the cheaper pre amps that you'll get on uh some of the interfaces that are just all in ones you know, they don't have a lot of them are just kind of flat and character some of them don't have ah any cool like harmonic distortion or ah they think that it's just like a really flat kind of dead sound um and I'm going to go through the different brands and some of their characteristics but ap eyes, for instance, are really punchy uh good for our good for drums really good for drums um nieves are knowns add thickness a lot of the in the, uh lower mid range area chandler's add warmth I'm what I usually use is a chandler uh t g to abbey road limited edition print those are the ones that I normally use on vocals and stuff uh, they have a really that's what you base that's basically what you heard on all those vocal demos that I showed you they have if you're working with like white or things tha...

t have a little bit of a hiss, but I don't know I kind of like it for some reason it's like a it's pleasing it's pleasant but it's it's barely there and you might hear it in another track but uh what won the vocals are just solo but the chandlers um really add a lot of warmth kind of like roundness to the vocal uh now just there's there's a ton of different kinds of, like, class a pre amps, but I mean, I don't own them all I haven't been able to use all of them but it's good to know they're different characteristics uh when you're choosing which one you want teo so ah, a lot of them have really awesome features the ssl some of the ss cells have a feature where you can add harmonic distortion if you don't know what that is it's um it adds a whole new depth to the who's, usually in like, the higher uh, frequencies it can add this level of clarity that you really can't get in any other way except for harmonic distortion uh it's not distortion like on screams or anything like that. It's it's a lot more smooth sounding nieves I've noticed I just bought it a few knees I haven't been able to use them in great uh a lot, but uh, I can't wait needs they have a silk button and it supposedly makes it more musical somehow I'll get into that later I don't know how, but I know when, but I will uh I also got recently the seven ten toe infinity they have a tube and transistor tone blending up which is pretty cool so if you like the characteristics that you're getting from the tone of the tube you khun cricket although that or the transistor or in between so it's cool to know the different characteristics and some of these are like I said whatever what whatever your vision is whenever you use these new pieces of gear it's cool to have all this in mind you know when as a producer you have a certain vision and you want to get there you know what to choose or you know at least what direction to go in went to questions from online real quick andrew one is what's the price range of some of these gramps that you're mentioning cause I know there's quite a range yeah I've looked at some of the needs and they're pretty sense of in then what second question would be what um cramps do you like with the sm seven specifically yeah I'll talk about that calm the price range for ap eyes are a little bit cheaper I think you can get a four channel uh a p I for around think it might be like three or four grand which is great for four channels of like class a pre empts the needs that I got I got there were two channel um I think I got hooked up pretty hard but uh, you're going to spend around two thousand bucks for the two channels? Uh, chandler's are a little more pricey because you have to buy a power supply with them. The power supplies about three hundred dollars, and then the the actual pre amp is around. You get two channels for about twenty five hundred bucks um, and s s l s s l is making a lot more like, uh, cheaper, less less expensive products. Um, I think they have a four channel for, like, a thousand bucks out it's pretty inexpensive. I don't own that one. Uh, did get the needs though obviously I was talking about that and the two infinity uh uh is it was a little cheaper. I think it was nine hundred bucks for one channel, and I think they only sell them one channels for the us. Seventeen so that's about the price range, but you can, uh, to be totally fair to those people that are just starting out. I've I've tracked vocals on records using a firewire to six ten, which is a really inexpensive priam. Um a lot of the vocals on that album specifically from a date remember what separates me from you was a lot of those vocals were tracked on that uh, I feel like there was a little bit of clarity missing um I haven't done a proper test between them but I would assume it was that cause the microphones were the same in the vocalist was the same the environment was the same stuff so we were kind of out on the road when we recorded some of the vocals in a bus some people might be doing that and in that case you will be using like a vocal shield you might want to buy a smaller one you might not have a room for pillows in the bus but something like that is will help a lot and that's what we used um okay, today we're using us to six ten uh is one of my fair preempts I've used for years um so I switched the chandlers uh they're both great honestly, the way to six ten has really cool beacuse on it which like I said whenever you have a microphone that doesn't have the base roll off it's ah it's kind of hard to control that stuff unless you do it afterwards but anyway it's a class a pre amp um and it's a classic I really like tio kind of get classic gear because has a reputation uh it's easy to get worked on like they usually have pretty good like you could get help from the company's easily if something goes wrong if you need to send it in or whatever so uh those company's been around they know how to do it basically I'm sure there's new new gear that's out there that's great but it hasn't hasn't stood the test of time and to me that says something it's always cool to try new things like I said but for me if I'm spending all that money I kind of want to know that I'm getting something it's a classic it's good it's guaranteed to be good um okay, so this is how this is how I think of e q and compression whenever I'm recording vocals and I don't know if it's the right way but it's how I think of it and I feel like it's the right way so like I said, everything that I'm doing has been just from trial and error um and it you've heard example so if you like it then listen eso recording with compression should be thought of as a way to control the dynamics you shouldn't record at least is in my opinion you shouldn't record putting the settings to what you think they should sound like in the mix it should be more off the dynamics are being controlled like the compressor won't always be working it won't always be on and compressing, but when they hit that really loud notes uh it's not peaking you know you're not going to your computer just hitting red the whole time so recording a q should be thought of as cleaning up the signal little bit like I said the low end um it's good to get that out I like t q first I'm gonna go back to this first and then compress now the reason behind this is whenever you do say uh appl ocean got through your pop filter and someone says you know, something starts with p and there's a huge like blow and bumi sound but the take was good you could try to edit it out or whatever but if you have it e cute out already I mean these are like super low frequencies I mean they're going to sometimes will be around like thirty five hertz or something like that so if you have it cued out now this has a I can go to seventy hurts here which is pretty low I mean as you saw in the chart that's below you know the sounds that we can make from her mouth unless you're very special uh which it would be cool um but for the most part most people you know cannot do that it's physically impossible uh so you want to eat you that out because whatever you have that in there it's hitting the compressor and suddenly it's compressing that sound that you didn't even want in there in the first place and you can't un compress it whenever it's it's gone through here so sometimes implosions will get crazy the compressor will go crazy and then you have a really weird sounding vocal track that wasn't supposed to be like that at all. So if you eliminate that first by using a pot filter by using the u and then it hits the compressor is going to be compressing the right frequencies and everything that you actually want compressed uh so if using compressed if you's a compressor you really should have some kind of control over like at least the low end of stuff um and this is really cool because it has high end controls to aa lot of people their voices won't like cut through the mix very well or they just will have kind of a muffled sounding voice I personally have kind of a muffled voice so whenever I record I like to bump it uh maybe at around you know, uh for kay here just to add some presence. Ten cave maybe. Oh, there's seven can hear uh yeah around seven k for half k and that that will boost the presence which is really cool to have taken care of as you're going in now also outboard gear why why do I have this outboard gear uh what's happening here is your recording what goes in the computer is a very clean, controlled, more polished sounding source material when it's going to the computer so it's not even hitting digital it's not being converted to anything it is in its most original state and that is the best way to manipulate anything there is no there is no sample rate to analog it's just when I'm talking there's no sample, right? I mean you're watching this on your computer so that there is some kind of digital conversion there but if you're in the room like you guys, you're hearing my voice there's no sample rate I can't change that and that's what's happening whenever you talk into the microphone it's absolutely pure and if there's anything you know that you want to eliminate like I said think about it as cleaning it up and controlling it a little bit if you know how to eliminate that stuff, get rid of it before it even hits the computer and is converted. So uh sometimes whenever you're getting into you did have a really crazy plo shin and you're trying to take care of it and sometimes it's like causing other things to sound weird or are your noise floor is is a little bit higher than it would be if you had just taking care of it right before it went in so and that's another thing your noise floor whenever you're recording with compression you khun, turn your your input volume up higher so all across the board you're just getting more volume and, uh, if you know anything about sample rates, quieter things, they have less detail just because of the nature of it, unless you're recording out some super high bit rate. But whenever you're recording something and it's really quiet as it's going into your computer, yet to think of, think of a wave as as, uh, let's say, let's, say you zoom into a wave, for instance, you know, it kind of it kind of looks like this sort of, you know, obviously, but if you zoom way in, you'll notice it's almost like it's, almost like stair steps. Now, those stair steps are the resolution of the actual wave, and this is all digital stuff. This doesn't happen before it gets the computer. This happens after it gets the computer, so the more steps you have, the higher the resolution, the more steps you have, the louder the source material is. So when you have a quiet signal going in, you have less steps also, therefore less resolution also, therefore higher noise for so when you're using outboard gear, you can get a better result in the end, because you did it right while it was going in, so so that's the advantage of doing it, but for somebody had a question about online had a question about what you thought of the hughes and compressors and things inside of pro tools or whatever daw they're using but this is this is analog so there's a huge advantage because it's not there's no sample rate conversion that's exactly right it's just audio's flowing through it and so right it's this most in your form and that's whenever you can actually manipulate it without without messing with it. Really? If, uh if you don't overdo it, obviously, um whenever I do these things like I said, you know, you've got to think about it as kind of just cleaning it up a little bit, just getting rid of things that you know that you don't want your not making a finished product here with the cq and this compressor you're controlling, you're you're eliminating problems. So how do you determine what parts of the u want eliminated? Well, it's it depends on the microphone it's most of time, I would say ninety nine percent of the time flow end like if I'm doing anything, I'm usually maybe boosting presence and taking away some of those gross rumbles and low end, so sometimes you don't know exactly what to take away until it's in the mix sometimes you don't know exactly what to add either, so I'm not always adding I'm usually just taking away the gross low end you know, cars driving by outside and just the rumble of that is picking up on the microphone or somebody shuts the door in the other room you see the huge wave in the uh in the wave form just from that the actual pressure of the air going to the room so those are the kinds of things it's like unless you're recording a door shutting or car driving by those are things that you don't want your doing vocals just like we saw you have you know now the range of the human voice frequency wise it's like okay, well nobody's seen below seventy hurts no way I can even make a noise below seventy hurts so it's pretty safe to say that I'm going to be cutting that out so that's how I know and boosting the president I mean it's cool I don't always do it I don't really care um about that as much as I do with the low end so just got to think about it the right way for the aa inexpensive and more d I y stuff at home um some years ago aai I realized the advantage of having the analog stuff in the chain and I actually just used I think d b x thirty one band equalizer, which I know isn't like the best for a studio but it was it was one hundred fifty dollars strip yeah, sometimes you can get away with like and yeah, I would just cut some of the lows with that and then um for the compressor I think I also had a little d bx to channel one yeah and I I noticed for the guy that was online asking about using your plug in sources the outboard even just a subtle like you and compression with an inexpensive piece of outboard year made a big difference and I could still get some more custom tailoring out of the plug in yeah yeah like if you don't have a lot of money you khun if you're thinking about it in the right way as long as you don't have something that's really terrible that's like completely coloring your sound in a bad way um as long as you understand those concepts what we're doing with the compressor we're not we're not really getting the character of the compressor that much we're just controlling it, we're cleaning it and were controlling it and that's really all that's happening. We're not getting a final result with this like I wouldn't push this like if if you did have something cheap, I wouldn't push it to the max you know? Because then you're hearing the quality and the characteristic of that compressor and it might be terrible but um if you don't have that much money and you get your hands on like something that I can still help you control things so you can turn it up louder while you're going in I think that's a good idea um but I do highly recommend getting something like we're we're using an eleven, seventy six uh for our compressor in here I don't know if I said that uh yeah okay, yeah pop filter well there's also ah there's difference there's there's different compressors um and I and like I said, we're not we're not uh I'm just gonna go back we're not really going through these compressors to mix the vocal so a lot of the characteristics now just like excuse um and microphones and stuff compressors they all have their own personality and they'll all have their own sound so it's that's not something that I'm going over because we're not like pushing these really hard and I just wanted to bring that up because it seems like I might be skipping that but but that's why? Okay. So pop filter um there's a bunch of different kinds of pop filters out there this obviously had them pick up uh creative life team I had them pick up my favorite type here it's just uh it clamps on clamps onto the microphone stand easily has ah goose neck armed that like, really stays in place easily that's goingto sometime you bend and then just kind of silly go back uh my favorite kind of stays in place I think that's probably everyone's um and this almost looks like the stocking looks like some kind of nylon double layer material that's my absolute favorite there are metal ones and plastic ones there's single air ones we built the single layer one um and the single air one with material uh looks are works works pretty well, but uh to me that this is my absolute favorite uh the metal ones have kind of a weird sound when you actually make a sound into it. Like if you get too close, you guys who might not be able to hear the actual details but it adds a sound to it. So if you're using the wrong one, you're kind of ruining your vocals because you're adding a strange quality to it if you're too close, for instance, or if it's made out of I mean, some of my friends who do production professionally use the metal ones and I don't know why, but every time I use it, I get the worst result and it colors the like, the high end really in a really bad way to me, so I I've been using these with material double their material really stops it, um and doesn't really color the sound that much it's very transparent metal. I've never seen one of these. Do you mean, kind of like the pop screen on some fifty eight? Yeah, it's like a metal grill, and to me, they don't. I'm sure someone will yell at me online about this, but to me, they don't really work like the air gets through. So, um, and it makes it sound weird, so there might be a way to use it. But I just don't know, and I've tried so many times, uh, so I would say for everyone, this is easier, because obviously there's, no, you don't have to, like, learn how to use it.

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.