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Recording Rock Vocals

Lesson 9 of 26

Tracking a Female Vocalist Part 1

Andrew Wade

Recording Rock Vocals

Andrew Wade

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Lesson Info

9. Tracking a Female Vocalist Part 1


  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

Tracking a Female Vocalist Part 1

Sometimes if a vocalist uses headphones where it does bleed I want to show you right now some tricks on how to prevent bleed especially from the click so right before we start obviously I want her to sing with a click track so right before we start I just want to get that situated really quick it's a very simple trick um so what I've noticed is, uh, the click track mainly when it comes through it's just the high end so I just put a low pass filter on the click and the high end does not come through but it's still just a cz loud in their ears um so I just have it cut off here on one k uh and that has saved me so many times like doing acoustics just anything really quiet throw a high pass filter on that click I like to use the cow bell click that comes with pro tools. Yeah, so that's what it sounds like can you play that? Andrew, can you actually play that real quick with the high pass disabled and then I pass on yeah, because that may be a trick that a lot of people that don't know that...

so this is without it I mean this's with where that's without so and you can even if that's not loud enough, you can even turn that up uh still and it will be fine because that's not really what comes through the headphones into the microphone all right so we're gonna have our clique were going to use a muffled click like this uh so let's start so we're just gonna kind of sing through the verse you know off casually few times just so we can get these levels good and for instance this is a softer song so you want your vocalist to be comfortable and calm because if they're not their voice might sound like shaky or uh it won't be as airy as you might want it especially for these thes commerce songs here so make sure you give your vocalist enough pre roll into the part make sure they can hear themselves and hear the music uh so I need to get a pair of headphones I will use these policy see uh for the you know what this demonstration purposes let's use thes these probably believe the most so I actually want to try this these are pretty comfortable to so um do you normally track with both headphones on or one off for to do a little bit that's exactly how I do it it's like halfway off my ear crazy great minds think alike that is exactly what I do so it's not like all the way behind her head it's uh it's just a little halfway off there so when I get mine here now I guess you yes you guys aren't going to hear the music from correct because I got a I got a munich otherwise it's gonna like bleed really bad into the microphone um but everybody at home will hear the music okay so let's see her just go ahead and talk just say the alphabet if you want u h I j k l m n o p I feel like I'm being test you are t you be w why okay hold on a second all right so no sing here I shouldn't have this zone but I had some reverb on there I hate having anyone track with the river because they're hearing themselves come back and if they hit a wrong note that it's like kind of a reminder that you just hit a bad note so uh it's good to just take those things off you can just hear exactly what you're doing instead okay let's see so we got so these air dynamic mikes they're uh not quite a sensitive here go ahead and talk one more time a b c d e f g h I j k l m and o p q r s t u v w x y z okay this is probably pretty good now I may adjust a little bit more as we go um but just for now this should be cool all right? So uh let me just play it we'll just play it one time so what I'm doing right now just you know I want to play it and I want to make sure that her headphones are at the right volume um it's kind of nerve racking when you kind of just throw a vote like go do it you know it's like well wait my headphones are you know explain what you're doing so let's get a headphone level make sure it's not too loud make sure you're not too quiet etcetera money way man to be yeah these levels are really low like I said these air it's a quiet part and these are dynamic mike's which may not be the best uh choice for this quite song but sometimes it is sometimes cool like I said it's here vision what you're going for sometimes you do want that lo fi effect now if I did do something like this where it's the acoustic and the vocal I might also use the same microphone on the acoustic so it like kind of blends a little bit better instead of it sounding like a super bright acoustic and like a really muffled vocal if anything I would kind of want the opposite so like the vocal kind of stands out more um okay so how are you on your on your level do you wanna hear yourself more all right you good good ok ok cool um all right so let's go through now I've done all the hard work here normally whenever you're working with a band they might go through and I might like a change the melody and lyrics like line by line as we go but this is all ready done to what I like so uh we're not really going to be doing that um just so you know how it like how things normally go all right? So let's uh go through it the whole thing one more time now that we got the level's good um actually let's go ahead and try it again I made a little change to the pre empt let's just go ahead and go through no, you can call me tio tio way cool were you reading or did you have that memorized uh good good good. All right, I didn't know no accidentally cut it off at the end. Um oh, and when you're tracking vocals you can't really see on this screen to make it here. Okay, yeah, this uh I think it's called actually forget what the motives called. Uh, but it's, what happens when you have this enabled it's six on the numeric keypad? Um, let's say you're punching in on a spot anything that's playing back from pre role if it doesn't sound like it's being recorded is being recorded, so since I, uh I made a mistake here at the end and I cut her off let's say that we have to punch in right there um so what I would ask you to do is I'm gonna start recording and it's just going to start start playing from the top of the chorus and just jump in whenever you know where it is and uh just finish out the chorus now the reason that I do that is so whenever her take comes in it's a natural transition into that part it's not just like jump in right there I need to just do that one word you need like a really natural sounding transition to make sure uh you don't hear any edits or anything like that so let's go ahead and do that that's the end of the course so just jump in when you're familiar with the part this is ah teo cool okay all right so those are our dynamic mikes actually you know let's get a few more takes I like to do this you can make alternate playlists and pro tools but not everybody's using protocol so let's just uh there's made a bunch of extra tracks so we can just drag that takes down you could make alternate playlist where it's like all on the same track but I actually don't even like doing that so whatever all right so let's go ahead and just go through that part a few more times I heard some timing things here and there so let's just get you comfortable with actually singing the part here in the creative life studio and this is what I like to do even if even if the vocal is taking my wallet out even if a vocal vocalists does know that the uh does does well or does know the part let him do it a few times because sometimes they work out little things little nuances in their voice and uh that's especially the case with good singers it's like you want them to find like just has a very unique voice so I want her to find her favorite things while she's recording she's obviously probably never recorded this song may be practised it but she may have never recorded it and that's a lot different because it's like okay can you go back to this taker that take because I might have done something cool that I like and that might be the new way you actually do it so there might be a little timing changes or melody changes or anything like that so the tip that I'm giving right now is you simply just go through the part a few times and uh and see what happens especially the good vocalist abad vocalist might just give you completely different takes every time but that's not the case we have jessica here so let's uh let's go and just do a few more times smooth me way, man. Teo, teo, wait! Cool, cool. All right, so let's, go and just do that again. Come on. I can't wait to be way, way cool. All right, so let's, start listening to some of the different microphones. Uh, that we've chosen here. So let's say, if I was doing this and we had plenty of time tio do this for real, I would play it through, especially if they know it like this, we'd sing it a bunch of times well, and specifically, if it's a song like this where you can sing it, there are some songs where you kind of have to, like rush through words and, like, sometimes, like words get cut off and stuff. But I kind of like when I was talking about earlier, when you're writing a song you want, it took for, you want to flow, you want it to be you want people to sing along to it, you know, if you can't sing it and you're the singer other who aren't gonna be able to sing along to it. So if you can sit there with an acoustic or on a piano or electric guitar and sing it and it feels good and it's kind of, you know, it's catchy, like then you probably have a good song, but if you can't even do that, I mean, there are different genres of music, but I'm kind of specifically talking about this, like, pop like folk rock and stuff. So, um, but the same does go for other genres, especially in courses, but we'll get to that later. Um, now you guys probably haven't been hearing anything, obviously. So vocals er all right, so the here we go, we got the fifty seven in the ar e twenty. So this is the fifty seven now I have some processing on these channels just by default, but there I will definitely have to change these because these air not mike's that I used when I got these settings at all. Um, so I might just kind of be adjusting as I go. Oh, and another little tip about the click it's cool. If you're proactive, like maybe during a a gap in a song, you turn the click down or you just mute it during the gap. I didn't do that, but I do that a lot. Whatever. It's. Yes, sir. Okay. So as you can hear, well, or even might not be able to hear, I'm playing it back, this being a song I can barely hear the acoustic you guys probably can't really hear you but I can barely hear the acoustic and then I can't hear the click at all but like in the headphones it was pretty clear so it did not bleed out at all even though those headphones aren't even sealing it you know sealing the sound out very well so here's the character I'll trade this money for here let's take uh all the processing office I'll trade this money for I'll trade this money for some time so I'll take whatever I can but I'm hearing jack diggin for go I'm hearing in this with this vocal mike the characteristic that I'm hearing is it's kind of thin sounding and that's natural for like that's a fifty seven right now what we're hearing um and obviously uh jessica has a higher register her she doesn't have like a lot of low end body you know like a a male and her voice so the fifty seven well in my opinion at least right now hearing this in this situation with her voice in this song that's not the right choice because to me it sounds a little bit thin there could be there could be things that you could do to like try to boost those frequencies but the best sound is going to be right at the source if you get it right at the source it's going to sound great I'll trade this money for sometimes sorry forney I'll take whatever uh actually have to check I don't know if this has the the base roll off yeah that is no base we're off wow so there's a base rohloff feature on that microphone and it's it's not rolled off that's uh still sounds kind of lacking body here I'll take whatever I can find is like digging in for go scared no old ma okay, so let me get change this um I like change just so you guys know what I just did here? Um under options in pro tools there's a solo mode called x or I don't know what that means but whenever you go too especially if you're comparing two things if you enable that as soon as you hit solo just goes right from one to the other versus like having unsold owen and then sold the other and it's it's been a huge hopefully especially thiss money here sometime I came right away I'll take whatever I can fine just like diggin for go as I already kind I kind of know these microphone so I kind of knew that it would sort of sound like this kind of you know thin not a lot of there's there's still some air and there but uh I think we could get a little more clarity out of like a condenser so let's actually switched those out so uh while jamie switches those out thank you jamie uh we're going to get that other tracks ready. Okay. So it's really important when you're in a studio doing whatever that everything you do is really organized like all these tracks are labeled as the name of the microphones that we're trying so you don't do try out a bunch of mikes and then you listen way which what mike was that so it's really important to keep that in mind like right when you start do you have any like tips or tricks for keeping that organized because I know it gets like it becomes a huge amount of information just from like the preamble there through the signal change how you know did you have the low cut on the mike? Did you have the o like that like that? Yeah yeah that uh is there a good way to do that? I usually while in pro tools I usually make notes use that notes feel on the track yeah, but the problem of that is like when you copy the track it copies it to the next track and sometimes we forget to change that so I don't know I just do what I can sometimes I try to put like if I do something where I try to put all the info in the track title you know, like thirteen devi cut whatever it would be a super long track title but it's I tried abbreviate and then I don't know what I'm talking about later it's just thing I d'oh often in the studio is just having a camera and any of the outboard gear I take lots of photos pictures yet to know manning's what's cool is I usually use google docks used google docks a lot in studio because especially with singers when we worked on lyrics they'll usually like have their phone don't you ever use google docks but you could make a document and then as soon as you you edit it it's it appears on their device and you can both work on at the same time so if they have little change they can change the lyrics and it changes on yours so like there's not a bunch of like oh, hey, I need those lyrics flow around so google docks is cool especially working for vocalist so everyone in the band can be working on it so there you know, sitting on their laptops changing things um so it's really cool to stay organized in that way and the, uh like what you said with pictures, I usually upload it tio google doc's also just so I can share that information with anybody that's helping me out or so I could easily organize and label the files and, you know, say I don't have my phone or something I can look at my computer and it's there so uh you probably do that drop box or something else but I'm just not a fan of the google drive stuff cool um anyway I'm not sponsored by them I wish I'll be crazy uh all right so yeah keep that organism so I'm put I'm putting these both on uh cardio pattern and since this is quiet uh I'm not turning the pad on on the microphone I can't even see the back of this issue so what I'm gonna do is I'm also gonna turn the wheel turn the bass roll off off since we had a little problem with fullness should be good should be so if you're doing a shoot out with mike's they gotta be as close as possible to you know being at the same position it's theoretically impossible but you get close all right so we good cool cool just a production question I I have seen some people actually do takes where they'll blend a dynamic and a condenser yeah yeah something is that sometime? Uh I'm like messed around with stuff like that but I haven't gotten the results where it's worth having so like you saw how many vocal tracks like I work with it's not to me not really I haven't found a way to use it like that where it benefits me enoughto have like all those vocal tracks fooling around I'm sure there's some cool technique with that, but for me it does it's not something that works out for me or has benefited me so greatly that I have yeah, I remember just one specific take that a friend had done where he wanted a full rich vocal which you got out of the normal condenser but they wanted to really, uh, like over processed radio style voice yeah, they put a fifty seven and then took that signal. And then when they blended it, they had a separate that's cool one and it worked for that I I've done. I've done like, really wacky stuff like that and it's cool to experiment and stuff and I really encourage it. I think people should definitely try that kind of stuff, but I also like, uh, I kind of like having a tool that well, I kind of get me to where I want, like a cz much like just my go to microphone, which, like we talked about the police. So, um so sometimes my focus ends up being more on like making sure the music is good uh instead of, like, trying to do something weird o r super different that no one's ever thought of, even though I am still looking for new things to do all the time, I just haven't found a place for that in my tracking set up, but it wouldn't stop me from doing that. I would still try that if a man came in there like we want to do this, yeah, sure, awesome, let's, try it. I just have, you know, maybe they know more about it than I do. You can always learn I'm a teacher, and I am learning that's a good attitude for everyone, just so you know, nobody knows everything. Another life lesson by injury. Wait. Okay, so we have a problem. Those two dynamic mike sounded a little too well, too thin. Uh, we got these compressors here. It should be pretty full bodied sounding, um, pretty, pretty area top end here, so let's, get this. Whoa! I can hear it already.

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.