Skip to main content

music & audio

Studio Pass with Joey Sturgis

Lesson 22 of 29

Vocal Recording Workflow

Joey Sturgis

Studio Pass with Joey Sturgis

Joey Sturgis

most popular music & audio

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

22. Vocal Recording Workflow

Lesson Info

Vocal Recording Workflow

You don't always have to use the same input gain on ah whole performance. And I'll tell you why you're going to get the human voice, which is like extremely dynamic. And, ah, the human voice is capable of making all kinds of different noises. So there are situations where you get someone who has a really powerful voice and sings really loud. But then they get to a section in the song when they start to sing soft and you don't have enough gain to actually capture it. So you need to have, um, you know, you have to have that in mind and know that when Teoh increase in and when to decrease that I like toe, turn it up when we're on softer parts and then lower it when we're on louder parts just depends on the pre amp um, this preempt that you're looking at on this slide that is the great river that I have. I I like to use that for vocals. It's like a Neave clung. The cooling about it has stepped input, so you can ah, turn that knob and toe like one number and it'll Utkan memorize that number...

for a certain style vocal for the vocalist you're working with. So, like, let's say when they do the screams, you're putting it on 25. But then when they sing, maybe their vocals are, like a little bit louder, a little bit softer, so you can adjust to do that. And I like Teoh. Mark the spots with little pieces of tape so I can remember that. Um, so let's actually get a vocal signal going now. There we go. Check one Sue check. 12 Cool. Okay. So, yeah, as I turn this up to, he gets louder and louder, as you might check. Check 12 And this has the same, like, stepped input that you would see, like on the Great River. I think this is also a Neave clone. Or like a Neave rip off to check. 12 check. 12 Okay, Cool. Check. Check, Check. 12 12 Sounds good to me. Also, you have your calibration check one. Um so when you're working with a pre empt like this, you want to set your output so that it's not clipping the input on your interface. So I'm gonna watch. I'm looking at the track over there, and I can see how loud it is as he's talking. And I'm gonna turn this now, but check check. 12 check. 1234 one. Check one. Check, Check. Now, if I left it there, it probably would have been wrong, because when he starts singing, his voice is going to get much louder. So, actually, wanna back it off a little bit? Sue, Check, Check. Check. 12 Check. And I'm just try. Try that and see how we're looking. Can you hear me? I sure can. Do you want What part do you want to start with? Just to test the level? Uh, doesn't matter to me If you want to. Do you want start with the versus or with the chorus that starts the beginning or whichever. Let's let's start with the chorus. Okay, I'm gonna put you in. Ah, I'll put you in four bars before, Okay? Actually, I don't know how loud this will be in your headphones. OK, so let's let's do that first. Sure. Um, do you have the knob turned down on there? Okay, I'm gonna hit play. It's good. It's good luck. Okay. Cool. All right. One second. It Okay. Alright, let's try it. Right. Okay. So right away. It's just way too loud. So I'm gonna go over there and make an adjustment real quick. Sure, actually, I'm gonna turn the input, gain down a little bit, because it you've got to controls for your volume of your of your microphone. So you've got the The input gain is is how much Dr you're doing with the signal. And then the output is just how loud you're sending that signal to your converter. So when I have this, I'm gonna turn this down because I think it's just too hot. Okay, let's try that. Ready? Yep. You can bring me down a little bit in the headphones to if you want. OK, Cool. Okay, so now it looks kind of like I got the level that I want. It's ah, it's not clipping, which is good. You don't want to ever clip. And then the next hurdle that you want to get over is actually getting the ah, the signal audible to the vocalist and to you. So I like to actually put on a compressor on the track wall I'm recording. So that it's easier to hear all the all the different dynamics of the voice. So I'm gonna put on gain reduction on this track, and it's gonna help him to hear himself better and also help. Help me hear him better, too. Yeah. Yeah. Now we can hear every little Okay, let's try it again. Sure. Whoa. Awesome. Cool. Um, so, yeah, that's that's basically how you get your signal. Ah, I like to start with. I like to just have one track. It's kind of the same way that I do the guitars in the base. I just have that one track will record everything and everything in there, and then I start dragging it down. The only difference with vocals is I like toe have most of my vocal parts in you in unique little tracks. So once I finish apart, I'll just grab it and pull it down like this, and it will create a new track and copy and paste all the settings from from that track. And as you do additional vocal parts, you just drag him to new tracks, and it will just keep creating new tracks like that se and it's really useful. Uh, and convenient, because then you don't have to worry about all of your different settings and inserts and all that stuff trying to do that, like, over and over. Um, that the second thing that I want to go over about vocal production is the punch and etiquette. Now, what I mean by this is you don't want to just go to the course and be like, OK, start singing. You have, like, no time to get ready, you know? Right. So, uh, it's all about asking the vocalist Hate. What? What do you want to hear before you come in? Do you want to bars? Do you want four bars? You know, tell me what's comfortable for you and make sure that you're just communicating with them. Because if you were on the other side of the glass, how would you want it done for you? So it just makes sense to try and, you know, communicate with them and see what they like. Also work around the singer and don't make them work around you. If the vocalist likes to record vocals late at night, then you should probably wake up later in the day so that you can stay up late with them. I tend to do whatever it takes because basically, I'm asking the vocalist I need you to give me, you know, your best performance. So what is it gonna take to get that out of you? And if they tell me? Well, I need to record vocals at 1 a.m. And I have to get kind of drunk first. Like, if that's what it takes, then all right, let's try it. And most of the time, people were pretty honest about it. But I get occasionally, get someone who thinks they know what makes their vocals best. And then we try it and we realize, Wait, that's not actually the best idea. Let's tweak it a little bit. Let's try this a little bit differently, so do whatever you can to make them comfortable. Um, all right, so I think we're going to do next is just go ahead and record a couple parts. Just so we have some some vocals to actually play around with. So let's let's just start with that course, if that's cool, OK? And are you cool with the four bars? Four bars from Okay, sweet. Here we go way cool. Great. Good job. All right. So we've got our main take. Um, now, when I do my vocal productions, I typically have a main take. That's pretty much unaffected. Um, and I will keep that track unaffected. So I have clarity. I always like people to know what the lyrics are of the song without ever reading any words. I want them to just hear the song and understand lyrics. And then the message is very clear. Eso this first track that he did If if I thought, you know Hey, that's the best take that he's done. That's the one that I would use for the clarity track. And then we would do a couple more additional takes, Doosan doubles and triples or whatever, and all those would be used to support that main take. So I'm actually going to keep this one. I'm gonna drag it into a new track, and then I want you to just go ahead and double it, and we'll see. You know, maybe this next take will be a better take total. And if it is, then we'll just swap will use it for the main take. All right, you ready? Yep. Sounds good. Way awesome. Great job that last Whoa was a little bit messed up, so I'm gonna keep everything you did. But I'm just one punch in. Just that one little partner goes up. Yep. So I don't wanna make him have to do the whole part all over again just because he messed up that one thing. So I don't actually go in and zoom in and just cut that one thing out, starting with the breath. This is where the breath starts cutting starting there and then also cutting after before before it goes into the next part. And then it's going to lead that and punch him in. Okay, I'll just I'll roll you a little bit before you'll hear the vocals before way that works. It was a little yeah, let's find it's better than the one we had coat. So I went a little over. I'm just gonna bring this back a little bit, You know, What you can do is just cross fade the punch in with the original like that. I like to keep all my vocal takes as, ah, solid pieces. So I'm gonna actually bounce that at it. There we go. So then I am going to drag that down, and that's gonna for my double. And I'm gonna turn my double down because I don't want it to be as loud as the main take. And I'm gonna actually pan this left and then the next take that he does. I'm gonna pan. Right. So I'm gonna have the main take in the center, one double on the left and then another double on the right. OK, we're going to do one more. Okay. You ready? Yeah. Whole thing Or just the wo are the entire thing. Yes. Okay. So right off the bat, I noticed two things you said free instead of fray, right kind of maxim. I think before I've been trying to mimic his accent a little bit. Yeah, that's good as that. This is important. When you're doubling something, it has to be exactly the same as the original. If you're doing on one, take your doing a free sound, and then on the other one, you're doing Frey sound. It's gonna be really They're not gonna blend together very well, So that's good. Also, the first, um, this word here may or me that was too short. Okay, so it should be a little longer next time. All right. I'll typically try and stop a vocalist if they do something wrong. I try and stop because I don't want oh, want them toe waste their voice on something that I'm not going to keep If I know immediately that I'm not gonna keep it and I'll try and just stop and tell the vocalist, Try it again. Way. Um, I think I just want to do one little change and it's the me. I think it's more of a May. Yeah, sound. So let's just do that one more time. Just start at the top and then once you've finished that note, just don't sing anymore. Just the one word. Yep. But do they do the line going into it? Look. Sorry. That's all right. Let's try it again. Perfect. Awesome. And then, uh, let's do some screaming parts as well. Which part was it again they were talking about doing the I don't know if you want to do the whole first verse because it's right before the course where you do that any more. Did it okay, Yeah, let's Let's go ahead and Dio So there's the first Let's do the second half of the first. Yeah, let's do that. You played me the part looking here. Yeah, sure. So I'll start at the beginning of the burster a more So you want to do just that second half? Yep. Okay. Ready? Yep. So for this, I'm just going to keep him on the same track that we've been recording vocals on. And, ah, once he finishes, I'll drag it down to a new track and it will be all the screaming stuff will be in its own area. Are you ready? Yeah. Okay. So I noticed that when he screams, his voice is much louder. So I have to go back to the pre amp. And and change the input gain a little bit. I'm gonna do that now. And I'm going to start just with that one. That one setting change. I just did one little notch down. Let's try it again and see if we if we got it, you could do a little less pre roll if you want to. I just want if I hear that that that that I know. That's okay. Cool. So there he He told me that he wants less pre roll. If the vocals ever tells you to do something like that, you should just do it because most of the time it's really annoying if you're standing there doing vocal parts over and over and you have to listen to a whole minute to music before you actually come in. So if they tell you like, hey, I want four counts than just give him for accounts awesome. And then we're gonna do another one. I just want to double it. So I'm gonna take that take and just drag it down to a new track and then just record another one. Awesome. Good. And I'll just track that one down. And now we've got to to track for screaming, Um, this way. If I wanna affect the screams differently than the singing, I don't have to worry about, you know, having to automate the plug ins in and out. I can just, you know, change all of the plug in settings as I want to on this track, and it will only affect the screaming track. Are the screaming takes that I put in there? That's like, That's generally the workflow I like toe have. I think it's best. Um okay, cool. So I think that's pretty much it. That's all it takes. I need

Class Description

Joey Sturgis is the producer behind some of the biggest names in metalcore, including Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, and I See Stars. His style is one of the most sought after sounds of the last decade and in Studio Pass he’ll show you how he produces it.

There is no magic bullet to Joey’s sound. It’s simply the combination of a million little decisions that add up to something incredible. In this class – for the first time ever – Joey will demonstrate his entire process: pre-pro, engineering, mixing and mastering, from A-Z. 

You’ll learn:

  • Writing and arrangement tips that take a song from good to great
  • Recording, editing, and mixing tips for guitars, vocals, bass, drums, and synths
  • How to get stuff to sound loud, super clean, and tight

Joey is a hands-on engineer – he’ll talk about how he works with bands to develop their writing and ideas so they are working with the best possible raw material. He’ll show you the specific signal chain he uses for mixing guitars, vocals, bass, drums, and synths. And he’ll give extra focus to vocal tracking, editing, tuning, compression, and effects.

If you want to transform your recording and engineering process, don’t miss your opportunity to learn from chart-topping metalcore producer, Joey Sturgis.

Class Materials

bonus material with enrollment


What is Vocal Production

Autotune Pitch Correction Modes and Tools

Understanding Pitch Graphing

Timing and Quantization

Vocal Mixing

Separating Lead & Background in Mixing

Mixing Harmonies & Adv Production Technique

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I have been following Joey's work since the early Prada days... This is one of the best discussions any producer has ever contributed to digital audio. I love the amount of transparency. He simply reveals everything and guides you on a very wise path on how to become a in-the-box producer like him! Turns out, the answer is -- a ton of hard work! Plus, this has to be the best use-case on his own awesome and super-affordable plugins. I have watched almost every popular producer/engineer workshops and have also sat-in on Eddie Kramer, Alan Parsons and Quincy Jones producer workshops and believe it or not... This is the best one yet.

Adam Train

I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of the bands Joey records. The only reason I bought this class was because I enjoyed the Periphery one so much. Joey takes modern production techniques to the absolutely extreme. He takes punch-ins and editing to a level where it's not even funny any more. If you're looking for tips on recording and mixing in general, this class is not for you. If you're looking for editing tips to see how far you can possibly push the strive for perfection, this is pretty spot on. If you're a beginner, don't take this class to heart - Joey's workflow is borderline psychopathic - go and get the Periphery session instead. If you've been recording for a while and you're looking to see how far editing can take you, it's worth a look.

a Creativelive Student

Easily one of the best investments I've made. There is so much information here that you'll have to watch it multiple times to really catch everything. Looked up to Joey Sturgis for a long time and this is literally a dream come true to get a behind the scenes look into his talent. He delivered the material in a very understandable fashion and was extremely clear with all his examples. I love creative live =)