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Studio Pass with Tommy Rogers and Jamie King

Lesson 21 of 32

Song Vocal Mic Selection and Tracking

Tommy Rogers, Jamie King

Studio Pass with Tommy Rogers and Jamie King

Tommy Rogers, Jamie King

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Lesson Info

21. Song Vocal Mic Selection and Tracking

Lesson Info

Song Vocal Mic Selection and Tracking

It's bars ah mike's election it is generally speaking there's some industry standards that I really like but it is depends on the vocalist depends on the style that they're doing but there's two in particular I like to talk about the norman you eighty seven is like an industry standard you transformed based condenser microphone and it's ah just when I first and I've always heard you know heard about it you know it's there's used also many hit rick records and things like that so many vocalists and uh you want to finally bought one and tried it out? I'm like I knew why immediately because it's like the sound I've been trying to get you know, with the q and all this other stuff you know uh you know for years and just by plugging it up it just sounds great but you know it's it's a condenser whatever so it's really full frequency you know it's really crisp but has some like kind of heat to it from the transformer you know, it's kind of got some warm oja the but but it doesn't work for ever...

y vocals in your particular like scream sometimes you know you need something to kind of smooth screams over or about singing vocals has a really edgy, harsh type vocal sound I mean I think bono from u two whatever he actually uses, you know, a dynamic sure made a fifty eight right well you heard that you're talking you know a three thousand dollars mike versus brother got one hundred dollars yeah, I mean, uh you know, obviously he can afford to use anymore he wanted in the world and you know, they're producer chooses to use a bay because he's got an actually edgy type tone we don't hear that so much probably as much as it is but you know the so I used you know, another industry standard or whatever is that the serious and seven b yep. Um is a industry standard you know dynamic michael whatever it's really popular now the james hetfield used one for you know, the black album and you know, people who do hard he does kind of a harsh vocal and it really works well for a lot of screams that kind of smooth that the dynamic mike francis proximity of fix and get on it and have has a base thickening kind of quality and it's smooth the top end a little bit more so you know, so you know usually with a with a lot of the bands I usually check out their demos or either no kind of an idea like what the vocal sounds like and if their vocals really really a gym like hey let's let's try the s m seven b first if the vocals really you know it's really smooth or the screamers kind of like a muffler dole sounding in his tone are around sounding this time like hey let's do the screams with the you know uh the norman you eighty seven there's loads of mike's on the market and I would love to have a closet just to kind of just pick and choose per vocalist you know but between those two usually there's usually a winner and also have you know sure yes and fifty eight and we used to do all the vocals with abated fifty eight nice ways to handheld yeah, you know, the first record was all handled so you just whatever you have done that for some screaming some people like to you know have to hold it and that's fine here's a little to get a lot of noise I mean he's like edit out all the the noise in between trade goes back to like I'm sure what you guys talked about being comfortable you know, I remember when I first started I was I was frightened in this to you it was like a different world. Even the first time I recorded vocals with my band in high school I remember I went in I couldn't do what I do because I was so nervous and I think when somebody's like well, like try to hold it like you do in practice you know it just brings you back to being comfortable get it it's may the performances even is always better than the tone there is more important in a tone because you know it's averaging a bit like said I mean there's a lot of records I think don't sound good yeah in their huge because that takes and the music is just awesome and you know, it's ah, you know, I think some of my older records don't sound good with the music you know is so good it carries him or whatever because I don't know what I was doing earlier in a clear career whatever but thea you know so but I think you know, focus on the performance whatever it takes to get the good performance whether it be handheld if you got to use a crappy michael whatever if it sounds better with the norman but the guy's not comfortable totally, you know, unless he does a handheld and give him a dynamic that he actually put his hands on you have seen guys hold us some seventy two is a dynamic you can it is not just a couple of kind of weird just do like I tell people I actually go like dude, if you want to put your hands on it's fine, just don't cup it yeah, obviously to cut the mike it's been kind of empowering to specialist screening this wrangling like let's get tracking yeah, I got what I got ready to start. I think right now we have the, uh, the u eighty seven, which is a favorite of mine for tommy's singing vocals. We'll start with saying there's, actually, no riel screening in this song the weeks ago will go over screaming. I'll hook up the the essence seven be cool and let him just yell or whatever. Yeah, maybe he can do it this early in the morning on. Uh, but as far as a yeah, I forgot to mention the pre empts election, which is really easy for me. But, you know me isn't. Yeah, I usually use the focus. Right. Ok, I say to twenty, which is actually discontinue product. They have a new, uh, um a new channel strip. Yeah, that is ah, kind of more expensive side. It sounds great also, but the reason I use a channel street for vocals. It's. The only thing to do actually compressed on the way in. Okay, because I want the compression in the game structure. You can use a regular pre and that has an insert. You could insert a compressor that enables you to get a really hot gain structure, and it was right before that. Before the converter absolutely it before you because that you could run a compressing the computer but that's not going to allow you to get a higher gain structure yeah it's not allow you to turn the game because it's going to clip out you know the loud stuff expensive he goes into a scream or really l a part it's going to clip it out so you have to turn the game down for that part and then all the other steps like super low and low gain and as we know with analog tube and you know straightforward they stuff if you push it a little bit you get a little more air the more grit a little more detail a little more heat and that's what I want so that's why I used the channel strip of whatever for the book lt's so cool what do you need? Can you hold on to talk about it so I can hear oh yeah yeah well that's fine, I just yesterday was a good it sounds like you guys were talking. He has total included in conversations e yeah that's all I wanted to say about that is that particular there's tons of stuff on the market I mean there's an expensive products like stuff we get a lot of mojo um yeah, definitely I would recommend the channel stripped from locals all right or preempt with thea we got about twenty five minutes also to get the vocals. Yeah, we're twenty five minutes. Twenty? Yeah, you better get it, man. Yeah, it's a whole minute and a half songs we might have to go to break on the harmonies, right? Because I got to find those vocals e guess, see if you could just figure them out maybe just use the new harmony because I can't remember what we did either way could talk. I mean, a lot of you know, to the people watching a lot of the harmonies and things we do behind the main vocals were right on the spot. Yeah, a whole lot of it. So it's just kind of in the take street. Yeah, let's rock this. Ah, like said this was burned through this we ah, like said, if you guys notice here I've got with my vocals said, if this is you know, I'll be providing my template, whatever. But, you know, I have ah, vocs singing primary track, then another tractor that can use to stagger the vocal track in case there's you know, any breaths or notes that holds over another? And then I usually double track all the vocals just, you know, I don't necessarily use them always in the mix whatever but just for you know in the course if I wanted thicker so it's there and it also serves as an alternate take in case there's a take that doesn't shape up well after tuning but then I've got, you know, some singing backing vocals they usually pan the harmonies in accents spots so I've got that set up but I actually set up just a tracking track and then a copy it up and you'll see what's going on as I go go through it or whatever all right would you want to go ahead and rocket tommy yeah it's one point out you know a lot of times if you have a lot of lyrics back to back and breathing sometimes come get tough if you go straight through good tool is toe do like one line skip a line to align, skip a line and then fill in those other lines it sometimes that really helps that's a great point yeah, yeah like alive obviously it wouldn't matter if you cut off you know ah word here there are breath or something like that you can kind of pace yourself, but on the record you want it to sound using everything nice and and complete you know when it's done anything cut off, arrest her and always recommend having lyrics even if you know the lyrics in front of you just and a pence a pen or pencil just for notes if you just for confidence yeah yeah cool awesome yeah but you go ahead and just jam this when I get warmed up on the check my levels to make sure my levels are going in we got a little bit set up earlier yeah, you can just start on when you get stars coming okay? You just jam this and just let me know about level women if you need me to turn you up or down or anything get your muscles are you let me let me engage quick punch somehow that got turned off all roll hee hee weii thiss way awesome how you're feeling about your levels and state cool get and how would you feel about those takes I know there was a few pitches spots that's going to be actually I'd like to keep that just so I can show the tunings toe ok that's cool with you in just so for those years and you know no you know what you know there's a we're watching whatever tommy skipped a few lives just tio just so he could complete the phrases cleanly uh and you'll see he'll fill in the blanks do you want to fill in the blank now you want to go ahead and double what we just did got you and if you notice I'm going let's just pretend this is going to be my primary vocal say I wouldn't really stoked with it we'll just go and organize these vocals as I go along yeah you know I just said arming this one arm in that one and just you know it just is my kind of personal way tio young hee oh, wait that was even better I think yeah yeah so so yeah what I'm going to do is we use that as the primary nok like feel like normally what I would do is like said I don't do vocal is usually I don't do a lot of takes I just go for the perfect one so let's just pretend like hey unsatisfied that's the best take that's the way it needs to be so I'm going to move the other one to the duh because the dub vocals just lightly blend in and it doesn't need to be is ah as good as the primary so I'm just going to move this ah the first take into the dub slot so I'm gonna be we're gonna use that is our primary are you ready to fill in the blanks put your head on the ground wait wait what was that? I'm sorry that's that's just grab that and then I'll worry about the course in a minute got you I wasn't it wasn't a great to me you're going to double that? Yes put your head on the ground and I want to point out singers out there a lot of times hitting that the first note it's good to get that note in your head and even you khun you notice I kind of seeing that note before the party even happens because obviously jamie khun trim that off yeah I just I just added all that practice warmup stuff out before so I encourage people to do that as well also how do you feel some salt keep that we've got a couple of people online oh go ahead tom but before we start getting because I wanted we do a little some more aggressive things in the course yeah and just for the viewers I always try to leave the aggressive stuff toe lack obviously for last because you don't know wear out your voice too soon exactly so I try to do anything that smooth air just straight singing always before I do anything more aggressive yeah it's just a matter of the voice I always recommend that to my clients and like I've had people like all screaming doesn't affect my vocals and I'm like okay and then then they're like, oh yeah, I can't sing after we do the screen four so yeah I recommend that just have the do the softer, more delicate stuff first and then do the screaming sings the harsher you know on the boy stuff late and find a good the right time for you to sing I mean obviously right now is not honestly ideal for me just cause this early in the morning yeah just finding that you kind of learn when your voice is best yeah we talked about that why you're yeah but that's awesome point there's a question I think you said well yeah people just wanted to see the channel strip because we sort of set that up ahead of time so you had a couple a couple of people wanting to actually see that absolutely could actually take a picture of my settings that kind of what I use okay, but I guess if they can get a close up while we're rolling maybe yeah sort of yeah literally like on that particular channel strip here if you zoom in on it I'm not actually using the queues at all which is up here, right? Yeah the actual parametric accuse I'm using the shelving just to cut off the lows under like a hundred hertz uh and then I'm using the compressor yeah and I've got a fast attack said on the compressor I've actually I'm using it morris the limiter I've got the ratio all the way up yeah and then like uh basically I've got the the final clip limit in just to make sure it does it exactly just make sure it doesn't clip another than that uh you know, had the phantom power engaged for the condenser microphone as it requires that and then use literally what? I want it I want to see a little bit of gain reduction even when tommy's speaking tommy can use can you just talk a normal talking level? You see how you see the needle move just a little bit? Yeah, all right now just do a yale or something okay? Through that compressor is showing the gate the v u meters set to show what the compressors doing. So when he yells it's really clamping down on that vocal so it's just is clamping on a little bit when it is that a softer talk, you know? So that preserves a little bit of dynamic so if they want to do even though was sit and a limiting ratio even if he does this whisper spot the whisper is going to be quieter but all his, you know, medium volume in loud stuff is going to be about, you know, it's going to be relatively the same level which helps us mix with allowed distorted guitar music like rock and metal there's there's literally no dynamics with that stuff's going on, so you need to really even that stuff out and the advantage again doing this before it goes into the converter is that it's just smoother it smoother you get higher you know, you get a higher gain structure for clipping, okay, I think the game set pretty high right now if we disengage the compressor ah, that yelled that he did would probably clip that pre amp out and get, you know, obviously distortion and we'd have to turn the game down so you won't have the heat in the uh you know, the air that you get with the higher gains structure so, you know, for the for two both reasons for dynamic control and so we could get a higher game structure awesome. I don't want tommy to cool down your fine. This is important information. And what do you want to go ahead and see if you can figure out a harmony for this from yeah, I can't remember what we did, but you don't have this, you know, this issue? Yeah wouldn't pull up earlier, ok? In time I think you just do a few examples and I know we did some harmonies kind of on some of the in between yeah lines and also a tool that I use a lot is an octave tool just sing like you're seeing an octomom in part to singing an octave of it yeah, because it might sound silly loud in the mix obviously, you know, it's a great littering tool, the only things you can do tow just make apart more interesting is you could do it ah whisper underneath something that kind of brings from new life to it there's there's so many different options I think that's what's so exciting about vocals is you have those options just in just the mixing process which we'll talk about later you you can put things low that sound like they wouldn't work and they can be really cool yeah I like to use layering to build dynamics yes a pseudo dynamic could see the mix because we're distorted you know guitar music I mean it's just like that it's a truly one dynamic with distortion guitar so you can actually add layers like in the verse it might you might wanna thinner type sound less layers in the course like said this song particularly we use later the course of huge did to make it you know you know it's got a lot more layers of it actually adds dynamics in the layering as opposed to just dynamics in the actual parts being performed you know yeah but tommy had going miss world markets and harmony see well I try to think if I can remember wait what's your name I think just improvise and see we stumble on it let's get that for I think I did that second line put your way and then we kept let's just do that one yeah and then I'll active up this sink this house yeah got section so just get the put your head on the ground right now yeah you do we owe you don't actually double harmonies yeah let me just let's not double because I won't show the santa double um roll it at the second half of it where does the sink this house and get out now? Yeah, yeah, I think we just crossed it. Really? I think I think the wrong that was that was there to try one more time really, exactly. You had octave on that I think I think it's seeing thiss house and get out of the way I think way try harmony and let cool yeah just do that how's that it was good and let me show I'll do the second sink this house with that kind of grittier just to show how it can create a different text you want a redo that uh no, I'll do the second one that's two of those calls seeing this but it was the notion this'll get all just to show that you know the different options. Yeah that's tommy's circus guy we will reveal the real james lawson the molester yeah that's tommy's molester voice to free those of you and by itself it sounds weird, but as soon as it is it's underneath that it just gives it a cool character their attitude something you know. So he uses the, you know, the molester in a lot of effort, a lot of different places on, like the bt bam records, that could just kind of give it some. Some circus, the zany, yeah attitude. It's, it's just really cool. So where from here?

Class Description

Get an inside look at how things run in the studio with Tommy Rogers & Jamie King in this Studio Pass.

Tommy is the vocalist for the progressive metal band Between the Buried and Me and has worked with Jamie to produce most of the band’s albums. In this class, they’ll share their signature approach to production and detail the process they used to record Tommy’s latest solo album “Modern Noise”.

Both Tommy and Jamie aim to track songs that sound organic and real. In Studio Pass: Tommy Rogers & Jamie King, they’ll show you how things should run in a studio to get a final track that sounds like the band on their best day, but not over-produced.

You’ll learn about the role good pre-production plays in getting the best sound and what you should do before you ever set foot inside the studio. You’ll learn about the recording process as Tommy and Jamie track drums, bass, vocals, and guitar for a song from Tommy’s solo album. They’ll also deconstruct Pro Tools sessions and talk about how performance impacts the final arrangement.

If you want to learn how these guys work in the studio, don’t miss your chance to hang for two days with Tommy and Jamie and get a behind-the-scenes look at their process.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Jamie King - Tommy Rogers - Gear List.pdf

Jamie King - Tracking Template.ptf

bonus material with enrollment

Tommy Rogers and Jamie King - Syllabus.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Zachary Towne

Thanks for two outstanding sessions. Tommy, Jamie and the Creative Live folks really did a great job elucidating the studio recording process for producing honest, listenable, and powerful rock and metal recordings. I particularly appreciated the individual treatment of each instrument as well as how they all integrate into the mix. I found Jamie's methods to be straightforward and effective and I'm really looking forward to applying that to my own production.

a Creativelive Student

Another well done class from Creativelive. A glimpse into the daily life of a pro musician and pro engineer. Some great advice, tips and tricks that anyone can use to make better music. Was hoping they would get more into the business side of things, they did briefly discuss it towards the end, however a more detailed, longer discussion on the topic would have been good. You do learn some cool ways to record and mix. Some of these are obvious, some not so much. I am sure that for most people you will get something of value from this class.


This was an awesome 1st half of the course! Jamie touched on so many things that I've always had questions about in the production environment. I can't wait for the second day! This course is a MUST HAVE!! I will be purchasing it soon!! Many thanks for the Livestream!