Vocal EFX but dry recording!?


Hello everyone!

any ideas on how I could keep my vocal track dry but have efx on my voice (revarb) in the headphones while I’m singing…?

thanks ahead of time!

The solution is dependent on your equipment, but the key is to put the reverb into the signal path after the signal is branched out for recording.

One way to do this requires having a (hardware) mixer with at least one aux send, a reverb unit capable of balancing between wet and dry signal, and some kind of headphone mixer or amplifier. Then connect the mic to a mixer channel, connect the aux send to the reverb’s input, but connect the output from the reverb to the input of the headphone mixer. (normally, you would connect the reverb output to the aux return on the mixer). Pan the mic signal hard to one side, and all the previously recorded tracks to the opposite side, record the mic into one channel in n-Track, and monitor in mono.

Another way to do it requires a soundcard having virtual breakpoints in the signal path and built-in real-time effects. My E-mu 1820 soundcard has this capability. I connect the mic to channel 1, and add a virtual reverb effects unit after the tapping point (to n-Track), but before the monitor output. then I can add whatever kind of reverb to the vocal I fancy while recording the vocal stone dry.

Remember YMMV, but at least I hope you get the idea about how it is done. Now go experimenting with your setup…

regards, Nils

Hi, I use a mixer for my Mic pres and use the insert points as “direct outs” to my soundcard. This leaves the mixer free to set up monitor feeds and I use a cheap Alesis Nanoverb to give comfort reverb on the monitoring.

What you want is exactly what happens when you use n-Track in “LIVE” mode and apply reverb as a plugin on the track you’re recording. Note that to do this you have to set up your system for low latency (e.g., use ASIO drivers). The recorded track is dry; the effect is added just prior to mixing and sending the audio to the soundcard.

If you’re recording yourself, I highly recommend you learn to record dry. Effects just give you a false sense of security, allow you to think you’re getting away with sloppy intonation, hide other flaws, and add technical difficulties (i.e., requiring low-latency monitoring, if you’re using software reverb). Really – train yourself not to need it, and you won’t regret it.

But if you’re recording others, you may need this trick in your bag for vocalists who demand it. Most pros should be above it, but there are plenty of famous and excellent artists who weren’t.