Vocals

Hey Fellas,
Iv learnt alot from this forum already, but i have a question.
how can i keep all vocals the same level, e.g when i say somthing quitely how can i keep it at the same level as somthing i said louder in the same record take…

any awnsers would be great, thanks for your time
Ricci.

hi
I’m not an expert but maybe the function “normalize” can do what you ask… but I’m not sure.
:slight_smile:

Either go through a compressor on the way in, or use one on the later track. Failing that, ride the fader on the way in.

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Failing that, ride the fader on the way in.


yowch… i’d imagine that would work… but… how?

if you aren’t already using a compressor, i would take this as an opportunity to learn about them. you get the fasoft compressor plugin for free with n-track. once you learn how to use it correctly (i won’t lie, it does take a bit of reading, practice, and experimentation), it will help by evening out the level in the parts where the vocal track gets louder.

“normalize” is only going to bring up the level of the entire track. the compressor will actually even out the dynamics of the vocals which i think is what you want.

do some searching on the world wide 'net about how to use a compressor. there are a few people around here who know the fasoft compressor well and can explain it better if you’re having a hard time.

When you have really extreme differences, the compressor is not the way to go - parts will sound squashed (the loud parts) and parts will sound normal (thw whispered parts). Use the volume automation feature, to get the quieter and louder parts to about the same place. Then you might want to use compression lightly to even things out. :)

Right, what Dimmer said.

For an intro, see my article Compressor Basics.

Tom is right too. It depends on the reason and nature of the volume variations.

First, you want to make sure that each time you record, you set levels consistently and perform (speak, sing, etc.) consistently so that the recording is as even as possible to start with.

Second, to the extent that you didn’t get it right in the first step (which happens to us all), you want to use “volume evolutions” to even out different phrases recorded at different times or in different sessions so that all the parts peak at roughly the same level. (But of course, parts with crescendos or emphasis will peak louder than the loudest parts in a normal phrase – so you have to use your judgement.)

Third, to help even out the volume levels within each phrase, and also to help softer passages be clearly heard in spite of louder passages later, use the compressor.

I generally focus on the first part above when recording, and then apply a compressor right off the bat to help even things out. Then if any additional adjustments are needed, I use volume evolutions.

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yowch… i’d imagine that would work… but… how?


Well, normally you’d get someone else to do it for you, or you’re doing it for someone else. Be familiar with the song and how it’s going to be sung, and lover or raise the fader as needed, before the loud or quiet part so you’re not doing it just after the hit, as it were. IMO it’s a better way to work with the daw as you can get closer to your full 16 or 24 bits than a compromise setting would, and you’re bring up the noise floor like a compressor does (not that it’s always noiceable, but if you’re using one track for a scream/whisper it’s not going to sound as good).

yeah… i guess i can see that working… personally i’ve never worked with anyone who sang any one song consistently enough that the peaks were in the same places every time though… even if i was to know where the vocalist “usually” got louder.

unless i was really experienced with that technique, i personally wouldn’t want to risk ruining a take by moving the gain around when it’s not needed.

your comments reminded me of another teqnique though, which i have also done quite a bit… if you know the chorus part is generally sung louder or quieter than the rest of the song, record that part on a seperate track so you can adjust the verse vocals seperate from the chorus vocals. i usually do this anyways as the chorus part is often a change in dynamic with addition/removal of other instruments in the mix.

Riding the faders is how Jack Nietzsche did those Neil Young recordings. :)

yeah, but he didn’t have the free compressor that came with n-track studio… hehe :O

what about mic technique…such as on top of the mic for quieter parts and back off for louder vocals…?

No, no one my age or younger knows anything about mic techinque… :)

use volume envelopes to raise and/or lower each part of the track to even out the levels.

this would be comparable to “riding the fader” but is done after the track is recorded.

later…

Right, eman, and was mentioned in one of the early answers.

Fiddling with faders during recording is called “gain riding”. It’s generally frowned upon, but necessary in some cases. But it should be necessary at this point in technology.

Volume envelopes (called “volume evolutions” in n-Track docs) are the automated way to do post-process gain-riding.

G8torcliff’s point is also valid: this is called “working the mike” and any serious vocalist should make a serious attempt to learn the techniques: backing off, or more often, just turning the head a little (to one side or the other, or angling up a bit to sing over the mike) during louder parts, and getting right down on the mike for the close, intimate sound in quiter bits.

I suspect this isn’t done nearly as much for spoken word as for singing, mostly because the dynamic range for spoken is usually way less than it can be for singing. But plosives are an issue in either case. (Pop filters help, but alone often don’t do the job.)

But even when a mike is very well worked, and when the performance is ideally performed with consistent level setting by the engineer, compressors are still almost always used (by just about everyone but serious purists). In any case, it’s an EFFECT, and you use it to taste like any other effect. Most vocalists like the way their voice sounds better after some compression. It adds smoothness, confidence, and body. Makes a voice sound fuller and more competent. It also helps bring it forward in the mix, and fit in the mix better dynamically.