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Producing Vocals

March 7, 2017

 

Getting the right vocal take is an art form all in itself.

 

Record everything

Most Digital workstations have the ability to record playlists. It is best to keep all the takes including warm ups (sometimes these are the best) later you can comb thru all the takes and find the perfect spots to make a "Comp" that creates the master take.

 

Stay in the zone

 The most important thing is make the artist feel comfortable and move at a pace that is in sync with the artist. this is where keeping multiple takes and taking notes of sections that you like and spots that you think have not been performed correctly yet so you can direct the artist when it is time to provide feedback as well as being able to do a quick "comp" to play back to the artist for approval.

 

Be one with the artist 

Every singer is different and it is important to move at their pace. Some singers can sing all the way through a song and some are better off singing the verses first and then the Choruses or vise versa, It is best to have a conversation with the artist before hand and come up with a game plan so you are all on the same page. There are no wrong way to record, but there are ways that will give you better results. You are the advocate for the artist and it is important to gain their trust so if after a couple of takes doing it their way you hear some spots that are still rough then you can offer some advice to get an even better take.

 

Autotune me baybee

Vocal tuning has been a part of recorded music since the beginning. In the early days we would have to slow down or speed up tape to pitch the vocals up for down to fix out of tune performances. These days we have software applications such as Melodyne or Auto tune to fix out of tune parts. Be careful! with such power comes great responsibility once again this is an artistic choice some artists say absolutely no and some say yes and some might even want it to an extreme to create an effect.

 

Headphone Mix 

How the artist hears themselves in the phones is also an important part of the performance. Talking to the artist first and seeing what they like in terms of effects and mix will take the guess work out of this step and get the artist comfortable quicker. Try not to use too much reverb or delay these can distract from the performance and make pitch hard to judge. If you are doing vocal doubles or harmonies, try panning the vocals in opposite directions so separation can be heard.

 

By: Producer Geoff Ott

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