- Why Nimbus?
This week’s question from @xMCLx: Hey Guys! Question here. Is it better recording vocals with the effects (Compressor and EQ) on or off?
Hey, this is Condor here. With vocals, I’d definitely say having some EQ and Compression on is a good thing. It’ll help the singer get into the performance and not be afraid of the mic. It will help level their voice so they get a better feel in quiet parts, and they won’t be afraid to blow your ears off if they sing loud. Don’t over-do it though!
Here’s some guidelines, use within reason, listen, and learn to trust your ears!
First compress lightly with a lower ratio and low-ish threshold, a slow attack and a fast release. For a more energetic sound you can intensify the settings, for example, higher threshold and ratio, with a slightly faster attack and ultra fast release. Generally try and stay away from an ultra fast attack, it will make the compressor pump too much. I try and remember this release time “rule of thumb” – use a faster release if you want a more hyper active vocal with more energy (usually for that type of song), and use a slower release to “hug and control” or “warm up” a vocal sound. A good way to find the sweet spot is to take the release knob and make it really slow, then gradually speed it up until the you feel the vocal open up and dynamically fit into the song. Tempo, feel, and performance will play a big part in this.
EQ-wise keep it simple. Use a High Pass Filter to cut the rumble and woofiness that’s in the low frequencies, maybe from 50-80Hz and below for a male, up to 150Hz for a female. You can try a touch of treble to “pop the top”.
A slightly more advanced technique, if you’re feeling adventurous and/or the vocal is a bit harsh sounding on the ears, is to cut a bit of mid, anywhere between 1-2.5khz to smooth it, and somewhere between 4-8khz to cut the edginess. Use a tighter bandwidth when cutting. This is something I’d experiment with POST recording first to get the hang of.
Once you’ve recorded and mixed a few tracks and begin to realize what patterns repeat themselves you can start implementing them on the way in. It goes with any kind of recording. If you can shape your sound on the way in, it will help your production form sonically sooner, and you will develop a more distinct sound. Just be careful to not over-do it! Small changes can make a big difference, and always remember to listen to the effect on bypass to make sure you haven’t made it worse!!!
Finally, I will add some reverb or perhaps a touch of delay to put them in the mood! That’s always post the input chain.
Alex Aligizakis, or perhaps more commonly known as “Condor”, has been working in the Vancouver studio scene for 13 years. He began assisting at The Warehouse, The Armoury, and Chad Kroeger’s own MountainView Studios. In the past few years Alex has branched off on his own Production and Engineering career with some recent successes – engineering Art of Dying’s debut self titled LP, co-financing and engineering Warner Music / RoadRunner Records signed heavy rock band Hail the Villain, and mixing the upcoming LP from Vancouver darlings Bend Sinister. Currently Alex is mixing a record for Victoria’s own Mindil Beach Markets, as well as producing, engineering, and mixing a full length record for up-and-coming funk hip-hop group Panther and The Supafly.
…Nimbus doesn’t feel like a school at all. Nimbus feels more like home. There really is no other place like it. If your dreams are in the music and recording industry, your money will be wasted going elsewhere. Nimbus is the future of music. Fact.
Nimbus is more than just a school. It is a philosophy, an attitude, a way of life… My experience there has made me not only a better engineer, but a better person as well!
Not only did I learn how to engineer and produce, I learned how to utilize my time and energy for something I really care about, and all the while having more fun then I ever imagined possible.
Nimbus School of Recording Arts
300 – 238 2nd Avenue E
Vancouver, BC V5T 1B7