Vocal EQ rides

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by MichaelK, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Here are a couple of tricks I learned from a buddy of mine in Nashville to turn any good - even great - vocal track into an even better vocal track. These two EQ plug-in rides, if you do them right and use them sparingly, will make your singer sound 10x more expressive than he or she could possibly sound without them:

    "Attack/Stab" around 3,000 Hz - 3,200 Hz, depending
    "Sibilance/Air" around 6,800 Hz, depending

    "Stab" should be at emphatic points, "Air" should be at tails or certain held notes. By emphatic points I mean vowels that are sorta pushed from the diahpragm with extra feeling, like the "ee" in Dylan's "How does it feel?"

    Set your optimal EQ for the track. This is your starting point. Then set automation for these two boost bands for GAIN ONLY. Once established, the Q and frequency for your boosts should not be automated, only gain.

    Experiment with frequency and Q, both of which will depend on the singer and how the track was recorded. Q for neither frequency should be too wide, because you want the effect to be subtle, like it's coming from the singer's body, not affecting the overall sound of the track. Boosts should always begin and end at the "normal" EQ starting point. I've found that most times a gradual slope up and faster slope down works best. Because these boosts are a relatively narrow bandwidth and just in-and-out quickly, you can sometimes push them as much as 5 - 6 dB without it sounding wierd. Of course, if it ever sounds wierd or artificial, or if the result is not as good as the original for ANY reason, don't do it. I've done it and heard it done on a variety of vocal tracks and dug it. But as I said, it really has to be done right.

    Edit: I should add that I've only tried or heard this done on tracks of professional singers, well-recorded. And none of them were raw rockers, so I have no idea how that might work.
     
  2. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    MichaelK

    Interesting tricks. Thanks. I need to try it. I have automated eq some on vocals before but more by sections. i.e. chorus and verses.

    I have manipulated the compression amount with automation to get some of the same effects in expression of the vocal but I will have to try this too. I am sure it will sound a little different with EQ. Could be cool.

    Thanks for the tip. Us dogs always can learn and use some new tricks. I will try it soon.

    Merry Christmahannakwanzakha.


    And Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!
     
  3. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I think you once mentioned this to me before (maybe in a telephone call?) and I tried it and liked it on a certain track.

    It works on the right tracks.
     
  4. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Exactly
     
  5. straticus

    straticus Member

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    This is something that I would never have thought to try on my own. I have a vocal track I'm going to try this on.

    Thanks!
     
  6. captain_rusty

    captain_rusty Member

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    What's interesting is that my reflex tendency is always to cut EQ, never to boost it. I must try this idea - thanks a lot! :)
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Well, this is a periodic emphasis thing, not a "sit-in-the-mix" thing. That's why your beginning and ending points are where your "optimal" EQ would be, which might have been a cut in those areas.

    I usually do this with 2 EQ inserts: the first is usually Waves Ren EQ or Ren Channel to make the vox sit in the mix. I don't worry about the rides when I set that up. I just make it the way I like it and whatever it is, it is.

    Then, if I decide I'd like to try adding these emphases, I follow that EQ with the plain vanilla Digi EQ and automate my rides there. Trying to do it all with one EQ plug tends to confuse the plug, forcing it to compensate by re-adjusting the curves. Better to "set" it with one EQ and ride it with another. I like the Digi plug for that because it seems to use very little processor power.
     
  8. captain_rusty

    captain_rusty Member

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    Use 2 different plugins - another clever idea!!! Thanks a lot :)
     
  9. elambo

    elambo Member

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    That's great! It's generally better to use eq to cut instead of boost, so your tendency is a good habit.
     

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