vocal track volume up and down

hector

Member
Messages
1,077
So, I recorded my daughter singing the vocal track to a song, and her volumes are all over the place. Soft verses, loud choruses, etc. I'm using Sonar as my DAW. This is gonna be a lot of work for a compressor. Should I do gain processing to the clips in the audio track (3dB up/down etc), or attempt to fix it all with a compression plugin???
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Messages
19,074
You could get a plug in like Waves Vocal Rider, or compress the heck out of it, or draw in the volume changes you need.

OTOH you have a great opportunity to teach your daughter about mic technique and controlling her own volume.
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,066
A bit late now, but the best way to fix the problem is to teach the singer to control their dynamic. After the fact, I would go through the mix with automation on and ride the vocal fader to get close to the right levels, and then fine tune it as necessary.

Tough job for a compressor, though you may want to use that too to help out. You'll have to try a few things and see what works best.

Or, have her do it again, it might be faster and better. Have her listen to the problem and learn how to sing at the right dynamic level.
 

Unnecessary

Member
Messages
2,671
I'm sure Sonar has a volume envelope you can drop points on for the track and raise/lower sections as needed, then buss the output to another channel with your dynamics plugins so they are seeing a more consistent level (unless there is a "Pre-FX" volume envelope)
 

mattball826

Member
Messages
20,813
Copy the track in Sonar, then experiment with Process tools like gain, normalize to, etc. Try not to take away from dynamics.
Compressor won't help as much.

If it's just certain segments that are lower in gain, process those to the equiv loudest segments. Then use the Compressors in the Pro Channel.
 

aleclee

TGP Tech Wrangler
Staff member
Messages
13,001
I'm not a particularly skilled recordist but my thought would be to use automation to ride the faders to get the volume in the same ballpark and then run to a bus with a compressor to finally even things out.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,322
To make it a little easier, copy the track and designate one for the verses and one for the choruses.

Assign a comp, set appropriately, for each track to bang it into rough compliance.

Then, draw in volume envelopes and finesse as much as you'd want.
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,066
It's so much easier than the days of multitrack tape recording and mixing with no console automation. I remember doing mixes with 3 guys on the board so we could all do our moves using two hands each to get a mix balance through a pass of a song.

Learn how to use your tools, but also learn how to produce as you record and mixing will be much easier.
 

mixwiz

Member
Messages
2,335
This is a really extreme example of mic technique. It does take some practice and working with a mic and headphones is a good way to start. Watch how far he holds the mic away at times to level out the dynamics. The other method is to turn your head away from the mic.
 

hector

Member
Messages
1,077
Thanks for your replies. My daughter is only 12. Yes, technique is important. I told her to back off a little on the chorus, and pointed out that certain words which were higher pitched were also too soft. But that will take time to develope, I suppose. Based on your responses, and my instinct, I think the best approach is to seperate the verse and chorus into seperate tracks. Than do some gain editing on certain passages, then finally a compressor plugin to tighten things up. I've read up on that "vocal rider" plugin before, but I don't own it at this time.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,322
Thanks for your replies. My daughter is only 12. Yes, technique is important. I told her to back off a little on the chorus, and pointed out that certain words which were higher pitched were also too soft. But that will take time to develope, I suppose. Based on your responses, and my instinct, I think the best approach is to seperate the verse and chorus into seperate tracks. Than do some gain editing on certain passages, then finally a compressor plugin to tighten things up. I've read up on that "vocal rider" plugin before, but I don't own it at this time.
Compress it first, then do your vocal rides.
 
Messages
2,650
if there are pauses in between passages, and the vocal is isolated, then I'd chop it all up and make it multiple tracks, if possible, then send it all to a Bus with a compressor on it.
 
Messages
1,355
To make it a little easier, copy the track and designate one for the verses and one for the choruses.

Assign a comp, set appropriately, for each track to bang it into rough compliance.

Then, draw in volume envelopes and finesse as much as you'd want.
I would do this. You can add a gain envelope to each track in Sonar as well. That will control how hot the sign is on the input side of your compressor.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,123
Don't mess with a vocal rider plugin or anything like that. It won't save you much time and will produce worse results than manually riding the vocals yourself. Plus it'll cost more money, and might even take longer to do if you have to figure out how to use the plugin. I would rather boost or cut individual parts than rely on a plugin to make those decisions. But volume automation is best, and easy enough to do, especially if it's just one vocal track.

But ultimately, it lies mostly on the performer. If your daughter has plans of becoming a professional singer, or even a hobbyist, she'll need to learn proper vocal technique. 12 is definitely not too young to learn. In fact, the younger they are, the quicker they learn that type of stuff. Unless you're under strict time constraints, it would be better to have her re-record it, and use this as an opportunity to teach her some good vocal technique. Then you can always clean up what's left in post if you get to the point where on of you is burnt out on it. But it's always best to get this stuff right at the source, which in this case means the performer. However, if this is just a one time deal, and she's not really interested in learning any techniques, then there's no point in drawing this out any longer than you have to and making it overly complex. In that case, I'd fix it in the mix.

If you use a compressor to even out the volumes on an extremely dynamic vocal take, it will leave noticeable coloration and artifacts. Sometimes you want this, but generally it's frowned upon if it becomes too noticeable. It's usually best to use several compressors in series so that each one is gently evening out the volume, and none are being worked too hard. But I'd make sure to do all the heavy lifting with the volume fader first.
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,066
Compress it first, then do your vocal rides.

Don't mess with a vocal rider plugin or anything like that. It won't save you much time and will produce worse results than manually riding the vocals yourself. Plus it'll cost more money, and might even take longer to do if you have to figure out how to use the plugin. I would rather boost or cut individual parts than rely on a plugin to make those decisions. But volume automation is best, and easy enough to do, especially if it's just one vocal track.

But ultimately, it lies mostly on the performer. If your daughter has plans of becoming a professional singer, or even a hobbyist, she'll need to learn proper vocal technique. 12 is definitely not too young to learn. In fact, the younger they are, the quicker they learn that type of stuff. Unless you're under strict time constraints, it would be better to have her re-record it, and use this as an opportunity to teach her some good vocal technique. Then you can always clean up what's left in post if you get to the point where on of you is burnt out on it. But it's always best to get this stuff right at the source, which in this case means the performer. However, if this is just a one time deal, and she's not really interested in learning any techniques, then there's no point in drawing this out any longer than you have to and making it overly complex. In that case, I'd fix it in the mix.

If you use a compressor to even out the volumes on an extremely dynamic vocal take, it will leave noticeable coloration and artifacts. Sometimes you want this, but generally it's frowned upon if it becomes too noticeable. It's usually best to use several compressors in series so that each one is gently evening out the volume, and none are being worked too hard. But I'd make sure to do all the heavy lifting with the volume fader first.
I agree with Silent Sound.

If the volume difference between the verse and chorus (or anywhere for that matter) is a lot, it's too much for a compressor to work properly. Get things in the ball park so the vocal level is good in the mix. Compression after that (if necessary or desired) will help it sound more like a pop record.
 
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