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Vocals with no compression before PT?
Old 13th November 2002
  #1
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🎧 15 years
Question Vocals with no compression before PT?

Just curious as to whether anyone here ever tracks vocals directly into PT without compression first. I'm not so much looking for any sort of plugin vs hardware compression debate or the like. I'm just interested to see if anyone does this, and how they get proper levels without clipping the interface inputs etc.

Tom
Old 13th November 2002
  #2
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doug_hti's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
yes people do this all the time!!!

.....just allowing plenty of head room...a lot of mixers like untouched tracks

If the singer is really THAT dynamic, than it might be good to have a limiter in the chain to grab the transies and peaks...or a compressor with a high threshhold and fairly high (maybe 6:1) ratio so it's really not touching it 95% of the time.

I think it also depends on whether the singer sings through the entire song or in phrases. If they sing in phrases it's a bit easier to make adjustments phrase by phrase...but this can cramp some singers mood.
Old 13th November 2002
  #3
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Thanks doug! Any Apogee users ever use soft limit to help in preventing clips on vocals??

Tom
Old 14th November 2002
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groundcontrol's Avatar
 
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I never track a singer without compression whatever the medium I record to. It just doesn't sound right to me. (I even use two compressors in series most of the time.) If I don't want it to "sound" compress, I'll use the most transparent unit available with a very low ratio and a low threshold. (Just like a "mix buss" compression setting.) This way you preserve the general dynamics of the performance, you just downsize it a litle so it records and sits in the track easier. It sounds a lot more transparent to me than the other way around...

I never use "soft limit" when using Apogee's, I really don't like what it does to my audio. If I want to limit before AD (very rare), I set it up with a good limiter. If I want to smear the top end, and 2" is not available (most of the time unfortunately), I use a Fatso.
Old 14th November 2002
  #5
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thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
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Re: Vocals with no compression before PT?

Quote:
Originally posted by tld
Just curious as to whether anyone here ever tracks vocals directly into PT without compression first. I'm not so much looking for any sort of plugin vs hardware compression debate or the like. I'm just interested to see if anyone does this, and how they get proper levels without clipping the interface inputs etc.

Tom
I track like this all the time. It all depends on singer/song and mic/mic pre combo/room(it creates its own compression). The right combination negates using a comp(in these cases the only comp I would even sniff at is the GML8900).

I much prefer to ride it the old fashion way(by hand). Also if your gain staging is right(-14 again), than you should have enough headroom to catch the peaks.
Old 14th November 2002
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Charles Dye's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've done it a few times when I was working in a home studio that didn't have a high-end comp (I prefer no compressor over an inexpensive one), but I don't recommend it. It's an invitation for distortion or constant readjustment of the mic preβ€”which is a total pain.
Old 14th November 2002
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blackcatdigi's Avatar
 
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I don't know that I've EVER tracked any vocal without compression...

Usually use 1176, LA2A, CL1B, VARIMU, often 2 in series (one for peaks, one for gentle comp).

But that's just me. YMMV
Old 15th November 2002
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm a compression slut.

I like to track vocals with two stages of hardware compression:

First, through some gentle limiting, then through a gentle NF/compression/EQ multi, to PT...

Then I add a compression plug on the insert stage of the lead vocal track - either the BF LA-2A or the BF 1176.

Sweetness is my weakness, so I baby the settings at every possible stage. Caress those settings.

I want my vocal tracks to taste as sweet as honey poured all over my baby's...uuh, there might be minors lurking so I'm gonna stop there.
Old 15th November 2002
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loudist's Avatar
 
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Compression usually helps the singer perform a lot better.
This is the best reason to compress on the way in.
Old 15th November 2002
  #10
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Thanks Charles and everyone for all the replies! I imagine that a big part of this would depend on the singers mic technique. But even with good technique, I guess the level/peaks would be tough to deal with going in dry.

Good point loudist. Hearing out of control peaks etc while tracking can't help a singers performance.

Thanks again.

Tom
Old 16th November 2002
  #11
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
 
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Do you guys compress before the preamp or after the preamp?

Jasper
Old 16th November 2002
  #12
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Do you guys compress before the preamp or after the preamp?

Jasper
Mike,

I use a large diaphragm condensor mic to track vocals with, which requires phantom power. Since my mic pre has the +48V phantom power and my hardware comp/limiter does not, this dictates that for vocals, I go into the pre, and then the comp/limiter.

For everything else (guitars, bass, drums, et al) however, I compress the signal, then send it through the preamp.

In both scenarios, the signal gets sent to a digital NF/Comp/EQ multi for further tweaking, then to PT via S/PDIF.

Hope this helps.

PS: I dropped your CD in the mail today.
Old 16th November 2002
  #13
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
 
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Quote:
I use a large diaphragm condensor mic to track vocals with, which requires phantom power. Since my mic pre has the +48V phantom power and my hardware comp/limiter does not, this dictates that for vocals, I go into the pre, and then the comp/limiter.
Yeah, that's what i do too.

Quote:
For everything else (guitars, bass, drums, et al) however, I compress the signal, then send it through the preamp.
And I don't think you're alone on this. But why? That is, what's the benefit of sending it to the compressor first?

Jasper
PS -- Thanks for sending the CD, Eric.
Old 16th November 2002
  #14
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
posted by Mike Jasper:
quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
For everything else (guitars, bass, drums, et al) however, I compress the signal, then send it through the preamp.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

And I don't think you're alone on this. But why? That is, what's the benefit of sending it to the compressor first?
Mike,

Good question.

If your mic pre adds "character" to the sound, and you like that "character," then you get more "character" by limiting/compressing the signal going into it.

You also get more consistent amplification of the sound this way, "character" or not.

Bear in mind: This is only MY work method. But I like it. I like the results I get working this way.

Your mileage may vary.
Old 16th November 2002
  #15
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hey, entry level question on this issue: isn't compressing a mic level signal a bit dicey? S/N ratio etc. I thought you had to bring the mic level up to line level (with a pre amp) before you hit it with compression.
Old 16th November 2002
  #16
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I was going to ask the same thing. I assumed compressors were designed for line level input. (??)

Tom
Old 16th November 2002
  #17
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
posted by schnauser:
hey, entry level question on this issue: isn't compressing a mic level signal a bit dicey? S/N ratio etc. I thought you had to bring the mic level up to line level (with a pre amp) before you hit it with compression.
Correct.
Old 16th November 2002
  #18
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
posted by tld:
I was going to ask the same thing. I assumed compressors were designed for line level input. (??)
Correct; the exception being, if you're using a dynamic mic such as a Shure SM57, and you fit the XLR connection with an impedance matching transformer such as an Audio Technica CP8201. Then you can plug the transformer into the 1/4" jack of your compressor.
Old 17th November 2002
  #19
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Thanks Eric!

Tom
Old 17th November 2002
  #20
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Jules's Avatar
"Thanks doug! Any Apogee users ever use soft limit to help in preventing clips on vocals??

Tom"

I would give that a skip, its best to regard Soft Limit like an emergency peak protection only and not a vocal sound 'tool' like a compressor.

A touch of hardware compression always for me...

Jules


Old 17th November 2002
  #21
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Thanks Jules. Yea...Actually I'm starting to look seriously at springing for a Distressor

Tom
Old 17th November 2002
  #22
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Jules's Avatar
V smart - its a great all-rounder and modern 'classic' get one with 'brit mod'



Old 17th November 2002
  #23
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
get one with 'brit mod'
Hmmm...any idea if the "all buttons in" trick can be simulated on the BF 1176 plug?
Old 17th November 2002
  #24
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Hey Jules, Charles or anyone else,

I have had the luxury of being able to track vocals into PT through an Avalon and a 1176.

I am now doing a couple of thing at home with my Trak2 as the front end. I can't afford an 1176 at this time.

What compressor would you recomend to just give me some light compression on the way in that won't degrade the integrty of the Trak2 pre. It's not an Avalon but it sound pretty good with my Blueberry.

A couple of people have recomended the FMR RNC as a low price option. And a distressor at a higher price range. I had someone also recomend an LA 4 but seems that a few folks here disagree.

I know that nothing is gonna sound like an 1176 except for another 1176 but that is not an option at this time. Any imput would be greatly appreciated.

Help.

Thanks in advance.yuktyy
Old 17th November 2002
  #25
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Jules's Avatar
"Hmmm...any idea if the "all buttons in" trick can be simulated on the BF 1176 plug?"

Yes all buttons in is a mode on the BF 1176 - just hunt around harder for it, it's there...

I recomend a Distressor as an afordable all rounder for serious work on a budget.

Old 17th November 2002
  #26
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"I recomend a Distressor as an afordable all rounder for serious work on a budget"

Is this directed to my question?

If it is, thanks you.

yuktyy
Old 17th November 2002
  #27
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Jules's Avatar
Yes YOU!



And YOUr'e welcome!

Old 17th November 2002
  #28
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So your not that crazy about the FMR RNC?
Old 17th November 2002
  #29
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
 
1 Review written
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Anybody using an Empirical Labs Fatso Jr. for tracking compression?

Jasper
Old 18th November 2002
  #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
V smart - its a great all-rounder and modern 'classic' get one with 'brit mod'
Thanks Jules! Actually I was on the fence about the British Mode...talked me into it

Tom

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