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lets talk about vocal stack's especially Brian Mcknight
Old 28th September 2004
Here for the gear
Bravestar's Avatar
🎧 15 years
lets talk about vocal stack's especially Brian Mcknight

Hi Dave ,

how does Brian Mcknight/Destiny Child/Justin etc etc
stack there vocals.

Are they multi layering the vocals heavily per harmony ie 16 melody 16 high harmony 16 low harmony (just an example).

How are the making there harmony's up , i presumbe there not just using 3 part harmony(anybody using 8 part).

Do you pan the parts equally apart ie 8 melody at 10 o clock,8 melody at 2 o clock and so on(for example).
Or do you just get the stems to mix, if so how do they come to you.

Ps what is Brian's mic/micpre/compression chain and anybody else you care to mention.
Old 2nd October 2004
Guest Moderator - September 08
Dave Pensado's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Yo Bravestar

Thanks for being patient. I am actually finishing up a Beyonce mix now, and just finished Brian's new album a couple of weeks ago. They both have THE GIFT. One thing she and Brian have in common is speed. Both are incredibly fast. Brian probably did all the vocals to "Anytime" in 20 minutes. What you see with him and Beyonce is the tip of the iceberg. Let me start with Brian.

Brian rarely flys his vocals. He almost always gives me 4 stereo tracks of bacs. In the tape days it was always tracks 17-24 for backs, and 16 was the lead. Always. The 1st three are usually a basic chord, and the 4th one moves all over the place, but basically gets higher from 1st to 2nd to 3rd chorus. He blends himself in the phones while he is singing, so I basically put all 4 pairs at the same volume and I'm done. Like one of the other threads, he moves a lot of air, so they need very little from me. His engineer CWOOD, is excellent. Just as an aside, Brian has one of the best "ears" I have ever seen. Play a chord, and he can call out the notes as fast as you can play them. His brother Claude (lead in Take Six) is amazing also. Brian is so amazing he pisses you off. Just when you think you are a pretty good musician, he humbles you. For example a few years ago he decided to play guitar. In 1 month he was playing on his record. I asked him who the new hot dog guitar player was and could not believe it was HIM! By the way, I am a guitar player also (retired).

Beyonce just hears those harmonies in her head. She was born with them. Her dad, Matthew is quite a good singer, and I believe Tina sings also. She usually starts off with the tonic, and builds from there. She does a little experimentation, and then blends them herself with the engineer. I love her timing. She has no regard for the beat, but it always sounds right. I don't think I have ever seen anyone work harder than Beyonce (maybe Mya). I've seen her fly in from Europe, come to the studio, do vocals for 4 hours, fly to NY for concert, go directly to airport for 2 shows in Japan, and on and on. No sleep for days, and just keep going and loving every minute of it. Mya is like that also. I get tired just TYPING about it!

As far as EQ and all that stuff, it doesn't matter. They sing to what they hear in their phones, and it always comes out sounding like "them", no matter what mic or chain. It is truly an amazing gift.

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