Thread: A vocal dilemma

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  1. #1
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    Default A vocal dilemma

    So, there's this song -- a singing vocal and a screaming vocal.
    The instrumental parts don't change as much and here's the thing that causes me some trouble:
    Screaming vocal works best when it's not really out in front in the mix, singing vocal seems to work best when it is pretty high. So with this I practically have a vocal dropping in volume coming from singing to screaming if I place screaming and singing vocals where they seem to work best individually.
    Well, I guess, I'd find some middle ground, and I should probably play with what instruments do, maybe drop guitars a bit in the singing parts.
    But maybe there's some smart solutions I'm overlooking?
    Any ideas?
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  2. #2
    Junior assistant coffee maker trainee ACME recording engineer...just add water.
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    Just mixing or producing?
  3. #3
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    So, there's this song -- a singing vocal and a screaming vocal.
    The instrumental parts don't change as much and here's the thing that causes me some trouble:
    Screaming vocal works best when it's not really out in front in the mix, singing vocal seems to work best when it is pretty high. So with this I practically have a vocal dropping in volume coming from singing to screaming if I place screaming and singing vocals where they seem to work best individually.
    Well, I guess, I'd find some middle ground, and I should probably play with what instruments do, maybe drop guitars a bit in the singing parts.
    But maybe there's some smart solutions I'm overlooking?
    Any ideas?
    I think you're right, you need to strike a compromise.
    you certainly don't want it to seem as though the singer runs to the back of the stage when the loud bit happens.

    I'd check in phones and be sure the voice seems to stay front and centre.
  4. #4
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    Just mixing or producing?
    Just mixing.
    When in doubt, mumble!

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  5. #5
    Spammer Couldn't beat an egg so he joined them
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    If I was either producing or comfortable making creative suggestions, I'd try doubling the screaming part with a singing vocal.
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    redbone, i personally think that's a bad idea, because screams get weakened when they're put with a clean vocal and we can't have the track sounding less "brootal", can we?

    meloco, is it the same vocalist? and do the parts ever happen in tandem or are they always separate from each other?

    guessing it's not possible to doubletrack the screams and then pan them out a bit? panning a single take would take the 'focus' off while letting you push the level a bit, but then the vocal will be 'lopsided' which is probably not what they are after - if it's the same vocalist then it'll sound like they're running to a different mic for the screams.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    Well, the retracking is not a valid option at this stage.
    It's not like the vocals are complete trainwreck or even something I would consider a MAJOR PITA. But still I'm interested on peoples outlook on the subject.
    I think along with singing a tad lower I gonna try to process screaming somehow so I can put if more forward in the mix without overwhelming the instruments with it.
    When in doubt, mumble!

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  8. #8
    Spammer Couldn't beat an egg so he joined them
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    redbone, i personally think that's a bad idea, because screams get weakened when they're put with a clean vocal and we can't have the track sounding less "brootal", can we?
    And I personally think it's a bad idea to shoot an idea like mine down without any knowledge of the track other than the fact that the "sung" vocal sounds better than the screaming vocal when pushed loud in the mix.
  9. #9
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    You could make a feature of the difference by double tracking/distorting/chorusing etc... one or the other.
  10. #10
    Junior assistant coffee maker trainee ACME recording engineer...just add water.
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    We haven't heard the song. However if you have a mix issue like that, it may be a signal that the issue really is about a problem in continuity in the production/arrangement (maybe not as a concept but as realized).

    Continuity can sometimes be challenging when mixing complex material that weave together many different arrangement and production styles (like most modern soundtrack stuff).

    Maybe what's needed is MORE general contrast between sections this way the vocal won't be a sticking out of a uniform environment?
  11. #11
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    In my experience, it's pretty common that a soft sound (say a clean or slightly distorted electric guitar) will have a much larger impact than a loud sound (heavily distorted electric guitar) if they are recorded and played back at the same level.

    The same goes for almost any source, including vocals.
  12. #12
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    In my experience, it's pretty common that a soft sound (say a clean or slightly distorted electric guitar) will have a much larger impact than a loud sound (heavily distorted electric guitar) if they are recorded and played back at the same level.

    The same goes for almost any source, including vocals.
    A good point, noticed it a few times.

    Maybe what's needed is MORE general contrast between sections this way the vocal won't be a sticking out of a uniform environment?
    That is part of the problem, definitely. The songs are basically such is that every part must be most powerful
    But it's fun to do that!
    I found a part of the problem is also the sound of the vocal. There's some strange resonances in the low-mids, that make it harder to sit it in the mix.
    When in doubt, mumble!

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    Any chance you could automate the entire song so that the parts with the "normal" vocal are softer (verse, I assume?) and then when the screaming comes in, automate so that there's more overall volume? Almost like it might sound in concert if the band and singer were playing softer on the one part and harder/louder on the other?
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    Any chance you could automate the entire song so that the parts with the "normal" vocal are softer (verse, I assume?) and then when the screaming comes in, automate so that there's more overall volume? Almost like it might sound in concert if the band and singer were playing softer on the one part and harder/louder on the other?
    Doing this to some extend, but the problem with this band and this song in particular is that they're kinda always on full throttle, so there's not much scope for turning down any of the parts.
    When in doubt, mumble!

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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    Any possibilities of getting doubles for the scream parts? Doubles on screams tend to be less conspicuous, and that would allow them to "weigh" as much as the melodic parts and still be somewhat embedded.


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  16. #16
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    Try doubling with a (distorted?) octave down (pitch shifter if nothing else) mixed low to give some weight.

    Also, when I talk of contrast it's not only level. Change sounds texture and track ambience for dynamic and emotional up/down.
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    And I personally think it's a bad idea to shoot an idea like mine down without any knowledge of the track other than the fact that the "sung" vocal sounds better than the screaming vocal when pushed loud in the mix.
    i was taking the piss!
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    Might be a cheesy idea for the song (haven't heard it, of course), but the first thing that popped into my head was use a telephoney sort of filtered effect on the singing verse parts and then let the screaming be full range. That way the sung parts would seem smaller than the screams and the two parts could be placed at appropriate volumes.

    But again--it could be a cheeeeeeezy way out.
  19. #19
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    But again--it could be a cheeeeeeezy way out.
    I thought bands like this loved that cheesy stuff. Standard pop production tricks 101 for screaming metal music.
  20. #20
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    Default Re: A vocal dilemma

    Well, the retracking is not a valid option at this stage.
    It's not like the vocals are complete trainwreck or even something I would consider a MAJOR PITA. But still I'm interested on peoples outlook on the subject.
    I think along with singing a tad lower I gonna try to process screaming somehow so I can put if more forward in the mix without overwhelming the instruments with it.
    Like doubling the screaming parts with a slightly delayed/ panned telephone-distorted version of same? Just a shot in the dark...

    Haha I see someone beat me to it already.

    Whether it's gonna sound cheesy depends mainly on the song and the obvious-ness of the effect.

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