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Recording lead vocals

From: GarageBand '11 Essential Training

Video: Recording lead vocals

It's finally time to get the lead vocal part recorded. We've covered how to create Real Instrument tracks in earlier movies, Option+Command+N, and I'll double- click Real Instrument setup one for doing vocals, and also I'll go ahead and the name the track, and you know how to connect your microphone as well. We've done this before. Our Input Source is set to the Apogee One and in the interface parameters I have chosen Source External 48 Volt Mic since the audio technique of 4050 I am using does require phantom power. Now sometimes when recording vocals, singers like to focus on a certain section of the song and then move on to others and other singers like to get a whole take top to bottom.

Recording lead vocals

It's finally time to get the lead vocal part recorded. We've covered how to create Real Instrument tracks in earlier movies, Option+Command+N, and I'll double- click Real Instrument setup one for doing vocals, and also I'll go ahead and the name the track, and you know how to connect your microphone as well. We've done this before. Our Input Source is set to the Apogee One and in the interface parameters I have chosen Source External 48 Volt Mic since the audio technique of 4050 I am using does require phantom power. Now sometimes when recording vocals, singers like to focus on a certain section of the song and then move on to others and other singers like to get a whole take top to bottom.

Either way is fine and you can literally press the R key on the fly right before the vocals are supposed to come in and then press R again when it's done. If there's now an instrumental section, you can punch in and punch out on the fly just by hitting the R key while you're playing. By way of illustrating how to do this type of punch-in on the fly while playing the song, I'll take that approach will this vocal recording. I've got the track selected that I want to record onto and I need to set my level. So the first thing I am going to do is click the Automatic Level Control, start the song, and just sing the beginning, and then I will stop so that our level is set.

I am sure that's going to need to be fairly low. (Music playing) [00:01:31.6 0] All right, I am going to catch it right there, move it just a little bit. The distance I sing from the microphone also has a lot to do with how loud things are coming in. So your mic technique as a singer also definitely impact how loud things are coming out.

If I double-click this real quick, I want to just take a peek. You can see that when I first came in, I was singing at a normal low volume, but GarageBand had not done the Level Control yet, so all of my levels are getting clipped. You can see that these waveforms are just what we call crew cut and just chopped off at the top, and that's going to provide digital distortion. So that sounds horrible. So we are not going to want to do that. I close the Editor down again and I will select this region, Delete, back at the beginning. So now that we've got our level set. I'll just start the song and press R right before the vocal and I'll sing the verses, and then I'll hit R to punch out and then spacebar to stop, and then we can focus on the chorus after that.

Noticing also that my clipping indicator lights are still on from when I was doing the test, and I can click those red lights to turn them off. The same goes for my mains. Those lights just warn you that sometime in the past this meter has clipped. So if you look down and suddenly you're seeing that there are red lights lit up, that's your indication that you need to go back and review somewhere along the line you have something that's clipping. All right, here we go! (Music playing) Once I am satisfied with the vocal or if I choose to do a few passes, then I can move on to the chorus.

I'll just move on at this point since I'm happy with that take. The playhead is already in the middle of the pre-chorus. So I can give myself a couple of bars. So I am going to move it ahead. So here's where the chorus actually begins and I am going to actually hit my left arrow key to go back two bars into the pre-chorus, and I will press spacebar to play and R to record and track the chorus. (Music playing) So pressing R on the fly while you're actually playing the song back and punching in and out is one way to approach recording a track that doesn't actually appear through the entire song.

For instance, a guitar obviously will appear through the entire song. Something like vocals comes in and out when there's a verse, comes out for the instrumental section, comes back in. So it can be one way that you can sort of pop in and out at will. So I'm pretty happy with those takes. I am going to go ahead and keep them and move on over in my Track Info panel. I'd actually like to use one of GarageBand's vocal presets as a starting place. So I am going to click on Vocals and then look at the different presets on the right. So most of the vocal presets include a Compressor and a Reverb or an EQ. So that's usually going to save a couple of steps. I am just going to choose Male Basic and click on the Edit tab to look at what it's plugged in for us.

So let's just listen back with it as is right now and see how it sounds. (Music playing) [00:05:4.02] So one thing I am noticing is that it's not quite loud enough.

I am going to try to get a little more gain out of the Compressor. I'm going to bring this up to about 7 and actually add a little more compression, a little faster attack, and bring that threshold down a little bit. So the first halves of these lines actually end up being a little bit louder. Just sample part of that again. (Music playing) That sounds pretty good.

Let's grab the chorus. (Music playing) All right, not bad. I actually did hear a few little pitchy spots where I kind of drifted a little bit flat. I'd typically maybe re-sing that part and try to get it a little tighter, but in light of this being a chorus on using GarageBand's many features, this is a good opportunity to use the Automatic Tuning feature.

In the next movie I'll explore how to use a little or a lot of auto-tuning to get the effect you're looking for.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for GarageBand '11 Essential Training
GarageBand '11 Essential Training

50 video lessons · 23386 viewers

Todd Howard
Author

 
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  1. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      1m 13s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 4s
  2. 23m 4s
    1. Connecting instruments, MIDI controllers, mics, audio interfaces, and speakers
      4m 24s
    2. Setting important Mac OS X and GarageBand preferences
      4m 32s
    3. Creating a project with tempo, time signature, and key
      4m 37s
    4. Creating a track
      9m 31s
  3. 25m 42s
    1. Exploring Real Instrument tracks and setting a good input level
      6m 20s
    2. Exploring Software Instrument tracks, keyboard velocity, and MIDI
      6m 59s
    3. Exploring Electric Guitar tracks and monitoring
      7m 48s
    4. Positioning the cursor on audio regions to access different tools
      4m 35s
  4. 10m 23s
    1. Choosing a genre in the Project Chooser
      2m 3s
    2. Auditioning players in the band and hiring new players
      8m 20s
  5. 16m 45s
    1. Browsing and filtering the Apple Loops library
      5m 20s
    2. Dragging Apple Loops into your arrangement and choosing from alts
      6m 33s
    3. Jamming along with your composition
      4m 52s
  6. 35m 11s
    1. Setting tempo, enabling count-in and metronome, and dragging in a drum loop
      5m 22s
    2. Using GarageBand as a scratchpad for recording new ideas
      3m 29s
    3. Using the Arrange track to create song form sections
      3m 1s
    4. Splitting Apple Loops and choosing alternates to build a drum part
      6m 36s
    5. Recording multiple takes with cycle record
      4m 32s
    6. Punching in a small section of audio
      6m 20s
    7. Using Groove Matching to tighten up the rhythm of a performance
      5m 51s
  7. 33m 56s
    1. Tuning up and tracking a rhythm electric guitar part
      4m 26s
    2. Customizing the guitar sound using amps, stompboxes, and effects
      11m 44s
    3. Using Flex Time to fix a double-tracked rhythm guitar part
      7m 40s
    4. Using Cycle Record to record multiple takes for soloing
      3m 40s
    5. Compositing a final guitar solo from multiple takes
      6m 26s
  8. 19m 25s
    1. Recording a Software Instrument track
      3m 48s
    2. Editing the parameters of Software Instruments
      8m 44s
    3. Editing MIDI notes in the piano roll editor after the performance
      6m 53s
  9. 14m 12s
    1. Recording lead vocals
      6m 39s
    2. Correcting pitch with automatic tuning
      4m 16s
    3. Reordering, duplicating, and deleting song sections using the Arrangement track
      3m 17s
  10. 1h 7m
    1. Creating successful mixes
      7m 4s
    2. Pre-mixing
      15m 31s
    3. Equalizing tracks
      5m 51s
    4. Compressing tracks
      10m 13s
    5. Adding reverb and echo effects to individual tracks
      6m 39s
    6. Creating automated volume and pan moves
      10m 41s
    7. Freezing tracks to improve system performance
      2m 0s
    8. Using master track effects and automating a fade-out
      3m 31s
    9. Creating a final mixdown: Exporting a finished song to disk
      5m 40s
  11. 12m 51s
    1. Sharing your songs with iTunes and burning CDs
      3m 6s
    2. Opening a GarageBand project in Logic
      4m 26s
    3. Archiving GarageBand project files
      5m 19s
  12. 36m 44s
    1. Taking music lessons
      7m 32s
    2. Creating ringtones
      3m 50s
    3. Creating podcasts
      14m 12s
    4. Scoring a movie
      11m 10s
  13. 53s
    1. Goodbye
      53s

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