Join Scott Hirsch for an in-depth discussion in this video Dealing with dynamics: Using compression, part of Vocal Production Techniques.
- One of the ways we can use audio compression…is to help narrow the large dynamic range…of an instrument, and since the human voice…is a highly dynamic instrument, it's not…uncommon to use compression as a tool…while recording to help tame large…differences between loud and soft.…Now by the time a vocal is mixed in a song,…it'll usually see at least one or more…compressors or even limiters in its signal path.…So when we use compression on input as you record,…you wanna use it as transparently as possible.…
Technically, this means you wanna favor…a soft knee compressor with a low ratio.…Two to one, three to one, or at the max four to one.…Anything else will be too dramatic…and will color the voice too much.…You can leave that kind of compression for the mix…unless you're going for a specific effect and sound.…We're talking more here about using the compressor…as a tool to simply control the levels a bit…so we can have a more consistent recording take.…For hardware compression, you'll want your compressor…in-line, after the mic pre, and before the audio interface.…
First, learn how to get the singer comfortable in the recording studio and select the right microphone and preamp for the session. Scott discusses how to set up a good headphone mix and configure your DAW, and interviews the recording artist featured in the course, Jade Hendrix, about warm-ups and vocal health. Next, Scott moves directly into recording: positioning the mic, setting levels, and using compression. Then he delves into the psychological aspects of vocal production, like coaching the singer and giving feedback over the talkback mic. In the final chapter, Scott demonstrates some creative production techniques, including doubling vocals, stacking multiple vocal tracks, using Auto-Tune while recording, and methods for harmonizing.
- Warming up
- Selecting a microphone, preamp, and headphone mix
- Setting levels
- Dealing with dynamics
- Recording vocal takes
- Creative production techniques: doubling vocals, using Auto-Tune, and more