Dynamic range is defined and explored through the use of compression on a vocal performance. Compression parameters such as attack, release, threshold, and makeup gain are used to tailor the volume levels of a lead vocal.
- [Narrator] While equalization allows us…to work with the frequency range,…compression allows us to work with…the dynamic range of a voice.…What is dynamic range?…It's the range between loud and soft volume…of a recorded sound.…It turns out that the human voice…is one of the most dynamic instruments…we'll encounter in recording.…It moves wildly from too loud to too quiet…even in the course of one phrase of a verse.…Because of this, we almost always rely on compression…as a tool to help tame and narrow the dynamic range…so we can make a vocalist's level sit more solidly in a mix.…
Do we EQ first, or compress first?…There's no right or wrong answer.…How does it sound, is the real answer.…But just be aware that some compressors add tonal color,…so if you EQ after the compressor,…you can take that into account as you work.…One technique I like to do is to do a low cut…or high pass filter before the compressor,…then compress, and then do our tonal shaping EQ,…after the compressor.…So here, I have our tonal shaping EQ,…
Audio engineer Scott Hirsch starts with comping the vocals—combining the best performances into one final vocal master take. He explains how to edit out breaths and other noises and fabricate a doubling effect for additional texture and vibe, and then brings in some plugins into the mix—Antares Auto-Tune, Melodyne, and iZotope—to tune vocals and create more interesting soundscapes. In the "Mixing" chapter, Scott enhances the sound of the vocals with EQ, compression, reverb, delay, and automation, adding life and motion to the song. The final track demonstrates everything you can do to maximize the effectiveness of vocals with Pro Tools.
- Comping takes in Pro Tools
- Editing breaths and noise
- Doubling and tuning vocals
- Experimenting with iZotope's Stutter Edit
- Processing vocals with EQ and compression
- De-essing vocals
- Using reverb, delay, and modulation effects
- Automating levels and FX in Pro Tools