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Advice on: best female vocal effects to use on recording


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Hi everyone

 

Really getting stuck into my music lately, and this coming Friday evening, I have been asked if I can make a fun vocal recording with a family friend. She's only 10 bless her, but has a lovely sweet voice, and her Mum asked me if I could make a few recordings of her and put them on CD etc. They are both extremely excited about this mini-project, and are very grateful to me for saying I will have a go at doing something for them. I have set expectations with them that I am NOT an expert; I might have some OK'ish kit et al, but my knowledge is very limited - though of course I will most certainly do my best for her.

 

This is where you experts and your experience comes in - I need to tap into it folks :)

 

So, I know which songs she wants to attempt and can get hold of the instrumental versions of these which is no problem, but what I am after is some advice on what might be the best post vocal effects to use on a young 10yr old girls voice. As some may know, I am pretty new to vocal recording, but have had some success with my daughter Heather singing, and her friend Shannon playing guitar. I am wondering how to get the very best results from LogicPro9 and which effects to apply to really bring her voice out - so I don't let her down.

 

Are Logic's effects good enough or should I be looking to buy any vocal plug-ins perhaps?

 

I will record 'dry' of course, but are there presets in Logic9 that cover the younger female vocal? I guess each session is unique, with settings and effects applied dependent on kit, conditions, set up etc... but if there's any advice anyone can give me that will help me create a decent recording for her and her Mum & Dad - there's a few beers in it for you if you ever find yourself in glorious Wales.

 

:)

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I guess each session is unique, with settings and effects applied dependent on kit, conditions, set up etc...

 

I think that pretty much says it all. Really, it's impossible to recommend specific effects without hearing either the vocal or the song. For instance, it may be a song where the vocal is best served by having as little reverb as possible. Or not! If it's a big spacious ballad, then maybe a big spacious reverb will sound good.

 

But here's a bit of general advice:

 

Record dry (as you mentioned) with no FX, EQ or compression

Use a pop filter

If you're using a condensor mic, keep about 8 inches between her and the mic. With a dynamic, you could get a bit closer.

Ask her to keep mostly the same distance from the mic since movement can greatly change the sound quality/frequency ballance

Don't record the vocal directly in front of a bright surface like a wall, have some curtains behind her or something like that.

Try and get several takes from her - five is my defacto choice for many vocalists who come through here

Comp the vocals with Logic's amazing take folder function.

 

Now, on to mixing. First off, don't use a preset, except maybe to instantly create a processing chain on her vocal. Typically, I'll do something like this:

 

EQ

Dessing Compression (See Lagerfeldt's De-esser)

Regular Compression

 

Then, send to a reverb effect. Don't over do it here.... a little reverb can go a long way. You might also dial in some predelay in the reverb to keep the vocal clean and present inside the reverb. There's lots to choose from in Space Designer or from AU MatrixReverb, which you'll find in the Apple FX menu.

 

If you are unfamiliar with processing vocals, note that it's easy to go for a too bright sound. Listen to other recordings to get a sense of how vocal processing can sound, especially how bright or mellow it sounds.

 

HTH! :)

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Comp the vocals with Logic's amazing take folder function.

 

Wow camillo, what a fabulous response, thanks very much. I will take all your advice on board.

 

One question though, what does the section of your post I quoted mean? I don't know what 'Comp' or 'take folder' are. Could you explain please?

 

Thanks

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Lots of info here on take folders. The basic idea is to record several takes, pack them into a take folder and then edit them into a composite (a "comp") via a really slick swipe comping feature.

 

Two things worth noting about this process - once you've swiped an area, it's very easy to audition adjacent areas simply by clicking on them; the selected swipe moves to the new area. The other thing is, and this is a personal work flow thing, but I use the key command "play from selection" A LOT when I do comping. By selecting a swiped zone and then invoking that key command, it makes it very easy to quickly hear the work in progress and repeatedly listen to alternate swipes rather than clicking on the time bar all the time to backtrack.

 

At any rate, you'll find out way more by getting into the process (and you'll likely have a fairly undemanding "client" to practice on.) Definitely, read that online manual for more details!

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Ask her to keep mostly the same distance from the mic since movement can greatly change the sound quality/frequency ballance

This is a biggie!...and not just the same distance, but looking around (off axis of the mic).

 

Unless, she's one of those rare 10 year olds that has a lot of experience in front of a mic.

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