Bring vo­cal mix­ing to life with au­to­ma­tion

Future Music - - FEATURE | THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO VOCAL PROCESSING -

As we’re see­ing in the walk­throughs, ef­fect chains are the cre­ative source for many a vo­cal treat­ment. Re­mark­able things can be done with tools to shape re­verbs, dy­nam­ics and tone and some­times, core set­tings can work well from the start of a track to the end. Be­yond the ba­sic pa­ram­e­ter bal­ances you con­fig­ure to get a vo­cal sound­ing good, how­ever, au­to­ma­tion will nearly al­ways be needed for both ‘re­me­dial re­quire­ments’ and more cre­ative mo­ments. It’s a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that com­pres­sion is a vol­ume-bal­anc­ing tool. Yes, com­pres­sors do ad­just dy­nam­ics, to bring the vol­ume dis­crep­ancy be­tween the loud­est mo­ments in a per­for­mance closer to the qui­etest, but they don’t au­to­mat­i­cally sense the over­all vol­ume of a part rel­a­tive to oth­ers in a mix and ad­just them. So whereas a com­pres­sor will give you a great over­all sound, if the back­ing track you’re work­ing to sud­denly builds or drops in in­ten­sity, your vo­cal will sud­denly need an over­all vol­ume ad­just­ment, ei­ther to boost its pres­ence in the mix, or to match a vol­ume drop, to avoid sound­ing too loud. In both cases, vol­ume au­to­ma­tion is your friend, with vo­cal lines among the parts most likely to ben­e­fit from ad­just­ment, to cre­ate the il­lu­sion of per­fect vol­ume through­out. When a vo­cal­ist runs out of breath on a phrase, boost­ing vol­ume as that note dies is just one tech­nique mix en­gi­neers will use. But it’s not just the ‘ad­min’ tasks of vol­ume bal­ance that ben­e­fit from au­to­ma­tion. In fact, once you’ve un­der­stood what’s pos­si­ble, you’ll re­alise that it’s the key to un­lock­ing the best tricks your track could pos­sess, with vo­cal tracks a stand-out ben­e­fi­ciary. In one of our videos, you can see au­to­ma­tion in ac­tion and learn how to take con­trol of both insert and aux­il­iary-based ef­fects.

While ef­fects can tai­lor your vo­cal au­to­mat­i­cally, a bit of man­ual au­to­ma­tion can re­ally help too

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