Create one-off vo­cal

Future Music - - FEATURE -

Tex­tu­ral treat­ments don’t have to be re­served for in­stru­men­tal sounds; in­deed, some of the best are wrapped around vo­cal parts, care­fully de­signed to sup­port par­tic­u­lar lines and phrases. Let’s just qual­ify what we mean, as ef­fects treat­ments are part and par­cel of pro­duc­ing a vo­cal part. So which ef­fects are we re­fer­ring to if not to the stan­dard tone, dy­nam­ics and re­verb set­tings ap­plied to most vo­cals? Here, we’re talk­ing about ef­fects which add sub­tle lay­ers of ex­tra de­tail such as gen­tly un­du­lat­ing, fil­tered echoes, or re­verb tex­tures which seem to rise and fall with the con­tours of a track.

To take this lat­ter ex­am­ple first, great things can be achieved when you place com­pres­sors af­ter vo­cal re­verbs and side-chain these dy­nam­ics mod­ules with the lead vo­cal act­ing as an in­put trig­ger. What this means is that you’ll get an ef­fect sim­i­lar to that ex­plored in the ‘Noisy Pi­anos’ video we’ve made this month, with the re­verb’s level duck­ing when­ever the lead vo­cal is per­form­ing (you’ll hear less re­verb) and ris­ing up when­ever the vo­cal stops (more re­verb in the gaps). But echoes sound-de­signed to match the tone of the track you’re work­ing on can be ex­tremely pow­er­ful too. Go­ing back a few years, it’s worth lis­ten­ing to Avril Lav­i­gne’s pop bal­lad I’m With You. Firstly, note the in­tro­duc­tion of a spe­cial ef­fect re­verb on the word ‘sound’ at the end of the first verse. It’s mourn­ful and frag­ile, which per­fectly fits the song. Then lis­ten to the in­tro­duc­tion of fil­tered vo­cal echoes in the sec­ond verse. These are thin and vul­ner­a­ble and, again, right on point for the song. Take time and care to create sub­tle treat­ments ap­pro­pri­ate to your track too.

Some of the best tex­tu­ral treat­ments are wrapped around vo­cal parts

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