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Tracking Vocals

Vocals can be tricky to track as they are often quite dynamic in nature, especially when you hit a pumping chorus. This simple trick for tracking might help you capture a better vocal take.

Now I like to track vocals with an opto compressor, just to help tame those dynamics, with quite a low ratio, medium-slow attack and medium-fast release times. But in some instances that compressor gets hit too hard in the loud sections misses everything in a soft verse.

So when the vocalist is warming up get the to record one full ruff take as a guide and use that as a map for the real vocal take. Your going to use this to know where to dip and boost the real vocal take.

Most decent pre-amps will with have an output trim section on it so just use that to manually automate the vocal take as it is happening. To start with you can simply adjust the volume between the loud and soft sections so it hits the compressor evenly in both, but when you get a feel for it you can really dig in and start to fine tuning phrases and even words as you go.

You will be surprised how close you can get to a finished sound simply by automating your vocals on the way in to the box.

Happy tracking.

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