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Winning900

Singing editing tips?

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Something that I've found myself doing pretty often in the process is de-essing and reverb. Static EQ in general is important too, but I don't think it's as time-consuming, once you know where to look. Compression can be done to even out crazy waveforms, preferably in a transparent (hard-to-notice) way.

When I say de-essing, I'm referring to reducing egregious sibilances (or I guess I should plop in the idea of fricatives too) via volume automation or external waveform adjustment, in addition to (dynamic) EQ band automation to keep the airiness of the rest of the performance where there aren't sibilances (if the airiness is there). It might seem a little meticulous, but you get out what you put in. It does ask for a reasonably accurate perception of treble though.

Reverb, on the other hand, is not quite as meticulous (unless you're picky, but I consider that a good thing), but it is fairly complex to model the acoustics of a real(istic) room. With reverb, you might consider the following questions:

  • What is the size of the room? Large, small, or medium?
  • How does the sound disperse? Narrowly or widely or somewhere in between? (Width)
  • How much do the sound reflections blur together due to early reflections? (Density, Diffusion)
  • How long does it take for the reverberation to reach its maximum amount (Attack)?
  • How far away is the object of interest from a back wall (Predelay time)?
  • What is covering the object or blocking the object? (Amount of high frequency attenuation)
  • How long does the sound take to dissipate as it begins to decay (lose 'power') towards silence? (Decay time)
  • What frequency range is being reverberated? (Low Cut, High Cut, Damping with Low/Mid/High Ratios)
  • What is the Dry/Wet mix? (this is more of a digital consideration, not really a simulation of a real room, which has a set 'mix')

The good thing is, you can make presets for what you have already done with this and keep reusing them for similar situations with a few tweaks here and there.

aareverb.jpg

Edited by timaeus222

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Something that I've found myself doing pretty often in the process is de-essing and reverb. Static EQ in general is important too, but I don't think it's as time-consuming, once you know where to look. Compression can be done to even out crazy waveforms, preferably in a transparent (hard-to-notice) way.

When I say de-essing, I'm referring to reducing egregious sibilances (or I guess I should plop in the idea of fricatives too) via volume automation or external waveform adjustment, in addition to (dynamic) EQ band automation to keep the airiness of the rest of the performance where there aren't sibilances (if the airiness is there). It might seem a little meticulous, but you get out what you put in. It does ask for a reasonably accurate perception of treble though.

Reverb, on the other hand, is not quite as meticulous (unless you're picky, but I consider that a good thing), but it is fairly complex to model the acoustics of a real(istic) room. With reverb, you might consider the following questions:

  • What is the size of the room? Large, small, or medium?
  • How does the sound disperse? Narrowly or widely or somewhere in between? (Width)
  • How much do the sound reflections blur together due to early reflections? (Density, Diffusion)
  • How long does it take for the reverberation to reach its maximum amount (Attack)?
  • How far away is the object of interest from a back wall (Predelay time)?
  • How long does the sound take to dissipate as it begins to decay (lose 'power') towards silence? (Decay time)
  • What frequency range is being reverberated? (Low Cut, High Cut, Damping with Low/Mid/High Ratios)
  • What is the Dry/Wet mix? (this is more of a digital consideration, not really a simulation of a real room, which has a set 'mix')

The good thing is, you can make presets for what you have already done with this and keep reusing them for similar situations with a few tweaks here and there.

Awesome! What FL Studio plugins/tools do you recommend for this?

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Awesome! What FL Studio plugins/tools do you recommend for this?

For the de-essing, considering that this plugin is free (so there's obviously no harm in trying it out), I would suggest Spitfish, which is an external VST. I personally just automate EQ bands of a certain scooping or notching shape down in sibilant or fricative parts, and then back up when that part is over (which is what I was referring to with the meticulousness).

For reverb, Fruity Reeverb can work pretty well (strangely enough I find myself using it more than Reeverb 2), though I would suggest saving up money for ArtsAcoustic Reverb ($189) because of its immense flexibility, or trying out Dasample's Glaceverb for free (later, because right now the website is apparently under construction; try looking at this review page).

The following are also useful (and free), namely epicVerb for reverb:

https://varietyofsound.wordpress.com/downloads/

EDIT: Note that I'm not trying to de-emphasize the importance of compression and static EQ; I'm just discussing what I personally end up going through the most in a vocal editing process.

Edited by timaeus222

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You should consider going through the entire vocal track and automating its gain by hand to smooth out any obvious level differences. This should allow you to glue everything together with the compression a little more easily. You'll be using the compressor mostly to tighten up transients and such and not to fix major level changes, so you'll be able to be a little more specific in the way you set the compressor.

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One good technique I use is to get someone to record the same part more than once and then layer it. It helps mask the "pitchiness" (bad tuning) of the vocals (that is if there is a bit in there) and also enhances your lead line if you're adding vocal harmonies. A little bit of synced delay can sound cool if you automate it to be wet just at the end of your lead line too. As for tuning - DO IT MANUALLY. Autotuning is lazy and everyone can hear it because it changes pitch moments after the audio signal starts, so you can hear it "shift" - thats fine if you're going for an uncanny valley feel in your electronic music, but if you're going for something organic, its a big fat no no - however, if you automate your vocals pitch to change BEFORE the audio signal starts, or just as it does, no one will know the difference. It takes a lot longer, but if you want something done properly and done right, you need to put in that extra effort.

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As for tuning - DO IT MANUALLY. Autotuning is lazy and everyone can hear it because it changes pitch moments after the audio signal starts, so you can hear it "shift" - thats fine if you're going for an uncanny valley feel in your electronic music, but if you're going for something organic, its a big fat no no - however, if you automate your vocals pitch to change BEFORE the audio signal starts, or just as it does, no one will know the difference. It takes a lot longer, but if you want something done properly and done right, you need to put in that extra effort.

I agree; to add on to this, if it's not a vocoding context, then instead of using something like autotune, I would do manual tuning in an external audio editor (well, if you're pretty on-tune yourself; 5 cents of error is what I consider on-tune). The only drawback is that if you do more than about a whole step, you get evident shifts in your vocal tone (lossiness for pitch lowering, approaching chipmunk for pitch raising). Also, if you do it that way, you should check to make sure there aren't clicks or volume jumps that result from the stretching or compression of the length of the vocal portion you're adjusting.

Edited by timaeus222

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is there ever a time where you wouldn't want to tune your vocals? i wonder if tuning is mainly for the purpose of saving time recording retake after retake, or if it's simply impossible for anyone to always sing on pitch.

i'm sure some people's ears are more sensitive/finely-tuned than others', but unless someone is wildly off-pitch, i can usually enjoy a person's performance and often focus on other details.

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is there ever a time where you wouldn't want to tune your vocals? i wonder if tuning is mainly for the purpose of saving time recording retake after retake, or if it's simply impossible for anyone to always sing on pitch.

i'm sure some people's ears are more sensitive/finely-tuned than others', but unless someone is wildly off-pitch, i can usually enjoy a person's performance and often focus on other details.

I guess if you sing a "blue note" on purpose, maybe. Or perhaps, you're singing something with notes that are so fast that no one can really detect the off-pitch without slowing down the song. As long as the singing doesn't sound "off" based on the intended style, it doesn't really need tuning. As with many musical choices, it depends on the context, so take it case-by-case. If you have the time to keep re-recording and splicing the best takes, yes, that is ideal, but usually people are off from perfect pitch by at least a little bit, and like I mentioned earlier, 5 cents is my personal threshold for calling someone on-tune (because I can hardly detect below 5 cents off-tune), so eventually you may want to just be OK with a few slightly off notes here and there, if for the sake of time or something else.

Edited by timaeus222

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