You probably wonder how to get that wide and crystal clear vocal sound. Here at SoundBridge, we have decided to give you a close up into vocal processing techniques.
In this tutorial, we will guide you through all the steps required to make vocals come to life from totally unprocessed recordings. So let’s start!
To start, we have a mono vocal take that is totally unprocessed. Firstly, let’s use a compressor to flatten any undesirable peaks. We will apply compression lightly in order to preserve the majority of dynamics.
Mono Vocal – Compressed
Add Stereo Width
In order to widen the stereo image of this vocal, we will use a simple, yet very helpful technique. Basically, we copy the mentioned vocal take and place it on a new channel just below the original one.
Play with Panning
Now, we have 2 channels with same vocal. Next, pan the first channel to the left (let’s say 50%) and the second channel to the right (let’s say 80 %).
In addition, disable the snap function in SoundBridge’s transport bar and zoom in by holding CTRL and scrolling. Then, drag the second vocal take slightly to left – enough to avoid phasing but not too much (See Blog: Phase and Phasing). It should still sound like one take.
After completing this step, our vocal will look and sound like this :
Vocal – Duplicated, Panned and widened
Keep Organized with Grouping
Now, our vocal sounds a lot better compared to the initial take. The next step would be to create a group track in SoundBridge and place the 2 channels in it. On this group track, add a reverb to give it even more space.
Vocal – With Reverb
Delay instead of Reverb
We will repeat the same steps for a second vocal, which will be used to add harmony to the overall sound. But, for this take, we will apply some EQ-ing to attenuate unwanted vocal sibilance (high frequency “s” sounds that pop out a little too much). Finally, we will add a bit of delay instead of reverb.
Second Vocal – With Delay
The next step of this tutorial is to make a new group track. Here we will add the group that we already made to the new take. On this new group, we can apply some more compression, EQ-ing, etc… for polishing.
Let’s look & listen to the grouped & processed vocals:
Vocals – Final Processing
In the end, let’s listen to how the vocals fit a short track I made after these steps.