Readers ask: How Much Compression When Tracking Vocals?

Should I track vocals with compression?

The short answer is: yes, no, sure, both. The longer answer is a bit more complicated, and depends on various factors. On one side, some engineers prefer to track without any compression, because once a track is recorded with compression, you can’t “undo” it.

How much compression should I use on vocals?

A good starting point for a rock vocal would be a 4:1 ratio with a medium-fast attack and a medium release. Then, set the threshold for around 4 to 6dB of gain reduction. Increase or decrease the attack time until you get the right level of forwardness for the mix.

Which comes first compression or EQ?

Each position, EQ pre (before) or EQ post (after) compression produces a distinctly different sound, a different tonal quality, and coloration. As a rule, using EQ in front of your compressor produces a warmer, rounder tone, while using EQ after your compressor produces a cleaner, clearer sound.

What is a tracking vocal?

So “tracking” essentially means: recording onto a track. A “recording” session refers to the overall act of getting a song recoded. That includes all the instruments and vocals. A “tracking” session typically refers to recording one instrument, such as vocals.

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Do rappers double their vocals?

Rappers and singers have traditionally recorded vocal doubles (informally called “vocal dubs”) on the ending phrases every bar or half a bar..

What level should I record vocals?

You should record vocals at an average of -18dB for 24-bit resolution. The loudest parts of the recording should peak at -10dB and be lowest at -24dB. This is to keep an even balance on the level of the vocals without distortion.

What is a good reverb setting for vocals?

Move the pre-delay to about 30-40% or so as a starting point and see how it sounds. With your EQ, maybe set the high-pass around 200Hz and the low-pass at about 12kHz. In a situation like this, you may want to have more body in the reverb.

What does too much compression sound like?

When you compress too hard with fast attack times, the dynamic range of your mix is squashed. You’ll end up with something that sounds like this: A song with no room to breathe; as flat as a pancake.

What happens when you over-compressed vocals?

This means the very distinctives of the voice are brought closer to everything else. It also means when a vocal line is over-compressed, you lose the clarity and individuality of the vocal.

What is the ideal mixing level?

I recommend mixing at -23 dB LUFS, or having your peaks be between -18dB and -3dB. This will allow the mastering engineer the opportunity to process your song, without having to resort to turning it down.

Should reverb go before EQ?

When you’re looking at the signal flow of a track you’re mixing or mastering, it’s better to have the reverb fall after the equalizer in the path. Over time, producers have discovered that you get a better sound if you put reverb towards the end of the signal chain, after EQ and compression.

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What is EQ and compression?

Equalization is how to manage each frequency. Compression is how to manage the volume of all frequencies. In most cases, do equalization first then compress.

Where should EQ pedals be placed?

EQ or equalizer is recommended in front of distortion or gain based effects if you want to drive and color the sound. EQ after distortion will give you volume changes which allow you to switch to a louder lead sound which you cannot do if the EQ is before distortion.

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