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Old 08-19-05, 04:00 PM   #1
Tha Q.
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Thumbs up Audio Tutorial: Q-style...improve your vocals, mixing, editing


1st, let me start off by saying that I don't have the best quality to be found. My quality also isn't studio caliber. However, I have pretty decent to good quality and can help you achieve the same. Some people expressed content with how my vocals sound, and so this tutorial is for them. I hope it can help someone somewhere with their music.


I was highly surprised to discover that some people record WITHOUT headphones!!!!!!!!!!! WTF!?! Please, PLEASE wear headphones while you record your vocals so that the beat won't be picked up by the mic and pollute the signal with excess noise. If you are one who records WITHOUT headphones, start wearing them. Your quality will improve 1000000% just from that alone.

Now, let's get started.

1. Open the instrumental you plan on recording to and insert it into the 1st slot in Multi-track.

2. Put your headphones on!!!!!!! Then, check your mic input levels.

Note: If you are using a Pre-Amp like I am, then turn the level up just enough so that the red "MAX" light goes off only occasionally when you test it by saying "POP, POP" into the mic. If the red "MAX" light flashes whenever you say anything into the mic, it's up too loud. Adjust it so that the "green" light only flashes when you speak into the mic.

If you ARE NOT using a Pre-Amp and are just using the settings in "Volume Control", then turn the Mic slide jus slightly below center. You don't want it up too loud because it can cause distortion. It's always better to record lower and amp, then record higher and deamp.

3. Now, record your vocals. Don't be afraid to spit your verse 20 times if you have to until you get it JUST RIGHT. Seldom do I or anyone for that matter get a verse right on the 1st take.

4. Once you've successfully recorded your verse, mix down that track ONLY as MONO into the Editing screen.

Now, for the editing of the vocals.

1. The first thing you need to do is gather a Noise Profile from your mic's circuitry so that you can run Noise Redux on your vocals. Enygma explains this fully in his tutorial. http://community.rapverse.com/showthread.php?t=164859

2. Before I actually run Noise Redux, I delete any portion of the vocal sample before the verse actually begins, up until the 1st word. Then, I go AMPLIFY>AMPLIFY>CENTER WAVE. Do this before you run Noise Redux.

3. After you run Noise Redux, run Click/Pop Eliminator under the Noise Redux menu. Use the setting "Hiss and lots of clicks".

4. Once you've run Click/Pop Emliminator, convert the mono vocal to stereo vocals.

5. At this point, I run Antares Mic Modeler on my vocals. Antares is a program that turns whatever mic you record with into damn near any mic on the market. So, you could record with a 50 dollar Radio Shack Mic and convert the sound to a 300 dollar AKG 3000. I run Antares at this stage. If you don't have this plug-in, skip this step.

6. After I run Antares, I use Dynamic Processing on my vocals.

7. Next, I run "NORMALIZE" under the Amplify menu. Use 70-80% as the percent range. Anywhere in there is good.

8. At this point, I save the edited mixdown as "Lyr1". Then, I Save that AS Lyr1bac1 and then once again as Lyr1bac 2.

**I create my "dubbed" effect by literally centering one vocal (Lyr1), then panning 2 vocals either left or right (Lyr1bac1 & Lyr1bac2).

NOTE: A little "secret" that I use on my backup vocals is to raise the pitch slightly on them to further create that "dubbed" effect. Under the pitch menu, select "raise pitch" and set it to 99.9 or 99.8.

Go into multitrack and insert your original vocals (Lyr1) into the 2nd slot where you want it in the beat. Then, just click somewhere on the outside of the 3rd slot box and insert the backup vocal (Lyr1bac1). Do the same for the 4th slot and insert Lyr1bac2.

For Lyr1bac1, pan it 50-60 to the left.
For Lyr1bac2, pan it 35-45 to the right.

Decrease the volume of both Lyr1bacs to about -3 to -4 DB

For the EQ--it looks like H-M-L--set both backup vocals to H (4) M (0) and L (-4). For the main vocals (Lyr1) set the EQ to H( 4) M(-2.4) and L(0).

Normally, I amp the main vocal (Lyr1) to 2-3 DB. Experiment with this. Depending on how loud you rapped it, and what your NORMILIZATION settings are, it will change.

**For my adlibs, I record them, run the editing process above on the vocals, then mix them into the track in Multitrack. I pan my adlibs about 35-40 right. I set the EQ on my adlib vocals the same as the back-up vocals.

Once you've inserted all the vocals and adjusted the settings, listen to the tracks to determine if anything needs to be altered. A suggestion I have to determine if your vocals are too loud or too low besides listening to them is to MIX DOWN ALL WAVES into the Editing screen. Analyze the beat's wave peaks compared to the vocals' wave peaks. If the vocal wave peaks are towering above the beat's wave peaks, then they are too loud; deamp them. Conversely, if the vocal wave peaks are well below the beat's wave peaks, they are too low; amp them. Just listen to your own shit. If it sounds fucked up to you, more likely than not it'll sound fucked up to other people as well.

Good Luck and Happy Recording!
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