How to fatten a vocal

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by suthol, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    Greetings brains trust,

    My mate Bob is sadly in the last week's of his life due to a very aggressive cancer and I'm in the process of bringing Never Too Late Vol.2 together and also a collection of his never released songs for his family.

    The problem the I have is that over the last 18 months or so his voice became very thin due to a secondary cancer of the thyroid.

    I've tried the few tricks I know to fatten it up using EQ and doubling and it just goes from a thin head voice to a dull mess.

    Over to you guys.

    As a footnote I am recording his eldest granddaughter singing Grandpa (Tell Me Bout The Good Ole Days) that will be the soundtrack for the slideshow, I don't know who will cry the most Caylee or me during the recording process.
     
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  2. Biffasmum

    Biffasmum Tele-Meister

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    Sorry to hear that about your friend and it’s a touching tribute.

    You may not be able to EQ out any lower frequencies particularly if they’re not present. One trick is to have someone track the vocal part in a lower register or ‘spoken’ voice and place behind your Bob’s in the mix. For it to work it has to be tight timing wise. Soften consonants to avoid the s-s-stuttering effect. Track these parts to smooth out.

    I hope this works and makes Bob proud!:)
     
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  3. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks Buffs, think of the megaphone vocals on Winchester Cathedral .

    Sounds like a tin shed
     
  4. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    Very sorry to hear of your friends health misfortune. (my wife survived it somehow)

    Regarding the "megaphone" description was he a bit too far from the mic during tracking?....just a guess.

    Regarding his thin vocals: have you tried about 25-40 ms. of delay rather than actual "doubling"?
    Don't know if that will help or not because there may be little frequency range on his vocal track to home in on for EQing to fatten.

    Maybe others will chime in with some thoughts.
     
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  5. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Have you considered adding some backing vocals?

    They can be the making of a song.
     
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  6. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    I typically use slapback at 30mS and that doesn't help I've tried direct and parallel delay and we do have a single male harmony in the choruses.

    I'll try putting my own voice down in unison behind Bob's and see if it helps.

    He was pretty much up on the mic, an SM58 in this instance rather than my preferred Sennheisser for vocals
     
  7. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    Triple track it hard pan 1 & 2 left and right condense the 3rd middle track and put a bathroom like reverb on it so it is right in your face
    Sorry to hear about your friend cancer is a b'tch
     
  8. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry to hear about your firend. Do you have any mic modeling software? There's quite a few of these available. Different combinations of source and target microphone will produce some interesting if not amazing results sometimes, without you having to do much thinking about it, just listening and changing mics on the fly.
     
  9. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Parallel compression! Run a send to an aux bus (or duplicate the track) and apply ridiculous amounts of compression, liberal saturation and even a touch of distortion in addition to your doubling effect ... maybe even a taste of exciter. It will sound like crap soloed, but don't be afraid to pile on the effects experimentally, because once you find a balance between them, you can blend as much or as little of the send as you like with the clean signal.

    If it was me, I would look for the sweet spot in the low mids of the clean track and apply a gentle EQ swell while rooting out the worst megaphone frequencies via EQ sweep with deep but thin cuts (surgical EQ).

    Please convey my warmest wishes to Bob, his family and everyone in your music community.
     
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  10. noname_dragon

    noname_dragon Tele-Meister

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    You could rethink your mix and bring down all instruments to make the voice upfront. Add compression and gain to the voice for an even sound, and perhaps a delayed soft reverb. The intimacy of such a mix will make it compelling.
    Good Luck!
     
  11. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    A fairly long delay might be your friend here on the main track, plus a subtle reverb with pre-delay.

    You can also put a doubled track really low and take the formants down a touch. You want that panned exactly where the main vocal is and low in the mix. The trick is usually to do a few things but very subtly.

    When you EQ the main vocal, maybe try to make sure you leave the highest frequencies, cut off the useless stuff right at the bottom and dip some of the muddier frequencies that stack around 250hz but bring in a bit of the warmth around 400hz. Then bring down anything high that sticks out in the upper mids.

    Hope that helps.
     
  12. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Afterthoughts from previous post:

    • Generally for parallel comp channel or bus, you'd want fast attack and fast release.

    • For your clean track, use a transparent compressor to tame the peaks can bring it a little more out front (compression only engages -1 to -3 dB on peaks, meter stays nearly stationary the rest of the time).

    • Double-stack compression on your clean track: This can make the vocal "bigger." After your peak compressor, insert a more aggressive one that bounces between -3 and -6 or so — balance the outputs of the two comps via their output knobs to where it's in-your-face but not mushed out. By distributing the compression in stages instead of overworking one compressor, you avoid a lot of the over compression that kills your dynamic range.

    Some of the ideas re delay and reverb are interesting, but I'm not sure how much they'll fatten up a thin vocal track.
     
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  13. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks one and all for your replies.

    So far I have today duplicated the track twice and set them hard L-C-R pulled the EQ down on the centre track a few db between 500Hz - 2KHz and boosted 2 db @ 300Hz, also thickened the verb added some crunch.

    It's quite a bit better but nothing like his voice of a couple of years ago.

    I'm going to send it to his daughter so she can play it to him and hopefully it penetrates the morphine fog and cheers him up some, because of the lockdown she is the only one who can visit him. ( his wife is in the same nursing facility with MS and dementia and has no idea who she is much less anyone else )

    Sometimes life can be a proper bastrad
     
  14. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    Just added a master vocal bus and piped the triple vocal track to it then applied some gentle Red EQ and SSL E Channel EQ & Comp to that

    Much happier now
     
  15. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    Try a saturation plugin as well if you have one.
     
  16. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    Yep, these a bit of that in there as well.

    The song in question is the Swaggie topic
     
  17. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can't add or even boost what isn't there anymore.
    IMO... you should just embrace the sound of his voice in these final days, and capture it faithfully. Don't try making it what it isn't.

    Parallel compression, gentle EQ, and some reverb. Those will sweeten the tone without changing it... I wouldn't go beyond that!
     
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