Vocaliscious Vocals

matman14

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On to some fun stuff. I have a female vocalist coming in this afternoon so we're setting up for four songs. Already got the bulk of the instrument tracks down on Wednesday, so just leads, doubles and harmonies today. Maybe some hand claps, shakers and tambourines for a few of the choruses if we get through the vocals quickly.

I copied the idea for my primary vocal chain from the multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist, producer extraordinaire Greg Wells, who I was lucky enough to see working in a studio in Hollywood a couple of years ago.
I don't feel bad about stealing the idea though because he said he had copied it from someone else too, I can't remember who.

Anyway 1073 Pre (with 1081 EQ as I don't have any 1073 EQs), into a blue stripe clone 1176, into an LA3A. probably from an MA300 tube (think U67) or U87ai mic.

Set it up right, and the vocals just "sound like a record". Generally makes the singer go that extra little bit better when they hear themselves like a record too.

PLus dancing VU meters, makes everyone feel like a scientist or an astronaut or something.

full


trying to record the song like you want the record to sound vs. trying to figure it out later does mean fewer options come mix time, but it also means fewer decisions, less confusion about the direction, and usually leads to a faster, better result. (sometimes it means re-tracking though :()
 

Ed Driscoll

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Anyway 1073 Pre (with 1081 EQ as I don't have any 1073 EQs), into a blue stripe clone 1176, into an LA3A. probably from an MA300 tube (think U67) or U87ai mic.

Nice setup all around. Have you tried the LA-3A into the 1176? I've seen lots of threads on which goes first (usually involving the 1176 and the LA2A) at Gearslutz.
 

matman14

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Nice setup all around. Have you tried the LA-3A into the 1176? I've seen lots of threads on which goes first (usually involving the 1176 and the LA2A) at Gearslutz.

I don't like it much the other way around.

The flavor changes too much and I feel like you end up with too much compression and it can get pumped, but not in a good way. Or if you're trying to stay subtle, because of the slow, program dependent release of the LA3A the 1176 doesn't do anything, so might as well not put it in the chain.

But other people get a sound they like that way, so what ever works.
 
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Middleman

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I use the same chain, ala Greg but also a long time standard in the industry. I use an LA2A instead of the LA3A. The current chain here is a Neve 1073 into a UA 1176 into the UA LA2A but sometimes, depending on the vocalist I put a CL1B at the end instead of the LA2A. On female vocals I use the Neumann M149 and on male vocalists a Telefunken Elektroakustik U47. Vocal done except for low end roll off. I agree on not putting the LA2A/LA3A first. It's a sound, but not one I find that useful.

Here's my stuff:

Front End.jpg


Sometimes I throw the Pultec there at the bottom into the chain for some magic top end.
 

matman14

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I use the same chain, ala Greg but also a long time standard in the industry. I use an LA2A instead of the LA3A. The current chain here is a Neve 1073 into a UA 1176 into the UA LA2A but sometimes, depending on the vocalist I put a CL1B at the end instead of the LA2A. On female vocals I use the Neumann M149 and on male vocalists a Telefunken Elektroakustik U47. Vocal done except for low end roll off. I agree on not putting the LA2A/LA3A first. It's a sound, but not one I find that useful.

Here's my stuff:

View attachment 835156

Sometimes I throw the Pultec there at the bottom into the chain for some magic top end.
Great set up!

I tried an LA2A instead of the 3A, but in my case on my boxes (emphasis on my), I get a little mid range push from the 3A, combined with the bluey, that isn't as good on the LA2A

If I were to change the tubes in the 2A, or in a couple of years of more cap drift, who knows :p

Hardware pultec is on my wish list for this year.
 

Middleman

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I've wondered about getting an LA3A a few years back and agree the LA2A is not as immediate a sound. The prices have shot through the roof however and it's not a target anymore due to that alone. They used to be $1800 3 to 4 years ago and now the Reverb crowd has driven the price up to the mid $3k range. There are more desirable pieces, like a Bricasti, that I would prefer getting for that kind of money.
 

matman14

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Oh and some tasty Chandler "abbey road" TG/EMI gear too. I see a lot of that starting to pop up in the places around here. They are pushing the new mics at people pretty hard too.

I haven't dipped my toe in that pond yet, except for a Lil Devil pre a few years ago which I didn't really like. But the TG/EMI inspired stuff I have played with at other studios is just fabulous.
 
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Middleman

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That's a TG1 with factory mods to give it the feature set of a Chandler Zener i.e. stepped controls, 5 step switchable hi pass filters from 50Hz up to 300Hz. It's a monster tracking, parallel compression and master buss tool (stereo). It has the comp/limit switch which emulates either an Altec RS124 or a Fairchild 670 as well as a bypass mode just to put the transformers inline. Pretty rad. It takes an average sounding mixing into commercial sounding status when I punch it in from the mixer. Major time saver when mixing.
 

matman14

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That's a TG1 with factory mods to give it the feature set of a Chandler Zener i.e. stepped controls, 5 step switchable hi pass filters from 50Hz up to 300Hz. It's a monster tracking, parallel compression and master buss tool (stereo). It has the comp/limit switch which emulates either an Altec RS124 or a Fairchild 670 as well as a bypass mode just to put the transformers inline. Pretty rad. It takes an average sounding mixing into commercial sounding status when I punch it in from the mixer. Major time saver when mixing.
Very cool. I've been wondering about a new master bus compressor. I've had the same G Bus comp clone (chameleon labs 7720) on my master bus for about 7 years. I still like what it does but it would be interesting to have some options for busses.
 

Middleman

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Good to have some options on the master buss but 90% of the time I go with the C1LA (SSL G Buss clone) as well because it's so snappy. I also use a combination of the Neve Portico 5012 preamp and the Portico 5043 stereo compressor when I want a Neve console angle for ballad or slower type tempo stuff. Really want to get a 33609 someday for this.

The Chandler is a third option, to emulate EMI Desk type sonics, a bit more warmer and fat sounding. It gets pretty full on the low end so it actually works better for parallel or tracking. You've got a nice setup. Hope your recording goes well.
 

FortyEight

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If only.......

It's kind of frustrating to see all that to get a good vocal sound. LOL. But I think it's very cool you get to use all that stuff!!!!!!

I just want to afford an American Fender anything... LOL.
 

matman14

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It's kind of frustrating to see all that to get a good vocal sound. LOL. But I think it's very cool you get to use all that stuff!!!!!!.

Playing with the toys is awesome, but it still boils down to having a good singer singing a good song in a good sounding space.
Without that, it's turd polishing time.

And, you can still do a lot of this with plugins after recording without any gear.

I don't because
1) getting the sound at the source means less messing around later, which was really important when I started back in the days of tape, with no such thing as unlimited instances of plugin effect units on every track, and every playback meaning a degradation of the recording. I still have that mentality of record it right and mix it fast.
2) There are lots of great plugins out there. I use mainly UAD and the ones in Pro Tools but find I can get the sound I want much easier and much faster with gear, and I have gear, so I use it.
3) Hardware means zero latency, which means you can give the performer a great mix in their headphones, without any latency problems like you get with converter round trips and plugin processing latency.
Singers especially do a lot better when they hear themselves sounding really polished in their headphones. It can help take them from good to great, vs having to monitor the completely dry sound.
They are usually very sensitive to even low latency in hearing themselves in the headphones too. It can kill their vibe and ruin a session for them which makes DAW processing for tracking purposes rough.
 
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FortyEight

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I'll be honest, I like the way I do it over trying to hear anything in the digital world. I take one ear off and just listen to myself. So it's as if I was playing my acoustic and hearing my own voice.

It's a terrible way to do it for background noise though. LOL. Ugh. I'm sure you all can hear the click in every track I have. Many vocals get put on before the drums do for me. I'm undecided if I like that or not. I do sometimes feel like it's tighter when I wait for him. It all just depends on how tight we're playing to the click and how tight we are with rhythms from any practice demo sessions we've done to that point. I send him (my drummer) phone recordings with my piano metronome most of the time. Vocals and a guitar so he can get acquainted with a song. He dumps that into his daw and records a practice drum part. Then we tweak and talk about that and then I record the real thing and send it to him.

Anyways... Vocals... Yeah, I would love to play with your gear matman14. LOL.
 




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