Time Tips: Vocals Setup

Time is a precious thing in the studio, and by recording your vocal doubles to the lead track, you skip out on lining up unnecessary doubles. Don't just track 5 vocal takes and hope they line up. Let me show you two ways to improve your tracking & editing time.

  1. Often times when I'm tracking with a vocalist, especially in hip hop where I want the vocals to feel tight with the doubles, I give them three to four takes. Then we go through the takes, pick the best one, and have it be the lead. From there, we will track the vocal doubles. That way the vocalist can follow the lead vocal as close as possible, rather than deviating from what that lead is doing. In the example of hip-hop, sometimes in each take, the vocalist could deliver a different rhythm or pace. To maintain tightness, you are going to want to make sure you decide with the lead what rhythm and pace you like so you can record your doubles following that pace. 
  2. There's a lot of value by giving yourself three to four times to get a solid take. After warm-up routines and get about four takes, if you still feel like you are not getting "the take," then maybe you need to go back to warm ups, or maybe the vocalist needs to loosen up a little bit. Maybe go on a walk outside, take a drink of water, then come back and tackle it. The most important thing to do is get a great recording, so do what it takes to get there.  

Don’t get me wrong, I love stacking vocals and making sure you end up with the best take, but so much time would be saved if you did only three takes. I know a guy who does about thirty minutes of vocal takes, just lets it run on loop to build up a huge vocal comp. That's fine... I guess. By doing so, you’re pretty much guaranteeing, at least I would HOPE, that out of those thirty minutes, there has to be a piece that will be cut into the final. The problem is now he has to go through all thirty minutes of that loop to comp it. What a waste of time! Limit your options, pick a lead, double to it. It'll save time and stress.


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