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Category Archives for "Editing"

Background Vocals-s-s-s

Daily Blog - May 17th 2021

Aaah, nothing like nice, silky, airy backing vocals. Shiny harmonies to add some extra sparkle in the chorus. Until it happenssss.... ūüėę

Background Vocals-s-s-s

I get it, some people don't like editing and don't think that the timing of their performances needs to be super tight. 

Fair enough, I like raw and "real" sounding productions, as well and nobody should ever tell you what you should like when it comes to art.

But all that aside, there are some things that are non-negotiable if you want to make a record that doesn't sound amateur or annoying . There are some problems that are exactly that - problems. With ZERO benefit for the listener. 

One of those problems are backing vocals that are out of sync with each other or with the lead vocal.

It may not be obvious or annoying right away, but as soon as you brighten them up, compress them a bit, pan them apart for extra width, the "s-es" and "t-s" quickly become unbearable. Especially on headphones (which are what the majority of people listen to music on these days).

There's absolutely NO reason to have out-of-sync "s-es" coming from left and right, distracting the listener from the song, making the lyrics less intelligible and sounding simply annoying. 

Here's what to do about it:

  • Perform as tight as possible, matching the original timing of the lead vocal super closely.
  • Edit the performance to be perfectly in sync with the lead vocal and the other backing vocals. (Editing is not the devil. If done right it can be the difference between an awesome production that feels just great and an amateur sounding mess that doesn't help the song, at all)
  • Tame the sibilance. The brighter the vocals are, the more annoying this becomes. You can choose a darker mic for background vocals. You can roll off some of the highs. And if you want airy, bright backing vocals, you can make them shiny and then de-ess them like crazy. Even to the point of causing a slight lisp. It won't matter, as long as they are in sync with the lead vocal and as long as the "s-es" in the lead vocal are clear. If they are, you'll be fine and the backings can be bright without making you feel like Samuel L. Jackson in "Snakes On A Plane".

-Benedikt

PS: I often post videos to these daily blog posts in my Instagram Stories: @benedikthain

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The Simple Habit That Prevents Clicks And Pops In Your Recordings

Daily Blog - April 30th 2021

Sometimes it's the little things, the small problems that are easy to fix that can cause major issues when overlooked. This is one of them. And it happens all the time.

The Simple Habit That Prevents Clicks And Pops In Your Recordings

Make it a habit to put a short fade at the end and the beginning of every single audio event in your DAW.

That's basically it. Why should you do that? Because not doing it is the #1 reason for audible clicks and pops in your audio. Sometimes these can be fixed after the fact, but sometimes they become a real issue and you should prevent them for ever happening. For example, if you have a click in your audio and you send it through a reverb and delay, the click will not only appear in one spot (easy to fix), it will now have a decay and it will be repeated with the delay. That's a problem and I get files like that all the time.

So, from now on, every time you cut an audio event in your DAW, make sure to put a very short "fade in" at the beginning and a very short "fade out" at the end of every event.

And when you're putting two events together, make sure to create a crossfade between them. Every single time.

Btw: An "event" is the box with the waveform in it. Sometimes it's called an audio clip, I'm sure you know what I mean. It's the content of the audio tracks you're looking at. The thing you're editing, cutting, etc.

It takes seconds, can be done with shortcuts/key commands and there's not excuse not to. Just look up how to do it in your DAW, make it a habit and do it even when there seems to be no audio where you've made the cut. Just do it and never think about it again.

This simple habit would have saved many of my clients hours of phone calls, emails, troubleshooting, recalling sessions, shooting in the dark and fixing problems.

-Benedikt

PS: You'll also find these daily blog posts in my Instagram Stories: @benedikthain

learn how to transform your DIY recordings from basement demos to Releases That Connect And Resonate With Your Audience

Get the free Ultimate 10-Step guide To Successful DIY-Recording

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