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High Dynamic Vocal Tracking Frustration

Hi guys,

I’m just starting out tracking my own vocal using RODE NT1 & Focusrite 2i2. But now I’m really frustrate with a problem, which is high dynamic vocal. At the lowest, I’m peaking at around -35db, and the highest (when I'm belting at high note) is around -10 to -6db.

I tried to track with compression plugin, but it doesn’t seems to help much.

Even though I've compress the sound during mixing, but in order to balance out the volume, I really need to compress the loud part and markup gain the soft part a lot. This brings the loud sound part being squashed too much and does not sound good.

I also tried to back myself a little bit when belting high. Although it does help a bit, but the voice is obviously sound further from the mic, which makes the vocal sound unbalance.

I actually visited a studio and asked the sound engineer. What he has told me was I need to turn up the gain staging nob when singing soft and other way round when belting high, so that the sound wave is more balance and consistence.

What can I do to make make vocal sit on the mix good? Do I really need to play with the gain staging nob during recording? Please suggest me some good ideas for good vocal tracking, especially with high dynamic volume vocal. Thank you


  • Klaus_TKlaus_T Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 2,362
    edited September 2020
    would be good to hear what you recorded. without hearing it i can say the following (i am also an audio engineer):

    as long as it does not clip you don't need to fiddle with the gain during a take. you would set it so that at the highest peak it does not clip. with 24 bit resolution (or more), the soft parts will still have enough distance from the noise floor (i.e. you are able to boost the soft parts later without drowning in noise).

    you can manually adjust the different parts with clip gain (looks like you are using protools). also, you can split the parts onto different tracks and process them differently, then bus them together. also, check out the "vocal rider" plugin by waves

    i can't imagine the compressor not doing anything for you though. while the dynamics do look quite extreme in your picture, i still think the compressor could at least help a bit with the leveling, given the right settings. do you know how to set it properly?

    and yes, backing away from the mic is good practice if done right
  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,039
    I'm not a sound engineer and am slowly discovering recording techniques. When recording an entire song in one take, I do go really close for the soft parts and back off almost 2 feet when I belt. Even then it takes a few goes to set my volume knob on my focusrite correct for that particular song.

    If I'm recording my vocals separately then pasting them together, I'll adjust the knob so that what every I'm singing at the time sits around 50% on the wave form.
  • DrHypnoDrHypno Member Posts: 13
    edited September 2020
    Although you already have a great preamp, I have had great success with a Berringer 500 ultra gain.

    It’s a tube preamp with a limiter setting.

    I’ve swapped out the 1.5 amp switched power supply for a 2 amp linear.

    I am also experimenting with alternative tubes than the one it comes with (sovtek 12ax7) , going with a Mullard clone.

    Perhaps putting a hardware compressor limiter in front of the AD would help.

    There are a few available pending on your budget.

    Also, using a high pass filter may pull some of the unnecessary amplitude out of the signal that is not contributing to the quality of the sound
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