Radio Ready Vocals Using Stock Plugins
With Emiliano Caballero
Today we’re using only ProTools’ stock plugins on the vocals. Emiliano has joined us again today to share how he creates stereo separation, ambiance, and depth using only ProTools’ stock plugins
Firstly, we’ve got the vocal track that has printed distortion so already we are free to do what we like.
We have three Aux Busses for this exercise.
- A Slap Delay that gives a 60/70s rock n roll vibe.
- Plate Reverb
- Stereo Delay to enhance and widen the vocals.
What you’ll notice is that across all busses, we’re using the EQ 7 Plugin in ProTools to give a lo-fi quality to the vocals. By cutting the highs and the lows, we can get that 60s feeling as we listen to it. There is no real text book answer to where you cut – what sounds good for that vocal or effect will work.
Firstly, A little slap-back delay using Mod Delay III adds a little bit of old school 60s/70s rock.
You only need a little amount just for taste and simply add the EQ 7 to high and low pass the effect.
What this EQ technique will do is create a shadow underneath the lead vocals to bring more depth.
Tip: Try experimenting more with different Q settings. Q has a lot of untapped power! Experiment and decide for yourself.
“What feels good – is good.”
Next, smear the slap-back delay by adding the AIR spring reverb – You can judge for yourself but the reverb decay should be below 4 seconds at about 10% wet.
Next Bus we have the Plate.
The first thing we’re adding is Gain reduction. We’re doing this so we don’t have the vocal jump up and out of the level. We want a solid block of vocal within the reverb.
For the reverb, we’re using the ProTools D-verb with a Large plate setting with a short decay. Again, no right or wrong but pay attention the high frequencies.
Emiliano believes that for radio ready pop vocals, we live in a more dark reverb era- in the return tracks especially.
In pop vocals we are using more dry vocals so we don’t want to hear the reverb, we want to feel it. Cutting the highs can really help that.
Then EQ the reverb again using the same settings you have set on the EQ 7 on the previous busses.
And finally the Stereo Delay to give a sense of depth and width.
The first key to this is to use different delay times for left and right. Something within the region of 120ms left, 170ms right.
Because you ear will hear the shortest delay first, to compensate for that, Cut more high frequencies.
And Finally, as with all busses, add that EQ 7 in once again!
Watch the video to learn more about “Radio Ready Vocals Using Stock Plugins”!