How do you try and disguise/improve an "average" vocal as best as possible? (e.g. Melodyne, Vocoding, Saturate etc...)

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MasterTuner
KVRist
93 posts since 30 May, 2018

Post Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:00 pm

I'm doing a home project and the vocal is very average.
Its not going to be released up the charts anytime soon, put it that way. Its just a home project.

The vocal is very average. I'm using Waves Tune to make it stay on key (pretty much) and I've got Waves CLA Vocals on there too, and thats helping some. As well as a touch saturation...

What else could I use to improve an average vocal, or disguise some of its imperfections as best I can ?

As you can see from my FX chain - I'm trying !
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Michael L
KVRAF
2596 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from the End of the World as we Knowit

Re: How do you try and disguise/improve an "average" vocal as best as possible? (e.g. Melodyne, Vocoding, Saturate etc.

Post Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:37 pm

Usually an average singer's narrow range sounds good in some parts of the song, and not in others, so have fun orchestrating the song to add frequency collisions that mask weaknesses: double your vocals with another instrument that does what the singer cannot, or add vocal harmony + FX (e.g. Eventide Octavox).

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Bodhisan
KVRian
541 posts since 7 Aug, 2015 from H2O

Re: How do you try and disguise/improve an "average" vocal as best as possible? (e.g. Melodyne, Vocoding, Saturate etc.

Post Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:12 pm

You need a vocal doubler like Microshift. Makes me go from cringe to smile. What I recently found, though, was to record the vocal, then copy it to another track. One track has the doubler with strong high pass, and the “main” vocal track has nothing but appropriate e.q. and reverb/delay to your taste. Not my idea. Love it.

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MasterTuner
KVRist
93 posts since 30 May, 2018

Re: How do you try and disguise/improve an "average" vocal as best as possible? (e.g. Melodyne, Vocoding, Saturate etc.

Post Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:25 pm

Michael L wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:37 pm
orchestrating the song to add frequency collisions that mask weaknesses...
Cool tip. Actually just after posting this thread my DAW stuck on a synth lead sound (which is actually a bug in my synth vst!) that carried on over into the vocals, and it actually harmonised with the vocals and it took the attention away from its imperfections.

@Bodhisan ... I've got CLA Vocals, thats got a doubler, stereo width section to it. I wonder if that can do a similar job to Microshift? I'll try copying the vocal to another track and giving it a HP.
Did you pan the two vocal tracks or nudge one slightly out of time with another?

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
5485 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: How do you try and disguise/improve an "average" vocal as best as possible? (e.g. Melodyne, Vocoding, Saturate etc.

Post Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:59 pm

A lot of these things (harmonizers, doubling, vocoder etc) are usually best done on a copy vocal track per effect as it gets messy quickly! What I tend to do is get the main vocal about right in terms of eq and compression then bounce a take of that to use for the copies. The other advantage of doing it this way is of course you can easily do spot effects by cutting sections rather than faffing with a lot of automation, and you can see easily what's happening in which parts.

Anyway...another good trick to spice up a vocal is to use a copy track and heavily distort it, then mix this in low with the main one, so you can hardly hear it, but notice if it's not there. It gives a lot of presence and makes the vocal cut through. You'll probably need to use a gate before the distortion...

Talking of spot effects.these are always great for adding interest to vocals - again using copied tracks you can add the usual suspects such as delays on words/phrases to add emphasis, or go a bit more off the wall and use things like reverse reverb for a more ghostly effect. Automating these (particularly delay swells etc) can be good as well, worth experimenting.

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Bodhisan
KVRian
541 posts since 7 Aug, 2015 from H2O

Re: How do you try and disguise/improve an "average" vocal as best as possible? (e.g. Melodyne, Vocoding, Saturate etc.

Post Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:54 am

MasterTuner wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:25 pm
@Bodhisan ... I've got CLA Vocals, thats got a doubler, stereo width section to it. I wonder if that can do a similar job to Microshift? I'll try copying the vocal to another track and giving it a HP.
Did you pan the two vocal tracks or nudge one slightly out of time with another?
The doubler track will do the panning/nudge (with it's slight stereo/delay), so I do nothing further. Experiment, though, as you might find something unique you like.

imrae
KVRian
617 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Re: How do you try and disguise/improve an "average" vocal as best as possible? (e.g. Melodyne, Vocoding, Saturate etc.

Post Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:05 am

You need to be more specific about what outcome you are after. All these processes have downsides so you shouldn't throw them blindly.

Heavy compression gives the illusion of consistency and power, at a cost to expressiveness.

Saturation adds richness at the cost of detail

EQ can add high resonance, but it won't be controlled as part of the performance so costs naturalness.

Reverb and slapback can add both smoothness and realism - but this masks detail.

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MasterTuner
KVRist
93 posts since 30 May, 2018

Re: How do you try and disguise/improve an "average" vocal as best as possible? (e.g. Melodyne, Vocoding, Saturate etc.

Post Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:57 pm

Thanks all, some good info there...

In the end I went with a +Octave track, a +5th track, a saturated/high passed track as well as the original. And added in a Vocoded track. Blended them all in and managed to disguise the fact that the original sounded a bit flat.

That was a difficult line to sing actually as it was a number of words all the same note. I re-recorded a few times but still sounded a little bit flat, even tho I passed it through Waves Tune.

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Michael L
KVRAF
2596 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from the End of the World as we Knowit

Re: How do you try and disguise/improve an "average" vocal as best as possible? (e.g. Melodyne, Vocoding, Saturate etc.

Post Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:48 pm

Please post a link to your track!

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MasterTuner
KVRist
93 posts since 30 May, 2018

Re: How do you try and disguise/improve an "average" vocal as best as possible? (e.g. Melodyne, Vocoding, Saturate etc.

Post Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:29 am

Michael L wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:48 pm
Please post a link to your track!
8) Yes, I may well do. I'm busy working on the track to get it into a good state!

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Deep Purple
KVRian
1125 posts since 9 Jan, 2015 from NY, NY

Re: How do you try and disguise/improve an "average" vocal as best as possible? (e.g. Melodyne, Vocoding, Saturate etc.

Post Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:59 pm

MasterTuner wrote:What else could I use to improve an average vocal, or disguise some of its imperfections as best I can ?
Keep practicing and if a take doesn't sound good, do another take. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Don't phone it in thinking you have pitch correction, doubling, etc. to fall back on - the best vocals are the result of hard work in getting the best take.
Sweet child in time...

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