Recent trend in pop lead vocals and reverb

This forum is for discussing Propellerhead's music software. Questions, answers, ideas, and opinions... all apply.
calebbrennan
Posts: 230
Joined: 16 Aug 2016

Post 13 Mar 2019

Hi everybody.

I've noticed a trend of vocal reverb on pop hits of late.

The vocal seems upfront and present with the reverb highly present yet not muddying up the mix

My guess they record the Reverb vocal and the Original on different tracks.

But I tried that and experimented with beloved RV7000 halls large rooms and impulse response.

Close but no cigar, anybody know a good algorithm for that?

Thanks

mashers
Posts: 389
Joined: 05 Nov 2018

Post 13 Mar 2019

You could try filtering a duplicate vocal track and applying reverb only to that. For example, use a spider to split the vocal and have one left dry and routed to a mixer, and the other one through a high pass filter then reverb then into the mixer. That way you're only applying reverb to the highest frequencies of the vocal.

Also, make sure you're already putting your whole vocal track through a high pass filter. You should be doing this anyway, especially with male vocals, as the lower frequencies are not required for the vocal to be "present", but will muddy the mix when they overlap with the same frequencies in other instruments.

mashers
Posts: 389
Joined: 05 Nov 2018

Post 13 Mar 2019

Just another thought about this. My opinion is that in modern pop music the vocal is too up-front. As long as you filter and compress appropriately, there's no need for the vocal to be "front and centre". The listener will hear it even if it is a bit more in the background, and this leaves space in the mix for other instruments.

User avatar
boingy
Posts: 253
Joined: 01 Feb 2019

Post 13 Mar 2019

I've read that modern pop vocals sometimes use slapback delay rather than reverb to keep the mix cleaner and the vocals up front. I did try it a couple of times but I was not happy with the results. Getting vocals to sit nicely in the mix is still a complete mystery to me!

User avatar
aeox
Posts: 2123
Joined: 23 Feb 2017
Location: Oregon

Post 13 Mar 2019

I've not worked with a ton of vocals.. but from my little experience, parallel processing is really important. Saturation, compression, EQ, quality reverb! I use DR-1 a lot! The amount of reverb greatly depends on the rest of the mix, you just play it by ear.
Last edited by aeox on 24 Mar 2019, edited 1 time in total.

Le Boeuf
Posts: 70
Joined: 16 Mar 2017
Location: Copenhagen

Post 13 Mar 2019

Do you have an example?

I believe it is very modern to do the reverb and delay as a send, flip the rack and take a parralel cable from the dry vocal and put it in sidechain in your compressor for the reverb and delay. Also do a low cut on the reverb with a eq around 400-500hz

So the send fx chain looks like this.

Send/return 1:
Reverb
Delay
Eq
compressor (with dry signal into the sidechain)

Set the ratio pretty High and treshold low.

But maybe it misunderstood you 🤦‍♂️

User avatar
selig
Moderator
Posts: 7678
Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 13 Mar 2019

Best to give examples if you want suggestions.

That being said, as a very general approach a plate reverb with pre-delay and low cut filter can get out of the way of the vocal nicely.


Sent from some crappy device using Tapatalk
Selig Audio, LLC

User avatar
Loque
Posts: 5374
Joined: 28 Dec 2015

Post 13 Mar 2019

Yea, an example please...

I tended in the last time to carve out the dry signal from the wet and use HPF/LPF and EQ to make it sit and sound better. Sometimes with additional compression, transient shaping and saturation if needed, which can make it more snappy (wall-bouncing/reflecting) or lush and decaying (wide space). Left-to-right slap back delays is actually my favorite for reverb tails and maybe on the dry signal too.
:reason: 10, Win10 64Bit.

User avatar
guitfnky
Posts: 914
Joined: 19 Jan 2015

Post 13 Mar 2019

mashers wrote:
13 Mar 2019
Just another thought about this. My opinion is that in modern pop music the vocal is too up-front. As long as you filter and compress appropriately, there's no need for the vocal to be "front and centre". The listener will hear it even if it is a bit more in the background, and this leaves space in the mix for other instruments.
I long for the return to this type of vocal mix. modern pop vocals sound terribly unnatural to me. my approach has always been that the vocal should (usually) sit just barely above the other instruments in a mix—so they’re audible, but not overpowering. I get that the approach differs by genre, but maybe I’m just getting too old for these modern, super-loud, overprocessed pop vocals. 😆

RobC
Posts: 1046
Joined: 10 Mar 2018

Post 13 Mar 2019

Here's a hint what to do with the reverb:

Image

mashers
Posts: 389
Joined: 05 Nov 2018

Post 13 Mar 2019

boingy wrote:
13 Mar 2019
I've read that modern pop vocals sometimes use slapback delay rather than reverb to keep the mix cleaner and the vocals up front. I did try it a couple of times but I was not happy with the results. Getting vocals to sit nicely in the mix is still a complete mystery to me!
Interesting that you mention "slapback delay" as I have recently been using the "hard slap" preset on the RV-7000 and it sounds amazing. The vocals pop out of the mix even when they're not faded up to a particularly high volume. Paired with compression, limiting and EQing out the bottom end, and it makes the vocal punch through the mix.
Le Boeuf wrote:
13 Mar 2019
compressor (with dry signal into the sidechain)

Set the ratio pretty High and treshold low.
Interesting. I always compress vocals (obviously) but have never done it with the dry mix going into the side chain. What effect does this have?
guitfnky wrote:
13 Mar 2019
I long for the return to this type of vocal mix. modern pop vocals sound terribly unnatural to me.
There are people still doing it, but it's not mainstream pop for sure. I'm listening to a lot of The Faint lately and they are a masterclass in getting vocals sat so well in the mix it's ridiculous. If I could achieve 1/10 of their sound I would be happy.
guitfnky wrote:
13 Mar 2019
the vocal should (usually) sit just barely above the other instruments in a mix—so they’re audible, but not overpowering.
Totally agreed. As long as the words are fairly comprehensible, the vocal is loud enough. And even comprehensibility is negotiable depending on the genre. I write darkwave electro, so it's not even that important to be able to understand the words.
guitfnky wrote:
13 Mar 2019
I get that the approach differs by genre
I don't think it's a genre thing. I think it's about ego. Lots of vocalists want to be "front and centre" and see themselves as the "main event" of the performance. I certainly don't see it that way. I take Thom Yorke's approach to this; my voice is just another instrument, and has no greater priority than anything else in the mix.
guitfnky wrote:
13 Mar 2019
but maybe I’m just getting too old for these modern, super-loud, overprocessed pop vocals. 😆
Let's not rule anything out :p

User avatar
guitfnky
Posts: 914
Joined: 19 Jan 2015

Post 13 Mar 2019

mashers wrote:
13 Mar 2019
guitfnky wrote:
13 Mar 2019
I get that the approach differs by genre
I don't think it's a genre thing. I think it's about ego. Lots of vocalists want to be "front and centre" and see themselves as the "main event" of the performance. I certainly don't see it that way. I take Thom Yorke's approach to this; my voice is just another instrument, and has no greater priority than anything else in the mix.
I think in some cases it can be ego, but I know that some producers/mix engineers simply believe that's how it's supposed to be. my band used to record at a studio here in Buffalo, and the engineer there had a completely different mentality when it comes to mixing than I was familiar with (I'd interned at another studio in the area). even though he's got great technical skill in mixing, his mixes always sounded incredibly lifeless to me. we would go back and forth about stuff like compression, levels, etc, and vocal volume relative to the rest of the music was always a huge sticking point. in those days, our singer was very deferential to "professionals", so he just thought because the mix engineer does this for a living that he must be correct by default. in retrospect, our singer has come around, and we've done most of our production and mixing on our own, but it tells me part of the problem is it's become almost an institutional expectation in some circles that things should sound a particular way.
mashers wrote:
13 Mar 2019
guitfnky wrote:
13 Mar 2019
but maybe I’m just getting too old for these modern, super-loud, overprocessed pop vocals. 😆
Let's not rule anything out :p
hey now! :lol:

mashers
Posts: 389
Joined: 05 Nov 2018

Post 14 Mar 2019

guitfnky wrote:
13 Mar 2019
I think in some cases it can be ego, but I know that some producers/mix engineers simply believe that's how it's supposed to be. my band used to record at a studio here in Buffalo, and the engineer there had a completely different mentality when it comes to mixing than I was familiar with (I'd interned at another studio in the area). even though he's got great technical skill in mixing, his mixes always sounded incredibly lifeless to me. we would go back and forth about stuff like compression, levels, etc, and vocal volume relative to the rest of the music was always a huge sticking point. in those days, our singer was very deferential to "professionals", so he just thought because the mix engineer does this for a living that he must be correct by default. in retrospect, our singer has come around, and we've done most of our production and mixing on our own, but it tells me part of the problem is it's become almost an institutional expectation in some circles that things should sound a particular way.
Interesting point. I don't know why a mixing engineer would be so insistent on using his own style rather than consulting the artists on how they want it mixed. Perhaps these engineers have a combination of dogma about what is "correct", and egotistical belief that they are right and the artist is wrong. If I were in their position I would advise the artist on what I thought would sound best, but if they disagreed then I would do it their way. it's their music and their choice.

User avatar
selig
Moderator
Posts: 7678
Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 14 Mar 2019

mashers wrote:Interesting point. I don't know why a mixing engineer would be so insistent on using his own style rather than consulting the artists on how they want it mixed. Perhaps these engineers have a combination of dogma about what is "correct", and egotistical belief that they are right and the artist is wrong. If I were in their position I would advise the artist on what I thought would sound best, but if they disagreed then I would do it their way. it's their music and their choice.
I’ll add to this that there are very few successful engineers in my experience that DON’T listen to the artist. They are also good about understanding the inevitable “more me” requests that can come during mixing, and strive to make a great mix that still makes everyone happy (or they can diplomatically explain why it’s not possible to do so in those cases).


Sent from some crappy device using Tapatalk
Selig Audio, LLC

mashers
Posts: 389
Joined: 05 Nov 2018

Post 14 Mar 2019

selig wrote:
14 Mar 2019
I’ll add to this that there are very few successful engineers in my experience that DON’T listen to the artist. They are also good about understanding the inevitable “more me” requests that can come during mixing, and strive to make a great mix that still makes everyone happy (or they can diplomatically explain why it’s not possible to do so in those cases).
I would assume that a mixing engineer who can't or won't accommodate reasonable direction from the artist is an engineer who wants to be a producer :D

User avatar
selig
Moderator
Posts: 7678
Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 14 Mar 2019

mashers wrote:
selig wrote:
14 Mar 2019
I’ll add to this that there are very few successful engineers in my experience that DON’T listen to the artist. They are also good about understanding the inevitable “more me” requests that can come during mixing, and strive to make a great mix that still makes everyone happy (or they can diplomatically explain why it’s not possible to do so in those cases).
I would assume that a mixing engineer who can't or won't accommodate reasonable direction from the artist is an engineer who wants to be a producer :D
Except for the fact that most producers ALSO listen to the artist. Yea, there are those artists that want a producer to create their sound for them, and producers who are happy to oblige them. But in my experience there are more producers who want to help the artist find their own sound.


Sent from some crappy device using Tapatalk
Selig Audio, LLC

mashers
Posts: 389
Joined: 05 Nov 2018

Post 14 Mar 2019

selig wrote:
14 Mar 2019
Except for the fact that most producers ALSO listen to the artist. Yea, there are those artists that want a producer to create their sound for them, and producers who are happy to oblige them. But in my experience there are more producers who want to help the artist find their own sound.
I guess there are good and bad sorts in all professions ;)

User avatar
guitfnky
Posts: 914
Joined: 19 Jan 2015

Post 14 Mar 2019

selig wrote:
14 Mar 2019
mashers wrote: I would assume that a mixing engineer who can't or won't accommodate reasonable direction from the artist is an engineer who wants to be a producer :D
Except for the fact that most producers ALSO listen to the artist. Yea, there are those artists that want a producer to create their sound for them, and producers who are happy to oblige them. But in my experience there are more producers who want to help the artist find their own sound.


Sent from some crappy device using Tapatalk
that was the most frustrating part—he thought he *was* helping us find our sound, despite not really working to understand what we were going for. he didn’t seem to “get” how to create a polished, but raw and immediate end product. he works with rock bands sometimes, but the majority of what he’s done has been work with rap artists (including producing for them). I suspect that’s a big contributing factor to why we ended up unhappy with the end result.

it sucks too, because he’s a genuinely awesome guy, and a lot of fun to work with, but at the end of the day, studio time is $$$, and after trying to work with him a couple of times, we had to give up.

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 425
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Colombia

Post 14 Mar 2019

Mashers, you asked above and I'm not sure anyone replied yet, but if you add a compressor after the effect, and feed its side chain with the dry version, you are ducking the effect while the dry version is playing so it (effect, in this case reverb) stays out of the way of the dry signal and comes back when the is no dry signal. Pretty standard vocal processing procedure.

User avatar
Loque
Posts: 5374
Joined: 28 Dec 2015

Post 14 Mar 2019

PhillipOrdonez wrote:
14 Mar 2019
Mashers, you asked above and I'm not sure anyone replied yet, but if you add a compressor after the effect, and feed its side chain with the dry version, you are ducking the effect while the dry version is playing so it (effect, in this case reverb) stays out of the way of the dry signal and comes back when the is no dry signal. Pretty standard vocal processing procedure.
Several guys already said that and one illustrated that very nice with a great picture...
:reason: 10, Win10 64Bit.

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 425
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Colombia

Post 14 Mar 2019

Loque wrote:
14 Mar 2019
PhillipOrdonez wrote:
14 Mar 2019
Mashers, you asked above and I'm not sure anyone replied yet, but if you add a compressor after the effect, and feed its side chain with the dry version, you are ducking the effect while the dry version is playing so it (effect, in this case reverb) stays out of the way of the dry signal and comes back when the is no dry signal. Pretty standard vocal processing procedure.
Several guys already said that and one illustrated that very nice with a great picture...
Gah.. didn't sleep well last night and skimming through I didn't see the answer to that point and instead seemed the conversation focused on other topics. Apologies, readers.

User avatar
Loque
Posts: 5374
Joined: 28 Dec 2015

Post 14 Mar 2019

PhillipOrdonez wrote:
14 Mar 2019
Loque wrote:
14 Mar 2019


Several guys already said that and one illustrated that very nice with a great picture...
Gah.. didn't sleep well last night and skimming through I didn't see the answer to that point and instead seemed the conversation focused on other topics. Apologies, readers.
No need to duck down now :-) Got it!? Got it!?
RemarkableHopefulGar-small.gif
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
:reason: 10, Win10 64Bit.

mashers
Posts: 389
Joined: 05 Nov 2018

Post 15 Mar 2019

PhillipOrdonez wrote:
14 Mar 2019
Mashers, you asked above and I'm not sure anyone replied yet, but if you add a compressor after the effect, and feed its side chain with the dry version, you are ducking the effect while the dry version is playing so it (effect, in this case reverb) stays out of the way of the dry signal and comes back when the is no dry signal. Pretty standard vocal processing procedure.
Thanks mate! I actually missed those posts in the thread too, so I'm glad you re-posted the info. It makes total sense now you've explained it. I'll give it a go!

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 425
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Colombia

Post 15 Mar 2019

mashers wrote:
15 Mar 2019
PhillipOrdonez wrote:
14 Mar 2019
Mashers, you asked above and I'm not sure anyone replied yet, but if you add a compressor after the effect, and feed its side chain with the dry version, you are ducking the effect while the dry version is playing so it (effect, in this case reverb) stays out of the way of the dry signal and comes back when the is no dry signal. Pretty standard vocal processing procedure.
Thanks mate! I actually missed those posts in the thread too, so I'm glad you re-posted the info. It makes total sense now you've explained it. I'll give it a go!
Cheers!

calebbrennan
Posts: 230
Joined: 16 Aug 2016

Post 24 Mar 2019

Thank You All
for all the insightful contributions

Where the vocal sits in a MIX is completely subjective: there are no rules.
I tried to find the perfect example, but I hear it everywhere, The Weekend
I was just inquiring as a vocal effect that seemed ultra present,..while reverberating
5 Decades ago when sound systems were a 5 in speaker in a car you had to hear Elvis
Maybe we should mixing on Cubes or 2X4 wall mount systems that are everywhere?

tHANKS FOR contributions

  • Information
  • Who is online

    Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest