2 Questions: Clean vocal treatments in a metal context and album length limits.

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by KailM, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    Hey folks -- couple questions:

    I'm close to finishing a song that will go on a concept album. The album is primarily black metal at heart but there's a lot of other influences present. On this particular track I've got some clean singing on top of some clean guitar + some random lead work throughout.

    On the vocals, which are kind of a chanting style, I've done anywhere from 6-8 layered tracks that I've harmonized in certain parts. I've done some compression on each individual track and then bus it all to a vocal bus and have added EQ, reverb, delay, mild chorus, and a little more compression to help glue it together. It is meant to sound pretty huge and ambient to match the sound of the music.

    At first, I had no clue how I wanted it to sound, and I more or less wanted just to make my voice sound as warm and lush as possible. But after adding track after track, I decided I like the "choir" sound even better with the harmonization and whatnot. It's getting close to sounding great, but it's all been experimentation at this point. I'm capable to a certain extent of making my voice sound like a different singer, but I'm wondering if I should try to EQ each track differently to make it sound even more like 6-8 different singers. I have no clue what I'm doing, lol. So I just would love to read your theories and usual techniques on clean vocals.

    I don't have any problems with brutal vocals. I can do a pretty mean black metal rasp and death metal growls. It doesn't take me long to get those sounding good (to me,haha) in a mix. But these clean vocals have been a challenge!

    Finally (and maybe this should be a different thread, haha)-- I'm close to releasing this full album. It's a concept album that starts very dark and grim and keeps building throughout-- with some tasteful soft and soothing interludes here and there. The problem is, it's going to be 65 minutes long! While I don't think any of the songs really get too repetitive-- I'm obviously biased and perhaps blind to certain factors. I'm aware that it's really difficult to pull off an album of that length without losing your listener. I just can't decide how to pare it back. I have plans to shave 30 seconds off of certain songs here and there, but it won't add up to that much. I don't want to really axe any of the songs because they're all part of the story. Should I just leave it all in?
     
  2. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    The approach you've taken on that vocal section is a similar approach to what I take - several individual tracks comped and EQ'd, then bussed to a stereo track, with master comp, EQ, and verb on the buss. I use iZotope Nectar on my individual tracks, and you can do a lot with it, however, it's a CPU hog and since I do a lot of pre-prod work on a 2-CPU Mac Air, I often have to 'print' (freeze) the FX on the individual tracks to lighten up the CPU load.

    People who listen to prog and dark metal usually have longer attention spans than your average pop/rap/country/R&B listener, so if your album is engaging for 65 minutes (which is no easy feat), then just leave it all in. Objectively listening to your own music to determine how engaging is truly is... that's the hard part. Might be worthwhile to get some outside opinions from people who's musical tastes line up with the music you're producing before you make the final cuts. Never any harm in getting a good second (or 3rd, or 4th) opinion.

    Good luck!!!
     
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  3. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the response man. If I continue to delve into clean vocals on future projects I'm can see the need to upgrade my DAW to one that accepts 3rd party VSTs -- there's too many great ones that I don't have access to at the moment.

    Regarding my album length question-- you're probably right; the type of people who normally listen to this type of stuff probably won't have much of a problem with the length -- I know I don't. Basically, I crafted this album to be similar to everything I like about atmospheric black metal -- diverse, deep, and at times epic (I hate to use that word to describe my own work; but I think and hope it applies to some of it.) Some of those factors that I wanted require some time to develop-- hence the 9-10 minute songs.
     
  4. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    Reaper's a great choice if you need to upgrade your DAW. $60 for a personal license (last time I checked). It's as 'pro' as any DAW software on the market. Lot's of great free plugins if you're a MS Windows user as well. If you're a Mac user, the freebies are a little harder to find.
     
  5. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    If the album needs to be an hour to realize your vision, let it be an hour.
     
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  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I'm sure someone will comment about how long the album is if it's 65 minutes. On the flip side, someone will certainly comment about how such-and-such seems to be missing, if you edit stuff out. You can't ever win over 100% of the people. My vote goes for making the album the way you want to make it, then, at least, you'll feel like you made it the best it could be, and, I think, that's most important anyway.
     
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  7. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Definitely don't worry about a 65 minute long album. I target about an hour's worth of material for a full-length, so you're only a hair over that. I think you only start to run into issues at around the 74 minute mark, when it comes to physically fitting it on a CD.
     
  8. KailM

    KailM SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the responses guys -- most of you are confirming my leaning toward keeping most of the material. I crafted each song one at a time, so a lot of care was taken to make sure the songs didn't have a lot of unneeded repetition.

    I have one song that is kind of an oddball in the group because it has more of a death metal feel and sound quality-- so much that I was considering dropping it from the album. But I think I've got about 45 seconds I could cut instead and it might end up being an even stronger song.
     
  9. naw38

    naw38 SS.org Regular

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    I'm going to go ahead and agree with everyone else here; it's your music man, don't compromise your vision to a appeal to others. Always make the music you want to make, and do it for yourself.
     
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