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#1682569 - 06/27/05 07:34 PM Supersmooth background vocals
smk Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/29/04
Posts: 111
How do you get supersmooth background vocals? I guess performance matters a lot, but I'm looking at Brian McKnight or Take 6 style sounds. Anyone with any suggestions? BTW, I'll be using the same mic and pre for my leads...

Thanks!
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#1682570 - 06/27/05 09:07 PM Re: Supersmooth background vocals
Michael Hart Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 53
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
One method is to record each part in quadruple. So if you're singing a third and a fifth harmony for example, doubling will fatten but quadruple will double that again. You can copy and slip a track by around 100ms (forward or backward to taste), but the best is a separate performance that is pitch accurate. Sounds more 'live' than digital copying.

Also, whereas a male lead vocal might have a bit of that midrange 'chest' resonance,
Bg's need to sit on top, so sonically you want tracks with a bit more air and breath in them, but not so thin that they have no core. This means playing with the distance from the mike a bit, and when you've got the sonics sounding good by framing the Bg's around the lead vocal at noon, then it's about performance and lots of doubling - all of which you can bounce down to St.2 track afterwards, panning the vocals as you like in the spectrum.

Michael Hart

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#1682571 - 06/27/05 09:35 PM Re: Supersmooth background vocals
Philip O'Keefe Offline
10k Club

Registered: 12/17/00
Posts: 17674
Loc: Riverside,CA,UNITED STATES
I tend to like to use a different mic than I used for the lead vocal. Frequently I'll reach for something with a bit more top end or "air" than what we used for lead vocal tracking. Also, in addition to the multipe overdubs (or singers) per part, the type of BGV's you're talking about also tend to use a fair amount of close harmony / closed chord voicings. Ultimately though, a lot of it (the majority of it) comes from the singers and their technique... head voice instead of chest voice, pronunciation, etc.
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#1682572 - 06/27/05 11:33 PM Re: Supersmooth background vocals
where02190 Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 5402
Loc: Weymouth, Ma. USA
Lots of editing.
Tons of autotune.
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Hope this is helpful.

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#1682573 - 06/28/05 09:49 AM Re: Supersmooth background vocals
Philip O'Keefe Offline
10k Club

Registered: 12/17/00
Posts: 17674
Loc: Riverside,CA,UNITED STATES
Yeah, sometimes that too. ;\)
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Sound Sanctuary Recording
Riverside CA
http://www.ssrstudio.com
http://www.philokeefe.com
pokeefe777@ssrstudio.com
My New Forum on Harmony-Central

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#1682574 - 06/29/05 09:10 AM Re: Supersmooth background vocals
Lee Knight Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 10/19/01
Posts: 1077
Loc: Encinitas,CA,UNITED STATES
Also... finding where the resonant peak is and flattening it or even dipping it. Then all you get are the harmonics and the fundamental is subdued. Works for me.

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#1682575 - 07/18/05 10:53 AM Re: Supersmooth background vocals
Kendrix Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/06/01
Posts: 2151
Loc: Rochester,NY,UNITED STATES
I'd put all the bknd vocal tracks doubles/triples etc through one compressor as a group. That tends to glue them together.
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