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Backing vocal libraries

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Backing vocal libraries

Postby CS70 » Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:06 pm

I usually have a god network of backing vocalists, but in these pandemic days we're a bit reluctant to make recording sessions in a closed studio.

So I started exploring options, and SOS came to the rescue with the review of the Hollywood Backup Singers.. I read you can type words and the engine uses the samples to create backings and judging from the trailers it sounds pretty amazing.

It's also in discount right now at $159.

Anyone's first hand experience with it? Any other options with the flexibility of HBS? How much work is it to get realistic backings? (I guess it's like drums - "a lot" - but maybe I'm wrong). Can the vocals be recorded dry and then mixed like one would do with regular, recorded vocals (guess so)?

I've not used any library as this before, as I normally call up some singers and record them. I hopefully will be able to do that again soon, but in the meanwhile... :D
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Re: Backing vocal libraries

Postby blinddrew » Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:27 pm

I can do a good falsetto if that help?

;)

(I can't actually.)
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Re: Backing vocal libraries

Postby CS70 » Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:36 pm

You're more than welcome if you like!

Maybe not falsettos :D
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Re: Backing vocal libraries

Postby Luke W » Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:48 pm

Nothing helpful to add I'm afraid, but...

CS70 wrote:I read you can type words and the engine uses the samples to create backings and judging from the trailers it sounds pretty amazing.

You what?! I'm going to have to read up on this.
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Re: Backing vocal libraries

Postby Fishnish » Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:16 pm

I haven't used the EW Backup Singers, but have used the EW Hollywood Choirs which works along similar lines.. It's an older product than the Backup Singers , but the principles seem the same, although of course things may be slicker in the more recent product.

With the Word Builder itself it's relatively easy to get the hang of the basics - it mainly requires you to think phonetically and in terms of sound rather than spelling. Having said that, it takes a fair bit of work to get something sounding decent in terms of tone, dynamics and rhythm as well as realistic sounding words. Getting the internal timing structutre of the component sounds of each word is the thing I found most critical, and took the most work. (Simple things with lots of Oohs and Ahs were much quicker to do and sounded much better than your common -or garden choral patch.)

To arrange SATB parts with more than a few lines of words took a (long) while at first. It has got quicker with familiarity, and building up something of my own "phrase library" so I wasn't starting from scratch every time has helped too.

One other consideration - EW Play didn't play that nicely with my old PC so it was sometimes frustrating to do intensive work with it. I've since moved on to a new computer and things are much smoother. I might have got on with it a lot quicker if I'd had the hardware to do it justice from the start.
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Re: Backing vocal libraries

Postby CS70 » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:54 am

Thanks! Exactly the kind of insights I was looking for. So you gotta work for it, as expected. Fair enough, if it was easy anybody could do it...
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Re: Backing vocal libraries

Postby Fishnish » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:15 am

I forgot to answer your specifics - Yes, I'd agree the learning curve for me was similar to using a big drum library like Superior Drummer, and just like other complex libraries you can get some great results. The difference is that I'm working with drum libraries on most sessions at some point, and choirs, well, less, so it has been harder to gain the same fluidity in workflow.

Yes, with (Choirs at least) you can output each section either with the close mics or a range of room mic options, either as a mix or individually to multiple tracks in the DAW. Again, similar to how a drum library might do it.
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