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Vocal Processing & Effects In Digital Performer

MOTU Digital Performer Tips & Techniques
By Mike Levine

Prior to mixing, it's often worth cleaning up your vocal track to get rid of unwanted noises and breaths.Prior to mixing, it's often worth cleaning up your vocal track to get rid of unwanted noises and breaths.

Digital Performer has all the tools you need to sculpt the perfect vocal sound.

Previously in Sound On Sound's Digital Performer workshops, we've covered techniques for comping and pitch-correcting vocal tracks. This time, we'll talk about processing and mixing them.

In addition to setting the levels of your vocal tracks so that they sit well in the mix, you'll probably want to do some tonal tweaks with EQ, and use compression to control dynamic range and/or add colour. You'll also want to dial in ambience with reverb and possibly delay. And, if it fits the song, you can even get creative with one or more of DP's many modulation effects.

Reality Bites

Before getting too far along in your mix, it's helpful to solo the vocal track and find any glitches on the comped take, such as noises between phrases and overly loud breaths. First, make a duplicate of your comped take as a safety. Next, go through the track in the Sequence editor in Soundbites view, and cut out any problematic sections around the vocals using DP's editing tools. You could even cut all the space between vocal phrases, to get rid of any residual noise recorded from the mic during pauses. You might also want to reduce or cut out breaths, though in both cases you need to be careful not to overdo things to avoid making the results sound unnatural. When you create separate Soundbites from your edits, make sure to add fades to all the Soundbite boundaries to avoid creating clicks.

Adjustments made using Bite volume are independent of standard track volume and always stay with the Soundbite they were applied to. The Reshape tool from the Tool Palette is handy for editing Bite volume.Adjustments made using Bite volume are independent of standard track volume and always stay with the Soundbite they were applied to. The Reshape tool from the Tool Palette is handy for editing Bite volume.Once you've set a basic level for your vocal track, take a listen and focus on whether some words or phrases are significantly louder or softer than the rest of the track. If so, DP offers a number of corrective options. You're probably familiar with DP's track-based automation; but you can...

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Published May 2019