Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lead Vocals a la Middle-Side... done!

All lead vocal re-recordings are finally in the can.

The last one 'La Llamada de Ogún' [The Call of Ogún] got the Loo treatment on Thursday; and although there is one more tune, 'Jardín' [Garden], to record, that's yet in the writing stage so it's ostensibly time to move on.

Our rather large vocal 'redo' escapade was nosed on by Digital Domain's advice on preparing tapes and files, particularly the "Gang of Four" stems. One of these stems is lead vocals only (with its reverb), which plainly means no hiding place in regard of performance, technique and engineering. All the tracks, not only my own, must withstand the close scrutiny of one of the world's foremost mastering engineers; and what I did not want, was to find myself in his mastering suite, without something to be proud of. Since there were inherent flaws in the previous engineering, Dave (our new man at the controls) and I have had to start anew.

Middle and Side. Go on... you know you want to!
(Neumann TLM 103 for the middle, and
AKG C 414 B-XLS on the side)

And this singer's having to scoff humble pie.

I used to think that pop singers were poor singers because they relied on composited vocals, and here I find myself doing the same thing. But before you judge me as harshly, there are two pretty big things in my defense:
  • auto-tune does not exist in this project, and
  • each take is non-identical as regards musical interpretation.
The second point has actually transformed the process of editing from one of potential tedium, into one of creativity, surprise and discovery - exploring the combinations on the route to building the best composite vocal has made a better lead singer. An additional improvement has come about with deploying the mid-side recording technique, which has gone a long way into allaying my fears (as a mix engineer) as to how to get the lead vocals to stand out in the dense mix that 4 de Diciembre's music presents.

Next on the list is to get Ana, Catie and Jeremy in to lay down the coro [backing vocals] using the same method. If things go really well, the results could be astounding. If not, there's always Plan B. And a Plan C...

Loo Yeo