Stav's Pulsed Pink Noise Generator
One technique revealed
in the book involves patching some Pink Noise in such a way that it
pulses in time with the music to turn your ears up to all the changes
you're making to reverbs. It's been my secret weapon for years. Now
you can do this with my first VST plugin. To get yours, click
Mixing should be FUN! Enter
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the most creative console I've ever worked on. Does this look like fun
or what! Stav
The Secret Croak
When it comes to EQing vocals I don’t think so much about treble
and bass. Instead, I’m more interested in the harmonic structure
of the voice that is unique to the individual. Each face has its own
unique architecture, in the same way that each concert hall has unique
acoustics. We can equalise a hall by sending pink noise into it and
adjusting an equaliser to balance this reference signal. Similarly,
before wasting the energy and talent of the vocalist on the song, it’s
wise to have them produce some reference noises to align your equipment
and to allow you to beam-in to their unique architecture.
The ‘reference tone’ I use in the case of a vocalist is
something a bit out of the ordinary. I ask the vocalist to produce quiet
sounds that do not stress the vocal chords. I ask them to produce a
series of gentle ‘ahs’, a ‘Bo Ba Lou’, then
get them to count to 20, grunt, hiss, produce long croaks and little
Of all the strange sounds I get my singers to produce, the most useful
of all is the oddest one to make. It is the sound of vocal chords slowly
clicking together without air or water or pitch.
While they do this peculiar exercise I sweep (that’s right, usually
a ‘no no’ but, in this case, sweep) narrow bands of EQ searching
for the unique resonant cavities in their face and throat and chest.
So, when sweeping a singer like Jeremy you might listen out for the
frequencies that bring you closer to the back of his throat or to the
cavities behind his eyes, to the flesh of his lips or other characteristic
attributes. These same frequencies will also bring out the expression
in the song he is about to sing. So why go for the strange reference
tone sounds instead of the melody?
If you have the vocalist sing the melody (or any note for that matter)
the note(s) sung will naturally be much louder than their unique harmonics.
Because you’re not actually using a note, per se, your equaliser
can now bring out all the different cavities in the voice. If you use
a sharp EQ curve with significant boost you’ll hear those unique
qualities coming in and out in sharp relief, at times creating a caricature
of the singer’s vocal ‘personality’. Try it .
Hopefully this will prompt you to have a play with these ideas. Remember,
the key to this stuff is giving it a go – don’t just take
my word for it.