Unless one is dealing with a purely instrumental song, the voice of the singer is arguably the most important element in a mix. In this second tutorial on Strip V3 we’re going to give a nice vocal track a last treatment so that it can really shine in the end!
Let’s have a listen to the unprocessed audio first:
What we can tell straight away is that the vocals have been recorded pretty decently. That’s always a good thing, of course, and it gives us the opportunity to fully concentrate on giving it the final touch it deserves 😉
The first thing we do is to place an instance of Strip V3 onto our (vocal) track. We’re going to stick with the default console mode, ‘A Tube Console’, since it features a nice warm and round tone. In fact, the plugin already imparts a sweet analogue flavor to the signal just by being put on the track, without the turn of a single knob!
We then set up our EQ. A slight boost at 25kHz gives the voice more clarity; a similar small dip at 2.5kHz takes out some of the boxiness; and with a little cut at 250Hz we reduce the very low frequencies, which aren’t really essential in this case anyway. However, we activate the resonance-feature by clicking on the small RE-button. This will create a small boost around the cutoff frequency that will maintain the body of the signal. Finally, we also activate the dynamic functionality of the EQ by clicking on the DYN-button next to the high band controls. Now the effect will adapt dynamically to the incoming audio, which eventually results in a more transparent sound – very useful if the source signal is already of good or decent quality, as in our case.
Concerning the compressor, we’re aiming for a more extreme effect. If you listen closely to the dry vocals, you might notice the very nice nuances after certain words or phrases, that are mostly very quiet in their current state. In order to bring out those details we need to reduce the dynamic range quite a bit. Hence, we turn down the threshold (THR) until we get an average gain reduction of 12-14dB. For we want to boost even the endings of words and phrases we turn the release (RLS) all the way up. The effect is now quite drastic, as expected. We can nevertheless make it a bit smoother and less aggressive by activating the OLD-mode next to the threshold knob. Before we’re done we need to increase the output level (OUT) to compensate for the gain reduction of the compressor.
The interface of the plugin should now look something like this:
Now let’s hear what our treatment did to the vocals in the mix:
You can download the preset for Strip V3 here: Strip V3 Vocals Preset.FXP