I have had the great pleasure of working side-by-side with some amazing, and very talented individuals who have been working on their craft with more than forty plus years of experience.
Some of my favorite moments were when they would share stories of working in the studio without all the fancy technology that we have at our disposal today. From all of those amazing moments shared, I learned the importance of getting the best take possible before relying on plug-ins to handle the rest.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for the amazing technology that allows us to make the whole creative process easier,
but sometimes it can be a distraction from excelling in capturing the right performance.
This becomes really evident when recording vocals.
Instead on focusing on capturing the right performance, I used to settle for whatever I recorded after a few takes and tell myself, and the artist, “It’s ok…I’ll fix it later.”
There are times for that kind of thinking. Like when it comes to actually laying an idea down, but when capturing a killer vocal performance, you need to keep in mind no plug-in in the world can add “soul” or “mood” to a vocal. This can also mean making sure you are tracking vocals with the right amount of headroom and not recording any digital distortion.
I usually have my vocal peaking at -12db giving me enough head to add the compression, Eq, and other processing that will set it in the right balance in the mix. Once a good clean take is recording with the right feel for the track then I can dive in and add the tweaking it might but never sacrifice good performance for the sake of convenience.