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Old 05-18-2019, 08:56 PM   #1
sjs94704
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Default I just want to check that I have my Fx chain in the proper oerder

The three plugins I am using on a vocal track are:
  1. EQ
  2. Compressor
  3. WAVE Tune Real-Time (Mono)

What order should they be in?

Also, this vocal track is being sent to both a REVERB as well as a DELAY tracks. I'm just wondering if anyone feels I might benefit from any other plugins on any of these 3 tracks?

With Gratitude,

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Old 05-18-2019, 09:59 PM   #2
Greg Savage
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There isn't a right or wrong order for those plugins it all depends on the vocal.

EQ, comp, tuner
comp, tuner, eq
tuner, eq comp

comp, eq, tuner, eq

it all comes to what the audio needs
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:25 AM   #3
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Arrggg.....

Never mind...... I'll just leave it the way it is and not worry about it even if it's wrong .....
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:48 AM   #4
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..or you could even experiment with the order and see what you prefer...
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Savage View Post
There isn't a right or wrong order for those plugins it all depends on the vocal.

EQ, comp, tuner
comp, tuner, eq
tuner, eq comp

comp, eq, tuner, eq

it all comes to what the audio needs
So, when you say "depends on the vocal", you stop there.
This is where it gets frustrating is that yes, "it depends" is so wide open of an answer...

Depends on what? "it depends" does not give me much to go on here.....
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjs94704 View Post
So, when you say "depends on the vocal", you stop there.
This is where it gets frustrating is that yes, "it depends" is so wide open of an answer...

Depends on what? "it depends" does not give me much to go on here.....
Hi sjs94704, Actually Greg's answer is a good one, but I realize it doesn't really answer your question.

I think the order you show is okay, it's actually the order I would use. I usually put most of my plugins like EQ ahead of the compressor.

As to where the "WAVE Tune Real-Time" should go, it all depends on where it will work the best, but it could probably go anywhere in the chain.

Does that help?
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:56 AM   #7
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Hey, Tod:

Yes, it sure does....

What sparked the question to begin with was that I watch a lot of Kenny Gioia videos (Thanks Kenny for all the awesome information) and there are some concepts that he teaches where he shows that it DOES make a difference and he shows why. I simply thought the same thing might apply to vocal tracks.

So, let me try this from a different angle......

For vocals, what plugins do you make sure that they ALL start with no matter what else you do with them?

What I am thinking at the moment would be sure they all have EQ, Compressor & Limiter (limiter might be optional)...
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjs94704 View Post
So, when you say "depends on the vocal", you stop there.
This is where it gets frustrating is that yes, "it depends" is so wide open of an answer...

Depends on what? "it depends" does not give me much to go on here.....
You're getting this answer because we don't know what you're looking to hear.
Can you say more specifically what you hear (or don't hear) that leads you to question this specific vocal track chain?

There's also such a wide range of what you can do with EQ and compression!
These are the main frequency and dynamics shaping tools. For an analogy, saying "I have a compressor on it" is as ambiguous as saying "I'm listening to that song".

We have no idea of what you have dialed up with the eq and compressor! And we'd have to hear the result too. Just seeing where the controls are doesn't tell much. No more than taking a picture of your volume control in a way. Or what you're doing with an auto tune plugin! That thing goes from subtle classy fix to full robot voice vocoder-land.

I can guess you want a nice full great sounding vocal and you're not after any weirdo stuff. There's still no magic "setting" though. You have to follow what you hear. The stupid car analogy might be: Learn to drive at speed by watching the speedometer and responding with the pedal. Don't ask how many 1/16" you need to press the pedal down to go 25mph.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:51 AM   #9
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Order of EQ and compressor can affect the sound. The threshold of the compressor may need to be higher or lower depending on what you do with the EQ, or you may need to use the compressor's detector HP/LP options (so that the compressor doesn't react to frequencies beyond the range of those filters that you set).

Here's one example why you might want the EQ after the compressor:

Imagine you add bass to your vocal with ReaEQ, and ReaComp is after that EQ. The additional energy of the lows (increased overall volume) will trigger your compressor earlier if you leave the compressor's threshold where it was before you changed the EQ setting. You could engage the compressor's detector HP filter so that extra low frequency information won't trigger the compressor (it's unlikely you'd want the compressor to trigger on low frequencies for vocals, since its "meat" is in the midrange), or you could adjust the compressor threshold. But in this case you could add the EQ after the compressor so you never have to adjust the compressor based on what EQ you're doing to the vocal (since the goal in this case is to have the "overall sound" after the compression to have a bit more bass).

And here's an example why you might want EQ before the compressor:

Imagine your vocals contain some low frequencies you don't want, which peak strongly from time to time. Since vocals generally don't need lots of lows, having extra lows can be problematic in a mix; having them peak strongly from time to time (if you're singing close to the mic sometimes and then the proximity effect increases the bass, then you move back a bit from the mic which lessens the bass, etc.) can mess up the kind of compression you intend to do for the "meat" of the vocals. Removing those low frequencies would be easy with a high pass filter in ReaEQ, and you won't have to worry about the lows periodically peaking because they'd just be removed. If you do that before compression, you don't have to think about how it might affect your compression.

And here's an example of why you'd want EQ, then compression, then another EQ:

Imagine the situation in the last paragraph. Then after you compress the signal, you find it's a bit "flat sounding" in the highs (where the "air" is). You want to add a high shelf and lift the highs a bit, but you know that'll affect your compressor threshold if you do that in the EQ that's before the compressor (the one handling the peaking lows). You could still use that EQ before the compressor to handle the highs, then adjust the compressor's detector LP filter to not react to those increased highs. However the compressor overall still affects those highs while it's compressing. It compresses the entire frequency range. The detector HP/LP settings are there to just stop the compressor from triggering due to lower or higher frequencies peaking, not to let those frequencies "pass through unaffected". So let's say the compressor is doing more work, compressing a stronger vocal passage. The mids are triggering it, and the compressor kicks in and does its job. It'll then compress that high shelf you added in the EQ (along with all the other frequencies) before the compressor. So in this case you'd want to have that high shelf added after the compressor in a separate ReaEQ instance. That means your chain is as such:

ReaEQ: high pass filter to keep peaking lows in check, maybe a bit of general EQ as well
ReaComp: compressing the vocals
ReaEQ: high shelf to lift the "air", maybe a bit more general EQ

That being said, if you're a very consistent singer, you might not care if the "air" gets a bit compressed (if you used a high shelf before the compressor). You might even find the effect interesting--the louder you sing, the more the "air" gets compressed.

At this point you should be seeing why there is no "right way of doing a vocal effect chain all the time". For that matter there are no good default settings of these plugins for everyone. Learning to use them is what's important. That will take practice though. Just to realize whether you want a high shelf before or after your compressor, for example, means you have to try both approaches. I would prefer one way, and you might prefer the other.

About your Waves plugin: it might work best if it's not being tripped up by low-frequency rumble, so you might want a high pass EQ before it if that's an issue. It might not work as consistently after a compressor, if there's significant compression which makes the levels seem to fluctuate in a way that affects its processing/detection. Or it might work better after the kind of compression you do. You may also find that you don't want the sound of the Waves plugin (any odd-sounding distortion it makes while tuning your vocals) to be compressed and sustained as a result (making them more prominent). It may be a tradeoff between how well the plugin reacts to your pitch, and what you want for the sound of the mix. Fortunately you can move the plugin order around easily by dragging the plugin up/down the fx chain in the fx browser window. See what works best.

I can imagine other situations which require different orders of EQ/compression too...or using multiples of each. You might now realize why people don't say more than "it depends" especially when you're being vague (whether you realize it or not). Even this post, despite its length, doesn't give you enough information to know what to do. People would have to type pages of information, and in the end you're still going to have to try it for yourself. Thankfully there are videos showing benefits of different fx chain orders. I found some by searching for "order of EQ and compression". Give that a try.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:16 AM   #10
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Hey, James:

Thanks so much for the detailed examples. They at least give me a place to start vs. just 'button mashing' and hoping for the best.....

Using your examples I'm going to try all three ways and see which I like the best. Once again, I totally get that there are literally millions of ways to go here and was never hoping for an exact absolute way do always do this. But, at least it gives me some choices to start with.

Thanks again for taking the time to offer all this information.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:21 AM   #11
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Glad to help, Steven.

It might seem strange that "the basics" like EQ and compression can take so much thought or planning. Those "basics" though are actually very powerful tools. So on the surface you might think there's a way "everyone" would use them, to some degree at least. It took me longer than I like to admit to be comfortable using compression and EQ, getting the actual results I wanted. The good part: once you get some familiarity with this, you'll understand why it's so much more about the engineer and so much less about using specific plugins.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:33 AM   #12
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I would also say that for me, my ear is not trained to notice so many of these frequencies and sounds that are often discussed here. At least at the moment, when it comes to all that part of it...things sound the same. Even when I make an adjustment it is currently very hard to notice.

I realize that learning to hear all this stuff we are talking about takes time.

Most of what I ask about is what any average person listening to music would notice. Most people listening to a Barbra Streisand or Bette Midler song do not pick apart the vocal track by hearing frequencies that don't sound just right. They either like the song or they don't.

At the moment I am one of those people.

What I do notice is the very dramatic and obvious differences that anyone no matter who they are would notice.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:39 AM   #13
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I understand. If you're only going for "the basics that everyone can hear", your job can be easier. However there are still things born of your specific circumstances, how you sing and record, which will dictate the best way to proceed.

You've already mentioned a while ago that people were saying your reverb wasn't "good" in some way and you wanted to work on that. If that isn't a can of worms, lol. Reverb is a pet peeve of mine, in a way. I love it, but getting it to sound natural can be such a pain, especially if you're going for a somewhat unnatural reverb sound without realizing it (and if you're as picky as I am about it). The same can be said about "getting a basic compression" and "basic EQ" for that matter; they can take just as much learning to get "basic, simple" results. It's far easier to do it wrong than it is to do it right, even for the basics.

So even if you're going for what "most people would notice", you still have a fair bit of work cut out for you. That is unless you just leave everything as plain as possible, using virtually no EQ, compression, etc....and unfortunately you won't let yourself do that now, because you have a taste for what you can do if you learn more.
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Old 05-19-2019, 03:29 PM   #14
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Well, here...

Take a look at my profile on SoundCloud.

https://soundcloud.com/bayside-studios

Now, James, for a guy who as you say is very picky about reverb I'm sure that there is a lot I could do with these songs.

The one I'm happiest with so far is 'Angel'. It has special meaning for me because I'm in recovery and as of today am 1,018 days clean.

As I am siting here listening to my songs the one thing I know for sure that I need to do is whatever you call it when you make multiple songs be at the same volume so that one song does not blast you out of your chair because it's too loud. Right now they are NOT like that so I need to fix them!

What's fun for me is the song 'Hero' because I'm playing around with being my own back up singers singing 4 part harmony with myself! What's up there now is my first try at it but I have been thinking about ways I can improve on it.

For me, I'm not trying to make a living at doing my music. I love to sing, have lots of pre-recorded high quality sounding karaoke like background music and am singing to share with family, friends and whomever else might find me on the internet.
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:00 PM   #15
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Sorry Steven but I really don't want to get into very specific advice for someone else's songs. I have enough trouble obsessing over my own. Besides, so much of it is subjective. Plus I am a lot less picky about reverb on other people's songs than on my own. As an example: Kenny uses ReaVerbate (and an EQ after it) in some of his videos and I think it sounds really nice. When I use that plugin it drives me crazy.
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjs94704 View Post
The three plugins I am using on a vocal track are:
  1. EQ
  2. Compressor
  3. WAVE Tune Real-Time (Mono)

What order should they be in?

Also, this vocal track is being sent to both a REVERB as well as a DELAY tracks. I'm just wondering if anyone feels I might benefit from any other plugins on any of these 3 tracks?

With Gratitude,

Steven,
Bayside Studios
Yes, that is right. As to if you would benefit from more plugins, hard to say without hearing it. I don't use a de-esser on vocals anymore. But that is because the ribbon mic I use on vocals smooths it out for me!
I try and use as few vocal plugins as possible. I just finished a song where I used a Pultec and dbx comp, outboard analog, before it got to reaper. In the mix, I nailed the EQ on the way in and used very light compression. So all i had to do in the mix was add a little more compression, and a very light amount of verb and it was done.
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