In this post I'd like to share some tips and tricks regarding vocal production. I will be referencing specific time points from "Pythagorean Mind Pop". You can follow along by clicking play below.
If you have questions about anything just comment and I'll respond :)
0:00 - 0:25 The vocals kick in at twenty five seconds with a 5 voice harmony. “You second guessed me, quantum physics never measured me so I never was.” The main melody is centered. There are two harmonies that compliment the main melody and each of those harmonies are doubled – making 5 voices total. The lowest harmonies are panned hard to the left and the right. The mid harmonies are panned 50% left and 50% right. The EQ’s on all of the harmonies are flat except for cutting the lows below 200hz on all 4 tracks. Compression on the vocals is fairly high. There is also a slight delay on the main vocal melody.
0:32 The harmonies drop out and a single voice is heard. “Is it true that I, if you forget that I, ever was, If I am, ever was, If I will be?” I left more lows on this bit because it doesn’t have much to compete with. I boosted the low-mids very slightly to give it some extra body. I also boosted at 2kHz and 10kHz. This line has slightly less delay than the main melody of the first vocal line, making it stand out a little more. I was also standing slightly closer to the mic.
0:38 5 part harmony comes back in. Same settings as before. “You second guessed me Quantum physics never measured me so I never was.” When performing the main melody I usually stand with my lips almost directly touching the mic. For each new harmony I take a step back in order to build some depth.
0:44 Harmonies drop again. Same settings as at 0:32 “Never was, always am Living in oblivion, To be or not to be is the question that we're figuring.”
0:50 A more rhythmic vocal part comes in. It’s just a single voice but the alliteration in the lyrics make the part really stand out. I left this bit stripped down in order to showcase the annunciation of the words. “This just got Shakespearean - This is what my theory is, If all the worlds a stage then its making me delirious. Blast me off to Sirius, Eat a piece of cake, Cause life's a piece of cake, And don't take it too serious”
1:03 Everything drops and the 3 part vocal harmonies here are able to stand out almost as if acapella. The only contrast is a light bass in the background and some clapping. The lower harmonies are panned to the sides. The main line is dead center with an heavy compression and a slight delay. “Pythagorean mind pop - It'll make your brain stop -Measure all the water in the world to the last drop -I don't need to calculate it -I don't need to fabricate - My lyrics are legitimate like coca colas carbonated.”
1:17 Some slightly haunting vocal ooos come in. It’s a three part harmony but I made it sound bigger by copying one of those lines onto a new track and lowering the pitch an octave. This provides a nice foundation of lows that I normally couldn’t produce with my regular singing voice.
1:25 Chorus comes in again. Same settings as at 0:25. “You second guessed me, quantum physics never measured me so I never was.”
1:55 The verse comes back in. The only thing I changed here was some distortion that was added to the skatting part at exactly 2:08. I also removed both the highs and the lows leaving only a small range of frequencies.
2:13 This part has some interesting vocal effects. The main melody has a flanger effect added for background ambiance. (Flanger settings: Highpass 179hz, Dry/wet –20%, Attack 6ms, Delay time 3.5 ms, Amount – 100%, Release – 200ms, Feedback .9, Rate 1/32, Shape – random) I then copied the same vocal line to another track and lowered the pitch by an octave to give it that slow, low sound and panned it to the left. After that I recorded a take exactly the same as the main melody and again lowered it an octave and panned it to the right. So there is the main line in the middle and two lower lines to the left and right. “Those words you just heard were old verbs from the previous versions of earth. An immersion of scat and a blurb from the past, Its preserved in the sap magnified by the cap of a mushroom I tapped for its magical powers”
2:40 The third time's the charm! The chorus hits again :)
Unlike some of my other material this song relies less on experimental effects and instead finds foundation in rhythmic bursts of quick syllables articulated with unique lip overtones. In other words I'm rapping in this song and effects like reverb would have added nothing but clutter. Harmonies played the role of atmospheric effect in this track and were used to build depth and character.
That's it for my first production post. More coming soon!www.soundcloud.com/universalmind/pythagorean-mind-pop