Ready to improve your vocal production skills? These simple yet effective tips by music producer and Ableton Certified Trainer LNA will take your vocals to the next level in any genre.
Click the headlines to delve into the details on the video above.
Take Lanes is an amazing feature that was introduced in Ableton Live 11. It allows you to easily loop a section and record multiple takes on your vocals, then choose the best parts and combine them into one perfect take. This process is also known as comping.
Take Lanes are hidden by default. If you want to see them while recording, go to arrangement view, right-click on the track header and choose Show Take Lanes.
Then select an area with the loop brace, make sure that the loop switch is activated and start recording. You can record as many takes as you want.
When you’re done, solo each lane to find the best parts. When you find one, just highlight the desired area and press enter – the chosen clip will appear on the main track. On the video, LNA uses the pen tool for this, which makes it even easier.
Finally, consolidate the vocal track by choosing CTRL/CMD + J.
When you want your vocals to sound bigger and more powerful, e.g. in chorus, record another take and stack it with the original.
Pay special attention to sibilants, i.e. the hissing s-sounds, and cut them out from the second take. This prevents them from becoming too prominent and also saves you lots of trouble when mixing and using effects.
You can even copy the track and make it an octave higher/lower or fine-tune it slightly. Take some time to find the sound that best complements your song.
Improving the resonance and transients of a vocal performance can make it sound a lot better. Look how LNA is using some third-party plugins on the video to polish up her sound.
One of the things she does is smoothing out sibilants. This can also be done with Ableton's De-esser. Its use is easily explained on this video:
Plugin Tip! Add some clarity to your vocals with Fresh Air by Slate Digital. The free plugin has only two knobs, which makes it super simple to use. Get yours from here.
If you know how to sing in harmonies, go on and record some on top of your basic melody. In case you’re still learning, check out Musicca.com, a free website helping you figure them out. Try singing the third and the fifth intervals – and why not try some others too!
Mixing Tip! EQ, compress and pan all the vocal tracks separately to make them sound bigger, but also to avoid frequency masking and phase cancellation.
There are lots of effects that you can use to add some extra interest on your vocals. One of the most common ones in modern pop music is Delay.
In her tutorial, LNA also shows how to create brand new soundscapes by using Vocoder and Spectral Resonator together with a muted carrier track. Take a closer look and have a go with them as well!
Extra Tip! If it sounds good, do it. There’s no right or wrong in creativity!
Photos: Tima Miroschnichenko, Papa Yaw & Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels