Cristina Wasteland - using detailed Warren Huart style vocal chain

I had some time to train for a bit today and went through this video pretty thoroughly…made some notes on the plugin chain and listened to what it was doing. I have most of the plugins Warren uses, so I set up some busses and started playing with the processing tricks. The purpose was not to perfect a mix, rather to simply understand and experiment with Warrens vocal processing template

Here’s this notes I took on the chain - these are Warrens effects busses
16 busses for the vocal
-Track Double
-Distorted Echo Plex
-Doubler +3/-3
-Doubler -6/+6
-Doubler +9/-9
-Doubler -12/+12
-Lexicon PCM 90 hardware verb
-Lexicon PCM 90 hardware verb
-Tiled Room
-Echo Boy -> R comp 1/4
-Echo Boy -> R Comp 1/8

-Distortion Chain
Desser (5.5k) -> R Vox -> EQ (Roll off bottom, add top) -> Desser (5.5k again) -> Avid Lo-Fi with +3 drive

-Octave Chain
Pitch (-12 semitones) -> C1 gate -> EQ (lo pass at 630)

-Whisper Track
De-esser (5.5k) -> Mophoder (with ‘breathy’ preset)

Here’s what it sounds like on Wasteland. Guitar is LA3A into UAD Lexicon 224

Vocal with effects

With guitar

And a quick throw-together I had my intern shoot earlier this morning.

Vocal guitar dry

With effects

thats strange in some ways the Vocal guitar dry is my favorite. It has a thick-stronger body, more natural sound and was tracked well without the “effects”

the “effects” seems ok but there seems to be slightly thinner, less meat on the bones than the Vocal guitar dry track. The effects do have slight clarity over the dry.

i prefer the dry acoustic while the vocals is kind of a toss up.

Isnt 16 busses overboard for a vocal track?

I think of all the Beatle recordings that were just a good mic into a good board with minimal eq and great compression…a great room too. Maybe one to two tracks and done.

Adele was Rolling in the Deep with just a Rode mic and 6176, then at mix there were a lot of plugs listed in the mix eng interview, not sure how much…but it wasnt 16 busses? Maybe Im missing how these Busses are handled.

16 busses on one vocal track? isnt that over the top… personal tastes maybe, but after several listening of the samples, the Vocal guitar dry just sounds more natural to me.

Im curious if Christina Wasteland “dry” would sound much different as the other clip did.

thanks for posting that !! “Warren approach” put into actual samples/practice.

I stopped doing this Warren like technique thing. I can’t get it to work. I can’t get his doubler technique to work, and I can’t get the octave shifter to work, and I can’t get the whisper track to work. It was worth a try going through it though. I have to admit, 16 busses is a real pain in the ass to import to a template as well. I did like the way his use of the avid lo-fi for saturation worked, and its a bit easier to control than the Sound Toys Devil Loc Deluxe which I’ve also stopped using in place of the decapitator. (That was a Fad Dupont trick). Its all good man. I was just doing it more experimentation and because I’d spent countless hours on Produce Like A Pro.

yeah I spent countless hours for unknown reasons reading every article on Rolling in the Deep…why? I dont know…but for awhile I thought!! bingo! a RODE mic and 6176 !!! but then was deflated in finding out the mix eng actually added a fairly large amount of “work” with plugins on the vocal track, so it wasnt as simple as I was wanting to believe…

still how much is too much? theres a lot of good recordings done before the days of unlimited tracks and unlimited ram for plugins.

what percentage is added with the plugins?

in other words if you mic a good singer in your studio. you find the right mic, then you decide what hardware preamp and other you want for a great vocal track…are you

a) 90% done add small plug/mix work to finish it
b) 50% done and will add a bunch of plugins to perfect it
c) 10% hardware and will fix it all in the box

how many plugs does one put on vocal track these days? it seems to be many…as in the Rolling in the Deep example…but maybe it was all only 10% added value, and had they just used the Mic+6176 been fine too?

so much like painting pictures and what people like I guess…weird?
I was impressed with your dry track, it was like sitting in a coffee house room with the performer while the reverbed,technical plug version seemed more iPod download genre sounding…

I am not where I can listen to these right now but I thought I’d chime in. Here is what I do for my lead vocal mixing generally. I am using hardware so I’m not sure how well this could be recreated in the digital realm. I rough in eq and a small amount of compression ITB. I send my lead vocals out of one output where I split it four ways for parallel compressing. I have one unaffected track, one with a DBX 160a (transparent compressor), one goes to an API 525(very thick and colored compressor) and the last goes to an empirical labs DocDerr(very in your face midrange). These are on console channel inserts so I can eq them all differently to accentuate the vibe from each channel. I then send them back to four channels in my DAW. I added delays, verbs, and other modulation effects as needed.

The advantage of this is that I can automate the mix of each of the four tracks for different vibes at different parts of the song. I can also add effects to different parts of the parallel tracks. For example, I might add different delays to the darker track than I do to the brighter track. This makes a very thick vocal that can soundless wet. It is not a simple set up but it is a heck of a lot less than 16 busses:)

Lets hear it