Vocal processing demonstration tutorial - "Before It Gets Me" by Cristina

Using Waves, UAD, Sound Toys and Fab Filter plugins, here are some vocal chains I use and the a video log of the thought process that goes into building them and using them.

These aren’t meant to showcase a finished mix. Rather to provide some insight as to why certain compressors and EQ’s are chosen for certain tasks, and how they can work together to achieve a sound. And some insight into what goes into my thought process when choosing them.

Correction at 5:06. The Abbey Road Plate is timed to a half note, the Bricast is timed to a whole note.





1073 Distressor

Featuring high end gear such as the Neve 1073 vs SSL and Shadow Hills vs Manley so that the google search engine is sure to catch this thread. You may consider this a shootout between a Tube Tech CL1B and a UAD 1176 since they are used in this video. Gear does not matter that much, but traffic to this site keeps Bryan’s servers running and the electricity on.

Hey google. Guess what? Bricasti!!!


Sweet sounds Jonathan! The reverbs you chose are really nice. I particularly like the one on the guitar.

I found the video a little hard to hear exactly what was going on. I think if you did a screen capture rather than a phone camera and used the audio directly from your DAW output, it would have been a lot clearer to see and hear what was going on.

That said, thanks for going to all the trouble of doing this and sharing it. :+1:

I’m not sure how to set that up… do you screen capture on a computer with the DAW then combine it with audio that you capture on a different computer? Wouldn’t you have to use a different computer because you’re stopping and starting your DAW during the video all the time?

Oh! Bookmarked! I can’t wait until I have a chance to go through THIS post!

Check out a very inexpensive and handy utility called FRAPS. Gamers use it both to capture screens and video + audio to showcase what they’re up to. Not sure if it has a Mac version though…

I just googled up “audio and video capture” and this very recent roundup of ten products was the first hit:

Quicktime can do that pretty easily.

Can quicktime record a live mic and capture from the audio off the video stream? That’s the part I’m not sure how to do.

I’m really glad you pointed me at that link. I’ve been needing to figure this out for a while.

This sucker’s only $60…might give it a try. I like some of the features. Mainly the mini-editor inside the software.


I have a Beta 37 headworn mic. I’m about to dig out of the garage for this. Having two hands free and be able to pump audio directly in from the DAW would help so much.

In all the DAW tutorials I’ve seen, the presenter has their mic plugged into their interface and captures both the live mic and the music as they play it in their tutorial. I don’t think it can be configured to capture audio from two separate sources.

Oh!!! Duhhhhh! They’re just arming the mic channel but not recording it. Hmmm.

Yep. Now when it comes to zooming in and out (like Graham from the Recording Revolution), I’m sure they’re using a different recording program.

Oh this is so cool. I’m excited to try these out after work. :slight_smile: Thanks for doing this!

For the recording question, @bozmillar just did a video like this recently and I asked how he made it work. His suggestion was to use 2 instances of REAPER and have the output of one go to the other. That worked for me. I wonder if you could have REAPER open and use ReaRoute into ProTools? But in any case there has to be a way to do it, because people do it all the time. I use OBS for screen recording, though I’m sure there are other options for that too.

Good stuff Jonathan! Thanks for doing that. A quick question, well two really.

  1. It didn’t look like you did the “office space”/early reflection reverb thing. (?) Or did I miss where that was set up?
  2. How would you stereo-ize the mono guitar without the plugin? Can you duplicate the track, pan them L/R and slip and/or detune one of them so it is not an exact copy? I guess the REAL question is the first one: how would you stereo-ize a mono track without that plugin?

I thought that looked super cool, too. FYI that plugin is on sale right now for $29.

Seems like you can get a similar effect with a multi-band EQ that allows for L/R processing seperately. I just tried it with iZotope Ozone EQ.

And I used the opposite curve for the right side. It doesn’t sound exactly the same, but gives a similar effect. I think it’s awesome here and I’m sold on using it for this track. I was trying to get more stereo width with the guitar ambiance track, but I think this helps it even more. I’ll play around with the curves I’m using too–I just left the frequencies and Qs at the default and pulled them up/down about 3db each.

I put my session into mono and turned the plugin on and off to see if it was ruining the mono track, but I heard no difference. What a cool trick, I will definitely keep this up my sleeve!


Very nice job .Thanks for all the info.

very cool video, ive never seen a mixer like that connected to the plugins…wow.
as for the plugins thats quite a lineup too. it seemed simple but high tech at the same time, with the mixer and the plugins being turned on and off with a quick push of a button.

Hey Mike…I did play around with it for a couple minutes on the nylon string guitar. I ended up not doing it here for a couple reasons. The preset in the Phoenix Verb seemed to be doing a little bit of this. Also, the technique as a whole seems to work better in close intimate acoustic stuff with spare instrumental texture. This track is very ambient, long and sort of dreary feeling. Even though the instruments are sparse, the addition of those heavy verbs doesn’t make this track ideal for that technique. Because if you turn the ERs up to where they could be heard over those big long tails, it would sound a little bizarre. You could snag any of the four clips of the dry vocal and dry guitar and try the ER office thing for yourself though! I think it would work if you kept the guitar and vocal non verby and very natural sounding. Post the result and lets check it out! :slight_smile:

You may have already gotten this plugin, but I think @Cristina’s idea was brilliant. I didn’t even realize the izotope EQ could do that!!!

I’d have to look back at your last p.m. to see what plugins you have available, but whatever you do, the important thing is to make sure that when you collapse the image into mono that nothing disappears. Its easy to take the Boz Panther plugin and make everything SUUUUUUPER WIIIIIIIIDE. The problem is as soon as someone else listens to it, it could sound like a total train wreck. Its not that pushing the limits of your widener is some cardinal sin of mixing. Its not. What i’m saying is to be careful with wideners, and checking your widener in mono is the first firewall of defense against it causing translation problems…

I’m planning on it! :grin:

Reading through this thread I’m having a “duh!” moment. Here’s my attempt at widening the guitar track from the Wasteland contest and a description of what I did. Maybe all I really needed to do was some complimentary EQ! (??)

I’m planning on revisiting that mix soon and will definitely try this!

I spent a quick 30-40 min with those raw tracks just to get a feel for what people were up against when they were mixing. Even though I didn’t enter a mix, spending a half hour experimenting with it made it a lot easier to follow the conversations.

Are you talking about that AC 30 riff on the intro? My first step…I immediately deleted the redundant side of that track. I can’t remember if the amp sim was committed to the track or not, but if it wasn’t I would have put the Scuffham Vox on there. Then I remember sending it to the Eventide Blackhole. Then I muted that, sent it to a UAD Lexicon 224, muted that, then tried one more signal chain hitting the guitar with a de-esser and then feeding the guitar into the Bricasti.

If I was going to build this into a mix for the competition, I would have probably started by choosing the best reverb possible and then worried about the widening from there. I wouldn’t widen that guitar unless I had to, and if I did have to, I would manage the widening with the verb accounted for. I would probably have tried to widen the time based effects on the guitar before doubling the guitar itself.

Mike, if you wanna talk about width on that guitar on Wasteland, here’s some other thing you may want to chew on… one of the first things I noticed was @Cristina mentioned the AC30. If I recall correctly it came from her outboard Avid guitar simulator. One thing I’ve been learning is that when an artist pays a compliment like that to her own rough mix, I take it very seriously. One of the immediate problems in that guitar track was some strings in some notes poking out more than others. If I was doing a full blown competition mix on this (and if I wanted to achieve width at the source instead of via the processing) I probably would have set up both of my Vox AC15’s and re-amped her guitar through both amp’s Top Boost channels in stereo, because the tubes in the preamp stage of the AC15 would help manage those rogue notes and even out the riff. Also, that guitar re-amped in stereo and mic’d with some well placed SDC’s in an XY config would probably give one hell of a track to work with. If you don’t have 2 amps, the next best thing is probably to use one amp with 2 different cabs, then use a room mic on them in stereo. Ultimately what I would be after is the natural width the room itself and stereo mic combo would create.

I’m chuckling to myself over here after reading your reply. All I could think of is, man do I have a lot to learn! One comment of yours that REALLY jumped out to me:

One thing I’ve been learning is that when an artist pays a compliment like that to her own rough mix, I take it very seriously.

Duly noted and sound advice. (no pun intended)

Yes, I am talking about the intro guitar.

I wouldn’t widen that guitar unless I had to…

My thinking on widening that guitar was to make more space up the middle for her vocal. I guess I should have qualified my question with “in the box” too. Still lots of great info to digest though - thanks! :grinning: