Backing vocals are as important as lead vocals and getting them to be dynamic and interesting can be quite a challenge.
The first step in processing vocals, be it lead vocals or backing vocals, is to 'clean' the vocal take. Cleaning is what we refer to as a 'corrective' process in that we are trying to remove redundant frequencies (frequencies we can't hear and don't need), remove background noise and headphone spill and to remove boxiness or the dreaded nasal effect. Once the cleaning process is complete we can think about 'colouring' the audio with creative processes.
To remove background noise and headphone spill (when the microphone picks up the over-spill from the headphones) we use a noise gate and to remove redundant frequencies and tame boxiness we use 'corrective equalisation'. I show you how to use both professionally and easily.
Once the corrective processes are completed we need to start to think of ways to layer the vocals to create harmonies.The best approach to creating backing vocal harmonies is to re-track (re-record) the vocals multiple times and to then use each take as a layer. Once we have stacked the vocal takes we need to align each take so that the vocals are all in time.
I show you how industry professionals layer backing vocals and the weapon of choice in determining exactly where each vocal take sits is the Nudge Tool. The idea is to stack up all the backing vocal takes and to ever so slightly nudge one against the other until we achieve rich and interesting harmonies.
Once we have processed all the vocal layers we need to 'glue' or consolidate them and in this video I use a Tube Leveling Amp to add some dynamics to the layers and enrich them with some lovely tube colour.
Topics covered in this video are:
Tube Leveling Amp