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How to sing with extremely consistent volume... compressor style

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mjgp3
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Hi all, so I noticed anytime I record myself, or someone else for the matter, singing something and it sounds amateurish and otherwise not great to me, I can usually slap a silly amount of compression on it and the vocals sound instantly less amateur... It's definitely not an ideal work flow, but an interesting insight. From this, I assume that one component of bad vocals is really inconsistent volume syllable to syllable. How can work on this so I don't need the compressor to do it for me?

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Everybody uses compressors in recordings. Sometimes several. There's nothing to fix.

Read interviews with producers and mixers. Sometimes studio vocals are slammed with a limiter as well, it's just how you have to fit it into the mix. If you're doing something acoustic, it might be a different story, but probably not.

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What Felipe said.

Really the key technical things that need to be sorted out in order to use less compression in the mix would be:

Vowel modifications

Correct vibrato OR steady straight tone

Reducing nasality

Good breath support

Finding a way to sing high notes closer to a medium volume instead of shouting loudly or flipping into a quiet falsetto.

Strengthening low notes

There's also mic technique but that is almost as much of a cheat as audio compression is. Even though we all know you need all three, the performance should be the one doing the work to keep the volume in control unless a special effect is desired.

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Yeah compressors are used all the time. Like others have said - getting your vocal technique down will help a lot. If you already have good technique you will want to work on effective mic technique. You may be singing a song that has quiet parts and really loud parts. On the quiet parts you can get a lot closer and use the proximity effect. On really loud parts you have back pretty far or you're going to overload the signal. Monitor the waveforms you are generating and make sure they are somewhat consistent and have plenty of headroom. Make sure to use a pop filter. When your done, you're going to want to throw on a compressor anyway, but if you create consistent amplitudes in your waveforms you'll be much happier.

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Truly beautiful acoustic singing has ups and downs, swells and denouments, i.e., "dynamics." Dynamics that are often altered by recording compressors. So, you wish to make your voice sound like the product of a machine?

Of course, I can't blame you. You are probably young and all you've ever had to listen to was modern recordings that are autotuned and compressed to death. As opposed to some of AC/DC's old recordings, on tape, no digital compressor. Some of those guitars or at least one drum head were slight out of tune and to go back and "fix" that would needless crap piled on top of a gem.

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