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April 22, 2013

Fab Dupont on achieving a great vocal sound

Here are a few questions that the Sonnox team asked Fab about producing a great vocal sound.

Fab photo Sonnox

How do you use the Oxford Dynamics on a vocal?

A lot of people think that to be able to have a good vocal sound, you might need a late 60's LA-2A and such. While that is a valuable tool and its fun to use, it's basically doing two things at once to your vocal. It's compressing and EQ'ing.

That can be great, but I personally like to pick my color, which is why I like to use the Oxford Dynamics to compress a vocal. It's completely transparent and I can get very even vocals out of it with no artifacts whatsoever. I can actually use more compression than I would with other compressors, and doesn't even sound that compressed, So it's about the flexibility and transparency. I can get a vocal to sit exactly in the mix as I want. From there, it's a blank slate for me to add color if I want to.

What other Oxford plug-ins might you use to take the vocal from that point?

I use the Warmth function on the Dynamics plug-in. Sometimes the track is just right, but the vocal is lacking a little bit of edge and excitement. In those cases, I find that sprinkling some 'Warmth' on there will give me the edge that's not volume-based, but excitement-based. It works every time.

I'll also turn to the Oxford EQ, because it's my 'go-to' clean EQ. I use it to hi-pass and remove room resonance. I then run it into the Dynamics with the Warmth feature, sometimes also using the Limiter section.

If there are forensics to be done from there, I will use the SuprEsser as a de-esser, or as a honk remover if the vocal was not properly recorded – which is a scaringly high percentage of the time. It lets me remove the problem I need to focus on. It also lets me keep the vocal fat, even if it's recorded in a boomy room. I don't have to EQ all the problematic frequencies all the time, I just use the SuprEsser to remove a problem dynamically, only when it is a problem - which is miraculous!,

If I need even more edge in the vocal after that, I will use the Inflator. By carefully adjusting the Effect and Curve functions, I can get mellow but not dull, or bright but not aggressive. With all these Sonnox tools at my finger tips, my vocals will sit perfectly in the mix.

Here's a video of Fab illustrating these tips with the Oxford Dynamics.