A flawless, one-take vocal performance has become increasingly rare these days.
But that's not a problem, this is why every modern DAW allows all of us producers and engineers to meticulously edit together any number of takes into one perfect performance.
Vocal comping is the art of both selecting and then combining multiple takes of any vocal or instrument into a single, ultimate take.
In this tutorial, Grammy winner Fab Dupont walks you through the entire comping process and shows you how to:
Balance technical perfection with artistic expression, maintaining the "feel" of a track while also maximizing the precision of the performance
Sort through of dozens of takes without losing track the best ones
Know when to pick a winner and move on with life instead of endlessly deliberating between nearly identical options
Nudge and drag out edit points to create seamless and imperceivable comps
Quickly assemble comps using the tools at hand, in this case Avid's Pro Tools playlist view and promote button/shortcuts
Whether you're a Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase or Studio One user, learning how to effectively comp vocals together is an essential skill every engineer and producer needs to master.
Download the exercise files to practice comping the same vocal tracks Fab used in the tutorial. Inside the .zip file you'll find the Pro Tools session file as well as the consolidated wav files to practice comping with any DAW
Avid Pro Tools
Bomb Factory BF76
cgraugaard •Sunday, November 26, 2023
10:06 "The daring way" points at head. Made me laugh so hard
rsharpjr •Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Very helpful, gave me a solid path forward. It's also nice to hear from a pro how subjective this process can be.
Three Chord Joe •Tuesday, July 11, 2023
Thank you for the insights Fab! It helped validate some of my own approach, while learning some new tricks. I use Logic, watching how it’s done with protools makes me appreciate how awesome Logic is for comping takes.
Daniel1001 •Thursday, March 16, 2023
scottnelle •Saturday, January 1, 2022
I think of comping as putting a singer's best foot forward. At the time they recorded the track, that was the least amount of practice they'll ever have singing that song. By the time the record releases and they are performing it to people who know the song, they'll have had time to perfect the performance. Give them a little help to make the record spectacular.
justmaoa •Sunday, October 10, 2021
Fab i love u
andyvaic •Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Thanks, that's very useful!
blattspiel •Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Great vid as always. The breath leveling is awesome. Taht's what bothered me always on those old 90's Europe rock records
Kbmusiq •Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Great video and really enjoy your expertise @Fab!
minnesotamixing •Friday, March 22, 2019
First off, thanks so much for this video- it's extremely helpful! I have one question about rating the takes- after listening to the same lines multiple times, how do you make sure your rating system stays constant?
studiosix •Thursday, March 21, 2019
Comedic as always Fab! J'étais mort de rire. The video really highlights what we do-- to present the best and to build a system that is quick but results in vibey/emotional music. A la prochaine.
Fabulous Fab •Friday, August 4, 2017
@beschornermusic: People have been comping vocals since before it was easy to do. track to track, tape machine to tape machine, using H3000 harmonizer pitch correction to fix the ugly stuff. I guarantee you Sting comps vocals, Amy comped vocals, everyone comps vocals. And you can HEAR when they did not. It's blatant. A record does not have to be a documentary unless that's your goal. It can be a movie. That's fine too.
That said Will Knox's first record were all single takes. Same for Cyrille Aimée's last two records :-)
beschornermusic •Friday, August 4, 2017
Such a great video. A good idea for perfection.
do you have recorded a singer that sings perfectly from the start to the end? Sometimes as a listener you have that idea, that there are many singers that sing always perfect (for example Sting or Mrs. Winehouse). Or is it only imagination?
Alex94120 •Monday, May 15, 2017
Hi fab, how would you integrate the use of pitch shiting software like melodyne in your editing process. (I'm sure this is not necessary in this case) . I know that you treat the question in another video that I have seen and It seems that it would be even more laborious to insert it before comping . But if If you think that the singer has a good vibes while being slightly detune on an audio segment, How would you do in pratice ? Your videos really help me to progress ! Excuse my Anglich, Merci beaucoup !
cesarks •Sunday, April 23, 2017
Hi Fab! when you said "100 samples is a good value to start nudging stuff around", that would be at which sample rate? I'm guessing it's 44.1kHz but I want to be sure... Merci!