Hi VP Fam,
Hope you’re having a great week.
Have you ever been listening to a song by Drake or Juice Wrld and wondered how they get their vocals to sound punchy and clear?
If you’re like other ambitious artists, you probably like your vocals to sound punchy and clear as well.
It’s a need-to-have if you want to be competitive with the biggest songs.
This is literally one of the top 5 questions artists search for online.
When you look at chart topping artists like Drake and Migos they get their vocals sounding punchy and clear by using an amazing microphone, the Sony C800G. It runs a little over 10 grand.
It’s a monster.
The Sony C800G is popular and on-trend at the moment, it won’t be artists go-to mic forever and it hasn’t always been industry standard. For a while the go-to microphone for major artists was the Manley Reference Cardioid which runs around 3 grand and right after that the Telefunken U47.
Trendy microphones come and go but punchy clear vocals are always popular. You may now be thinking that dropping thousands on a bank breaking mic is the only way to go but...
There’s another way
The way you can get punchy clear vocals regardless of what type of microphone you use is by utilizing parallel compression. Also known as New York Compression. It was a popular trick used in New York recording studios. Now it’s used everywhere.
What is it?
Parallel compression is when you set up an aux bus from your main vocal channel strip and put a compressor on with super hard settings. We’re talking fast attack, fast release, high ratio (20:1).
How do you do it?
- Create an aux bus from your main vocal channel.
- Add a compressor.
- Set a fast attack, fast release, high ratio (20:1), set the make-up gain to auto or bring up the gain to pre-compressor levels.
- Bring the volume of the parallel compressor channel up until the parallel compressor channel signal is sitting audibly just under the main vocal.
- If we did this right the vocal will be fuller, punchier, and clearer sounding in the mix.
- Make sure the main vocal channel strip doesn’t have reverb on it, the parallel compressor will distort and mangle it in an unnatural way.
This is a trick used by the best mixing engineers.
Now you can use it too.
If you want to get creative with it, you can even add a little distortion to the aux bus or another type of effect. In order to get the most out of it, we suggest keeping it subtle.
PS. Check out our Punchy Vocal aux bus preset