Recording Vocals Over a Backing Track Part 2

Page 2 of Tips for adding vocals to a pre-recorded stereo backing track:

(For Page 1 go here)

I’ll jot down some steps for making your added vocal sound like it is really part of a pre-recorded backing track after this thought about compression:

Pre-recorded backing tracks are often already compressed, and maybe already mastered. What can you do?

Unfortunately, pre-recorded full band tracks are often already mastered which means they have a further go-round of compression that has been added during the mastering process.

If the backing track has been aggressively mastered (compressed), this can be a bit of a deal breaker, because by the time you are ready to master your version of the song that now has your raw (uncompressed) parts added, the pre-recorded track just isn’t going to put up with that much compression it has had to endure during its journey to your project. It will end up being squashed sounding and dense, with little room to breathe.

A reminder about compression: As you probably know or have gathered, compressors are used to create a kind of “container” around a sound or track so individual volume spikes and equalization spikes don’t escape the compressor’s “container” – (i.e. the quiet parts and loud parts are “contained” by compression so there is less of a startling difference between quiet and loud parts.)

The nature of this container (i.e. the compressor’s settings) are determined by the original recording and then the mastering engineers.

So, what your ears will start being able to tell you is whether a track has been lightly compressed or heavily compressed. When choosing a pre-recorded stereo backing track, you’ll want to try to make sure (or ideally, ask the creator of the backing track) that it hasn’t been compressed and mastered to within an inch of its life.

** Lightly compressed backing track = ok.

** Heavily compressed backing track = problems when it comes time for your mastering.

How to make your vocal sit naturally within a pre-recorded/pre-mixed backing track Continue reading…

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