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DallasSteve

What is best way to correct soft vocals in an audio track?

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I have an vocal in an audio clip that is too soft.  I have been using a Compressor effect on my Master bus to handle any vocal or other sounds that get too loud.  But I also have some vocal parts that are too soft.  I know the best solution is to re-record them and sing at a better level in the mic.  I try to do that as a general practice, and some clips are at a good level, but sometimes I just get it too soft.  I'd prefer not to keep re-doing it until I get it right for time reasons.

So I studied this a little and I even looked at the Cakewalk manual.  It looks like I have at least the 4 options listed below and I'm wondering what methods the experts favor for doing this.

- Add the Boost FX effect to a clip (I tried that and I didn't notice much difference even when I cranked it up, also that is more work if I have to do it to each clip)

- Create a volume envelope on a clip (I haven't found instructions for how to do that)

- Apply the Gain effect in the Process menu to a clip

- Apply the Normalize effect in the Process menu to a clip

 

Cakewalk1.jpg

Edited by DallasSteve

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Play just the entire clip and observe the meter. Take note of the max level. It should remain even after you stop. 
example :

it says the clips max level was.  -28. And your target is-10db. 

Highlight the clip. 

Open process/Gain and add +18db apply

now the clip will be -10 db. 
 

If you have a lot of clips then Normalization is faster as you just set it to your target and render each clip. 
 

But beware that both are destructive and once you close the program you cannot undo. I personally have no problem with this. But a solution is to have a safe copy of the original just in case. 
 

Clip gain can be a solution that is non destructive but I find it might interfere with other editing tasks like melodyne   And yes it’s limited in range. 
 

Also be aware that peak level is only one part of the loudness of a track. A compressor is still a good idea to even things out. I use the pro channel on each track for this. 

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I used to use the gain envelope method, but nowadays I just use an auto leveller plugin as I can get good results very quickly.  

One's to look at:

Hornet AutoGain Pro:  https://www.hornetplugins.com/plugins/hornet-autogain-pro/

Melda AutoVolume:  https://www.meldaproduction.com/MAutoVolume

Waves Vocal Rider:  https://www.waves.com/plugins/vocal-rider


The advantage of using the gain method or these plugins over compression, is it doesn't sound compressed. It just levels things out.

That being said, I also generally use gentle compression on a vocal after doing any levelling.

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HI:)

I'm first decreasing the loudest portions with Clip Gain (not more than 3-4 dB), then increase the softest portions again with Clip Gain. 

Then again decrease loud "s", "t" and possible pops, when I got a "live" recording, should have no pops in studio recording with a filter.

These pops I cut out and put them on another Track with different EQ.

After this a gentle compressor on everything...lot of work, but it's worth it!

Bassman.

 

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I did some reading in the on volume envelopes in the Cakewalk manual.  It appears that volume envelopes are something you can create in an Automation Lane.  I tried to do this for the clip in question (see screenshot below).  I tried to do this so that that Volume is increased to its maximum during this clip.  It looks like 6 db is the maximum that you can increase the volume.  That doesn't seem like much of an increase, but it is noticeable when I replay the clip now.  Am I on the right track?  Is that the most that I can increase the volume for this clip?  I guess an alternative would be to decrease the volume on all tracks and then pump up the quiet sections to 6 db, if necessary.

Cakewalk1.jpg

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I just thought of one other solution, for those like me who have Melodyne.  Melodyne has Note Leveling which allows you to adjust the volume of notes up or down.  I will try that, too, the next time I have soft vocals.

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Sometimes if I have a short quiet clip , I'll just ctrl drag it a little bit to the side , release it then realign it. This essentially will double the volume. A lot of times this works out fine. Sometimes I'll do it more than once , sometimes a fade is in order on parts of the clip. When it sounds right bounce to clips bakes it in. Fast and easy if your not getting too picky.  ms

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