MusicTech 208: How to craft the perfect vocals

In this issue, learn how to track, sculpt and get creative with the human voice.

The human voice can be a dexterous, malleable instrument. In a mix, it can be chopped, duplicated, or used as the raw material to craft apocalyptic choirs or ethereal soul-tugging soundscapes. In a conventional track, the central hook is usually carried within the vocal melody, and so it’s massively important that the recording, treatment and placement of the vocal is done to the highest standard possible.

In our cover feature this month, Jono Buchanan guides us through the steps required to create such a perfect vocal, and suggest a few creative ways of thinking about using the voice.

Also this month, we spend some quality time with production icon Stephen Street, whose impact on British rock is nothing short of seismic. Recently awarded the Outstanding Contribution to UK Music by the MPG, Stephen explains his process, thoughts on the industry and studio memories.

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Elsewhere we have a particularly fun guide to crafting your own multisample instrument using household items, and we head to Barcelona (albeit, virtually) to learn more about DJ and producer Wehbba’s incorporation of found sound into his work.

In our tutorial section this month, we dive deep on techniques using all the major DAWs, and recent interviewee Jesse Ray Ernster guest-writes a guide to his go-to drum gating approaches in Pro Tools. On the review bench, there’s a mountain of tantalising gear to read up on, including Logic’s recent, sizeable update, Arturia’s thrilling KeyStep Pro and Moog’s semi-modular wonder, the Subharmonicon. I hope you enjoy the issue.

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MusicTech 208 includes:

  • Finding Your Voice – Take a deep breath before taking in our in-depth vocal tutorial, which will guide you through the signal chain step by step, from selecting a microphone to applying effects to your recordings
  • Build Your Own Multisample Instrument – What’s the weirdest thing in your home? In this guide, we teach you how to turn your oddest household curios into a multi-layered sample instrument
  • Interviews – Star producer and Blur confidante Stephen Street looks back at his storied career; Barcelona-based Brazilian musician Wehbba on the line between DJ and producer; and ambient-electronic artist Worriedaboutsatan talks existential crises and his new LP
  • Tutorials – Drum-gating tips in Pro Tools from Jesse Ray Ernster; Sculpting super-warm synth pads in Logic Pro X; Understanding automation in Ableton Live, Collaborating with VST Connect Pro in Cubase; Effective guitar recording in Studio One; and Building a lo-fi hip-hop piano in FL Studio
  • Reviews – We get hands-on with Roland Jupiter X & XM, Apple Logic Pro X 10.5, Arturia KeyStep Pro, Steinberg Cubasis 3, Moog Subharmonicon and more
  • DVD – 3GB of video tutorials, workshops, software plug-ins and samples including Sampleson CollaB3 (freeware), Principleasure Synth Samples (samples), Tone Projects Unisum (demo), Overview, Drum Synth, Live Loops, Samplers, Remix FX, & Step Sequencer in Logic Pro 10.5 (tutorial), and Truality Audio TruPressor (freeware)

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