How to Compress Screaming Vocals?

  • on April 6, 2023
How to Compress Screaming Vocals?

How to compress screaming vocals? I’ve had the chance to collaborate with many outstanding vocalists throughout my years in the studio. While hard rock and metalcore have been my main areas of interest, I’ve also had the chance to go into the pop genre and work with some of the best singer-songwriter types. What I’ve discovered about all of those genres and performers is that their vocal compression differs from one another and varies depending on the songs they are singing.

How to compress screaming vocals? When you’re first beginning to compress voices, it’s crucial to establish a base from which to work. You may have just downloaded your first voice compressor and are wondering how to use it the most effectively. Or you’re an expert at mixing and recording your vocalist and want to start collaborating with other bands and musicians. Here are some of the best compression settings you can start with when dealing with various vocal types, regardless of your degree of studio experience.

Soft Vocals in a Quiet Mix

Understanding the context in which soft vocals have been used is crucial when discussing this topic. A quiet vocal in a contemporary pop song will be handled very differently from an acoustic version. Your aim with the acoustic performances is to sound as authentic and transparent as possible.

Start with modest gain reduction and lower settings. Your vocals will naturally become louder with a slower attack time and a low ratio of 2:1 or lower. Feel free to extend the release period of each note to drag out its tail; this might evoke a feeling of intimacy that is ideal for this type of music.

Vocals in Pop/Electronic Music

How to compress screaming vocals? Modern pop singers, on the other hand, frequently necessitate a far more severe approach to compression. Even if they come from a softer performer, these are the vocals you want to get every last drop out of. It can be challenging to get these vocals to sit properly in the mix, given how much emphasis current productions have placed on electronic instrumentation and how hard they have pushed every component into the mix bus.

Using a larger ratio with these vocals is entirely acceptable. (and even encouraged). Engineers will even use a limiter to compress the dynamics and force the entire vocal forward in the mix. Settings up to 10:1 are typical in this technique. Like you would approach quiet voices, you can use slower assaults and longer releases to keep the vocal alive and draw out each note, respectively. A “spiky” vocal delivery might be difficult to control, but cutting the attack time can help.

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Dynamic Rock/Metal Vocals

The dynamic of the vocal’s place in the final mix varies slightly in rock and metal. Although the song’s focal point remains, the energy is different, and the live orchestra behind it necessitates a different strategy than in pop.

I rely quite a bit on EQ to direct the placement of the vocals in the mix and compression to hammer that range home once it’s located because rock and metal singers contend with the same mid-range as guitars (and many of them).

Regarding quantity, rock, and metal vocal compression ratios are typically banged in the middle, with 4:1 to 6:1 being my starting point. After that, I push the input quite hard and reduce gain by as much as 10 dB with quick attack and release times. These vocals should be aggressive and upbeat. 

Vocal Are Always a Work In Progress

How to compress screaming vocals? Engineers and producers often lose their minds trying to perfect every last element regarding vocals. Knowing when a vocal is finished—as opposed to just being perfect—takes a lot of practice and self-control.

We’ve written an eBook titled The Ultimate Vocal Producer’s Handbook to help readers understand this idea and dispel common myths about vocal recording, arranging, and producing. You’ll discover in this manual the ideal methods for vocal mixing, recording, and editing. 

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