Tutorial: Great Vocals in ACID

First let me say, there’s absolutely nothing ACID specific about this particular tutorial, it’s just the way it turned out.

Buried in the Tweakheadz “The Perfect Mix” is this neato trick:

Cool trick: Split the main vocal track to two seperate faders. Compress the main vocal and send the secondary, uncompressed vocal to a reverb unit. This way the reverb stays out of the way until the vocalist gets loud. Hey that’s they way it works in real life.
Cool Vocals

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This clip of the great singer songwriter Donkey T demonstrates this technique. What you’re listening for: when the vocals are soft, there is little reverb on it. When he starts singing louder there’s no jump in volume, but the reverb kicks in a lot more.

Cool indeed. Here’s how to do it in ACID:

  1. Drop a vocal track into ACID. (There are no effects on this recording, riiiiiight???)
  2. Insert two busses:

  3. Rename the busses and add reverb effect to one and compression to the other. (This is important: put the effects on different busses, do not “chain them together.”)

  4. Set up the tracks volumes so the the main out is off and the track’s output is split between the two busses.

  5. Fiddle with these two volumes and the threshold of the compressor.until you get is so that at the soft parts, the compressor bus is “above” the reverb bus:

    and when the singer starts belting, the reverb bus passes the compressor bus:

Oh, and don’t forget to use your ears. ;) Seriously, you obviously want to use your aural judgement, but if you’re mild-ADD like, er, me, then the visuals are a great time saver.

Have some fun.

5 thoughts on “Tutorial: Great Vocals in ACID

  1. victor

    Yes, one of the functions of compression is to keep the volume below a certain level.

    For example, a compressor can keep a signal below -12db. If the vocals start going above that volume the compressor will attenuate it.

    On the other hand, the reverb bus doesn’t do a lot when vocals are soft. When the input signal heats up, reverb tends to make it even louder — you know, like an echo.

  2. trapper

    Nice! Even with just a little mild fiddling this scheme has proved very useful. Thank you DonkeyT and 4Stones!

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  4. Jean-Luc

    Hi. I was wondering if you could help me with step four setting up the tracks volumes so the main out is off and the track’s output is split between the two busses. I am using acid pro 6.0 and i cant see this option anywhere on the track. where am I able to set the tracks volumes so that the main is off and output is split between the busses? thank you

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