vocal automation advice needed.


I tracked a singer today, and we ended up doing lots of takes in certain areas. I've gone through and comped the best parts, but I'm running into a dilemma about how to best proceed with automation of volume. Should I do volume automation across the entire comp (to deal with any volume issues), then place a "gain" insert on the track to adjust the entire vocal if I need to make it sit better in the mix? What are your methods for this?

Plus, how do I do a crossfade between two selected parts in a comp? Is this possible?

I sometimes use automation on a gain inserted on the track. This is better than automating the volume as you are then still free to adjust the volume fader manually as you mix.

Be aware, if you use a compressor, it can be before or after the gain plug in.

Alternatively if the vocal is split into regions, you can add gain to individual regions in the region inspector. (NB, doing this will always affect gain before any plugins on inserts, e.g. compressors)

There is also a very nice donationware plugin called gainshaper which you automate , but unlike gain it's a bit more intuitive as you can draw an atomation line that corresponds to the visual waveform, as opposed to doing the opposite of the waveform.
Here's my 2 cents:

1) use the FET compressor in Logic, use a ratio of 3 or 4 to 1, and make sure you have no more than 3 or 4 db of gain reduction after you adjust the threshold level down (for now, you might actually add another compressor later), that will help balance the overall levels of the vocal, as long as your vocalist (?) was not moving closer and further from the mic, or changing axis too much. If that's not enough, try more level, just don't slam the crap out of it (that is unless that is the sound you want ;-)).

As for crossfades, as long as you use Logic's track comp feature, crossfades are done automatically. IF you decided to record on lots of tracks, pack them into a track folder and work there, it will make a BIG difference how well things will go in the end, really.

That should get you going for now, good luck!
Although I'm not totally aware of the detail of you individual situation, also note that discrete regions can now have a different gain, as set in the region parameters pane. I have found this extremely useful as a "pre gain" before applying my vocal chain and then volume automation. Helps to feed the plugin chain more evenly in most cases.
I usually include a Sonalksis FreeG plug as a gain trim in the last slot of most tracks so I can automate volume however i wish.
how to best proceed with automation of volume.

how do I do a crossfade between two selected parts in a comp? Is this possible?


Hi Ryan,

All the advice here has been spot on. One thing I would add, regarding your question about dealing with cross fades: What I would do is make a duplicate of the comp folder and place it on another muted track as a safety backup; and then flatten (not merge, just flatten) the comp track you are working with. This will render it as consecutive regions with default cross fades that you can then freely adjust.
thanks guys,

I appreciate the technique input. It wasn't a matter of compression, that was already applied to deal with the overall level. I needed to be more specific about volume adjustments of some words. I'll automate the gain, and leave my fader free for adjustments.

I also used the flatten function and found what I was looking for crossfade wise. Thanks Eli.

I had made my comps, then copied to a new track and muted/hid the original should I require further edits. Curious as to why my channel strip inserts/settings weren't copied to the new track, though.