Recording vocals with software only ins

goodtimej wrote on 2/16/2011, 11:07 PM
I am recording a vocal for a song. Admittedly, I don't have the nicest setup for this. I am recording vox on my SM58 running to my Firewire Solo then just straight to a track on Vegas.
I heard somewhere that you should record with compression before it gets recorded. I don't have outboard gear. Is there any way to compress while recording through purely software?
Any help would be greatly appreciated


musicvid10 wrote on 2/16/2011, 11:29 PM
Don't know in what context you read this, but no, you should be recording your full dynamic range, being very careful not to clip, and apply any (modest) compression in post. An SM58 run through consumer gear could produce nowhere the dynamic range or levels to be of any concern.

Applying any compression at the recording stage only serves to limit you options later.
pwppch wrote on 2/17/2011, 12:07 PM
When recording, outboard compression/limiting is useful to avoid overages/clips. You don't want to record clips. I can also be useful to filter out background noise and narrow the dynamic range is very specific cases.

The point is, this is done BEFORE it is converted into bits and sent to your DAW.

Doing a compression/limit after it has bee converted to bits during recording is generally pointless. If your signal has clipped, you are not fixing it. You are just compressing/limiting the clipped signal.

So, an outboard compressor/limiter is a good thing.

DAW based compressing/limiting during recording does not solve the same problem. You can monitor through a compressor/limiter, but still record the raw material. However, what the software plug-in may be doing could mask problems that you should hear and compensate for before the track is recorded.


musicvid10 wrote on 2/17/2011, 12:47 PM
I would tend to agree if this was a professional recording setup with mics that could deliver large peaks and dynamic range in the 120+ dBA region.

But the OP is using a dynamic mic that will only deliver at best 80-85dB off the floor in the real world. Needs all the dynamic range he can get. Adding any pre-emptive compression or limiting will just lower the dynamic range and effectively raise the noise floor. His sound interface will easily handle the full range of levels that any dynamic mic can deliver, thus my advice to adjust carefully and record the full dynamic range.

Judicious application of compression in post, if any, would be done for the aesthetics of the mix, not with the intention of fixing anything. It's easy to add a little compression after the fact, but it's impossible for the average hobbyist to expand it after the fact.

OTOH, if he was miking drums with a set of Heil or Audix my thoughts about pre-emptive limiting would have been much different. It all depends on the situation.
Geoff_Wood wrote on 2/20/2011, 5:18 PM
You heard wrong. Unless you are for some reason unable to set levels correctly, there is no reason to ever compress on record. Even moreso if you record 24-bit, which allows for a good safety marging without degradation due to quantisation.

Compression on source cannot really be undone if it turns out not to your subsequent liking.

musicvid10 wrote on 2/20/2011, 6:34 PM
I wouldn't go quite that far, Geoff. There are plenty of situations where it is advisable or necessary to limit or compress at the input stage.

This just isn't one of them . . .
Geoff_Wood wrote on 2/22/2011, 1:25 AM
I would. You can easily have around 20dB real recording safety margin 'headroom' before even getting 'down' to CD-quality.

musicvid10 wrote on 2/22/2011, 9:06 AM
I'm guessing you've never miked drums. Or a belter.
But since we're OT, why don't you start a new thread?
rraud wrote on 2/22/2011, 10:16 AM
Back in my studio days, I used compressors on tracking sessions all the time... when needed, but not to the extent being 'final,' usually just enough to even out or control a vocalist with poor, or no mic technique. a few dBs at the most, or just in a limiter capacity to catch the peaks.
Geoff_Wood wrote on 2/23/2011, 6:31 PM
Only most days .... ;-)

Marillion wrote on 2/28/2011, 12:29 PM
To answer the OPs question, yes, you can Insert an input bus and assign compression plugins or efx plugins or whatever to record a "wet" track if needed. It's not the best solution but will do in a pinch. Look under the "Insert" menu for Audio Input Bus Or search help for Input bus for the different uses. Do a short test record first to make sure you are getting the desired results before you record a full take. Hope that clears things up a bit.
Geoff_Wood wrote on 2/28/2011, 2:08 PM
As that compression isapplied after A-D conversion, the ONLY point would be if a compressed sound was required in a Vegas-sourced Input Monitor feed.

Laurence wrote on 3/10/2011, 10:24 AM
I do this with a Line6 toneport:

You have to use the Line6 software concurrently with Vegas. What is cool about this setup is that it is actually processing the audio at 24bits even if you are only recording 16, so that even though it is a software compressor, it isn't limited to the dynamic range you are recording. I use it for recording sung vocals and instruments mostly. My audio processing for vocals includes preamp, EQ, limiter, de-essing, and a little reverb in the headphones that isn't recorded. I can use the audio processor models either during recording, or from my DAW software (Pro Tools for music projects, Vegas for video projects).