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The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Vocal Presets

The Beginner's Guide to Understanding Vocal Presets

Key Takeaways:

  • Vocal Presets Save Time in Making Pro Sounds
  • Many musicians use vocal presets
  • Presets Turn Complicated Production ideas into clickable settings

You may have heard the term vocal presets being thrown around the interwebs.

But what does it MEAN???

Well in short, vocal presets are pre-made audio templates that allow users to adjust their recording’s sound with just a few clicks. After reading this article, you’ll know exactly what vocal presets are, how to use them, and why you should consider adding them to your own recordings!

In this article:

  1. What are Vocal Presets?
  2. What is a Vocal Preset Template?
  3. How to use Vocal Presets?
  4. Do Professional Artists Use Vocal Presets?
  5. Is it Okay to Use Vocal Presets?
  6. Are Vocal Presets Free?

“Vocal presets allow producers to quickly audition sounds without knowing much about music production!”

What are Vocal Presets?

Vocal presets are digital audio processing tools that allow users to quickly and easily adjust the sound of their vocal recordings with a couple of clicks. Vocal presets allow producers to quickly audition sounds without knowing much about music production! These preset settings can be tailored to each artist’s unique voice for professional results.

The types of adjustments available with vocal presets include frequency equalization, compression, de-essing, reverb, delay and more. (But we’ll talk more about those bad boys later!) By combining these effects together, artists can create a wide range of sounds to suit their style.

What is a Vocal Preset Template?

A vocal preset template is a set of pre-made settings that can be applied to vocal recordings. It’s the same as the vocal preset I described earlier, with just some more fancy wording. People will use the words vocal preset and vocal preset template interchangeably, so don’t get confused!

How to Use Vocal Presets for Professional Results

When it comes to using vocal presets for professional results, the key is understanding how each of the different settings works and how they can be combined in creative ways. To get started, familiarize yourself with some basic audio engineering terms such as frequency equalization, compression, de-essing, reverb and delay. Once you have a good grasp of these concepts, you can begin experimenting with various preset settings to find out what sounds best for your particular recording. As you get better with this, you’ll know exactly what to adjust to get the sound you’re looking for.

Understanding Vocal Presets

Understanding vocal presets is the first step in creating professional-sounding recordings. Vocal presets include plug-ins like equalization (EQ), compression, de-essing, reverb, delay and more. And if you understand what they do, you’ll have way more control over your final sound! Here’s a bit more about the most common types of plug-ins and what they do.

Dissecting EQ

We’ll start by looking at frequency equalization (EQ). EQ allows you to adjust the overall balance of frequencies within your recording so that certain sounds stand out while others are minimized or eliminated entirely. This is especially useful when dealing with vocals as it helps bring forward certain elements while keeping background noise at bay.

Compression

Next up in most vocal chains is compression. Compression reduces dynamic range by reducing loud parts and amplifying quieter sections; this makes sure that all parts of a recording have an even volume level throughout without any sudden jumps in sound levels.

Though these are the main two plug-ins used to create great sounding vocals, many vocal preset packs include other effects in their vocal chain like distortion, chorus, reverb, delay, de-essing and vocal tuning. Here’s a quick overview of what each of those do!

  • Distortion – Distortion is a popular effect used to create a grittier, harsher sound. Distortion can also add to the higher harmonics of a sound giving it a fuller sound.
  • Chorus – Chorus is a popular effect used to thicken up and add space to vocals by widening the stereo image.
  • Reverb – Reverb is used to create an ambient space by adding a simulated room sound. This puts the vocals in real space and adds depth and dimension.
  • Delay – Delay is an effect used to create echoes in the recording. It can also be used to create more complex rhythmic patterns.
  • De-essing – De-essing is used to reduce sibilance in vocals. Sibilance is the sharp ‘s’ sound created when saying words like “see” or “she” and can be very distracting in a mix.
  • Vocal Tuning – Vocal Tuning is a process of correcting any pitch problems in a vocal recording. The most classic example of vocal tuning is from the popular plug-in Autotune

If you can nail down what each of these mean and how to use them, you’ll be well on your way to crafting great sounds and music.

Plug-In Chain Order

The next step in nailing a professional vocal sound and understanding vocal presets is the plug-in chain. The plug-in chain are the plug-ins themselves and what order that they’re in.

A typical plug-in chain usually consists of equalization (EQ), compression, de-essing, reverb, delay, but what order those effects happen in will give vastly different results. Adding a delay before compression or eq will give a different sound than adding the delay afterwards! Though many vocal preset packs already have the preferred ordering for some of these plug-ins, switching the order around can give some creative results!

Here is the plug-in chain order I use most of the time!

Vocal Tuning -> EQ -> Compression -> De-ess -> Distortion -> Delay -> Reverb

This is a basic outline and can be changed in any way to give different results! Sometimes it makes mores sense to add multiple compressors or multiple de-essers! It just depends on the recording and the vibe I’m trying to achieve!

Do Professional Artists Use Vocal Presets?

Yes, artists often use vocal presets to help them create their desired sound quickly and easily. Vocal presets allow the artist to adjust the sound of their vocal recordings in a variety of ways quickly and easily. It saves them time and let’s them focus on making music rather than learning production! The best artist have a great understanding how each of the plug-in types work and how they can be combined in creative ways.

Even professional production and mixing engineers will use vocal presets! But because each vocal is different, they will spend some time adjusting the parameters until they get the sound they want.

Is it Okay to Use Vocal Presets?

Yes, it is perfectly okay to use vocal presets! They are a great way to quickly and easily adjust the sound of your vocal recordings. With something as important as vocals, you want them sounding their best so using presets can be very helpful.

While professionals may spend more time adjusting the parameters until they get the sound they want, for many people starting out with music production it is just not feasible to have an in-depth knowledge of audio engineering and recording techniques. That’s where vocal presets come in! They allow you to make adjustments without having to learn about all the different plug-ins and settings involved in producing professional-level vocals. So yes, it is absolutely okay to use vocal presets! (Just know that some tweaking might be necessary depending on your specific recording situation and desired results.)

Are Vocal Presets Free?

No, vocal presets are not typically free. Most vocal preset packs will cost money but there are a few free options available. If you are using Logic Pro X, we’ve compiled a list of the best free vocal presets you can check out! It’s important to note that the quality of the presets can vary greatly from one producer to another so it’s worth doing some research and listening to samples before buying. A good rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for! If you’re looking for professional quality results, a paid preset pack is usually the way to go.

How Do Install Vocal Presets?

Installing vocal presets is a relatively straightforward process. Depending on the type of software or digital audio workstation (DAW) you are using, the steps may vary slightly but generally follow the same basic principles.

First, you’ll need to download the preset file from the producer’s website. Then, open your DAW and locate the “Presets” folder. Inside that folder, create a new folder and name it after the preset pack you’ve purchased. Finally, copy the downloaded preset files into this newly created folder and restart your DAW. The presets should now be available for use!

This sounds super easy to do, and many times it is! But it can get complicated fast if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for in the folders! On top of that, each DAW is different! We will be releasing some install videos for each DAW and how to install them so you won’t have to question yourself!

Quick Tips for using Vocal Presets

  • Spend time adjusting the parameters until you get the sound you want.
  • Each singer’s voice is unique, so make sure that any presets used fit their vocal character.
  • Don’t overuse effects such as reverb or delay, as they can quickly muddy up a track if not managed properly.
  • Use EQs sparingly on vocals – too much cutting frequencies can take away from its natural characteristics and impact clarity in recording overall.
  • If it sounds good, IT IS GOOD!
  • Vocal presets won’t fix a bad recording! Get the performance right before the plug-ins!
  • If one preset doesn’t work, change it!
  • Make sure your song is arranged well! Having good sounding vocals won’t mean people will listen to your song if they don’t understand it!

Conclusion

Vocal presets are an invaluable tool for artists and engineers alike, offering a quick and easy way to adjust the sound of vocal recordings. Professional audio producers understand that each vocal is different and will take time to tweak parameters until they achieve their desired results.

For those just starting out with music production, using vocal presets can be helpful in getting up-to-speed without having to learn about all the different plug-ins involved in producing professional vocals. While most preset packs come at a cost, there are some free options available if you know where to look!

Hopefully this article has been informative on how you can make use of vocal presets!

Thanks for reading! If you still need help, check out my Free Vocal Presets for Logic Pro X that will get your vocals sounding amazing in no time!!

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