How to Tune Vocals

Vocal tuning can be a very difficult task.  Depending on the singer it can be almost no work or a seemingly impossible task.  There are many ways to tune vocals based on the desired outcome.  

Before tuning a vocal, it is necessary to decide on the final outcome of the edits. Should the vocal sound natural, or should tuning be used as an effect?  

This blog will cover not only how to get either outcome but will teach the fundamental question of why vocal tuning sounds the way it does, either natural or unnatural.  It can then be applied in almost any tuning software that allows you to manually tune vocals.

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Think Like A Drummer – Four on the Floor

One of the first beats you learn if you take drum lessons is a beat called "Four on the Floor".  This beat consists of the kick drum hitting on every beat and the snare hitting on 2 and 4.  The hi-hats are usually played with 8th notes but can be changed up as long as the kick is hitting on 1, 2, 3, and 4.  The notation looks like this.

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Think Like A Drummer – The Half Drag Rudiment

One of the biggest things I noticed when I started this journey is that a lot of drum libraries include an articulation called a “half drag” or a “ruff”.  These would sound good at some tempos and at others not so good. Since I did not “Think Like a Drummer” at that point, I had no idea what a drag articulation was and avoided it altogether.  

When you first start to think like a drummer you will start to notice things that are happening within the drum pattern.  The pattern within the pattern so to speak. The hi-hats for instance not only have a rhythm that gets played, but also a pattern of velocity.   

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Think Like A Drummer – The Single Stroke Four Rudiment

The single stroke rudiment is the most basic of all drum rudiments.  It consists purely of alternating hands playing the drum or drums.  It is most likely the first rudiment anyone who has ever taken drum lessons will learn.  They will usually learn it on a practice pad or snare drum first.

In this week’s blog we look at how to create a single stroke rudiment using a drum virtual instrument.  More specifically we will look at using the Single Stroke Four rudiment.

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Think Like A Drummer – Closed 8th Note Hi-Hats

Non-drummers have thoughts on what a drum part is, and we are usually WAY off in what it actually is.  In order to program drum parts correctly, we need to change our mindset and begin to “Think Like a Drummer”

I remember the first time I tried a virtual drum instrument.  The demos sounded so good, I thought it would solve all my drummer issues.  To say the experience was underwhelming would be an understatement. No matter what I did it did not solve anything and it sounded only slightly better than me hand placing samples onto the timeline.

It turned out, as it usually does, that it was user error.  You see, if you are not a drummer, programming a drum part is nearly an impossible task.

This blog series will teach you to think like a drummer.

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Learning EQ Part 2 – How to Hear Harmonics

You'll often hear people say that you should always cut before you boost when using an EQ.

While I agree somewhat with this concept in the analog world, as boosting really limits the headroom on a channel, there is another reason this theory has made its way into many textbooks and classrooms on EQ.  Since each harmonic has a distinct pitch, not all harmonics are musically related to the fundamental in a way that is pleasing. So decreasing these harmonics can clean up the sound and make the sound much more pleasing to listen to.

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