Pan's Vocal Strip

Modular Preset


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Hi Guys 'n' gals. This is a simple vocal processor I made to enhance the lead vocals on my song "Caustic App". I thought it might be of some interest for others, so I uploaded it for you to grab. It's is a little complicated though so I wrote down some instructions on how to use it.

First thing first, in order to get the most out of this preset you should mute your source machine (the one containing your vocals) and just to be sure you should turn the level/volume of it down to zero as well. In those screenshots I provided there are squares with numbers to guide you, whenever I start a paragraph with a number followed by a punctuation (1.) the number corresponds to a number in those screenshots.

1. This is the input. You select the source machine (your vocals) by simple taping/clicking in the window currently reading "No Source". It's is a toggle function which means you may have to tap several times to select the machine you want.

2. This is a simple 6 band EQ. The split between frequencies are not very precise since I dialled in those by ear with my own voice as reference, but it is possible to tweak those to your liking, I'll tell you about that later on. It's arranged like standard EQ's with lower frequencies to the left and higher frequencies to the right. Normally when you EQ vocals you want a little boost somewhere in the mid-high's, some high-end usually sounds nice too but if your vocals are very noisy (hiss noise) you can turn down the high-end to reduce that. Keep in mind that every voice is unique so you need to find the right balance that works for you, however if you will use the same voice for most of your songs it might be a good idea to save the preset when you have something sounding nice.

3. This is a saturation module. Only the high-end pass through it creating a little extra presence and some extra shimmer to your tracks. This effect is sometimes referred to as a HF-Exciter. Most of the time you only want a tiny bit of it (barely noticeable), but sometimes crazy settings are the way to go so experiment with it and hear what it does to your voice. Please note that this knob also amplifies the signal so you may compensate for that by turning down some high-end in the EQ.

4. This is a highpass filter. It is manly used to cut out some low-end rumble that may muddy up your mix. A good way to use it is to slowly crank it up until it starts taking out content from your voice, then you back it down again. However sometimes it's good to remove some of the lower frequencies of your voice to get the tone your after or if your mix require it.

5. Ok now we are going to look at some really cool stuff. This is a simple delay module that works as a doubler effect. It works by splitting the signal into two parts and feeding one part directly to the right channel while the other is slightly delayed before it goes out on the left channel. This is like singing the same part twice and pan them hard left hard right. You control the delay with this knob but I think you get the best result on the lowest setting (fastest delay). Turning up the delay time will make the effect more obvious but hey it's your call, experiment with it and see what comes out of it.

6. You can adjust the level of the delayed signal with this knob, but this may affect your stereo field. I strongly recommend soloing and using headphones while adjusting this.

7. These two knobs control the balance and the width between the normal and the delayed signal. If these knobs are set to 12 a clock both signals will be equally spread across the left and right channels (mono). Turning them CCW will separate them and create a wider stereo field. Again I recommend using headphones and solo while adjusting these.

8. Here you can adjust the split points for the EQ. If your don't know what you're doing I suggest you leave it be. The source signal goes trough the module marked (A) which cut out the low-end and sends the rest of the signal to the next module (B). Now the (B) module splits the signal once more and feed the remaining signal to (C). This goes on until the signal hits the (E) module which sends the high-end trough the saturator module.

The best way to adjust a band is to turn down all other frequencies in the EQ (2.). You will only have your ears to guide you so be careful.


Just a small but useful tip before I quit... Vocals can be and usually are very dynamic which is nice in some cases, but most of the time that is causing huge problems for the poor guy who's going to mix it with the rest of the track. Some words may be that loud that they seem to pop out of the speakers while others is so quiet that you can't even hear them. A compressor can fix most of that for you and you should place it in the first FX-slot of the source machine. The setting depends on the dynamic range of your vocals and the feel of the song your working with, so I can't help you there but experiment with it. Now, when you compress a signal it will be weaker so you might want to restore it. For this I usually use a limiter, again it should be on the source machine. Don't push the signal to far though, make sure it doesn't clip at any time.

D d d d that's all folks, hope you enjoy