Vocal Chain

I’m specifically shopping for a reverb plugin for voice, but I figured that we can talk about the whole vocal chain for live performances in Gig Performer.

In my specific application, I’ve got my main vocal chain in the global rackspace with a local send. I start with some compression and EQ (and maybe a gentle autotune?), then it sends to the local rackspace for any song-specific effects. Finally, it’s back to the global rackspace for my basic reverb. I expect to make the delay (and maybe the mix) accessible from the parts/variations, so I can adjust it for tempo.

In my specific use case, I’m a bad, old baritone. My vision is to do popular songs from the 60s/70s/80s with limited range that can be done in a laid back way, sing them an octave lower than the originals, and be chill. Not that I have his resonant voice, but think “Leon Redbone” with electric guitar, MIDI keyboard, and backing tracks.

My goal for the main vocal chain is to get a baseline and fill things in. (I need all the help I can get.) For reverb, I want something that’s warm and natural. My goal is to make it not too noticeable - until you remove it, so I’ll be gentle with the controls. I might use it with a compressor and side chain, so it fills the silence without muddying the lines.

Zero latency, please. Light enough for live, but I might use it for studio recordings too, so I want good quality. (My Boss pedal emulation isn’t going to cut it.)

I know that Waves doesn’t officially support GP, and some of their plugs didn’t behave well, but I’m going to demo their Abbey Road Chambers product. BTW, they just released V13, for whatever that’s worth.

All recommendations for the vocal chain (and especially the reverb) welcome.

This is my chain. I can’t tolerate latency on vocals, and compared a lot of plugins to settle on these. Never had a problem with Waves plugins.

  1. eMo Q4 (roll off lows and highs, a slight boost to bring out your good vocal freqs)
  2. H-Delay (use sparingly to taste, try the presets first to get a feel for algorithms)
  3. H-Reverb (use sparingly to taste, try the presets first to get a feel for algorithms)

No compression. Causes too much feedback. If I had too, H-Compression. Use a vocal mic that has good rear and side rejection. No autotune. If you need to use it, consider singing in your own home.


Thanks @soundog.

Yes, compression can definitely cause feedback! One trick is to use expansion first, some gating, then compression. That can avoid feedback in most cases, but if the feedback signal exceeds the gate, it could really take off. I could imagine that it’s clean all evening, I put my hand on the mic, tuning it to a given frequency, and the howling starts. I might add a kill switch somewhere!

Currently, I have Waves’ F6 floating band EQ on the front end. It gives me a similar EQ to the approach you are using, along with some frequency-based compression and expansion. It’s possible that this could act as a feedback killer, as it could stomp on a frequency that gets too hot. It adds no latency. I need more time with it before I recommend it. In my home studio, my SM58 is about 18 inches from my studio monitor and I haven’t had feedback issues so far. By contrast, my daughter has a Rode large condenser mic in her studio, and compression easily makes the feedback scream.

I’ll demo H-Delay and H-Reverb. My intent is to put subtle reverb near the end of the global rackspace and use delay in the local rackspace as needed, per song/part.

I should mention that I’m using L3-LL (low latency) Multimaximixer at the very end of the mix, just before the output. This really makes the whole thing more forgiving. Again, it hasn’t introduced feedback issues so far, but it really blends the overall sound, hand’s off.

Try Smart Reverb

Smart Reverb seems pretty sweet, but I think I prefer the traditional knobs approach of H-Reverb, as well as its price. :grinning:

I installed the demos of H-Reverb and Abbey Road Chambers. In both cases, I used the AU mono to stereo version. I’m running GP 4.15 on a 2017 MacBook Pro.

H-Reverb shows zero latency and takes about 8% of my CPU. Abbey Road Chambers has 101 samples (2.3ms) of latency and takes about 24% of my CPU. H-Reverb sounds great and is really full featured. Easy head-to-head winner for live.

BTW, Waves V13 is now optimized for the Apple M1 and for Windows 11, so it could be an important upgrade if you’re on those platforms.