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Are you working on a song and feel like it’s missing something in the outro chorus? Have you ever wanted to give it the energetic vibe of a large crowd singing along with you? Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore some techniques to help you achieve that effect and make your voice sound like a crowd.
Find Inspiration from Athlete’s Tracks
If you’re looking for a reference point, songs like “Dungeness” and “You Know” by Athlete can give you an idea of the feel you’re aiming for. These tracks capture the essence of a crowd singing in the background while the lead vocals shine through. Let’s dive into the process of recreating this effect.
Use Multiple Voices for Authenticity
To achieve a convincing crowd sound, it’s best to involve as many different people as possible. Instead of overdubbing just a couple of voices multiple times, gather a group of around six people in a room and record them simultaneously. This approach saves time and creates a more authentic crowd-like sound due to the variations in the performers’ voices.
Layering and Positioning for Depth
Even with a larger group, layering multiple takes can help fill out the sound and add depth. When mixing, spread the layered vocals across the stereo spectrum for a more immersive experience. Additionally, consider rearranging the positioning of the performers between takes to introduce further variety. Experimenting with different microphones can also contribute to the overall texture.
Lower Harmonies for Added Texture
If you listen closely to the Athlete songs mentioned earlier, you’ll notice the inclusion of lower harmonies. These harmonies enrich the overall texture of the vocals. If your song lacks harmonies, consider adding them to enhance the crowd-like effect.
Overcoming Practical Challenges
Delivering a cue mix to the performers can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have enough headphones and amplifiers for each individual. One workaround is to routinize the parts in the control room before recording, allowing the performers to familiarize themselves with their roles. Instruct the group to follow the leaders, who will wear the available headphones. Some spill from the headphones may actually aid timing. If headphones are not an option, speaker-based monitoring in the live room is an alternative. However, be mindful of monitor spill and its impact on the final recording.
Dealing with Monitor Spill and Recording Techniques
When using speakers in the live room, monitor spill is inevitable. To mitigate this, ensure the arrangement of your backing track remains consistent after the crowd overdubbing sessions. This prevents any unwanted remnants of removed parts from lingering. Adjust the miking distance and monitoring level to control the spill’s impact and keep it within acceptable limits. Plan your recordings with enough buffer time before and after the vocal takes to have flexibility in deciding when to fade the spill in and out during the mixdown stage.
Creating an Authentic Crowd Acoustic
For the most realistic effect, it’s advisable to capture the vocals as dry as possible. Most small-room sounds won’t contribute to the desired crowd-like atmosphere. By keeping the vocals dry, you have more flexibility in simulating a larger, more dynamic acoustic environment artificially. Instead of relying heavily on reverb, try incorporating slapback delay with delay times around 100ms. For a slightly edgier tone, consider sending the delayed output through a guitar amp modeler. Reverb can still be used subtly to blend the vocals or add a sense of spaciousness. Opt for shorter decay times to avoid muddying the mix.
Now that you have an understanding of the techniques involved, it’s time to bring your song to life with the illusion of a crowd singing along. Remember to experiment, have fun, and let your creativity soar!