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The Most Essential Yet Forgotten Vocal Production Step

Vocals are arguably the most important part of most any production. So it would make sense to spend a lot of time on them.

Tracking, Comping, Tuning – it takes a lot of work to get a great vocal performance for a production.

But there’s one step that seems to be left out in a lot of amateur productions – and frankly makes them sound, well…amateur.

So what is this essential yet forgotten vocal production step?

Time shifting.

It sounds like a pretty simple step, but it’s really an essential part of the vocal production process. What we mean by time shifting is nudging each and every word – even every syllable – to be exactly where it needs to be.

Notice we didn’t say “on the grid.” That’s all part of the art. 🙂

Go back and listen to some of your favorite recordings. Listen to the way the vocals sit in the mix rhythmically. You’ll probably find that they’re either laid back for some phrases, right on for others. It is this placement that really makes a vocal sound solid.

Even a great vocalist might be a few milliseconds ahead of the beat on some lines. Simply by nudging them back – and we are talking about milliseconds here – you’ll get a much more solid production.

So try this out on your productions. Play around with moving your vocal lines around and finding the spot where they just seem to fit. You’ll be amazed at how much more professional your recordings will sound almost instantly.

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