Vocal comping and pitch correction are an indispensable part of modern productions. With enough patience and time, you can put together the perfect guitar solo — even if you weren’t born a virtuoso.
The listener receives perfect audio as the vocal comping expert will edit the audio clip points such as background vocals, lead vocals for a final vocal performance, and song sections mixed from the recording sessions with pro tools.
A perfect vocal track for the music producer and the artist. The song’s emotion and phrasing contribute to recording multiple takes and using the comping process to perfect the final audio file.
If you want to play your show live, it is a good idea to take vocal comping into account when recompiling the individual phrases and cut accordingly.
As a professional, you can now find the best vocal comping jobs near you and anywhere on the planet at Eventeus.com and discuss other professionals and talents from the industry while promoting your services to potential clients.
What is Vocal Comping?
Comping is the established term for editing the track (s) used in the production from all recorded takes. The reasons for this post-processing step vary — depending on the quality of the recordings — from damage limitation to the creative shaping of the vocal performance.
Audible cuts and “drop-ins” of solo vocal tracks by legendary artists from the pre-computer era, which I had in the past for remixes or other tasks, reveal that this is not a pure achievement of modern times.
In the context of audio processing, “vocal comping” refers to a process in which the best parts of a recording are picked out of several takes and combined into a clip. It is then, so to speak, the perfect “Frankenstein take.”
In some commercial productions, this was even broken down to the syllable level of the vocal tracks — in extreme cases, the “Uh” from Take 13 to the “Yeah” from Take 7, possibly with pitch corrections of individual snippets. Takes & Comping in audio editing as long as the comping is technically clean, it will not be noticed. The question of “cheating” does not arise because rest assured: Even the finely honed vocals in the songs of great and talented pop stars are not always one-takes.
What does a Vocal Comping Professional do?
Modern audio programs offer very convenient functions for comping. In some DAWs in loop recording mode, a separate track can be created automatically for each new pass. The procedure in which the individual takes is clearly arranged one below the other is just as convenient (see picture).
With some music editing programs, it has long been the case that there is no longer any need to cut and glue, but instead, the end product of the comping is composed solely of places in the individual takes that are marked as preferred.
Finally, there is another huge advantage to be mentioned: You can record several, preferably several dozen, takes in one go, and later use a large pool at any time without the embarrassment of having to set up the recording equipment again. Not to mention that as a producer, you by no means always have the opportunity to have vocalists and instrumentalists dance in for new recordings.
How does a vocal comping expert judge the individual takes?
Each vocal recording selection is, of course, subjective, but there are also some objective selection criteria below :
- Correctness of the melody and the text
- Speech intelligibility
- Sound, “technical” (overloads, noise, partially unfavorable position to the mic, etc.)
It becomes a bit more subjective when choosing according to the following criteria:
- “Expression” (e.g., does the power singing fit the fragile text content or vice versa?)
- Sound of the voice (breathy, present, pressed, confident, fragile, chest voice, head voice, etc.)
- Type and authenticity of pronunciation
The decision as to whether an audio region is well suited for use in production is generally made based on the criteria mentioned. Experience has taught me that while comping, it is sometimes helpful to activate automatic pitch correction.
Tips for a successful vocal comping:
- If possible, cuts should be made in places where there is no singing.
- Cut before or after, but not while breathing. Cutting behind a breath is the optimal choice because of the room’s possible reverberation from the previously sung, possibly unused phrase.
- Cuts are to be concealed with suitable fades.
- Consonants at the end of a word must always be considered because of speech intelligibility.
- Cuts within individual syllables should be avoided if possible, but sometimes necessary. Tinkering with different fade curves/lengths is usually required here. Pro-tools favor sample-accurate editing, which can sometimes produce fantastic results without any fades / cross-fades.
How much can you make with Vocal Comping?
You can expect to earn up to €60,000 in your dream job as a vocal comping specialist. But you can expect a salary of at least €30,000.
The average salary in Europe is €37,500. Anyone looking for a job as a video editor will find numerous jobs and offers worldwide with Eventeus.com.
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