Vocal Alignment With Slicing Mode
I did some heavy duty Vocal Comping this week. I worked on thick prechoruses and even thicker choruses containing 4 or 5 vocal takes for the lead vocal melody alone. It’s unbelievable how much work this used to be in the days without Take Folders, Flex Mode and Transient Detection!
Back in the day, I would basically cut up every syllable and align them by hand if I needed a tightly aligned chorus. These days I would normally put Flex Mode to Monophonic for solo vocals, but this time it was giving me too much artefacts. Flex editing certainly has its quirks. Then I thought about it: do I really need to align every syllable and consonant, and make all lengths the same too? Next time you’re aligning vocals, ask yourself the same question.
If the answer is no, Slicing Mode may very well do the trick for you. It plays each slice at its original speed, no time compression or expansion is applied to the audio. Even though the manual says that Slicing Mode is meant for drums and percussion, that does not imply that it’s unsuitable for vocals.
Working From The Outside In
I’ll leave you with a quick tip that applicable to all modes: Instead of working the regions from left to right, checking the positions of all the syllables and consonants, try working from the outside in. Align the first syllable or consonant, and then the last. This works great if your singer’s timing is great the first take, and lagging the next:
The second take you see here was a good one, but its timing was lazy. Instead of working the region from left to right, aligning each syllable, I decided to just align the first and last syllable. Like this:
As you can see here, the entire second take ended up being aligned with the first. Further edits may be needed, but this is a good point to start working from. Working from the outside in may save you some time in the end.