Video: Using an Instrument Track to Build Background Vocals

Background vocals. They can make such a big difference in your music. However, a good background vocal takes some planning, especially if you’re doing a three- or four-part harmony. 

It’s best to figure out the arrangement before you begin recording. Otherwise, you’ll end up recording eight tracks of BGVs, only to decide that you don’t like the note choices. Suddenly you’re back at square one.

In this video I show you how to use an instrument track to build great background vocals. And yes, in this video I’m using Logic! You may have read my article on why I use Pro Tools, but for this video, I dug through the archives for a song I recorded in Logic that showcases this particular technique.

The same concept applies whether your on Pro Tools or anything else. Enjoy!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RAvSmykJMo

Check out my other videos here.

VIDEO: More Click Track Tricks

In my last two videos, I showed you how to create a click track in Pro Tools and how to customize your click track using Xpand

Before we leave the land of click tracks, there are a few more little tips I wanted to share. Enjoy!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KeFyqIAYm4

Do you use a click track?

I came across a really interesting article today at MusicMachinery.com called “In search of a click track.” In the article Paul Lamere analyzes various recordings — from the Beatles to Britney Spears — to discover which ones were recorded to a click track. It’s a good read, I’d highly recommend checking it out.

In all this click track talk, it’s important to remember that the music should come first. We should use a click track to enhance the song, not sterilize it. Sometimes it’s just appropriate to NOT use a click track. 

So, do you use one? Leave a comment!

VIDEO: How to Create a Click Track in Pro Tools

Today I’ve got more basic video on how to create a click track in Pro Tools. As I mentioned in The Importance of Pre-Production, recording your music to a set tempo is a good habit to develop. It may be helpful to read that article first, then watch this video.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a video about how to get more sounds out of your click track. (Let’s face it, not everyone wants to have a wood block blasting through the headphones.) 

Do you use a click track? What advice or tips do you have? Leave a comment. 

 

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VIDEO: Dealing with USB Latency

Let’s say you just got your first USB audio interface. You’ve set up your home studio, installed everything, and you’re ready to hit that big red Record button and go to town.

What happens next can be both surprising and frustrating – latency. USB 1.1 isn’t the fastest protocol on the planet, and what can happen is that it takes the computer a little time to process the audio. Translation: you play or sing a note, then you hear it in your headphones several milliseconds later. This is latency.

The cure? Most manufacturers include a mix knob on their USB interfaces. This mix knob allows you to blend the direct signal (of the microphone plugged into the interface) with the playback signal (the tracks you’re playing back in Pro Tools). 

In this video I’ll explain it a bit further and show you how to get around this latency issue.

* There’s a slight hum in the audio during the screencast portion. My apologies. I had to rewire things a little differently to demonstrate what the latency sounds like.

 

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VIDEO: Inserts and Sends in Pro Tools

When you’re getting started with Pro Tools, or any DAW for that matter, the whole idea of inserts and sends can be a bit confusing. If you’re a bit hazy on what these do (and the differences between them), this video should help.

Thanks to Jon, one of my readers, for asking me to cover this!

What are some tricks you’ve come up with with your inserts or sends? Leave a comment for the rest of us!

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VIDEO: Ask Joe #2 – Hard Drive Chipsets, Virtual Instruments, and More

Here’s the second edition of “Ask Joe.” If you’re new to Home Studio Corner, “Ask Joe” is basically a question-and-answer portion of the blog where I address questions submitted by readers via the Ask Joe form. (I tried to post this last night, but YouTube wasn’t playing nicely.)

I mention at the beginning of the video how the previous video was a bit on the long side (10 minutes!)…but this one ended up being 8 minutes. However, I’m only dealing with four questions today.

Video Summary:

  • 0:25 – A good all-around virtual instrument package?
  • 1:44 – Hard drive chipset for Cubase?
  • 3:13 – Good audio interface for a band?
  • 5:57 – Using a Yamaha PSR keyboard as a MIDI controller?

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