Updated: Jun 16, 2018
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Leveling vocals is always one of the biggest pains in producing a song. For me, compression only gets me so far. I do my best to apply good mic technique during recording, but when certain phrases require me to change my dynamics, it’s unavoidable that there will be parts within a given wav that are not smooth.
Time was, I would manually normalize a track and alter peaks and valleys that stray too much from the norm. That was fine in the past, when you are dealing with 10-12 songs and you could take the time to hand hold each track. Trying to produce 365 requires a bit more automation.
Waves Vocal Rider was the plugin I kept seeing suggested as the de facto standard in the vocal leveling world. Tried the demo and it seemed great, but they want $300 bucks for it. A bit pricey for something that automates a hand changing the volume slider. Granted there are other features, but still, my entire guitar software suite is around 300 bucks. Went looking for an alternative and found the awesome Hornet AutoGain plugin. $13 American and it does exactly what I need. You give it a reference track and depending on a few params (speed, sensitivity), it raises and lowers the gain to give a much more even volume level to your tracks. Awesome! It really simplifies mixing and makes the daunting task of production so much easier. As usual, the independent developer does a much better job than the greedy corporate behemoth.