Vocal Riding Approach

Tom, thanks for doing this! I was wondering how much you are relying on compression (1176 and CL1B seem to be your favorites) to keep the vocal front and center versus riding phrases or words even. How much time do you spend on a song with vocal riding on average? I seem to always end up riding a lot, so I’m wondering if there are, well, not so much shortcuts, but approaches to the whole process that might speed this part up. Thank you!

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hi richard

very much depends on the material…also how vocals have been recorded.i still use my hardware 1176/CL1B as an insert and generally quite happy getting 80% of my vocal level from those two. but there will definitely be more work done in Tools as well. i use additive clip gain a lot which drives my compressors more and subtractive clip gain to allow more dynamic back in…not doing automated rides that much tbh

its hard to know your issues without seeing what your doing but play with compression more until the vocal is sitting good for most of the track…i often mix the vocals in last chorus first because i know that’s going to be the most challenging place to fit them in
hope that helps


Very insightful, Tom! Thank you for that. Would you elaborate as to how hard you hit the gain reduction on the 1176 and CL1B approximately? Of course this depends on the material, I get that, but is it just touching it like a db or 2 or do you drench the vocal in gain reduction like 7-10 db (or more?) with it almost never coming back out to zero like some people do? As an insight of scale so to speak. (I find both the hardware as well as the softube CL1B to be VERY touchy, super small sweetspots, like no compression, 1dB compression and then DESTROYED haha). Trying to minimize actual compression artefacts. Great approach regarding the last chorus. Thank you!