Distorted Vocal Blends with Vintage Amp Room
Jonathan Castelli, June 2012

Sound Examples

Sound Examples

Somebody That I Used to Know by: Gotye - 4FRNT Remix, provided by Jonathan Castelli

Is your vocal just not interesting enough? Or maybe you're looking for more character?
Try the Vintage Amp Room on a parallel vocal track. Blending a distorted amp sound with a dry vocal can bring a unique midrange excitement to vocal tracks-especially in a dense arrangement.

Vintage Amp Room really shines when trying to recreate the hyped dense saturation of a Marshall half stack, the familiar warm tube overdrive of the classic Fender Twin, or the British grit of the Vox AC30. As the name suggests, the interface is a guitar amp/cab with a mic in the room, so you can manipulate precise mic placements as if you were reamping the source in your own live room.

You can really find some inspiring uses with using amps through some adventurous experimentation.

But there's way more interesting ways to think of using a guitar amp simulator than just with a guitar, give it a shot on a vocal track. Sometimes you'll want to put it right on a vocal and blend it in with the dry lead; other times, you'll want to put it on a reverb to give the vocal a saturated space to call home. The bottom line is that you can really find some inspiring uses with using amps through some adventurous experimentation.

No one can tell you how to use an amp on a vocal properly, but here's an example of some good starting points:
Try duplicating your vocal track and mute the original. Pull up a Vintage Amp Room and just listen to the characteristics each amp brings to the vocal. Move the mic around. Turn knobs. Use your ears. On a remix I did for Gotye's song "Somebody That I Used to Know", I experimented with blending a midrange distortion with Kimbra's vocal to give it a different character (examples can be found in the sidebar). I used the AC30 with the normal volume all the way up and then blended the brilliant knob in to taste. The tone was turned up and down until I found the sweet spot with both vocal tracks in at the same time.

Blending a distorted amp sound with a dry vocal can bring a unique midrange excitement to vocal tracks.

Controlling the mic placement made it possible for me to give the vocal a subtle bit of depth, but keeping it dry and in your face. To finalize the sound, I used some filters on the distorted vocal to find its perfect place - taking out some bottom and top to find its sweet spot. Be sure to check for phase coherence!

Enjoy!

Producer/Writer/Mix Engineer at Tony Maserati's Mirrorball Entertainment and part of the 4FRNT remix team.
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