How to match 2 vocal clips's level?


When I record vocals, I will do a verse in more than one take. I use comping to make it sounds smooth, but how do I make sure that every clip have the same gain level? I use my ears and try to adjust the clip’s gain to match, but here’s there a mathematical way or a plugin that could help me do that?

How do you deal with similar situations? For example, you regarded 2 takes of the same guitar player and they are not exactly as loud? Just compression? Or other ways?

Plugin’s will always add some coloration, but sometimes it is good, and is why Fairchild compressors are used with vocals. But sometimes it is not happening quite where you want it. Certainly, compressors make it easier for you, and are tolerant of changes, in that you don’t really have much work to do if you make changes.

The optimal way is to use automation curves, but it is limited by how much the variations in environmental noises in the recording are noticeable. I typically use detailed automation curves to sculpture instruments around vocals – bringing them down just before a vocal and bringing them up during the tail of the vocal – but the same could be done between vocals.

I use the clip volume handle.
It’s the little square on the top edge of the event, exactly halfway along the length. Drag it up or down, match by ear. The waveform display grows and shrinks as you adjust.

Or you could just normalize all the clips to let’s say -6dB, to have some headroom. Now the peak levels are the same, it is easier to match the levels between them, or use a plugin.
I have used Melda’s MAutoVolume lately, it does a great job keeping the vocals on top, but a compressor or a limiter are the common tools for that. Riding the fader with automation is also widely used, and is probably the most organic but time consuming way of doing it.

I use the cliphandle too, but came to think of it now, you could also use normalize, and set the desired level there. I have a KC for normalizing and thats a very quick way to change levels.

Certainly is, but it can also make some things easier.

When I have sculptured an instrument around a vocal, I find that there a bunch of high points|lines and a bunch of low ones. The upper or lower ones can be adjusted as one by selecting only them by a mouse selection rectangle, then using the newly superimposed central handle (like that on a single clip) up or down, or even specifying a specific level in the top bar (or whatever its called!), just to make them all the same.

Thanks guys. I’ll definitely look at normalization, I guess if the peaks are the same then it will help matching by ears. I already use compression, but wanted to know if there was this amazing plug-in or built-in feature that would tell me :wink:.

What I also do, is play one clip, check the RMS and play the other, then compare them to see if they are roughly the same.

If you are doing that, you might try using using the Loudness Meter in the Control room - since the relative loudness is what you are really hearing, not the peak or RMS levels. Of course to do this you’d need to solo the clips so that’s all the meter is seeing.

Thanks Raino. I don’t have the Pro version, but I do have some Loudness Meter plug-ins.