In a [reddit AMA](http://www.reddit.com/r/Music/comments/1ztuxf/hi_my_name_is_skrillex_ama/), redditor cyberforte asks Skrillex how he processes vocals. Skrillex says ¨Im using lots of stuff! Depends on the sound, song... there's no right way. But WAVs CLA vocal is nice to throw on to get that pop sound...¨more
Mentioned by sound engineer Trevor Muzzy in this *Sound on Sound* interview about the production of "Starships". > "You can see that the pre-chorus and chorus vocals have a lot of timing and comp edits. They were imported directly from the session I cut the vocals in. I did not merge or consolidate them, they just are the way they are. There's quite a lot going on with the vocals. I tried to create a nice basic vocal sound using the inserts, and once they sat well in the track, most of the sonic variations between the sections came from the sends. There was no tuning on the rapping, but the sung vocals in this track had a fair amount of tuning with the Logic Pitch Corrector plug-in on the inserts. The tuning is part of the sound of the record, with vocals needing to be very, very precise. In some cases, we pitched them up or down for vocal effects. Logic Pitch Corrector is a little harder-sounding than Auto-Tune, but it has its own distinct sound that we liked for the vocals in this track. It really fits the song. > > "The other inserts on most of the vocals were all Waves: the C1 compressor, SSL Channel, Renaissance Channel, De-Esser, Renaissance Compressor, API 2500, and the Logic Channel EQ. The C1 compressor is the first in line on several lead vocals, and it does the same Pensado trick I used on the guitars, which is to compress a specific band — in the case of the verse lead vocal, around 2849Hz — focusing on notes that sounded a little harsh. It smooths this problem out more elegantly than using an EQ. Then the signal goes through the R Channel with some basic EQ, cutting significantly at 281Hz. Again, it was a matter of removing some less pleasant things to let the nice aspects shine. I bypassed the compressor in the R Channel. I needed a bit of de-essing, and the Waves De-Esser is a great all-purpose de-esser, in this case working at 5634Hz with the side-chain set to high-pass. > > "There were two more compressors on her vocal. There was no science behind this, it was just a matter of experimenting to find a unique sound. The first is the Renaissance Compressor, which I love and which is set to a fast attack time and takes off about 6dB, so quite subtle, not too intense. The API 2500 is set pretty aggressively and you can hear it pumping a little bit on the vocal. It was already in the session — it had been used on the demo vocal. I pulled it over to Nicki's channel and liked what it was doing, so I adjusted it to fit her vocal. Finally, the Channel EQ notches quite a lot around 600Hz and a little bit more around 235Hz, just carving out some low-mids to make the vocal sit better in the track. > > "Regarding the sends, there are some really distinct things happening here. The main lead vocal was similar throughout the song, but I tweaked it as it went along. The pre-chorus and chorus vocals all have Bus 1, which went to the same Altiverb effect that I had on the drums, to add some ambience to the vocal. The rap verses are much drier. Bus 35 is the Waves Doubler, which gives a bit of spread to the lead vocal — I used this on the rap as well as on the sung vocals. Bus 4 is the Waves CLA with a drastic telephone effect. That was another effect that was there from the demo version and added a cool quality. Bus 50 is the [Sound Toys] Echo Boy, which is the main plug-in I use for delay throws, whenever I want to repeat a word. In this case it's on a quarter-note Echoplex setting. It's a single, mono echo that I panned a little bit to the side. Bus 7 has the Waves VX1 Maserati Vocal Enhancer, and that was, again, a plug-in I inherited. It is set to a very compressed, bright vocal sound that I brought in and out to add some sparkle to the sound when necessary. > > "Bus 6 has the main reverb in the track, which you are hearing in the pre-chorus and chorus, and which is a Lexicon Plate plug-in on the 'VocalPlate2' preset. It's a really bright, over-the-top plate sound that is not trying to blend in but that's actually brightening the vocal up a lot. It's loud and wet. Busses 16 and 29 are different stereo delays: the Waves SuperTap was already in the session and I kept it, and the other is a standard Logic stereo delay that I use all the time on vocals. Bus 3 is the Logic Bitcrusher, which gives the vocals a grainy sound. The vocals already had an aggressive sonic quality to them because of the 251-TG2-1176 chain, and the Bitcrusher enhanced that. It's nasty, there's nothing nice about a bit-crusher, and it adds a bit of attitude. I used it on some of the background vocals as well, like in the second verse, where you have the pitch effects. You can hear it in the very processed harmony vocals that come in. That was something we added when we were doing the final vocal comp and arrangement. It gave that second verse some more life and helped the track build. The background vocals are a very big part of the hook vocal sound as well, and, for example, track 140 has many effects on it. That actually contains the vocals of the demo singers. Nicki's lead and background vocals are dominant, but in the chorus the background vocals from Mohombi and Wayne Hector added to the crowd feeling. The chorus vocals are really big in this track, and they were part of that.”more
“CLA Vocals is the quickest way to get a professional-sounding vocal chain. Pure excellence. The fact that you have every type of essential effect in one place is amazing. We like to use it after an EQ and a CLA-2A compressor in our chain. We generally turn off the stereo widening effect and the reverb, as we add that separately, but we love the compressor, the delay, and the different color-coded options on each control. The ‘Start Me Up Dry’ preset is a great template to start with.”more
Used on Minogue's vocals for "Dancing", as stated by producer Sky Adams in this July 2018 *Sound on Sound* interview. > "My vocal chain on the Kylie bus begins with a Logic Channel EQ, with a high?pass at 69Hz; I also boost 285Hz and 3100Hz. Next is the Waves CLA Vocals, with which I again boost some high end and add some compression, and a tiny bit of reverb; altogether it enhances the vocals a bit. The third plug?in is the Waves Butch Vig Vocals, with the de?esser and compressor both at 50 percent and adding some presence and air, all to give it some sharpness. For some reason Butch Vig gives a nice saturation and clarity on vocals, but I find that it only works on the Aston microphone. With every other mic I’ve used it tends to sound too distorted. > “The next plug?in is a Waves dbx 160 for some more compression, then the Waves SSL G?master bus compressor, set to a ratio of 2, attack 1 and release 3, and the Waves C4 multiband set to the Pensado preset, adding above 8kHz, the Waves API 560 EQ adding yet more high end, and the Waves RVox, with the compressor set to 4.2. I find that the RVox really helps to bring the vocal to the front. > “My main reverb in this session, which I used mostly on the vocals, and my favourite reverb in general, is the Toraverb. It’s really hard to find a good reverb, but I freaking love it, and I use it on almost everything. It has a wonderful tail off, and also a delay that works really well. ‘Crystal Cave’ is a favourite preset, which I use mainly on vocals. I don’t mind using the same reverb on everything, but in addition I sometimes use Logic’s Space Designer, which also has a great sound, and a wonderful tail that you can crank all the way up. The latest update, the Chronoverb, is amazing.”more
Used on Cardi B's vocals for "Bodak Yellow", as mentioned by mix engineer Evan LaRay in this February 2018 *Sound on Sound* interview. The "VOX 1" settings can be found [here](https://dt7v1i9vyp3mf.cloudfront.net/styles/news_large/s3/imagelibrary/I/IT_02_18_04C-mRV6OYSeqD5LicvI6WtLj4tc_fNmNL8m.jpg). > In his mix of ‘Bodak Yellow’, Evan LaRay used almost identical vocal chains on two auxiliary busses. The ‘Vox 1’ chain includes FabFilter’s Pro-DS de-esser and Waves’ C4 multiband compressor, plus the Waves CLA Vocals plug-in and SoundToys’ Decapitator saturation processor. > The main ‘Hook’ and ‘Verse’ vocal tracks have similar plug-in chains, incorporating the EQ3 seven-band, Waves CLA-76 and Waves De-esser, though the ‘Hook’ also has FabFilter’s Timeless 2 delay. LaRay explains, “The EQ on the ‘Hook’ has a high-pass, around 100Hz, and I’m also cutting 3dB at 300Hz, because the vocal sounded a bit muddy, and again 3dB at 4kHz, because there was a piercing frequency there. The CLA keeps the peaks in check, and the de-esser again takes some higher frequencies out, at 4270Hz, and the Timeless is another favourite plug-in. I think in general the FabFilter plug-ins are extremely dope. I wanted the ‘Hook’ vocal to stand out from the ‘Verse’ vocal, so I used a stereo delay preset, and then tweaked that. The presets on the FabFilter plug-ins are pretty good: you just run through all of them and then choose the best one. In this case I lowered the width and the wet value of the stereo delay preset, and that sounded good and gave the hook its own space. The three plug-ins on the ‘Verse’ track do pretty much the same. > “The ‘Inout’ tracks that are below the ‘Hook’ and the ‘Verse’ are vocal doubles. They are words or lines we use for emphasis and additional power on these lines and words. They come from one of her original vocal takes, which I just cut and cleaned up. Both ‘Inout’ tracks have the Waves RCompressor, just containing these words and lines so they don’t overwhelm the ‘Hook’ or the ‘Verse’ vocal, and then the FabFilter Pro-Q2, taking out some high frequencies, again to make sure it doesn’t clash with the leads, and also cutting below 200Hz. And there’s a delay on these tracks to put them in a slightly different space from the lead vocal tracks. > “In addition to the two ‘Inout’ tracks, both the ‘Hook’ and the ‘Verse’ tracks are also accompanied by an ‘Ad Libs’ track, which were some ad libs Cardi had recorded with Mike over at Krematorium. Mike had also set up a separate aux track for these ad libs, which is ‘Vox2’, and I liked that and kept two of the plug-ins he had on that: the [Avid] Sansamp for some distortion and the SoundToys Panman. I then added the D-Verb and the [Waves] CLA Vocals. I adore the CLA Vocals. I use it on every track I work on. When I don’t use it, the vocals sound completely different. I’d love to know what exactly it does! Finally, the inserts have the Waves L1, just to control the peaks. > “The other tracks — ‘EXF1’, ‘EXF2’, ‘EXF3’ and ‘EXF4’, are because I prefer to create a new track if I want to have a specific effect on specific words or phrases. I prefer doing that to automating the effects on a track. Automation is great, but I tend to only do volume automation. So I copy audio to another track, and then put the effect on that, and in this case I created four different effects tracks with four different delays. ‘EFX1’ is the main one, and has the same three plug-ins as the Verse tracks — EQ3 three-band, CLA76 and Waves De-esser — just with the EQ3 cutting more of the high frequencies. Then there’s an eighth-note ping-pong delay from the Waves H-Delay, and then a D-Verb set to ‘hall’ with 7s decay and a 15ms pre-delay. ‘EFX2’ has another H-Delay delay, ‘EFX3’ the Timeless 2 delay, and ‘EFX4’ again has the H-Delay plus a D-Verb.” > All the main vocal audio tracks go to LaRay’s ‘Vox1’ aux group track. This, he explains, has “A FabFilter Pro-DS de-esser, then the Waves RCompressor controlling the peaks, the Waves C4 multiband compressor boosting the high end and containing the lows in her voice, so it doesn’t cut through too much, and Waves CLA Vocals. Again, it’s really making my vocals sound good. I push the Pitch fader to stereo, spank it on the compressor, also push up the treble to brighten it up, turn the reverb down to ‘tight’, and lower the delay by 9dB because my own quarter delay is my main vocal delay, and it sounds great. There’s also a SoundToys Decapitator, to add more harmonic distortion, and then there’s the Waves RVox. That was supposed to be the final plug-in on the insert, but then I realised the vocal was still peaking too much once she began rapping loudly, so I put on the L1 [limiter] to control that.” > The ‘special sauce’ in Evan LaRay’s mixes comes from a parallel aux channel containing a blend of compression, saturation, EQ and other processors. Key ingredients are Waves’ PuigChild compressor and PuigTech equaliser. > The ‘Vox1’ and ‘Vox2’ tracks also each have a Trim plug-in on an insert, and sends to the ‘Verb’ aux and to the ‘ELR’ (LaRay’s initials) track. “I put the Trim on all my tracks at the end of the vocals, and at the end of the beat, because the vocals actually began distorting in places. These two tracks were too hot, and I wanted to make sure they had a good level before going to the ‘Sub Print’ track. I have the ‘ELR’ aux track in every session. It’s most of all parallel compression, but I also always try out new things with distortion, exciters and things like that, and I label that ‘ELR’. In this case it really is the ‘ELR’ track that makes the vocals cut through the mix. > “The compression on the ‘ELR’ track comes from the Waves PuigChild 670, which is a great compressor, and it’s compressing a lot, so the vocal stays right there in the middle. The signal is then going to the PuigTech EQP-1A, which is boosting some low end to add some warmth to the vocals, and some 5kHz, and then the Waves Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter, set to AX Mix 6, for some added crispness and clarity, then the EQ3 seven-band to control the low mids, and another De-Esser cutting 4398Hz, to finalise the vocal sound. The L1 also helps keep the vocals in the same place. Finally, the ‘Verb’ send on the ‘Vox1’ and ‘Vox2’ tracks goes to the ‘Verb’ aux, which has the Waves RVerb, and that pretty much glues everything together.”more
I can't describe how much I love this plugin. It's perfect for those who aren't the most skilled engineers and for the pros. It's versatile, simple, and most importantly it sounds amazing. CLA is one of today's great engineers and his sonic characteristics really show on this plugin.