How It Works
Here is our standard procedure:
Step 1: Contact us with your requirements and we’ll provide you with a customised quote.
Step 2: Once we’ve agreed the fee and arranged a session date and time we will normally require payment in full in order to confirm the session and book the required singer. Payments are normally made via Paypal.
Step 3: You send us the instrumental backing, guide vocal track and lyric sheet. Please let us know what file bit and sample rate you require (normally 24 bit/44.1KHz) for the recording.
Step 4: The recording session will take place at the agreed time. We encourage our clients to skype in if at all possible so that they can direct the singer and immediately resolve any issues that may arise. Alternatively, you can just leave it to us (based on the guide vocal parts provided) however please note that we are generally not able to offer free modifications to the vocals once the session is complete.
Step 5: Once all the vocal tracks have been recorded, we’ll upload them as separate full quality WAV files so that you can comp and mix the vocals however you wish. Normally we would also run off a "rough" mix for you as well, however if you would like the vocals professionally compiled / edited, tuned and mixed then we can also provide this service for an additional fee.
That’s it – user-friendly, quick, easy and hassle-free!
What We Need From You
When providing the instrumental backing tracks, guide vocals and lyrics :
MP3 format is fine, but 16 or 24 bit WAVs are preferred (due to alignment issues caused by many mp3 encoders that insert a small section of blank space at the beginning of the mp3).
We will need both instrumental-only and guide vocal versions of the tracks. We can work with a keyboard guide melody part, but a sung vocal part is preferred (however rough!) so that we can hear the phrasing and style of delivery etc.
Please provide the guide vocal as both mixed with the music (for the singer to learn to song to) and also as a separate acapella vocal guide without any background music. The "acapella" version is often very helpful as the detail of what the guide vocal is doing can be obscured by the background music. If there are any complex harmony parts on the guide vocals track then please provide each of the vocal parts as separate acapella tracks.
Please export your instrumental and guide vocal tracks from the same place at the beginning of a bar.
Leave some extra blank space at the start if you need to. We will "consolidate" (i.e. bounce) the vocal tracks so that they start at exactly the same point as your backing track so that when you import the files into your system you will be able to snap them to start from the same point and everything should line up quickly and easily.
Please specify the tempo (i.e. beats-per-minute) of your track.
Please specify the bit & sample rate that you require. We normally record in 24 bit / 44.1Khz WAV format.
Please provide the lyrics in either Microsoft Word or plain text format. Please check through the lyric sheet for any discrepancies with the guide vocal (otherwise we won’t know which version is correct!).
Don’t fade-out the backing track at the end (in case we need to sing right to the end of the track).
If you have any questions or other issues then you only need to ask!
Here are some other areas for prospective writer/producers to keep in mind :
Get the key right for the vocal range of the singer
It’s very important to find the best key to get a great result – too low may sound boring, too high might be screechy, or at worst it might actually be unsingable due to being too far out of range. Unfortunately finding the right key may not just be a simple matter of determining the highest and lowest notes in the melody, although this is a very good place to start.
A singer’s effective vocal range will be determined by the type of vocal delivery required (e.g. light / head voice vs full-on belt or rock etc), the length of the highest notes (longer is more difficult) and where the melody "sits" most of the time, e.g. an occasional extremely high note may be ok but this may not be sustainable if it’s repeated over and over, and so on. So in order for us to determine whether the key is suitable for a particular singer we may need you to send through a rough mix of the track with the guide vocal part so that we can have a listen to it.
Make sure the song is written and finished before the recording session takes place
Of course small "off-the-cuff" changes can and do happen all the time, but if a writer is still making major changes to the lyrics, melody or vocal arrangement (etc) during the session it can end up wasting a lot of time, potentially incurring additional costs, and also isn’t helpful in getting the best performance out of the singer.
Please also note that Virtual Vocals does not offer songwriting services i.e. we don’t offer "top line", melody or lyric writing.
Keep an open mind
Sometimes a writer/producer (who isn’t necessarily a singer themselves) may have become very used to hearing their own guide vocal part and may be expecting another singer to phrase and deliver the song in exactly the same way, to the point of excruciatingly minute details. Of course we always try our best to accommodate the wishes of our clients, and will try to match the guide vocal parts as closely as possible, but each singer will also have their own style and way of interpreting a song. Our singers are experienced professionals and sometimes it can be a matter of letting them shine and do what they do best – it’s often when you can get those truly magical "golden takes"!
Remote Producing via Skype
Skype provides free (or very low cost) phone calls over the internet and is fully integrated into our studio setup. This means that you as the client can listen in and direct the vocalist(s) as required whilst the recording is taking place. This works best skype-to-skype (if you have skype installed on your computer) but will also work via your normal telephone.
The Skype software is free. If you want to download it or find out more just visit their website at: http://www.skype.com