If you’re a modern music producer or artist, chances are you’ve tried out vocal presets before.
For those of you that have not tried them, vocal presets are preset channel strip settings created in advance, prior to you utilizing them. They are often shared for others to use. Presets are great for achieving a specific sound instantly without having to mess with EQ, Compression or Autotune.
For those of you that have tried them, you may have experienced the inconsistency in vocal presets found across the internet. You may have found some for free on Reddit, YouTube or Facebook. You may have even paid for some. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. Like most things in music, vocal presets are highly subjective and there is no singular source for finding them. This is great because it means you have ample opportunity for experimentation.
In terms of quality, make sure whichever vocal preset you are downloading is coming from a producer you trust. As a new artist you may be putting a lot of trust into the creator to give you something capable of being used. We want to make sure our vocal presets don’t have too much EQ or Compression on them because if we’re not veteran producers, we may not know how to dial it back. The higher quality vocal presets typically offer an excellent starting point so that if you want to add more EQ or Compression you can, but these high quality presets start off subtle.
When selecting the best vocal presets for you, it is best to experiment. I would download a bunch of vocal presets and cycle through them in your next session. This way you can trial and error which ones you like the best. Everyone’s voice is different. Some vocal presets are designed for female voices, some for male. Some vocal presets are designed for Autotune heavy rap music, some are designed for Justin Bieber style pop music. Just like everyone’s voice is different, everyone’s music goals are also different.
Vocal presets are an extension of you. If you find one that you like you can make a whole style out of it. If you think about it, your voice is your instrument, and vocal presets are essentially your effects rack. We don’t listen to dry synths or dry guitars very often on records, we add effects to make them sound cool. We can do the same thing with our voice. As subtly or extreme as we would like.
In short, choosing the best vocal preset is ultimately up to whatever your interpretation of the best vocal preset is. It’s different for everyone so there is no short answer. The best way to find the best vocal preset for you is to experiment as much as possible. As a suggestion I would download 10 vocal presets online today, go to the studio and play with them. You should pretty quickly be able to figure out which ones you like the best. Use those, ditch the others, or maybe save them for another time. Music is all about inspiration so whichever vocal preset inspires you is the best!