Chapter 22 of 33 from Armin van Buuren

Vocal Session, Part 2: Comping

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Once Josh has finished singing, it’s time to “comp” his vocal performance. Watch Armin’s veteran ears and musical instincts at work as he and Josh select the best parts of each vocal take.

Topics include: Comping

Armin van Buuren

Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music

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- So now Josh left the vocal booth. He's here with me, and we're going to comp the first verse-- the first takes of the first verse. And I just want to have his opinion as well. I think it's important to know if he's happy with the recording that we just did. So what I'm going to do now, if you're OK with that, I'm going to go over each individual line, and play all the lines to him. And then we can both pick our favorites. And sometimes it means that he has a different favorite than me, and then we go into a discussion. So I'm really curious to see what he thinks of his vocal performance. So the first line in the song would be here. It's-- "she woke up in the morning" is the first line. So the first take was here. So I'm going to select the first take. And then I'm going to send it-- I'm going to send this to the stereo output for the moment. JOSH (ON RECORDING): (SINGING) She woke up in the morning. She woke up in the morning. She woke up in the morning. She woke up in the morning. She woke up in the morning. - One more time, first take. JOSH (ON RECORDING): (SINGING) She woke up in the morning. JOEL: Second take. JOSH (ON RECORDING): (SINGING) She woke up in the morning. JOEL: The third take. JOSH (ON RECORDING): (SINGING) She woke up in the morning. She woke up in the morning. JOEL: Do you have a favorite? - I don't know. It's between one and four for me, I think. - Really? - One's a little more subtle. Yeah. But I do like four. - I think the timing on three was good. - Three is also-- yeah. Two was definitely the one I don't like. - Two is the one you don't like? Why you don't like it? - Play it back. JOSH (ON RECORDING): (SINGING) She woke up in the morning. - That "C" on "cup" is so aggressive. To me, it has no feeling. (SINGING) She woke up. It's like a violent awakening. - OK. So your favorite would be one or four. JOSH (ON RECORDING): (SINGING) She woke up in the morning. - It's more subtle. - Yeah. - It feels like an opening line. - It's that morning. (SINGING) Morning. JOSH (ON RECORDING): (SINGING) She woke up in the morning. - This feels a little bit lazy. Laid back. Too laid back. - Mm hm. - So again, we were right. The very first take was the one. So for the first line, we've just selected the very first take. So that's going to go up. So I've selected this, and now I'm going to go to the second line. Again, first I'm going to play the very first take, which is this one. So I'm going to select this. Vocal comping is a very personal process. It is really what makes you an artist. And I think it's always very important to do it together with the vocalist, because he or she probably knows her voice the best. But I'm also knowing, as an artist, what I'm looking for, what kind of emotion I want. And I think you also have to take into account the meaning of the lyric, how you want that to come across. And somet...

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Every week, Armin van Buuren puts 41 million listeners into A State of Trance on his radio show. In his first-ever online class, the platinum-selling DJ breaks down his hits—and builds a track from scratch—to show you how he produces, performs, and promotes dance music. You’ll learn his technical process for using samples and plug-ins, mixing, recording vocals, and building a DJ set. Your crowd is waiting.

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Armin van Buuren

Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music