Lead Vocal Chain by Nick Brophy: StudioRack Unchained

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Hone your mixing skills by studying the chains of the pros. In this video, producer/engineer/mixer Nick Brophy (The Rolling Stones, Avril Lavigne, Big & Rich) takes you under the hood of his unique StudioRack vocal chain.

‘NB Vocal’ is included in the StudioRack plugin chainer as an Artist Preset. Download StudioRack free now, and try it on your vocal tracks.

Nick Brophy about the ‘NB Vocal’ StudioRack Chain


“The purpose of ‘NB Vocal’ is to give you all the tools needed to make a vocal sound good and ‘mix-ready’ as you’re producing a song – all in one place. Different vocal tracks require different treatment, and this chain is built to provide a versatility of options that can compliment different types of vocals.”

“The chain features a collection of my favorite plugin combinations and settings for vocals, including the V-EQ3, DeEsser, CLA-76, SSL E-Channel, Abbey Road Saturator, Doubler, H-Delay, Q10, J37 Tape and H-Reverb plugins. There are various options for high-frequency and low-frequency EQ, compression, doubling, radio & distortion effects, delay and reverb. All the painstaking signal routing has been organized and consolidated into one chain.”

StudioRack Vocal Mixing Chain: Nick Brophy

“Much effort was applied to maintain unity gain throughout the chain, so that adding or subtracting compression alters the compression effect while maintaining volume level. It’s helpful when A/Bing your results without having to adjust faders to compensate.”

“Finally, ‘NB Vocals’ features eight macros for quick control of the most important aspects of the chain – so what you are getting here is in effect my custom ‘signature vocal plugin’ with just eight key knobs.”

“To keep this ‘custom plugin’ super-versatile, with a lot of alternative options for vocal processing, five of the macros have been defined so that the center position (12:00 o’clock) = no effect, counterclockwise (left of center) = Option A, and clockwise (right of center) = Option B. To see what I mean, check out the description of the macros below.”

‘NB Vocal’ – Macro Controls

  1. LF Level Low-frequency gain: +/- 6 dB at 100 Hz

  2. HF Level High-frequency gain: +/1 dB at 10 kHz

  3. Comp 1176 compression amount

  4. Radio - Dist:
    • Counterclockwise (left of center) = Radio EQ filter amount
    • Clockwise (right of center) = Abbey Road REDD console overdrive amount

  5. Dbl - Ursa Doubling style effect select:
    • Counterclockwise (left of center) = classic stereo doubling
    • Clockwise (right of center) = Ursa Major 8 multitap stereo delays

  6. Slap - 8th Short delay select:
    • Counterclockwise (left of center) = J37 stereo tape slap
    • Clockwise (right of center) = 1/8-note delay

  7. Qtr - Bnc Long delay select:
    • Counterclockwise (left of center) = stereo 1/4-note delay
    • Clockwise (right of center) = 1/8-note delay panned left, 1/4-note delay panned right

  8. Vrb 1 - Vrb 2 Reverb select and amount:
    • Counterclockwise (left of center) = short reverb
    • Clockwise (right of center) = long reverb


Music featured in the video:
“Ready For This”
Performed by LÒNIS
Written by Jennifer Hanson and Nick Brophy
Produced by Nick Brophy and Jennifer Hanson
Engineered and mixed by Nick Brophy

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