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The Breakdown: Goodboys on how they treat vocals in-the-box

In the latest edition of our video series The Breakdown, we visited Grammy-nominated production duo Goodboys in the studio to hear more about how they record and produce their platinum-selling pop-house tracks.

In the video above, the pair break down their in-the-box approach to vocal treatment, running us through several plugins that help them achieve their signature sound. 

Logic Pro X

(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: The first step is to comp vocal takes. Josh does this in Logic Pro, selecting the best moments of each take. Next he applies Auto-Tune (opens in new tab). “I don’t record with Auto-Tune active,” he explains. “I like to have a bit more control to take it off afterwards.”

Logic Pro X

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: “We record all of our vocals two semitones above the track’s pitch,” Josh explains. “We then pitch it down with [SoundToys] Little AlterBoy.” Josh uses both the formant and pitchshift parameters to capture their signature tone. “It can be long and very confusing, but that’s how we like to do it,” Ethan adds.

Logic Pro X

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: That lead vocal is then processed using iZotope Nectar (opens in new tab). “If you don’t really know what you’re doing with vocals, like me, this is great,” Josh tells us. Nectar’s Vocal Assistant adds a gate, EQ and de-esser to help tidy up the recording.

Logic Pro X

(Image credit: Future)

Step 4: The next processor is Soundtheory’s Gullfoss (opens in new tab) intelligent EQ, applying dynamic processing. After this, Xfer’s much-loved freebie OTT applies some parallel multiband compression. “I only use it at around 10%,” Josh explains.

Logic Pro X

(Image credit: Future)

Step 5: The next stage is to layer additional vocals in. Josh uses VocAlign (opens in new tab) to get several vocal takes in time ready for processing. “This is honestly the GOAT,” he tells us. “It saves so much time getting everything in sync.”

Logic Pro X

(Image credit: Future)

Step 6: Doubled vocals are spread into the left and right stereo channels. Josh also records high doubled versions of the vocal line and octave above the original. “They don’t sound very good on their own,” he admits, “but all together it really brings them to life.”

Goodboys on how they produced their Vintage Culture collaboration "This Feeling"

In our final video, Goodboys open up their DAW to breakdown a recent collaborative project with Vintage Culture, walking us through several key elements of their arrangement. Check out the track below, or visit Goodboys on YouTube (opens in new tab) and Instagram (opens in new tab) to find out more.

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