How To Achieve Industrial Vocals – Tutorial

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So you listen to your favorite industrial band, and they have this aawweesome, distorted-sounding vox. You, being the music producer you are, try to replicate this sound. You try and try to no avail. Distortion just doesn’t do it right, and you’d have trouble trying to do it live anyway, seeing as you’ll get feedback from hell. How do you do it?

First of all: DO NOT USE DISTORTION (Maybe just a *tad* in some cases). It removes / destroys the harmonics of your voice, sounds downright ugly, and you won’t be able to replicate the effect live without feedback.

Many of you probably already know how to do this, but I know many others of you are struggling.

This is just one way of many to do this. Done right, this is probably one of the best ways to go about it. At a later date, I will post more methods.

With this tutorial, I include an Mp3 to demonstrate, as well as an XRNS file you can take a look at. If you want to look at this XRNS file, you can go to and download the demo. It’s really just a hacked up, few lines too-happy of a ‘aggrotech’ track. After the main part plays, you will hear the vocals recorded dry (no effects) and then the vocals with effects.

XRNS (Renoise file)

This method is based off of what many industrial musicians do. It’s my ‘replication’ of a specific patch on the Boss SE-50, which you can use live.

The MAJORITY of the sound is going to be coming from your own voice. You can try screaming, whispering, singing, yelling, shouting, anything. In this example, I just experimented with different ways of ‘singing,’ until I found something I liked. However you record your vocals is going to be where the majority of the sound comes from. In my example, I used a combichrist-reminiscent shout.

After you get your track recorded, duplicate it a few times. In this example, I used four. Pitch shift one up by one semitone, another down by one semitone. For the other two duplicates, shift up two semitones, and down two semitones, respectively. So from the original, you have +1, +2, -1, -2. You can throw in the original vox as well. When pitch shifting, be sure to use one which will keep the same time.

Then on the tracks, you could add a few ms delay, I’d say no larger than 50 ms (make it different for each), with no feedback and muted source to thicken it a bit.

Mix these all together, apply a little flanger, phaser, or chorus to ‘blend’ the sounds together, and off you go!

In my example, I used the following effects: Compressor, Flanger, Filter, and then a *tad* bit of Bit cruncher for warmth. No distortion!

See, isn’t that simple!?
Again, at a later date, I may elaborate on other methods of achieving an industrial vocal sound.

Also: for those of you who are experienced, any criticism would be welcome. Also, you should leave other misc. tips for others. ^_^


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