Just came across an article about an interesting parallel EQ-ed compression trick for vocals, which can bring really nice presence to vocals without making them sounding harsh, so I tried to recreate it with my setup, and here’s what it turned out (the original article in German is here).
So the idea is that from your main vox track you make a pre-fader send to a bus (called LeadVoxPultec here), where you do the parallel processing, and you route both this bus and the original Lead Vox to the output bus (called All Lead Vox here), so now you can add as much ‘direct’ and as much ‘processed’ vocal as you want.
Here’s like it looks like in Cubase I use, but I’m sure you know your DAW and can set it up in a similar way.
Then you put the processing on the parallel FX bus, which is practically a Pultec-like EQ, followed by a compressor with internal sidechain HPF, and then another Pultec-like EQ. So I grabbed two instances of Waves PuigTec EQP1A and a CLA-2A.
Now, the idea is that you use the first EQP1A to dip the lows and boost treble, in order to prepare what frequencies will trigger the compressor which follows in the first place.
Next, you put in a compressor, and you use the internal sidechain HPF in order to keep the compressor from being triggered by lower frequencies, so it reacts more on the ‘presence’ part. Gain reduction here can go somewhere like crushing -20dB, because we will be using this in parallel to blend it into the main vox.
Now, another EQP1A is used with kinda opposite settings as opposed to the first one in order to compensate for overall frequency response of the parallel chain.
To wrap up, all those three plugins are in the LeadVoxPultec bus used for parallel processing, so due to the routing I can blend to taste some of the processed LocalVoxPultec FX bus into the LeadVox.
I tried it with several vocal samples, and I highly recommend to play with similar setup, which really brings up lead vox in a very solid manner without making it sound harsh or brittle.