Author Topic: Mixing Vocals  (Read 2641 times)

Mixing Vocals
« on: April 13, 2013, 06:19:22 AM »
There are certain times where I can put some delay on a vocal, tweak the EQ in a few areas, and then there are other times when no matter what I do, I just cannot get the vocals to sit within the mix well at all. it's very frustrating. Does anybody have any tips fro mixing vocals as like a general rule of thumb? I know that you won't be able to apply the same rules for every song because the frequencies are going to be different, as are the vocals that you are intending to mix into the track. But just a general guide would be good.

So, how do you usually go about mixing your vocals into your tracks? Do you use reverb on the voice? Delay?

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Re: Mixing Vocals
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2013, 09:39:43 AM »
Adding time based effects like reverb to vocals of course makes them take up more space in the mix, and masks some of the other instruments but doesn't necessarily make the mix better. I find that cutting out room in the other instruments with EQ is a very efficient way to get the vocals to sit right. I always recommend cutting with EQ before boosting, and if you can find instruments that are taking up too much room in a certain frequency range that the vocals should be shining through in, you can simply reduce those frequencies in those instruments instead of boosting them in the vocals.

Also doing multiple takes of the vocal recording and panning one left one right and sitting one in the center can make for a very full vocal track that stands out even with a busy mix. Chorus effects help make vocals fuller as well, and is in theory a similar effect to doing the multiple takes panned out to an extent.

Making sure to gain stage the mic properly before recording the vocal can save you time when going to mix the vocals. If they are recorded at an optimal level but not too loud as to clip, you won't have to work as hard to mix them into the rest of the intruments. Also compression is commonly used on vocal tracks to help bring out some of the quieter parts of the signal, especially when you use a very sensitive mic that will cause the recording to vary drastically from numerous factors such as the artist moving slightly away from the mic (typically condenser mics are much more sensitive than dynamics), and increasing or decreasing how loud they are singing, etc...If there are a lot of parts that are much louder and others that are much quieter then you'll have a hard time to make the vocals sit in the mix properly as in some parts they'll sound loud and clear enough and other places they'll sink into the mix and be hard to hear. These type of situations are where compression can be your best friend.


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Re: Mixing Vocals
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2013, 04:08:01 PM »
I definitely add reverb and a little delay if I want that as an effect on the vocals. I also use the multipressor on Logic. That particular trick does amazing things on the vocal part!

Re: Mixing Vocals
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2013, 03:50:36 AM »
Adding time based effects like reverb to vocals of course makes them take up more space in the mix, and masks some of the other instruments but doesn't necessarily make the mix better. I find that cutting out room in the other instruments with EQ is a very efficient way to get the vocals to sit right. I always recommend cutting with EQ before boosting, and if you can find instruments that are taking up too much room in a certain frequency range that the vocals should be shining through in, you can simply reduce those frequencies in those instruments instead of boosting them in the vocals.

Also doing multiple takes of the vocal recording and panning one left one right and sitting one in the center can make for a very full vocal track that stands out even with a busy mix. Chorus effects help make vocals fuller as well, and is in theory a similar effect to doing the multiple takes panned out to an extent.

Making sure to gain stage the mic properly before recording the vocal can save you time when going to mix the vocals. If they are recorded at an optimal level but not too loud as to clip, you won't have to work as hard to mix them into the rest of the intruments. Also compression is commonly used on vocal tracks to help bring out some of the quieter parts of the signal, especially when you use a very sensitive mic that will cause the recording to vary drastically from numerous factors such as the artist moving slightly away from the mic (typically condenser mics are much more sensitive than dynamics), and increasing or decreasing how loud they are singing, etc...If there are a lot of parts that are much louder and others that are much quieter then you'll have a hard time to make the vocals sit in the mix properly as in some parts they'll sound loud and clear enough and other places they'll sink into the mix and be hard to hear. These type of situations are where compression can be your best friend.

These are some very useful tips :) Thank you for the informative post. I usually cut before boosting, and I usually do it one instrument at a time with every other instrument silent whilst I search one instrument for frequencies that I am not particularly fond of. What I hate about cutting other instruments to make room for vocals is that when I do cut other frequencies in other elements in the mix, that instrument then sounds less powerful and it has less impact. I know that that is what I want in order for the vocals to shine through, but mixing really is a game of give and take sometimes, and sometimes the compromise seems too much.

I pan A LOT, especially with vocals and percussion such as hi hats, and layered snares. I don't pan my kick drums, of course lol. I used to use chorus on vocals a lot when I first started out with producing music, looking for anyways to make the vocal sound professional, but it is something that i have stopped now, for some reason. hanks for the reminder :D

I usually get vocals from sample packs. I have never used a live vocal recording, or anything like that. I don't often compress my vocals much either. I will look into this. Your post was great. Thanks again!!!

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Re: Mixing Vocals
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2013, 09:10:06 PM »
Don't use too much Auto Tune. Or try not to use any if you can. Auto Tune is a bane to music in my opinion. It has really ruined it on some levels, while acting as trickery on other levels. Allowing us to think bad singers are decent or good.

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Re: Mixing Vocals
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 11:00:14 PM »
I honestly have not really mixed my vocals as my producer tends to do all the job. But today, I'm going to try! And thanks for these tips here that I'm reading, I might just work the whole thing out on my own! I'm excited. I'm gonna post the outcome and the things I did to it on this forum as an experiment. :-)

Re: Mixing Vocals
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 05:35:37 AM »
Oh don't worry NickJ, i hate auto tune and all of the sins that it has committed against modern day music lol. No, seriously. It sounds absolutely awful. Lil Wayne was one of the worst artists for this - at least I think it was him, it could be another rapper whose name is just not coming to me at the moment. Either way, I want to say that Lil Wayne had an entire album where every track was auto tuned.

I auto tune. There are a few rare situations where it really sounds ok, but that is it.

And good luck Diprod. One of the most important things is to have fun with your mixing, and don't be afraid to cut and boost certain frequencies.

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Re: Mixing Vocals
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 06:41:53 AM »
Auto Tune is, for me, something the "industry" used to create artists out of the blue, right?

But it can also be used to effect instruments, because it allows midi input to be used to affect the processed audio. Try dummy clips with autotune, and you will discover an interesting glitching world.
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Re: Mixing Vocals
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2013, 07:59:13 AM »
yeah me neither.
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