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basic vocal track volume inquiry....

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Sound Diagnosis, Apr 27, 2003.

  1. As a general rule, when adding a vocal track to an existing musical accompanyment track prior to mixdown , would one slightly adjust the volume levels on the musical track for balance, or adjust the volume levels on the vocal track for balance? Methinks the musical track should be subtly adjusted for balance whilst leaving the vocal track alone for the most part. Any ideas or suggestions/opinions welcome! Thanks ~~~Lee
  2. That's a hard question to answer because it can depend on so many factors, but bottom line, you want a "good" level on both the vocal and the music AND most importantly, mix to where you consider everything sits where it should.

  3. Are you a politician, Carlos? Just kidding!!! Your response sits as true as any statement I have heard on this subject. Can't disagree at all with what you stated. But I just get this feeling that there must be some sort of industry-wide guideline and technique employed when faced with dynamic music changes and the vocal volume requirements to be employed during times of increasing musical accompanyment volume changes. Any other thoughts out there??
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I actually write automation moves for both the music and vocals. I like a mix to breath, have some movement, level shifts here and there. I hate a static mix. It is very common to ride the lead vocals in a mix . Kurt
  5. johnclark2

    johnclark2 Guest

    Hi Lee,

    First things first. I got your PM but have just been too busy over the last couple of days to get back to ya'....Sorry bout' that.

    On to the question at hand.
    Everyone doesn't work the same way so I'll tell you what I do. I'll try to keep this short and concise assuming you're already familiar with the mixing process. I will usually mix the track minus the vocals to the point where I think I can live with it. Once I'm at that point, if there are background vocals involved, I will mix those in before I add the lead vocal. The style of music you're mixing will determine where those background vocals sit. But they should definitely sit at a level where they can be understood. Once I'm happy with this part of the mix I will then mix in the lead vocal.....again mixing this element at a level that it can be understood clearly. Now let me just add that from the begining of the mix I will from time to time mix in the lead vocal just to see if, where , how, etc...it's gelling with the rest of the mix. But for the most part by the time you get to this point you should be just about there. Depending on what instruments you want to highlight at any given time will determine what you should tweak to obtain the desired effect. Some mixes require that you ride a fader or two to get something to sit where you want it. You may just decide to add a little compression to a track to get it to sit where you want it.

    Bottom line for me though is once I've done all my tweaking as far as the total track is concerned, The last thing I wind up adjusting is the lead vocal because after all if that's not right you got NADA.

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