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How do you treat HArmony vocal lines?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by SunDaze, May 27, 2010.

  1. SunDaze

    SunDaze Active Member

    Is there any standard way to pan harmonies.?

    Do you have a method to get them to working in the mix?.
  2. Lionaudio

    Lionaudio Guest

    I usually high cut the harmonies somewhat so that they aren't competing with the lead vocal or track them with a fairly dark mic. Also send them to the same reverb as the lead, but more than the lead to give the impression of being further away. panning is dictated by what other instruments I have going on. sometimes leaving the harmony dead center works, and sometimes they need to be panned wide. I also smash the backing vocals with compression to keep them solid and in their place
  3. DJFlexx

    DJFlexx Active Member

    Lionaudio is correct in saying that you definitely don't want to have your bvgs competing with your lead vocal(s) in a mix! It is extremely important to allow the lead vocal to breathe by giving it "it's own space" to live in. In other words, make sure that the frequencies from your lead are competing with the frequencies from your bvgs. Lionaudio achieves that by recording with a "dark" mic, I achieve it through several ways. You can use a different sounding mic which equates to different frequency responses and a different sound or you can throw a tube or solid state mic pre on the bvgs. Sometimes if you like using the same mic on bvgs as you do on lead and your lead is using oh lets say an API 512c or X-rack type mic pre then you might try a Joe Meek Pre (if you're on a budget) or Summit Audio Mic pre/Avalon on the bvgs. Lionaudio is also correct in saying that using panning is key but remember if you are just using one mic for bvgs and you are cloning your bvg track in order to make a "stereo" track then you must put one of them out of phase and also make sure that you give your bvgs a solid spread within the stereo image (i.e. panning them hard left or right or halfway left or halway right). This will give your bvgs and your lead their own little space to live in and therefore not make them compete for space within the mix. Also, make sure that your bvgs are not overpowering your lead vocal(s).

  4. SunDaze

    SunDaze Active Member


    Thank you for the tips guys.
    I only use 1 mic ,so I will try your suggestion Flex and duplicate ,slide one outta phase and pan them.
  5. audioangel

    audioangel Active Member

    With BV's depending on the style of track and how big i want them to sound. I record them several times with the same vocalists and build up the sound to how I want it. You need a good vocalist who can sing the same thing over and over. You can manipulate digital audio really easily make sure you sync it all up and I often remove heavy plosives from all but one or two tracks.
    I route all my BV's to a bus and put the reverb on there and bring it up in the mix from infinity til it sits nicely in the mix.
    When routing you can pan the individual tracks to create the spread you want.

    Beware if your audio interface is noisy, recording several tracks will bring up the noise level significantly.
  6. tifftunes

    tifftunes Active Member

    Whenever I hear, and/or participate in this kind of post, I always think of some of my favorite music, and the limitations of the era... I'm speaking in particular of the 60s. You could only do so much with what you had then. In the 60s, you had great limitations compared to now... But using that experience, it's not the gear that matters, but how you use it.

    Talent matters! You still cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear! However, you can make great recordings with limited gear.

    Learn your gear, use it wisely. After talent, how you work that talent is the most important ingredient.

    It's still an experiment in sound. "If it sounds good, it is good!"

    Most importantly, enjoy the ride!!
  7. SunDaze

    SunDaze Active Member

    1st attempt

    Thanks for the advice guys.
    I have done a 1st mix of our song which has some harmonies.

    I didnt duplicate the tracks but I used some AIR stereo and a different,bigger room reverb than the lead.

    The lead was sung in a different/ biggish room with a reverb that I dont like , so I put a smaller room reverb on top
    to try ang get it closer.

    sample is here: soundclick.com/fingerprintnz
  8. Cool Sound

    Cool Sound Guest

    I usually spread them across the stereo field, leave the middle for the lead and rout them to one bus and then EQ and compression.
  9. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    I typically compress them more than the lead, so the articulations of the lead stand out above the background vocals.

    I also will often send each background vocal track to a single common light chorus effect. This tends to blend them together into a unit.


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