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audio Mixing a kid's vocal into karaoke tracks

Discussion in 'Fix This MIX!' started by quesne, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. quesne

    quesne Active Member

    Hello All:

    I have a little project that has me stumped. I am sure lots of folks on the forum do this all the time, but I have never tried it.

    My 8 year-old son wanted to record his voice doing the "Scar" vocal in the Lion King song "Be Prepared". I found a karaoke version of the music on YouTube, and we laid down a few tries for his "Scar" impression. The vocal track in the DropBox is the last one we did, and there are L and R tracks for the music.

    I have tried several things myself, but I am not really getting very far. The vocal always seem to be either "drowning" in the music, or sitting way up on top. I am providing the original, raw wav files here (no comp, eq, limiting, etc.)

    Any assistance would be much appreciated. If possible, please let me know what steps you took to improve the mix as I am also working on songs from Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast :)

    Thank you very much, in advance!

    P.S. To the Disney aficionados out there ;-) please forgive the fact that he is doubling some of the "hyena" parts. I promise to cut them out when I do the final edit :)

    BTW - I use Reaper, and I also have a copy of Sonar X1 LE

  2. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    There's no space in the track for the vocal to sit - I had a quick go in Cubase with a compressor and used the vox to control the sedition, dipping the track to allow the vocal to sit. Looking at it spectrally the vox is also in the same kind of frequency area as the background - so it's difficult with this combination. I assume reaper can do this kind of thing.
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    compress the vocal track at 2:1 and a gain reduction of 3dB ... remix.
  4. quesne

    quesne Active Member

    Thank you very much paulears. Pretty sure I follow what you mean when you say you "used the vox to control the sedition", though it sounds like you are using some automated process. If you don't mind, please clarify to make sure I understand:

    You are using a VST compressor/eq on the music tracks. Your VST plug-in monitors the vocal track and correspondingly adjusts compression and eq on the music to create a sonic "space" for the vocal to sit in. Is that an accurate explanation? Or am I completely lost ? :)

    If I am not understanding you correctly, do you know of a resource I can go to learn your vox/sedition technique? (last thing I want to do is waste your time with a lengthy explanation and questions :)

    If my understand above is correct, however, can anyone out there help me identify what automated VST tool(s) I would use to accomplish in Reaper what paulears has done in Cubase?

    Thank in advance!
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    what Paul is describing is called ducking, a technique commonly applied in broadcast environments which is Paul's strong point. although the process will work, you will wind up with a music track that changes volume dependent on what the vocal is doing. no problem with a VO but it's not how proper music production is done.

    the proper way to do it is as i described. reduce the dynamic range of the vocal, add volume until it sits correctly and remix. if you're editing the vocal anyway, its not that big a deal to do it.
    DonnyThompson likes this.
  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Agree with Kurt, another thing to do if there is a frequency battle is to use an EQ on the music and try to craft a space for the vocal.. or re-eq the vocal with the music in mind and find a spot it will shine.. I prefer the first option since the vocal is the most important thing in your project. (the only track you recorded..)
    I have yet to listen to the tracks.. just thinking out loud about it ;)
  7. quesne

    quesne Active Member

    Thanks very much. I applied everyone's advice this afternoon.

    Aside from the compression and gain change, I used Voxengo AnSpec to identify peak frequencies in the vocal, and I lightly pushed them down in the music with the ReaFir EQ. Also, I added a little warmth on the vocal with Voxengo Tub Amp.

    Seemed to have worked pretty well (at least well enough to share with my wife and kids :)

    My first-try mix is in the Dropbox.

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