Vocal Mixing

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by EricIndecisive, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Hey guys, I'm trying to mix a song right now, I'll post it up here once it's all finished.

    I haven't gotten the finalized recording of everything, but no matter what I do the vocals always seem to 'stand out' from the rest of the mix.

    Putting reverb on helps a lot, and I double tracked the same take and made one sound a little bit different. That also helped. But it still doesn't stand out as much as I would like. How loud is it supposed to be listened to?

    I have been listening to famous artists songs on my iTunes, and its like when the volume is low, the vocals seem a bit low, but when I turn the volume up the instruments stay balanced and the vocals get much louder.

    Also in terms of space, this is what I have done so far, I'd love to know what you guys do.

    Drums - Outside left & right
    Guitars 1 and 2 - Way outside left & right
    Bass - a little to the right
    Vocals - a little to the left

    Thanks for any help
  2. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    People usually center the bass.
  3. Kent L T

    Kent L T Active Member

    You might post what you have so far and let people hear what you are talking about.

    There seems to be conflicting statements in your post as well. In the second paragraph you say the vocals seem to stand out but in the next paragraph they don't stand out enough. I am sure you meant they don't stand out but just wanted to make sure.
  4. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    haha its kind of both. to me it doesnt sound like it fits in the song, no matter if i turn it up or turn it down. but then when the volumes low its drowned out and when the volumes high it sounds drowned out. i am trying to finish writing the words and record them right now then i just have to finalize bass and write the drums. should be up by tonight though. ill center the bass as well.
  5. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    I'm not sure what kinds of plugins you have, but I usually compress my vocals then raise the make-up gain accordingly. Nothing drastic, but enough to bring up the gain of the nuances in the voice and keep the volume more constant throughout the tracks.
    Then if you feel that it is still lacking in substance, try slightly boosting up some of the low-mid range frequencies between about 400-1100 with a mid-ranged Q value. That is usually what I do when I feel my vocals are lacking in the mix.
  6. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    Thanks Jester, no plugins. I use an SM57, a behringer $50 mixer, and Adobe Audition 1.5. The way that I do compression is just by adjusting the volume on the needed parts haha. Obviously to a professional this mix will sound like crap, but I'm trying to listen to it on different devices. My computer speakers really dry out the sound. It sounds pretty good and has nice bass on the ipod though.

    I'm getting happier with how it's coming, the vocals are getting mixed in as I keep listening to it, I just need to make the guitars punch through now. After all this mixing is done then comes the easy part of finishing it!

    I'll hopefully have it posted in a couple of days.
  7. JesterMasque

    JesterMasque Active Member

    Looking forward to hearing it! Don't be ashamed of your set-up, we all start somewhere.

    Remember this when you are trying to get things to "punch through":
    Two sounds can not occupy the same frequency range at the same time. For example, you can not have a boomy, super-bassy kick drum if your bass guitar is already taking up those frequencies. If you do find things turning out like this, your mix will merely sound like a mish mash of instruments. So when you are trying to make things stand-out, try to focus more on sets of frequencies that you want each instrument to mostly occupy in the mix.
  8. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    Human Compression is cool

    Human compression is a great plugin!!! Its free and it listens for u!! Great post cuz even when I compress vox tracks, I still wind up adding automation to turn it up and down accordingly. This actually is good practice for your ears and it helps to not over compress later when u get a compressor.
  9. Yaseck

    Yaseck Active Member

    Re: Human Compression is cool

    Can You give a link?
  10. dscott

    dscott Guest

    hey man also keep your vocal center s well as your bass and kick
    alot of people find it hard to fit a vocal in the mix and a few guys have been spot on with their suggestions
    I narrow it down to a few things

    How good is the room sound u recorded it in cos if it aint tight u might hav a lot of lower mid wich is not needed making it "lost" in the mix wen u try to lower the volume

    How much eq hav u used?
    cos remember the ancient audio proverb 1 cut is worth a thousand boosts
    cos wen things start boostn in the mid range about 3-4-5- khz they apear to soak up a lot more frequency space than u might hav.

    and is it a dense arrangement?

    the other guys were spot on about compressing the vocal and a bit of fader riding to wrestle it into the mix lol

    hope u can use some of this 8)
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    A couple thoughts -

    1 - Center your main vox, kick and bass. This is extremely important.

    2 - Don't hard pan your guitars unless they're essentially doubling eachother. If they're not, pan them soft left and right.

    3 - Hard pan your drum overheads (and if you mic your toms, pan them accordingly

    4 - Add light compression to your vox (think soft ratio - 2:1 or so) and bring it up to the point where it just sits forward in the mix.

    Good luck.

  12. backinthelab

    backinthelab Guest

    Re: Human Compression is cool

    This is one of the funniest replies I've seen in a LONG time! LOL
  13. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    thanks for the replies guys! im still working on the track lol.

    drGonz - i have been doing that for the whole vocal track. Just listening and cutting down the really sharp parts and balancing things out. Its pretty fun actually!

    jester - dont really have any idea about frequencies, maybe my vocals are too much like my electric guitar?

    cucco - thanks, i use a program for the drums, so that stuff isnt important. i have two guitars in the mix, and have them hard panned to try and separate and create space. like you said ive centered the vox kick and bass. thanks!

    im hoping tonight to finish this so i can post it for you guys. my biggest problems is on my computer speakers, the vocals will seem to blend in and get drowned out. if i make them good on the speakers, they are too loud on the ipod! what do you guys do for this problem? is this what a good pair of monitors is for?
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    It's what a good pair of monitors and an accurate room are for.

    BTW - I know you say it's not a problem since the drums are programmed, but it they still need to be panned appropriately. Most drum samples either aren't panned at all (dead center) or are panned horribly. Since they're usually broken down by instrument (kick, snare, tom1, tom2, tom3, cymbals, hi hat, percussion) you can usually go in and change the pan on each instrument and trust me...I would.
  15. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Active Member

    oh yeah, i do that. i will make sure to get kind of creative with it, ill post it soon so you can hear it and give me suggestions! thanks cucco
  16. rocksure

    rocksure Active Member

    I have a few ideas on this but rather than write them here in detail, maybe check them out here
    http://www.koretzmusic.com/rocksure2.html#tip 4

    hope it helps
  17. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Smells a little like SPAM...
  18. Zefir

    Zefir Guest

    So let's say I have a sample(music), kick, snare, bass, hi hat, percussion, and effects, how should I pan all of these? Is there a standard?
  19. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    No, there's no standard.

    There are some generalities...

    For example-

    Kick dead center
    Snare off slightly to left (occassionally to the right too - also occassionally dead center - it depends what perspective you want - drummer's or audience.)
    High hat (again depending upon perspective) usually near hard left
    Cymbals - your choice.

    Effects?? depends upon the effect, but usually there's no "panning" of effects. As for other percussion, it's up to you.
  20. Zefir

    Zefir Guest

    Thanks for the reply.

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