Vocal Mixing

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by music293, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. music293

    music293 Active Member

    First off, if this post should've been under the Vocal forum, I do apologize, but I decided it should go here since it pertains to mixing as opposed to capturing the vocal.

    Now to the matter at hand. I am having trouble getting my vocal tracks to sit well in the mix with everything else. It's either too loud or too soft, but never just right. Now, I know that you certainly can't give me any specific tips as I haven't given you a specific example, but what I am wondering is if there are some general guidelines I might not be following for mixing in your vocals with the rest of the mix.

    For your general info, I am mainly working with acoustic material.

    Also, when I am doing ad libs for a final chorus, for instance, I find it hard to have each vocal line/melody clearly represented in the mix. Even when I carve out e.q. from other instruments and pan to my heart's delight, I still find the vocals are lacking the clarity they need.

    Oh, and this is all presuming I have captured an excellent vocal.

    Thanks to all that help in advance!!!
  2. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Are you using compression?
  3. Oats

    Oats Guest

    not always, but in general i make the vox and the kick/snare the hottest things in the mix. the beat and the melody- ya know? now if you r doin acoustic stuff w/o drums that wouldn't really apply. but you should reference other cds that you like the vox mix of...
  4. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    I have had that problem if the vocal is too dry. If it is too in your face when I have a natural sounding level, then I lower the level, and put a little verb on it. If I just lower the level, it sounds unnatural and doesn't sit right. It also seems that I can have the background vocal louder if I have a little reverb on it.
  5. music293

    music293 Active Member

    Sure, I use compression some times, and other times I don't. Usually, though, I opt to use a touch of compression as it tends to smooth out the vocal lines to my ears.

    And I do add little bits of verb here and there, on the lead and backing tracks, or any combination.

    I guess the real problem I'm having is getting the vocal where I want it as far as space/level is concerned. If it's too soft, it sounds too distant, and if it's too loud, it is too "in your face" and tends to draw away from the rest of the mix. I'm just trying to get in that sweet spot. I get a little bit closer with each mix, but I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas that I hadn't thought of that I might try.

    Ideas always welcome!!! :)
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    It sounds like something EQ wise is getting in the way of the vocal when you try to back it down into the mix.

    Try Bringing up the vox first and then start adding things until the vocal starts to 'go away'....The last thing you brought up will be the start of the culprit. EQ this track and continue until all tracks are bedded and you can still hear the vocal, understand the lyric, hear the melody and feel the singers sorrow, pain, or joy.

    Dont be afraid to use pre-delay on your main vocal verb. Also...a plate is the best verb for a vocal. You can also sidechain an EQ onto the vocal reverb This allows you to EQ just the signal you run into the verb only.
  7. music293

    music293 Active Member

    Certainly! I shall try this as soon as I can.

    As far as plate verb is concerned I had heard that, but maybe I'm not using it correctly because every time I do, it sounds so tinny and hollow.

  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I guess the sound or the tone on the plate would be determined by the program or the hardware you're using. If its in software I'm sure there is somewhere you can adjust the reverbs parameters and get a more satisfying tone to it. If its hardware then if you have enough tracks or channels on a board, send to the plate the tracks you want to use it on , in this case vocals, and return to an open channel on the board and EQ from there to your stereo master.
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    If you're having trouble with your vocals, use your compressor. Set the compressor for 4: 1 to 20: 1. And when they are aggressively singing, make sure you are getting at least 10 to 15 DB of gain reduction. Yes that much, simply to make it sit down and behave itself. Don't forget to high pass filter the microphone before or after that compression. Boost a couple of DB at 10kHz and you're there man.

    Add multi-tap time delays & plate style reverb to taste.

    Crunch that crap out of the vocal
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  10. music293

    music293 Active Member

    So, I compressed the hell out of the main vocal with a high pass filter post compression. Then I bused the signal over to a plate verb with a 100ms decay and a 20ms pre-delay and eq'd to taste, finally returning the verb send back to the main mix.

    I've got to say, combining RemyRad's compression tip with Davedog's verb eq sidechain trick is sounding great!!

    I know this seems silly, but on both the compression e.q. and the verb e.q. I boosted slightly at right around 10k, it really seemed to open up the vocal and I liked it!

    If anyone else has any tips to add, I would love to hear them!!

    Thanks again Ladies and Gents!

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