Advice needed for mixing multiple vocal tracks

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by apl, Feb 18, 2010.

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  1. apl

    apl Guest

    Hi all,
    I'm mixing a song that includes guitar, piano, lead vocals, and a slew of background vocals all of which come from the same singer. The background vocal tracks have 2 or 3 parts with up to 4 voices on each part.... so about 12 voices in all. We're looking for a choir effect. Anybody have any hints into how I should eq these vocals so they don't produce dissonance (especially the ones in unison)? For example, should I eq each one slightly different so it sounds like a different voice? And also any advice on how to mix these so they lay easily in the track with the guitars and piano? Any tips on reverb or compression? I know each case is unique, but I wondered if anybody has tackled this before with success.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Mar 20, 2000
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    What is your gear list and DAW you are using?
  3. apl

    apl Guest

    Sorry, I thought that would show up in my profile or something.
    I'm using Logic Express 8 on a Macbook w/2 gig Ram, vocals were recorded on a CAD 177 - Echo AudioFire 4 Interface. I guess that's all that's pertinent.
  4. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    My experiments with just using EQ to try and make voices appear different in a choir effect yielded poor results in my opinion. I think it has to do with formants Formant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia , and other things like slight delays that occur naturally in a choir. There are vocal harmony plugins that do this type of thing. This is a very inexpensive one that someone I know uses.
    Clone Ensemble DirectX / VST Plug-in
    They can be quite pricey and I am not sure what level recording you are looking for. This does unison harmony which is the same pitch or altered (higher/lower) male/female, one additional voice or up to 24. I would like to hear where you end up on this, so at the conclusion of whatever you choose to do maybe you could post before and after samples in the Song and Mix forum.
  5. apl

    apl Guest

    Nice, I'll look into some of those cloning tools. I'm on mac, so it's difficult to use the one you suggested, although I went to it's samples and they sounded great.
    I'll take a look round.
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    One of my suggestions which may not be pertinent to your existing tracks? When using the same singer to sing multiple parts, one should vary the distance & types of microphones used. When you use the same microphone at the same distance, as many folks do, you will get a phasey effect. With most digital mixing these days done in the computer, you can vary the time at which they play out. Some you can slightly advance, some you can slightly delay. These are very small time delay differences so as not to create echoes. Some other pieces of software can go as far as changing the formant of the voice. This will truly create a more unique sound. I have an old hardware harmonizer that has a preset called " Ethel Merman" and it really does make everybody sound like that. Certainly good for a laugh. Nothing I've used much on anybody's recording however.

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    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Of the things mentioned in this thread Logic Express surely does come with a lot of processing power. Firstly you have the plug under modulation called 'Ensemble' and that might be useful on some of the backup voices, not sure I'd use it on the lead voices. On the topic of formant, Logic has a plug called Vocal Transformer that allows you to change the formant, play with that on some of the backup voices, again I would keep the lead voice unprocessed and unaffected save for any necessary EQ and compression.

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