Help with mixing vocals

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Dr.Bob, May 17, 2011.

  1. Dr.Bob

    Dr.Bob Active Member

    May 3, 2010
    Ok, so I recorded a song for my band, but the vocals, in my opinion, don't fit in very well with the rest of the mix.. I don't know its hard to explain, but here, listen to the song and please let me know what I need to improve on. Thanks!

    A Letter to Miranda by PalmTrees&Powerlines on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

    by the way, the mic we use is a Sterling ST-51, but I bought it used and kinda dented, could that be a major problem to the recording? Or am I just mixing it wrong? Or maybe thats the best the mic can do?
  2. benito.castaneda

    benito.castaneda Member

    Aug 1, 2011
    Dude I used to have the same problem in my mixes. I've learned that most of the time when the vocals don't "fit in the pocket" it has something to do in the EQ. Make sure the EQ of the vocals don't clash with the instuments tracks and have the same frequencies. Also, a "High Pass Filter" can be your best friend. I usually set mine around 200Hz. Just play with it a little bit until it sounds right to you. I'm fairly new to this stuff too, but i hope this helps.

    Cheers! :)
  3. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    May 22, 2011
    JHB, RSA
    Home Page:
    I'm sorry but this is all bad advice. EQ is not the problem, it is the solution to the problem, which is a bad recording. All this can be avoided with the right considerations in tracking.

    Also, applying a HPF as a matter of course, ESSPECIALLY at 200Hz, is completely wrong. That is way too far up into the lower fundamentals to be effective.

    If anything a compressor is the better option, preferably one that has character and smooths the top end, like an 1176LN (the UAD kind). Also, a dynamic EQ set to kill offending frequencies might help as I prefer this method to blanket EQ on vocals.

    Cheers :)
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    The problem with his vocal is multifaceted. While you are using a reasonable condenser microphone, the vocal needs some aggressive dynamics processor. You need a faster attack. You don't need to fast a release. You might need 8:1 ratio setting. You may also want some tight limiting to follow some aggressive compression. Personally, I feel this vocal begs for a good quality dynamic microphone like a SM58. It would have more meat than less thin crispy vegetables. These vocals need to drive the music. The music is dragging along the vocal. You might even consider some bandwidth limiting of the vocal? Just because the microphone can produce 20-20,000 doesn't mean your vocal needs this much bandwidth. And that's why I like SM58's. They have natural bandwidth limitations which frequently enhanced the vocal. When you want that crispy condenser sound, that's what you've got and you're not happy with that sound. While equalization may help, it may not give you the bite that a dynamic could? Remember a better microphone doesn't necessarily result in better sound. It results in different sound.

    Now you can also heavily affect the vocal by adding some purposeful overdrive distortion to it? This may create a greater point of interest to its sonic character. It sounds like everything was recorded with this microphone and so everything is competing with this microphone. It needs to stand apart from everything else. Now you could try some have the equalization followed by heavy dynamics processing or you might try some heavy dynamics processing followed by some equalization or all of the above. And you need to be up the place that vocal where you want it to be in the mix and have it stay there. So that's where compression & limiting come in and you may need to be slightly heavy-handed with that.

    Sock it to me
    Mx. Remy Ann David

Share This Page