Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by SCS, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. SCS

    SCS Guest

    Anyone got experience mixing/fixing bad vocals???

    Hearing these modern punkbands live, it's like hey they can't sing. Okey some might... but it isn't very common. And when you're listening to a record, it's like day and night... Do they fix all this in the studio, or do they push the record button to the final take is on tape...?

    I got this mix project for fun from a local band and also good friends of mine. Everything's great, great drums, great guitars and so on, except the vocals. It isn't like it's out of tune, okey sometimes but not that much. But still it doesn't sound good. I've tryed to compress and eq out of hell, but after hours my ears get tired and nothing sounds right.

    How can I fix the vocals? I know it will never sound like pro, but descent, it's just a demo. If it was a serious recording for a label, I would get the singer to sing it all over again. But for a demo, it's hard telling your friend he sucks...

    What should I use... plugins? settings and so on, effects? I've heard about dub it?

    Mixing vocals is something new, cus me myself can't sing, and that's why I've always been doin' this instrumental songs for myself and to independet skate & snowboard movies...

    All help would really be appriciated!

  2. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    Try melodyne.
  3. It's a tough situation. The probable result is that you do your best to make your friend happy and end up with something you won't want credit on.

    We should identify, though, that "bad" is much more relative than "out of tune." It's possible your vocalist sounds exactly the way he/she wants to, so find some diplomatic way to ask if he/she is happy with the way the vocals are sounding.

    It might sound counterintuitive, but "bad" vocals sound much more pleasing [to me] as loud in a mix rather than concealed. The classic example is Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill: when you hear a source so up-front and clear in a mix, immaterial to the performance, it connotes a sense of confidence and on-purposeness.

    Of course, it only took a child to see the Emperor was naked...
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    I figure if Melodyne can work on my terrible voice, it works.
  5. SCS

    SCS Guest

    Any good vocal mix tip?

    What should I put in my plugin chain? how do I make a fake "dubbed" vocal? Should i get like the Waves Doubler or copy the track and bring it back a cupple of millisecs?

    Okey bad is maybe the wrong word... but when I solo it, it sounds ok... But with the mix, it doesn't go with the mix. As I said I'm pretty new at mixing vocals, so maybe I'm doin it all wrong...

    Basically I use 2 compressors, one focusrite and one 1176 but just a little bit compression with that, to give it a little colour. And then I use the focusrite D2 for EQ. And for vocals I also tend to use delay a little bit more than reverb...
  6. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    You say everything else sounds great without the vocals? Maybe you're EQ'ing the wrong thing? Maybe there's so much cacophony going on in your vocalist's range that no matter how you EQ him, it won't "go with the mix"? Maybe you need to carve out a bit of room from one/both guitars? It all has to work together. Sometimes adding one more element wrecks the entire balance of sound. Something's gotta give. It may not take too much, and it may just need a bit of EQ on both elements to get them out of each other's way, so that it still sounds pretty decent without one or the other.

    Is your panning such that it leaves the clangorous guitars out of the middle of the mix, to leave room for something else, or do you have a wall of sound that you are trying to sit something on top of? Are your crash cymbals panned so as not to attract attention from the vocal in the middle?

    Your vocal should be down the middle, riding on top of the bass guitar and kick drum. Is that vocal track isolated, or did he do it with the rest of the band blasting so that there is another lower-level mono track of the tune in the background on his track? If not isolated, you may be adding in frequency/phase problems that clash with the rest of the music. With every other instrument effectively doubled at some level along with that track, no matter what you do that track, it affects all others? Check that. If it's the case, then running it through a compressor may even make it worse. And running it through a time-based effect will be even more worse.

    If it's isolated, then it should be easier to deal with. Normally, punk is the anti-effects type of music...which means dry and in yo' face, maggot! :x OK, maybe a bit of cheap reverb...but not enough to tell in the mix. Definitely no R&B lush reverb with a slight delay. YUCK! No John Lennon ADT, and definitely no Sun Records slapback! Unless you are actually doing rock-a-billy punk.

    Then again, being punk means throwing all the rules out the window and doing what you darn well please. Maybe it would sound even better with everything crammed right down the middle for a full-frontal assault! Maybe you could run his vocal through a stompbox distortion and radically EQ it so it sends out the age-old message that "We are gonna DESTROY YOU with our attitudes and sound! Ha-a-ack...phphooey!" :lol:

    Try a bunch of stuff. Can't hurt it if you don't destroy the original.

  7. SCS

    SCS Guest

    thanx for the reply...
  8. Music_Junky

    Music_Junky Active Member

    Nov 1, 2006
    Reykavik Iceland
    Sure try copying the track and than distort and compress the hell out of it.

    Does the singer have a deep voice?
    have you tried to cut some of the low end?

    I use distortion alot on vocals specialy rock and punk and sometimes it sounds great.

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