5 Points to get Your Vocals to "Fit" in-the-Mix

Mixing is a touchy subject, it's the hardest to explain, yet, the easiest part of the production process!

 

Here's the simplest way to put it, After you've recorded your Song, Album or EP, it needs Post-Production editing.  (which means AFTER-EDITING)

The drums need to work with the Bass, and the guitars need to work with the Piano.

Simply put, it's getting all the instruments and Audio's to work together without everything sounding like they're fighting over each other. 

 

have you ever listened to a song where the Guitars are way higher than the vocals? Annoying right?

 

I split mixing into 2 Parts: 

"balance" & "Enhancement"

Why? When a song has been properly Mixed, all aspects of the song are Clear & Rich!

Now let's get to the Meat of the subject! Vocals! 

 

5 Points to make your Vocals Sit and Cut through the mix properly! 

 

1. Hi-Pass Filter

Your key #1 friend on your session is the hi-pass filter.

hi-pass filters only let the High's pass, and removes any low frequencies in the selected range.

for example: a 50hz Hi-Pass Filter will remove anything under 50Hz, in this case it removes any SUB or Bassy frequencies that may reside in a home-Studio, that's what typically sits there anyways.

 

  • Start-up the process by giving your full mix a low-end check to make sure all the instruments are working along with the bass instruments and not over powering the low-end Specturm, what do I mean? Your guitars should have a hi-pass filter on 120hz, the bass element there should only belong to the
  • BASS, your guitar does not need that.
    (Assuming that it's not an acoustic song)
    do the same for your Keys, Pads, strings, except for your KICK, that's separate.  
    To clarify, the only 2 instruments that should have a nice strong Bass Range are your Bass And Kick. (On another blog I'll show you how to make your bass and Kick work together.)
    Believe it or not, a bad low-end filled mix can disrupt your Vocal Track and it's Space in the mix.

    2. EQ

    EQ for my beginners is a set of frequency range in a spectrum. 

    An EQ plugin allows you to ADJUST the volume of frequencies, it's that simple. 

    • assuming it's a male Vocal, bring up the 200hz range to give the Vocal some BEEF, it makes the Vocal fat, just in case it's to thin and gets lost with the music.
    • around the 500hz range there's usually some roomy annoying frequencies, you can lift it up just hear it, once your spot it, take it DOWN. Usually a 3db cut would do the track. (Db = Decibals, which is basically another term for Volume in technical terms .) 
    • this onces my favorite, go ahead and lift up the 4K-5k range, that will add some clarity and crisp, to brighten up the Vocal nicely. 
    • very carefully bring up (just a hair) on the 16k range, this will just enhance the Vocal, and give some SHINE, don't over do it. 

    3. Compression

    Compression is another MAJOR KEY, it basically helps you control very dynamic elements.

    When something gets REALLY LOUD then really soft; its hard to control or Estimate it's dynamics. Compressors will shorten out the peaks so that it stays at a controllable volume. 

    Here are the terms: 

    ratio = how hard you wanna compress

    threshold = where you want this compression to begin

    Output gain = extra gain, after something has been compressed it need some extra volume to compensate for the cut.

    attack = how quick do you want the compressor to act? 

    release = when do you want it to let go? 

    4. SLAP Delays

    • This ones my secret sauce. Vocals are typically recorded in MONO which means they aren't stereo at don't articulate on L - R speakers, there just one channel and widen. a Slap delay will help your Vocal widen out so that it's more prominent in the Mix, a STEREO Slap delay at a very short delay, maybe like 7-10ms will help your Vocal Stay on the forefront of all the Other performances in the track.
    • you can smack a Slap Delay on a Bus, route it to your Vocals, and bring in the bus little by little, the key is not to be able to hear it. It's a subtle touch.

    5. Reverb

    reverbs help design space, and bring the subject eaither closer or farther in the mix, 

    for example:  if I put reverb on a guitar it might make it seem like if it's farther in a room, to where as if I put a guitar without reverb it'll make it seem closer in the mix,  

    The goal often times is to put reverb on particular instruments to make them seem a little bit farther; so that you can have the vocals a little bit closer, this is to differentiate the instruments and the vocals in the mix by Order of importance

    • 1 primary tip is to add Both a Mono and a Stereo reverb on the Vocal to give it depth on both stereo devices and Mono devices such as Phone speakers and laptop Speakers.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    hope you enjoyed the read, feel free to ask questions at studio@luiscancion.com

    happy mixing!