Author Topic: Vocal mixing tips/tricks  (Read 2362 times)

dontloveme

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Vocal mixing tips/tricks
« on: January 07, 2016, 06:00:16 pm »
didn't really see a thread for mixing vocals, so thought i'd make one myself.

some personal tips of mine:
  • if you're having trouble getting your vocals to punch through a mix, try using a mid-side EQ and scooping out around 1k-2k by a few db in the mid channel, like so. (this tip only really applies if you're mixing vocals over a wav/mp3 instrumental that you don't have much control of. if you have control over the instrumental, eq the problem elements and not the whole master channel for better results.)
  • alternatively, using sidechain on a multiband compressor around 1k-2k with a fast attack and medium-slow release can achieve the same effect, and can preserve the mids when the vocals aren't present
  • ad-libs sound cool with a bit of the haas effect, but be careful because they can disappear when listening in mono
  • to add some buildup to the vocals, make a duplicate vocal channel and throw a long tailed reverb on it set to 100% wet. cut off the first bit of the vocal (example) then bounce the channel to a wav file. delete the first bit where the vocals are playing (example) then reverse the bounce. move it over to before the start of the vocals, mess around with the fades, lower the volume and bam, you've got yourself a nice buildup/riser (example). i personally also like to throw a frequency shifter set to ring with automation set to go from 1hz to 10hz for a cool effect.
i'm not the best producer in the world so i have no clue if any of these tips are "right" per-se, but they do sound damn good imo when used correctly.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 06:44:51 pm by dontloveme »

Shew

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Re: Vocal mixing tips/tricks
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2016, 06:03:40 pm »
I've been struggling lately with pitching vocals.  I tried to do a remake of Flux Pavilion's beat the clock (http://www.factmag.com/2016/01/06/flux-pavilion-against-the-clock/) but when I record my own vocals and pitch them up they sound horrible in comparison.  Perhaps it's because I'm using ableton's pitching algorithm?  What are other peoples vocal pitching techniques?  Usually I just pitch up and complex/pro and pray it sounds good
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Volant

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Re: Vocal mixing tips/tricks
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2016, 06:07:27 pm »
A good idea when writing vocal tracks would be to pay attention to what is going on in the mix as you write it and thinking about where youre going to place the vocal both songwriting-wise and mixwise so it can truly shine. That way you won't work yourself into a corner where you don't know how to make the vocal cut through.

A lot of good EDM tunes (Clarity for example) put the vocal over the breakdown where it has a lot of space to do its magic, then let the drop stay instrumental for the most part. Just make sure the vocal is able to play the main part of the song when it kicks in. Easier to make it sound full and present when there isn't much rubble to get out of the way to begin with.

I've been struggling lately with pitching vocals.  I tried to do a remake of Flux Pavilion's beat the clock (http://www.factmag.com/2016/01/06/flux-pavilion-against-the-clock/) but when I record my own vocals and pitch them up they sound horrible in comparison.  Perhaps it's because I'm using ableton's pitching algorithm?  What are other peoples vocal pitching techniques?  Usually I just pitch up and complex/pro and pray it sounds good

The best way to do it is to just timestrech / resample them to raise the pitch, the same way you'd do it as when you play a vinyl record at a higher speed. That way you dont get any stretch artifacts. You'll obviously need to sing slower to match the final BPM (to get that right, just write your melody in the desired pitch with a lead synth, bounce it, then stretch it down to your vocal range, record yourself, then speed that recording up - you'll end up with a recording that's clean and at the right pitch & tempo).
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 06:10:24 pm by Volant »

VOIID

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Re: Vocal mixing tips/tricks
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 06:10:09 pm »
I've been struggling lately with pitching vocals.  I tried to do a remake of Flux Pavilion's beat the clock (http://www.factmag.com/2016/01/06/flux-pavilion-against-the-clock/) but when I record my own vocals and pitch them up they sound horrible in comparison.  Perhaps it's because I'm using ableton's pitching algorithm?  What are other peoples vocal pitching techniques?  Usually I just pitch up and complex/pro and pray it sounds good
It probably is because of the pitching algorythm since he talked about it on his "Emotional: Track Masterclass" Video

Stax

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Re: Vocal mixing tips/tricks
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2016, 06:13:51 pm »
I will use phaser, chorus, delay, reverb and distortion. Not in that order and not always all of those plugins. Eq out the bottom. Phaser or chorus on higher freq to add the sparkle. I will say this I usually have my distortion last in the chain of process. example: Eq, phaser, Delay ---Then A small amount of distortion as like a glue. Just enough to make the rest of the plugins punch. Side note!! thats just to make it more present. If done correctly the vocals will sit nicely and small amounts of eq and or compression/side chain after will really gel in into the mix.
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Shew

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Re: Vocal mixing tips/tricks
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2016, 06:18:00 pm »
A good idea when writing vocal tracks would be to pay attention to what is going on in the mix as you write it and thinking about where youre going to place the vocal both songwriting-wise and mixwise so it can truly shine. That way you won't work yourself into a corner where you don't know how to make the vocal cut through.

A lot of good EDM tunes (Clarity for example) put the vocal over the breakdown where it has a lot of space to do its magic, then let the drop stay instrumental for the most part. Just make sure the vocal is able to play the main part of the song when it kicks in. Easier to make it sound full and present when there isn't much rubble to get out of the way to begin with.

I've been struggling lately with pitching vocals.  I tried to do a remake of Flux Pavilion's beat the clock (http://www.factmag.com/2016/01/06/flux-pavilion-against-the-clock/) but when I record my own vocals and pitch them up they sound horrible in comparison.  Perhaps it's because I'm using ableton's pitching algorithm?  What are other peoples vocal pitching techniques?  Usually I just pitch up and complex/pro and pray it sounds good

The best way to do it is to just timestrech / resample them to raise the pitch, the same way you'd do it as when you play a vinyl record at a higher speed. That way you dont get any stretch artifacts. You'll obviously need to sing slower to match the final BPM (to get that right, just write your melody in the desired pitch with a lead synth, bounce it, then stretch it down to your vocal range, record yourself, then speed that recording up - you'll end up with a recording that's clean and at the right pitch & tempo).

Thanks dude good tip, didn't think about slowing it down before and writing a synth line to it to follow
Twitch Music love | always trying to channel my inner Martin Doherty

Stax

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Re: Vocal mixing tips/tricks
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2016, 06:33:45 pm »
I've been struggling lately with pitching vocals.  I tried to do a remake of Flux Pavilion's beat the clock (http://www.factmag.com/2016/01/06/flux-pavilion-against-the-clock/) but when I record my own vocals and pitch them up they sound horrible in comparison.  Perhaps it's because I'm using ableton's pitching algorithm?  What are other peoples vocal pitching techniques?  Usually I just pitch up and complex/pro and pray it sounds good
Try processing your vocal without the pitch bend. Process with, phaser distortion, eq, delay whatever you think sounds good. Then Pitch bend it. I had pretty good results with a youtube video where I downloaded the audio. Processed the vocals then pitched them down.
Never touch the clowns, let the clowns touch you.