Whenever you ask any random person about any song, they will definitely give you a review about the singer’s voice. So you know, vocals are the first impression that everyone pays attention to. So it’s a single thought answer that you need to know about How To Mix Vocals in order to get a great result.
And trust me, mixing a vocal is one of the most important tasks in music production. So next time you sit for mixing, keep in mind about giving a little extra attention to the vocals.
But sometimes mixing vocals could be difficult and requires knowledge on how you can mix a vocal so that your song could be loved by everyone.
When you want to achieve a fine polished mixed vocal, you need to pay detailed and careful attention from the beginning. From songwriting to Mastering, you just need to think differently.
But in mixing, you need to be very careful with the vocals as it matters to be the most important aspect for your vocals. In the future, your voice is gonna be judged by the work you do in your mixing process.
getting professional sounding vocals
We all wanna get our vocals to sound like professionals and clean, but we all don’t get that. And the reason for that is because many new music producers go online and search for a way that was uploaded years ago and without any updation.
Luckily you’ve reached the place where you’ll get a complete process of How To Mix Vocals. I’ll make sure you understand this properly and apply the same method in your mixing.
why is learning mixing important?
When you listen to any song on Spotify, or iTunes after listening to your mixing, somewhere yu mixing would have sounded a little not good than those properly mixed songs.
Now you need to tackle this problem and get yourself to a level where you can mix your song that sounds like a professional. Some other reasons in order to learn great mixing are:
- Due to a a lot of competition, Record labels try to get the best out of best mixing engineers who can mix a vocal professionaly with the perfect sound.
- When you decide to be a mixing engeneer, you know that you need to mix a degraded quakity mp3 that’s gonna be heard on low grade iphone speakers and laptops.
That is why you need to learn to mix thoroughly so that your mix sounds the same as the original. You need to process a lot and use more compression and saturation.
So without boring you further, let’s know How To Mix Vocals to get a clean and beautiful quality of your music that’ll be loved by everyone.
1. CLEAN RECORDING
I know it’s not a part of the mixing process, but without it, you can’t do anything. In order to go flawlessly in the future, the beginning phase should be proper and calculated.
Doing the least mistakes in the starting gives a high room for doing the tricks in the future process. So make sure to do the recording with pleasure and heart. You won’t regret mixing.
Remember the Following Points to get enhanced and clear vocals:
- +While recording, make sure the room you chose for the same, shouldn’t be too echoey or reflective.
- +On the Audio Interface, make sure your gain level as that’s gonna matter a lot.
- +Remember not to record on too hot signals or too low signals. Get the proper idea of the gain level that gives you the perfect result, and maintain that throughout the recording.
- +When recording, keep in mind the distance between you and your microphone. Record several demos, whichever sound best, use that as your regular distance and settings.
2. Filling The DAW
When you begin making any track, you firstly start with whatever you like. It could be the instrument melody or the main beat of the song. And you don’t need to shape it to fit with anything because you don’t have anything to fix with.
But, when you proceed further in the process of mixing, the spaces that were left starts to get filled up. the new tracks that you’ll be putting on the DAW, will start getting on the way.
You need to EQ them properly to fit with the rest of your track that you’ve mixed.
3. Vocal Comping
What is Vocal Comping? So when you take small and perfect pieces from multiple vocal takes and combine them or convert them into a new track, it’s called vocal comping. The new track that comes, as a result, is known as ‘supertake’.
The next thing that you need to do is some basic editing. Comp through your takes, get rid of any unwanted clicks or pops, and don’t forget to do some volume automation.
When I say comping, it means taking the best parts from several different vocal performances and gluing them together to make one seamless, super take.
4. CHAIN STEP for Vocal mixing
Step 1: EQ correction
This step is the first and the most important when you start mixing your vocals. Use any plugin that you like and think that gives the best eq result for your vocals. So what you have to do here is to remove any frequency that you think is bugging you in your vocals.
While sorting out the eq, make sure that you should roll off your low bottom frequency in and around 80Hz to 150Hz. Well, that depends on every vocal to vocal, but keep in mind to be in between the given frequency range.
Now when you lookup for the upper-frequency range, maintain your frequency range from 200Hz to 400Hz. That is the spot where the boxiness lies
In the final part, I would just say to be very easy with the frequencies. Make sure you keep every Q tight, cause tighter the Q, better the quality. Always remember to use bandwidth and keep it as narrow as possible.
I would recommend: Be very gentle when you remove these frequencies. The tighter the Q, the better. Use a very narrow bandwidth, cut between 2db to 6db depending on the vocal.
step 2: Dynamic compression
This step is the place where you need to sort the peaks of your vocals off and fine their dynamics. I guess you already know what does this dynamic compression means, yet lemme give you some of my knowledge on it.
If you need transients in your vocal recording, it’s mostly used in rap vocals or a song vocal that has a lot of energy and a good speed. My attack time recommendation for this would be between 3ms, 5ms, or 7ms.
Step 3: Tonal Shaping Eq
According to my, the best thing that you can do here is that you can sweep around to find a spot in your vocal that suits you. Below I’ve mentioned some frequencies that you can look out to.
For a midrange boost, the frequency between 1.5kHz to 2.5kHz is good. Also, if you keep it under 10kHz from 3.5kHz, it’ll be good for presence and air boost.
Step 4: De-esser
Finally, we come up with our next process called De-essing. It’s a pretty simple process.
So, De-essing is the process where you get rid of the words that sound “s”s. A classic compressor is used to process out the sibilance.
There are several ways you can do the De-essing. So the best option is to do that one by one.
I recommend you check out the frequency range between 3.5kHz and 7kHz. Seldom you can also go up to 10kHz. That’s on you, but normally most of the producers look for around 3.5kHz to 7 kHz.
Step 5: Tonal Density Compression
When you look at the definition of Tonal Density Compression according to Oxford Dictionary, it says – Tonal Density is the quality of a sound associated with the perceived tightness or compactness of a tone, greater density.
And trust me, this is what you should be looking for in your vocal production. And one more important thing to remember here is that you should look to always bring a new way than the last one.
I would say, The attack time should be medium-slow and that should be around 20-40ms. And for the release, you can go with medium-fast release around 50ms to 150ms.
step 6: Volume
This next step is extremely easy. Simply turn the volume up. You don’t need to for any third-party plugin, you can do it with anything you have.
Add the gain and turn up the volume as per your suitability.
Step 7: Saturation
When you add saturation, it means you are adding a sparse form of distortion. And when you do that, the distortion will produce nice-sounding harmonics when you mix a vocal.
There are various Saturation plugins that you can use to create a good and pleasant saturation. They are Ableton Live Saturation Plugin, Tape Saturation Plugins, and Tube Saturation. You can choose whichever plugin you think would suit you.
Conclusion on How to mix vocals
After you’ve done o much with your vocals, you’ll see a huge change in the quality of the same. Use these simple steps to make your vocal sound beautiful.
Remember, every person has different vocals, which means they need different treatments in order to sound better.
Always play with the settings to know which option suits you best and you will find a perfect setting for yourself.
But if you didn’t get your vocals to sound professional, I would recommend you to do these additional steps.
- In order to get more hyper processed sound, you can double up a few steps over, but don’t forget to use them in parallel to get the best performances.
- If you didn’t get that perfection on the vocals, maybe the problem isn’t in the mixing, it could be the vocal. You can ask for a new vocal recording where the vocalist gave the better performance. Then you can proceed with the same procedure to mix a vocal.
vocal eq frequency
We all know about the normal human hearing frequency range. But here, let’s discuss the human vocals EQ frequencies.
If you want to know about the frequency range in microphones, read this: What is frequency response in a microphone?
The fundamental frequency for male vocal is from 85Hz to 180Hz
The fundamental frequency for male vocal is from 165Hz to 225Hz
Always remember to stay positive in order to keep your mixing up to the mark. Make sure to take enough rest in between your mixing sessions. This will help your mind to think clearly.
All the very best to mix a vocal…….
How to mix Vocals and Sound like Professionals
Look… The main reason, according to me why people don’t get the perfect mix is that they get the advice from the internet which gives the information that concerns mixing years ago. And trust me, that doesn’t work.
If there is a change in voice quality, so does the Mixing formula. But, unfortunately, they do not work in the mixing formula that is modern enough or says, evolved enough for today’s generation.
You are required to understand one thing, and that is, the modern music production era requires processing in excess if you want to compete with what’s going out there. Sometimes, when you listen to the songs on the radio or Spotify, you must have realized that your song doesn’t stand against them.
Now in order to get to come closer to them in terms of mixing, you are required to learn How to Mix Vocals properly.
Now let’s understand why or, what is the reason your song is lacking behind those released songs that you hear on the big platforms:
- Record labels tend to hire the best mixing engineers so that they can give their best to create a best mix as possible.
- A professional mixing engineers understandfs that he has to compete with a mp3 degraded version quality. Also he knows that his mixes will be played on the crappy and cheap moble phones speakers, laptops, etc.
- They know that the from recording audio to the final step of exporting is done using expensive and quality production gadgets. So they work accordingly. So, In order to mix vocals, you must know your equipments properly.
In order to mix vocals properly, make sure you follow each step given in the blog. Let me repeat it again here as well:
1. Correct your EQs
2. Dynamic Compression
3. Tonal Shaping EQ
4. Apply DE-Esser
5. Tonal Density Compression
6. Adjust your Volume
Follow these steps and you will get a proper mix.
Well, it doesn’t matter which software you are using to create your own music or for mixing it, the most important point here is that you must know every step in order to understand the mixing game. But below I’ll mention some of the most famous and used DAW Softwares that professional music producers use: Logic Pro X, Audacity, Reaper, FL Studio, Ableton Live, Cubase, Presonus Studio One, and many more.
If you want to read about each software in detail, make sure you go with the blog: Best DAW Softwares
The dynamic range of vocal recording should peak at -10dB (The best level is -18dB). So, the vocal should peak from between -10dB and -18dB.
For mono or stereo vocals, there are two factors that come before:
1. If you are recording a single Vocalist, then your vocals should be mono.
2. If you use more than one vocalist, then most definitely your vocals should be stereo.