Knowing all about mixing vocals is the key of success for all audio engineers.
The Vocal is the most important instrument in the song, and the element that you must mix and treat with whole energy and enthusiasm. That is the element that communicate with every listener, because all of us understands singing, or we know what is good singing. And because of that fact, you must emphasize the vocal. Even drummer will not comment about the sound of the hi hat. Whole music world is spinning around the vocal, if you have big, quality, clean, and in tune vocal, you can live it acapella and you will have the applause.
In this tutorial we will show you one of the methods that we use for mixing vocal that have big dynamic range, harshness and boomines. We will show you some tricks that will bring back the life back in the heavily compressed vocal.
This is just one of the possible chains that you should use, this is principal it is not a scheme.
This is not let us use this vocal chain and see what vocal we will get, but we know what vocal we want, and we will see what we will use to have it.
As young engineers while mixing vocals we often follow rules like “do not compress too much, not more than 4-6 db of gain reduction” but in the end following the rules will not make the vocal to sound good. It is all about the sound that you desire. You don’t develop signal chain for vocals, you develop taste and sound character. Follow your ears, because the audience will judge with their ears.
After my Vocal is clean, stable and colored we are adding character, attitude and style with different effects.
FAMOUS EXPERIENCE: Yoad Nevo compresses the hell out of vocal with 20 db of gain reduction, and then he starts with EQing.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: I tried to follow rules from school, do not compress too much, do this, do not that, until the time when following rules didn’t get me good sound. Many of the engineers didn’t compress much because they do not have quality tools to do that. Our tools and the infinite number of tries with computer technology gives us freedom to experiment and get what we imagine and feel.I find my own chain, and I have different approach for every artist and genre.
REMEMBER: All your knowledge and tools should make your ears happy. Give everything that you have for everything that you want, do not give everything that you want for everything that you have.