by Erin Barra, iZotope Contributor May 12, 2020
Pop vocals tend to have the same sort of sound when they hit our ears. People use words like bright, shiny, crisp, and airy to describe them, and you can hear this sound on loads of tracks at the top of charts across genres. Let’s take a look at how to achieve that same sound and make a vocal POP right out of your mix.
Forget about that though. Today, I’m here to burst some bubbles, to rain on some parades, and to let you know that that production trick you think is so cool is actually kind of whack. Well, maybe anyway.
‘[How to Mix Vocals Like a Pro – Produce Like A Pro](https://producelikeapro.com/blog/how-to-mix-vocals-like-a-pro/)’
MAX MCALLISTER AUGUST 17, 2019
We’ve all struggled with mixing vocals at some point! It’s easy to feel frustrated when we just can’t seem to get it right, especially because vocals are so important for the listener. Fortunately, there are some standard as well as creative techniques you can use when learning how to mix vocals effectively. We’ve compiled a “master list” to help you achieve better sounding results!
Check out the “magic frequencies”.
It’s amazing how different each person’s voice can be from another, but also equally amazing how similar two people’s voices can be to each other. When recording a singer, it helps to know how his or her vocal tone is actually being produced in order to capture it more accurately. This great article by Jamie Ehrenfeld in Soundfly recently illustrates exactly how the body produces your vocal tone. Here’s an excerpt.
From the very first breath producing the initial cry that assures onlooking adults a newborn baby is healthy, humans phonate as a sign of life. Children produce sounds with their voices long before they develop the faculty to consciously alter how they’re doing so. We grow as expressive musical beings. And as we grow, we begin to hone the use of the voice as an instrument of musical and expressive communication.
While every performance has its own quirks, there are certain issues that almost always crop up in mixing sessions, like masking of the vocal with other instruments. For this reason we designed Nectar 3, the latest version of our vocal mixing suite, with assistive audio features to solve common problems by using your creative input. Let’s look at five scenarios:
The vocal is often (nearly always) the most important element in a track. The presence that you hear in a professional vocal helps the listener understand the lyrics and connect with the song. This human element is accessible to the listener and should be clear to hear.
Recording background vocals is a distinctly different process from recording solo vocals because of how they will eventually fit in the mix. That requires a different technique for both recording and production in order to get the best result. Here are 11 background vocal-related points lifted from the 4th edition of my Recording Engineer’s Handbook that can help you take those background vocals to the next level.
Some handy tips.
We’ve stressed the importance of mixing vocals time and time again! Because lyrics are what average listeners immediately identify with, making a singer sound great should almost always be a priority. Amongst other tools, the perfect vocal compressor for the job can really elevate the overall sound of your mix!
Video is “Mixing Vocals to Sit Properly in the Mix”.
If you’ve spent any time mixing, you’re already familiar with the struggle of wasting time. Maybe you’re tired of scanning your massive plug-in list when searching for different dynamics processors—compressors, limiters, gates, and more—for different tracks. Perhaps you’re annoyed by having to routinely rearrange your plug-ins on channels and you wish one plug-in could do it all. Or you may be stressed out at the thought of trying to construct an effective processing chain and need something that can do the heavy lifting for you.
In part one of this four-part series, we’ll be using Neutron 2 as an all-in-one dynamics processing tool for vocals. In parts two, three, and four, we’ll be using Neutron 2 for mixing guitars, mixing bass, and mixing drums.
When learning how to mix music, beginner engineers can often become discouraged when comparing their work to professional mixes. They know the tools (EQ, compressor, etc.) and how to use them, but for some reason they don’t get the same results. However, knowing what’s actually happening in the sound of a professional mix can help clear things up. In no domain is this more obvious and important than in mixing vocals.
Homework and course work.
I keep finding these things in my mailbox, on the web, wherever. I have the tools needed. I have lots of recordings (not exactly controllable), and a desire to make mixes with better sounding vocals. Particular attention needs to be paid to the live vocals I have.
Added the video series to the iZotope binder.
An Advanced Vocal Production Trick You Need to Try – Audio Issues : Audio Issues: “Here’s a cool vocal mixing trick for when you want a lot of space around the vocal, but you don’t want to clutter everything up with reverb.”
This sounds like a fine thing to do to some vocals.