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Old 22-10-2016, 17:58 PM  
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DJC DJC is offline 22-10-2016, 17:58 PM

It can get frustrating down here. Competition from the kick, toms and the bass player makes it hard to find room to be heard without gaining your vocal above it all. And with a vocal like mine, that's frequently off key if not monotone, that's not exactly what you (or me, lol) wanna hear booming out at you.

So I've tried adding "presence" to 'em without gaining, using effects like reverb, chorus and such. For the most part I've been dissatisfied with the results, it's kind of like gilding a turd. I've had a bit more luck tampering with the eq bass & treble gains, but that's been recent, and there's something called "rollover" associated with it that still friggin' baffles me.

So cheer me up! (having a pun with the title) This thread's no joke, I'm looking for advice but I'm prepared to take a few pokes ... I'm sure my misguided attempts at vocals have raised a chuckle or two and I got 'em coming.

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Old 23-10-2016, 00:06 AM

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This isn't exactly what the thread is about,but it gives you an idea of how EQ'ing each individual track and removing unnecessary "information" can dramatically improve the mix.

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Old 23-10-2016, 00:11 AM
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I find that decisive 'panning' seems to help with my vocals quite a good deal. Well in my range anyway.... seem to get plenty of observations on me vocal stuff, so I try to take some care...not always, haha but I try.
I never budge the bass from dead centre....but my main vox goes 10% to one side and any backing vocal stuff up to 40% to the other. I dunno if this helps...but it certainly separates the 'voices'

....who said that? Eh?...oh me?...that's ok then

PS...When I needed an astounding deep voice for "Last Song" who did I call....you! ya big twerp

Last edited by kallen; 23-10-2016 at 00:16 AM.. Reason: I just called big D...a twerp....jeez Im for it now....
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Old 23-10-2016, 00:48 AM
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Brilliant vid, Marty! While I don't have a DAW, my mixer can do those same functions, just without the "graph"...I'll have to rely on ears, but it's certainly worth a try.

Kallen, I've tried to do a bit with panning, following much the same formula you do. It's helped, but not enough...I think I'm just gonna have to knuckle down and come to grips with eq. This thread has helped immensely.


Last edited by DJC; 23-10-2016 at 00:50 AM.. Reason: forgot to stick my tongue out at Kallen for callin' me a twerp
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Old 23-10-2016, 01:59 AM
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I should have shared this long ago, it would have eliminated some guesswork. This is what I use, along with a Shure pg58

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Old 23-10-2016, 18:15 PM

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I've never used anything like that. Had a quick read of the PDF last night. It does have FX send and inserts so EQ and compression must be possible.
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Old 23-10-2016, 20:56 PM
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Found that section in the book again just now myself; I'd seen it before but my eyes glazed over and I was fast asleep by the second paragraph. That was years ago, but I remember it now. Thanks for pointing that out, as well as the other tips. I've a bit more time on my hands these days, there's no excuse for me putting off coming to grips with this any longer.
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Old 01-11-2016, 06:35 AM
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you're just describing the mix process. it's work. the pleasure comes when you get it. i love the process. especially when it's a what seems to be a simple guitar and vox or a raw guitar piece and.. it's the ear that needs a refresh. walk away. come back an hour or a day later and hear the thing that makes your brow stress. wow. the process is a wonder. I love it.
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Old 01-11-2016, 21:51 PM
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It's getting a bit easier, I've gotten a lot of good advice and I'm even starting to enjoy it now!
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Old 28-04-2017, 15:24 PM

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I appreciate that this is a few months old now, and you've probably moved on, but I just spotted it and decided to share some tips.

Vocals are traditionally seated dead-centre in the mix, but if your track is particularly muddy with kick, bass etc. (which also tends to be situated dead-centre) then panning can be your friend. If you listen to a lot of dance tracks recorded around the early noughties, you'll notice that the vocals often tend to be subtly panned to the left, either via hard panning, or stereo delay with a left-channel bias.

First off, get your vocal properly compressed. I can't stress that enough. I don't know what kind of compressors you have, but I use (software) Waves Renaissance R-Comp. Whatever you use, you'll likely find that there's a preset of some kind for vocals, and that's a good place to start, preview your vocal, and then begin experimenting with the sliders. Ask yourself how the dry vocal sounds in your head, and then ask yourself what else it needs. As an absolute baseline, the main threshold should be less than the louder portions of the vocal - which can act as a decent template for starting with. For a deep voice, don't use too much attack - keep it at around 8.8 or thereabouts.

Once compressed, try gently adding parametric equalisation to the vocal. First of all, EQ it down completely flat - and from there, start carefully adding more mid-range. You are your to want to add some additional punch and sparkle to the vocal, without making it too 'tinny', or distorting it (which can actually work for metal, and other forms of music). The linear curve of the parametric can also be used to cut off any unwanted frequencies above or below a certain threshold. The more mid-range you add, the more the vocal will cut through the mix, but it's very easy to overdo it. Be cautious and subtle, and save/backup often!

Decide then how much reverb or other effects you want. Do you want it to be quite dry, or ambient.

Finally, give your vocal a very gentle left-pan. This will help differentiate it from the other 'muddy' elements of the mix. This can be done in numerous ways, either via simple hard panning - just a two or three tweaks to the left will do - or via effects such as left-biased stereo delay etc. Once again it's very easy to overdo this. You never want the vocal to actually sound like it's on the left channel - it needs to be subtle, barely noticeable, but just enough to ensure that it's not quite sharing the same space with the bass, kicks etc.


Why left panning and not right? Because the human brain is responsible for logical processing, math, situational awareness etc. Whereas the right side of the brain deals with creative input. At the same time, left controls right functions, and right controls left functions. You want vocals to be perceived initially on a logical level, because they are essentially imparting information in the form of a lyric - which is then processed, and shunted over to the creative side. This provides a richer overall experience - sounds weird, but it actually does work.
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Old 30-04-2017, 14:22 PM
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Thanks Ffabbia! I've learned a lot from this thread, some of this stuff I hope to actually get around to applying Your detailed response was packed with information, thanks for taking the time to do that.
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