#1
Mixing vocals seems to be a trickier than I first thought. One thing I would like to ask is how are Rise Against's vocals mixed? Especially in this song: Rise Against - Prayer of the Refugee

Also, what is your preferred method for editing vocals? Any plugins?

The biggest question I have also is, do most professionals track every vocal many times, even the lead vocal? Or is it just a single lead vocal track with one or two backing tracks? The chorus of the linked song above is one of my favorites and I feel like it has a lot of power. How were the vocals of that mixed in your best guess?
#2
You don't really need to ask something like that here, simply googling 'vocal mixing' brings up a wealth of resources. You'll learn a lot more by doing your own research and experimenting with mixing yourself than you will by anyone telling you how to do something, especially since there are many different ways to be right.

Assuming you'll take that on board, I remember reading the following article in Sound on Sound last year that had some nice tips in it for vocal editing, which you mentioned you wanted to learn about.
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb11/articles/editing-2.htm Scroll down to the vocal editing parts.
#3
Quote by piop
You don't really need to ask something like that here, simply googling 'vocal mixing' brings up a wealth of resources. You'll learn a lot more by doing your own research and experimenting with mixing yourself than you will by anyone telling you how to do something, especially since there are many different ways to be right.

Assuming you'll take that on board, I remember reading the following article in Sound on Sound last year that had some nice tips in it for vocal editing, which you mentioned you wanted to learn about.
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb11/articles/editing-2.htm Scroll down to the vocal editing parts.


That was actually the problem for me! haha I did search Google and looked at various sources but I don't know if it was just plain unluckiness but nothing really seemed to help that much, and there were tons of links. I figured maybe someone here had found a good specific source
#4
I use the Voxengo Voxformer, it's basically a compressor and equalizer with great presets you can fiddle around with, it really gives the vocals life and power imo. Other than that, I don't know too much about mixing vocals, I usually double track it though, try that. as well
#5
A few pointers.

- The main vocal is guaranteed doubled (two separate takes), and both tracks are pitch corrected (this gives more coherency, as they are almost the same, however they give a lot more punch aswell

- EQ. They are EQ'ed to sit perfectly in the mix

- Reverb/delay to give more fullness

- Multiband compression / compression to make it even

- Some sort of saturation/clipping distortion is added for power aswell.
#7
Quote by Christopher S
A few pointers.

- The main vocal is guaranteed doubled (two separate takes), and both tracks are pitch corrected (this gives more coherency, as they are almost the same, however they give a lot more punch aswell

- EQ. They are EQ'ed to sit perfectly in the mix

- Reverb/delay to give more fullness

- Multiband compression / compression to make it even

- Some sort of saturation/clipping distortion is added for power aswell.

I know you're trying to help with typical techniques, but I disagree (as with a lot of the thread) on the principle that mixing with presets is a bad thing and vocals are so personal that no vocal needs the same treatment as another. Then there's the fact that vocals are so expressive, and genre plays a huge part.

Vocal doubling? You'd be surprised how many people don't bother to double a vocal in the business - why? Because a lot of great singers have that magic in their voice and tone with just the one take. Adding another can dull the effect and precision, and often require much more editing (particularly in pop music). Most additional vocal tracks will be harmonies, effects, and separate parts (where breath control would be an issue for a long phrase, or a note needs to be held when a new part comes in).

I agree doubling can save a weak vocal, but I find the best singers don't really need it and it's only worth adding if you have the time to get the phrasing of both takes bang on with each other.


EQ'ing is something I won't touch because if you use the right mic, placement and room, all you should really need to do is to make space for the vocal to fit in the mix at the right level - it's rare I will EQ additional content (as opposed to subtractive EQ) after recording the takes, apart from a presence boost or more airiness, with my preferred workflow. I usually just throw a HPF on, and put a light boost on the top end if it needs the airiness and presence.


Compression depends on how willing you are to do much automation, but I don't really see the benefits of using a multi-band compressor over a single-band... I'd rather keep the signal purer and not risk throwing off the phase alignment across the freq. spectrum even more by compressing various bands separately.


Not trying to have a go, but this happened to be the last post when I read the thread and I was already wound up that people are suggesting all-in-one vocal processing plug-ins (something I usually hate) and even seemingly recommending the use of their presets. Presets are useless to a good mix.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#8
^ I agree about multiband comps, the only time I ever use one is for deessing, and then I'm only using one band. Sometimes I even prefer to edit strong sibilances when a plugin just doesn't cut it. There is no rule on how to mix vocals but I always include some emulation of a hardware compressor (and sometimes a limiter) in the chain. Great for adding punch and consistent levels to vocals and without having to automate too much.

Also reverb and a touch of delay is almost never a bad idea. When it comes to reverb I think presets are actually a great place to start for beginners, you can learn a lot by seeing how the different parameters are set to get a certain space. This however doesn't work with EQs because you actually need to learn what different frequencies sound like and be able to identify offending frequencies in order to use EQ properly. No preset works universally, all sources are different and require different processing. As with anything, practice and lessons (tutorials, articles, classes etc) are the only solutions if you want great results. Same goes for compressors pretty much.

Oh and I wouldn't suggest using digital clipping on vocals (or any other instrument for that matter, snares if anything), no performance should require such drastic measures for consistent levels. Besides it would have to start clipping pretty badly for the levels to start becoming even and that's when clipping starts to sound like ass. All a clipper does at soft settings is even out transients and peaks which a compressor handles more musically. Stick with compressors, automation and if you have to, a limiter.
Last edited by Ascendant at Apr 8, 2012,
#9
Quote by DisarmGoliath
I know you're trying to help with typical techniques, but I disagree (as with a lot of the thread) on the principle that mixing with presets is a bad thing and vocals are so personal that no vocal needs the same treatment as another. Then there's the fact that vocals are so expressive, and genre plays a huge part.

Vocal doubling? You'd be surprised how many people don't bother to double a vocal in the business - why? Because a lot of great singers have that magic in their voice and tone with just the one take. Adding another can dull the effect and precision, and often require much more editing (particularly in pop music). Most additional vocal tracks will be harmonies, effects, and separate parts (where breath control would be an issue for a long phrase, or a note needs to be held when a new part comes in).

I agree doubling can save a weak vocal, but I find the best singers don't really need it and it's only worth adding if you have the time to get the phrasing of both takes bang on with each other.


EQ'ing is something I won't touch because if you use the right mic, placement and room, all you should really need to do is to make space for the vocal to fit in the mix at the right level - it's rare I will EQ additional content (as opposed to subtractive EQ) after recording the takes, apart from a presence boost or more airiness, with my preferred workflow. I usually just throw a HPF on, and put a light boost on the top end if it needs the airiness and presence.


Compression depends on how willing you are to do much automation, but I don't really see the benefits of using a multi-band compressor over a single-band... I'd rather keep the signal purer and not risk throwing off the phase alignment across the freq. spectrum even more by compressing various bands separately.


Not trying to have a go, but this happened to be the last post when I read the thread and I was already wound up that people are suggesting all-in-one vocal processing plug-ins (something I usually hate) and even seemingly recommending the use of their presets. Presets are useless to a good mix.


You are completely right, ideally you wont need much work with a vocal track. However, most vocalists (and I mean 98%) need some sort of post-processing.
Of course, as you say, some vocalists have this sort of magic (Corey Taylor, Serj Tankian, to quick examples) which makes them stand out without much work.

And yes, presets are useless. My pointers were merely things you CAN do, not what you MUST do. Basic principle is less is more, use your ears and get a better vocalist. :P
#10
I usually start from around this point when i EQ vocals.
Using any type of 3 band EQ
Cut 200 Hz = -6dB
Boost 3000Hz Q = 1 = 2.5dB
Boost 15000Hz Q = 1 = 2.5dB

I agree with what has been said about getting the best possible vocal recording but normally its the not so awesome mics that prevent that. I usually end up with vocals and guitars fighting each other so this seems to help a good bit in the mixing process when im trying to get the vocals to fit correctly. I know a lot of people do this differently but this is usually what helps my mixes.