One of the most challenging things about mixing vocals is that they can be so incredibly dynamic. You can have a vocalist that’s whispering in the verse, but screaming in the chorus! If you’re struggling to mix vocals like these, this video will help.
So often, our challenge as mixers is – how do we take a vocal like this and make it fit? How do we make it sound great during the course of an entire song?
What I see a lot of mixers do is take a track like this, throw one compressor and EQ on the track, and they’ll try to find a static setting that works during the course of an entire song.
The problem with this is that you often end up having to make compromises. You end up with a setting that maybe sounds great on the verse, but sounds super small and over-compressed when the chorus hits. Or maybe you find an EQ setting that sounds nice and bright and airy on the verse, but when the chorus hits and the vocalist suddenly starts to sound more aggressive, the track sounds edgy and harsh.
Next time you have a vocal like this, instead of trying to find a single setting that works during the course of the whole track, split the track into two separate tracks. Take the vocal track and duplicate it. Delete the verse on one and delete the chorus on the other. Now you have two tracks – one track has the verse vocals, and one track has the chorus vocals.
Approach these as two completely independent tracks. EQ them separately. Compress them separately. What you’re going to find is by doing this…by approaching these tracks separately, you’re going to end up coming up with settings that sound great for the verse and sound great for the chorus. And you won’t have to make compromises and find one single setting that kind of works for both.
The last thing I want to mention is that registration is still open for my Vocal Mixing Masterclass. If you want more tips like these…if you want to learn how to craft great-sounding vocals from start to finish…this is going to be a five-week-long, in-depth masterclass where I go into every step of the vocal mixing process in detail. Registration ends Tuesday, June 28th, so if you’re interested and want to learn more, click the link below and sign up soon.
Take care. Happy mixing. Talk to you soon.