Vocal Mixing, Phase, and Polarity
The big thing that I'm trying to get across to you guys about this is that the reason it sounds awesome is primarily because he's awesome and I'm not trying to discover myself from the equation but uh you know, given gold to work with uh your job is to not then mess it up that would be that would be a big bummer uh he's a great vocalists probably one of the best if not the best ever worked with and so uh they're in that case you have to take the approach of getting out of the way the artists and just making sure you captured the best possible thing aa lot of producers don't know where to draw that line but how that relates to mixing is these tracks were very mixed herbal from the get go the so it's kind of something we've just been saying this whole time so just want tio when I talk to you guys a little bit more about what kind of stuff has been going on here and uh again if you have any questions about anything else uh related to these vocals now would be the uh that would be the time...
to ask now get for the screens it's a slightly different vocal chain uh l a three a uh you guys aren't familiar with it it's it's just another another great so dynamics control unit into the twenty five hundred now out of all the, uh, waves plug ins I think this is probably my favorite one um so into a di essere into a multi band no u q believe it or not I didn't really need any so they just sounded cool to begin with just wanted to control his dynamic some and that's it so I don't know that's a pretty different vocal chain for me to try is actually my first time ever really trying that one out I don't think I've ever not used to cue on a vocalist but he just sounded right so that's where the that's sort of the decision came from and so I guess the reason I'm telling you guys this is because I think you shouldn't be afraid tio not using cube you don't think you need it there's no reason to be any let's just say that any time that you bring a plug in into your chain anytime you run on algorithm your audio through nagara them there's something that you're sacrificing so the more the more plug ins that you put on the more your audio will eventually be degraded so and especially when you're dealing with plug ins like you that deal with the phase with phase relationships within the sound itself so if you don't need to accuse something, don't do it and uh that let me deceive there's any questions left about this but report mixing vogel's anything effects for screams I would say like I know some people do like a pitt shift like a low scream to kind of back up what the more aggressive parts do you do anything like that are pit shift like a um or just have the vocalist sing a low layer well I mean I'm sure if the vocalist can pull off that low of a screen but sometimes like to if you need it for apart and you've already tracked you know, like if you want something to sound more intense you khun pitt shift it yeah whoa and they're going to do that is that anything that you do are uh I I've never uh done it like that I've never digitally I mean unless it was like a new affect kind of thing where it's like uh supposed to sound like a big scary low voice suddenly I've done that but I've never I've never created a vocal arrangement like that yeah I don't mean like faking something that somebody can't pull off but I just mean for like something that's supposed to sound crazy and scary oh yeah definitely actually in the song I played before this the orchestral song there was a voice that did that had who's bumped down in octave and and yeah, it definitely did that but I mean in general under under screaming vocals yes, sometimes you will get a lower layer underneath it but in general um, try to actually have the singer do it. Uh, is there anything you do? Aside from sending it to the pretty much same clean vocal chain, the river been delay? Um, well, I mean, you know, it does have its own its own chain. Uh, everyone once in a while, screaming vocals and clean vocals will have the same er in searching, but it's really, really rare. So you just kind of have to find assed faras compression, inc you what works for each one of the sounds there to, like, just two completely different insurgent it's what this far is like sending them to the vocal delay and vocal river, yet generally the same generally, we're going to say discussion here, I know this is about mixing but a big part of getting tracks that air mixing bowl, of course, is having them tracked well, absolute. So if you are not mixing something that was sent to you, like, if you actually tracking a vocalist um, you know, just spend a lot of time being careful going over like every vowel sound and try to notice if the vocalist is not pronouncing of al quite the same on a harmony track as he is on the main one, um, I've noticed a lot of time, like with with screamers when they're layering a high vocal and lower one like it's a completely different viol sound coming out of their mouth sometimes and they're like don't stack that well so a lot of times I'd be like no you have to scream it more like you know I'm just trying to train describe it to him yeah badly track vocal is pretty unmik civil yeah that and there's a lot of things about a badly tried vocal that you just can't seek you out like yeah uh say that it was recorded in a room with really bad flutter or something there's nothing you can do about that if the guy just can't pronounce certain so certain certain types of words like it just what what can you do? Yeah so getting a great vocal mix is super dependent on a great vocal production and great vocal arrangements yeah you're the vocal mixing can honestly be pretty fast if everything's been tracked and produced like in a very careful meticulous like solid consistent way you know when you get to mixing your just look up a piece of cake all through these you know simple little you have four plug ins they're going and it's all that's all you need you know so it doesn't have to be very complex no it doesn't um it really doesn't I mean I don't really encounter vocal chains that end up with too much more than this it's usually a compressor on the way in and four five plug ins and then that's it I mean, if you I've noticed that if you find that you have to use too much more than this, you're probably making out for a bad hope list sir about deah seen before or after the cue and or before after compression two separate questions about where specifically you put the dsr and is it always in the same spot and you're change no it's not always in the same spot and uh this is actually something we're going to talk about later in in the call with with joey, but I'm going to preempt it and say that basically you want tio make a conscious decision about what's going to be compressed and if you know some vocalists uh, who are way more silent and others like some of them when they start getting with those s is it just physically hurts to listen to them and uh and you may need to correct that stuff before you compress just so that you're you're not making the s is even louder or, you know the same volume is everything else the idea is to have them be quiet or so yeah if it's super offensive like problem tracks yeah definitely but the dsr first but it needs to be a conscious decision these chains or not just randomly thrown on their the ah where you put the dsr just depends on how how bad of a problem there is because it creates a completely different sound before or after cool in their questions cool they got it I've done my job all right so I'll talk about phase a little bit so fun topic we're gonna go back to the fun stuff right now um I want talk about phase a little bit and uh and then we're gonna have our call with uh with mr andrew wade and uh and find us a good session to use as a uh is a way to talk about this no um I think that phase is one of the first things that people learn about in aa in music school it's ah one of the first things it's one of the main things that people always talk about and it is not a very exciting topic but I will say that if you don't pay attention to this you're going to ruin your own work e teo check the phase on everything when you get a mixed started me uh you know ideally should be checking it while you're tracking too but you can very very quickly look att pro tools about to crash again okay, cool um I might just open up first it was eleven for this yeah I think I'm going to do that so rather way like I said earlier you guys do want to get pro tools eleven so yeah sure that would be a perfect time cool perfect. Thank you. Um all right so ways that this is uh going to affect you why this is super important um your let's just start we're talking about the low end you are a good low end in your mix all your lohan elements need to be in perfect phase and ah say you want to stack kick samples uh that is very tough thing to get the phase right on and if you don't get that right goodbye mix um you want to combine guitar amps and together on a single which are uh take goodbye mix of you can't get that in phase wanna have a snare that pops through the mix er goodbye mix of is not a phase with the overheads there's just uh if, uh your bass guitar is that if it is from the kick drum if you've got low sense that air out of phase with the bass guitar there's just so many different aspects so many different combinations of things that could be in phaser out of phase with each other that can ruin a mix that you need to start paying attention this stuff um and you cannot let it go I think one of the funniest things that ever happened the recording is I was recording with actually really really well known guy who was just first starting tio experience some success and uh he's being a real cocky and we're getting some drum tones and something just sounded weird with the toms uh they're just didn't sound right and not powerful enough to do just check the phase on those bottom tom's naman that stuff don't matter so we're going to mean that doesn't matter you're kidding me uh but yes oh uh kept going kept going nothing's right eventually and again this is a well known guy eventually decides to flip the phase suddenly boom there's our tom sound huge powerful amazing it's that simple and ah there's a very very very very easy way to know if something that of phasing this if you play to sounds together and suddenly the low end is gone or suddenly things sound hollow it's probably out of face is really really that simple it gets a little bit harder to spot what's causing it when there's a bunch of tracks playing together but it's simple to just start soloing tracks so real quick I just want to I tell you as a polarity and phase are two different things so that when you're looking at plugging and you see a phase but and polarity button it's two different things in phase phase relates to ah how the two waves fall over time you can see um if you look at the first slide the top wave in the bottom waiver perfectly in the face um if you look at the second one there out of phase polarity is the same but they're out of phase because the peaks air occurring a different spots in time now the polarity is just when the piece air exactly flipped you guys see the difference okay it's you know I'd say that ah polarities much more blacker white than phase phase is one of those things where when you really start to get into it you have to start sliding things back and forward a lot and uh use your a lot more polarity is just you flip it and either it's better or it's worse and and that's it and again like I said if the low end is noticeably reduced flip it back um say you you were talking yesterday about creating and custom pic samples uh first thing to do when you're doing when you're stacking samples is make sure that the low end isn't disappearing it flip flip the polarity and if suddenly it sounds bigger you're good but if it it sounds a lot smaller flip it back on what were you telling me that you like to do? I was just saying when you're stacking a few samples together toe create like a different sounding low end than any of the one of them is by itself you can actually time shift one of them so it's partially out of phase you know and you can end up getting cool sounds because the some aspect of the low end which was maybe getting too tubby all of a sudden is not too tubby and then you know so it's just it's just kind of playing around with phase a little bit and using ah phase relationships of tracks for your own benefit yeah, exactly. You know that's and that's the thing with polarity it's on off basically flip it or not um but with phase it's definitely if you've got to find find the winning spot and there's there's a few different times where this comes into play. So first of all, let's, just talk about checking polarity real quick it's really, really easy to check it visually, especially on drums. Um, take a look at uh, take a look at those for those top two tracks. You see that, um and those air top snare mikes and then below that is the bottom snare. No, obviously the polarity on the bottom snare is six after the opposite because mike is twenty one for all of the tough, thereby supporting down that's a normal thing. Um, if you will encounter problems though sometimes when the ring uh, is out of phase but the polarity is correct, so that's what that's when things when just changing the polarity doesn't quite work, I see when, when you have like state tom's where the attack is how you want it but the ring starts to go out of phase you start, you start to have to play around with stuff you know, take a look at that, all right? Basically, that shows that tom hit up close and then first track is the top mike and the second track is the bottom like you see that and author tracks a sample. All right, so you see how if you see the top of the top track in the bottom track top track is that the natural tom? The bottom track is the sample. Um and this will happen very often. You see it the beginning, they're perfectly in phase, right? So you're good, but then as so you're gonna very good, very hard, nice sharp attack like that. But then as it goes on, they kind of they go off from each other, and so this is a common issue, these air never going to be in perfect phase with each other. There's nothing you can do about that. So you definitely do out to kind of find a middle ground that works for that. If the bottom tom signals moved to the left uh so that the initial transient was line of the top mike uh, the ring, the tom would be less in phase I have less body but like I said the initial transient would have a lot more punch but then we move in the other direction you have the exact opposite thing the ring will be more on phase but then the attack will have less punch so you've got to make some decisions and some of those decisions could be to either try different samples or you sir and plug ins that will allow you to move the phase around a little bit tio where you find a happy medium or um or you can get even more detailed with it and literally cut the ring basically you have the attack back couple slides just talk about this a little more see, this makes sense uh you have the attack and then you have the ring out and then ah flip flip the tail on the on on the ring you flip the hilarity does that make any sense to people uh it's not a very black or white issue and you definitely need to play around with it some um this is a really, really big deal when it comes tio it kicks like we said before there's a few different plug ins that you should check out for this and, uh I'm going toe to show you one that I really really like is there one that you like in particular while I'm opening this session like a auto online kind of thing yeah, I don't have any plug ins like that honestly um so you did you do it all manually yeah, yeah it's kind of cool yeah, I mean, technically was stuff I've tracked I don't really have to play with the phase after the fact, you know, just do it at the source and what about if you're getting something in from somebody else and you got to line samples to it or multiple guitar amps or whatever just get it right? Yeah, just I would just nudge it by hand until it sounds right I think what the we like to do it is, um use a plug in like auto a line to tell you where you're at tell you what the problem is and then manually moving from there I'm kind of here is to see this plug in inaction actually I haven't done owt it okay auto line there it is there's your demo so basically I mean, uh, you just do something real quick that's fine, I'll care it's all active there's a there's a point to what I'm going to do here. So this is this convict come a big deal like, especially when you're a situation where you're using the same guitar tio using the same guitar to basically run different amps, you know, same the same guitar track through different aps and the fizzled get kind of weird turn that down I mean I didn't mean to kill you guys so anyways the idea with this plug and is ok so you have four guitar tracks here right so these are all these all come from the same and I mean from two different hams so you have guitar left and guitar left and it's our right and guitar right okay you have four instances so what you do is you know your first auto line and you put it on send one and then you go to the to the one that corresponds to it we receive one so you see I want to a lot I want the face of this guitar that's going to be left to be aligned to the phase of this one that's on the right so this one is going to send to here so and then okay this one this guitar the right send to go teo received to make sense for independent performances there's just two performances each was to perform ok right yeah uh basically uh left to rhythms left and right but two different amps so that's where you start to get the phase issues when you start to introduce multiple amps into the situation so um what you would do is on the ones that are receiving you hit detect a second on that no one needs to be sending to ok and then you had the tact and then when you play it, what'll happen is it'll start calculating the phase on everything I'm not going to troubleshoot was going with the sessions and was explaining what it'll do. Um, it'll start calculating the phase, and then it will stop, and then I'll just lock, but it will also tell you how many samples off it is right there, so just like any plug and that does, this is not perfect it, but you can then manually shift it like, say, you know, so a few thousand samples or something or twenty five, whatever it is, you'll get a you'll get a number, I like this better than the waves one I don't know if you ever used the waves version because the waves one is a lot harder, it's a lot harder to get an accurate read on what's going on this actually spits out a number for you, and so you can move, you can move it that corresponding amount, so I'll just say this thing probably will align it automatically though correct, right? Yeah you so it doesn't just give you a number and tell you what to do? It'll actually snap it toe whatever value it thinks you should if you wanted to yeah, but it's not perfect, yes, what understanding is like it it's still it's still just a plug in so it's not it's, not like the magic bullet that will suddenly you just you just pop this on and suddenly your tracks or going to magically work, and you can add that's why humans have to mix music exactly yeah, you can't you can't just put on nineteen guitar amps and, uh and think that this is going to suddenly just fix everything because it's not, but it will take away a lot of the guesswork at least put you in the ballpark. Um, so I highly, highly recommend this plug, and if you want to use multiple amps, it's, the best one I've used, uh, and and with that see there's, any other questions about this topic? I just wanted to briefly touch on it. I would in my advanced drum production classes spent a long time on it, so I don't want I don't want to go into it too long. I just wanted to kind of say that if you don't pay at least some attention to this stuff, when you're mixing, your mix is probably end up sucking, so