Intro to Mixing
Um, this is gonna be easy if you've done all the other stuff correctly. Uh, if you're vocalist, you know, if you're not if you don't have weird problems with your room, you're trying to get rid of strange reverb sounds or your mike sounds weird because you had a too close to the wall or you're patting was causing strange reflections, or your vocalist was off to the side if you're puncheon's were wrong. If you didn't correct the pitch, you might be distracted because you don't like the way it sounds. Um, all of those things are factors when you're mixing vocals, because, uh, it's obvious that you'll have to you have to figure out ways to work around that stuff, but if everything is right, a source like we're doing the compression here and the queues and you have the right setting on the microphone, et cetera, that stuff was already clean what was coming in so that's your best situation, your source material is clean from the start, so you're doing less things are in the right direction,...
then you only have two do small things when we're actually doing isn't like anything crazy or major, but, uh, I will talk about, uh, different scenarios here of mixing so okay how to mix vocals uh you've got to think of it like this there's a bunch of different vocal elements there's the main vocal verse vocal course vocal we went over this before in previous section backup vocals the odds screams group chanting group singing special affected vocals anything else you can think of uh you have to take all this stuff into consideration um this is what you could expect from this section uh what I want to do is I want to talk I'm goingto target certain problems that you guys probably have and offer solutions for them um because sometimes for instance, you didn't track the way we tracked and I'm going to talk about that because I know people don't have this kind of equipment but I'm gonna actually talk about how you can still make a really similar sound without this stuff um this is what I want you guys to also understand presets I don't want people to tune in and think that I'm just going to put pre sets up and then you copy the presets and then you dial it in and then it's gonna work exactly the same for you that's not how it works every mix is different every vocalist is different every song, every genre and they have all their nuances they have uh all the things that set them apart from each other so what you need to know last point here is what to listen for so you can mix anything so it doesn't matter what equipment you're on I mean, it matters to a certain extent but as long as you know what to listen for, you know what direction to go for instance of vocal vocalist is tracking and you hear that their voice sounds a little bit muffled we'll hold on do you go for the or do you check out the vocalist to see if they're actually on access of the microphone? So what you need to know is you have this option and you have that option which one is correct and I'm going to talk about like how to know like that that's what to do but you have to know what to do depending on the situation because if you see that they're off access you don't touch this you actually fix it over there so I'm that's just a small example of like things that will get into of like, specific situations of how to tackle certain things and sometimes they were off access and then they left and they're on tour and you can't do anything about it I'll show you what kind of stuff you can do to fix that stuff okay, where do you start? You know, mixing vocals doesn't start with vocals starts with the actual song when I am mixing an album I knew the vocals they throw me off they are a part of the song but they need to stand out a little bit differently thin the risk the song so what I do is I mute the vocals I make a huge sounding song as big as I can it's size I can sometimes I'll even if I have the vocals in there maybe there's turned down really quiet just for reference but uh I'll actually check the mix and reference the mics on tons of stereos and stuff before I even touched the vocals because if that's not right, your vocal is not going to be right and if you do mess with your vocal and then you change the music whatever you did for the vocal will probably have to change anyway so be happy with your mix be happy with your music first that's where you start um so mix with the vocals in the mix think of it as mixed think of mixing as a whole so after you finish mixing the music that's one of you you actually you get to the vocals and you want to hold on the starter you don't want to mix the vocals by themselves some people will actually maybe solo vocal to mix it or put reverb on it or something of that but no one's ever going to hear it like that you have to actually think of it, you know in the mix don't uh if anyone's ever gotten drum tones or anything like that it's the exact same thing you are getting eat dialing in your kick or something of that and then you put in the mix sounds really muddy and like doesn't cut through or anything like that um that's what matters and that's how you got to think of these vocals so if in the past you've been selling your vocal to e q it or something like that to like because you think you're really getting down to it trying to find the problem, you're not finding the problem you're making a problem so uh I'm sure some people out there have done that so you also have to think what do you want the vocals to do for this track? Uh, sometimes there are certain genres where the vocals do kind of take a backseat, but we're actually and those are usually no offense but less popular styles um but we're going to teach you how to mix for more popular styles of music um but we're also going to talk about the the mixing for the sea and screaming uh and some enough actually put that down are you saying screaming? And we're also gonna mix just regular singing the who needs sleep track, we'll go through that and makes those vocals and stuff um be obsessed I I know this sounds really weird, but you have to be willing to try anything as many times as it takes to get it right it could be really frustrating, but you have to just stay on it and listen to it a thousand times in a bunch of different things sometimes uh what I like to do is get a mix that I like listen to it, then waited one day then go back to it and then make changes so and that goes with mixing and vocals but especially vocals if your vocals aren't sitting right in your mix uh I'm going to try to help with those specific situations for you guys, so compression let's talk about compression um I don't know everyone knows exactly about compression sometimes feel they're just turning the knobs and they have no idea what they're doing or why. Uh but I think it's important for you to understand what is it? For now it has a few different functions because think of how we did it when we were tracking this when we were actually using this uh, these compressors while we're tracking vocals, we were only using these to control the dynamics for the input that's not what we're doing now now we're mixing now we're trying to get a boldness out of the compressor were trying to get an overall evenness sometimes it will help with pronunciation sometimes if you compress it correctly and I'll show you how to do this you can get more punching us out of vocals especially with like the heavier music and stuff so um how does it work that's a big question uh I can explain that but it will take a while uh okay so the basic the basics of a compressor just so you understand I guess this is important so so everybody knows a lot of people like don't like to admit when they don't know something so I'll just go ahead and cover this for whoever doesn't know um how does it actually work okay so think of it like this whenever I think of a complicated device like a compressor somebody that you see a bunch of knobs forget about the knobs forget about what a compressor is let's go to the beginning when the first person created a compressor why did they created that's what you have to think that's how you can understand it's like you're deconstructing it so let's say you're recording vocals you don't know about compressors they don't exist yet okay so you're recording vocals and you're noticing these peaks and like man it would be great if I could control these you know someone hits a certain volume if hey jeff could you turn this down every time they you know get over over this you know say ten d b is like jeff was like yeah, sure. Uh so that's um kind of what a compressor does it's like jeff what he does he'll just turn it down it gets to a certain volume and jeff turns it down and I'm like, you know jeff doesn't exist just so you guys know there's no jeff um so and he's the compressor so uh but just like well how fast do you want me to turn it down after they actually hit the note like that's a good question that and I say you know what? Right away let's say as soon as it hits ten d b I want you to turn it down right away that is attack. So as soon as it hits ten d b he turns it down immediately so you like you turn it down too quick you could you turn it down a little bit later so that would be adjusting the time of the attack so when it actually is engaged is the attack um whenever it reaches that certain the ten d b that's the threshold of the compressor so you're telling a machine to do these things automatically and that's what it's doing so jeff also says, well, I turned it down do we turn it back up and yeah, I do I want you to turn it back up and that is the release so when you think of it like that you could really understand these different concepts jeff turns it down when it gets to ten d b that's the threshold how fast does he turned it down that's the attack when does he turn it back up that's the um the release so when you understand that about compression you could do a lot of different things now sometimes it is just, uh turning knobs you can know all this information and I dialed something in that logically makes sense and sounds terrible so um and then you have the ratio which is a little more complicated I don't really need to explain that right now but we will explain that as long as you understand the basic concept of compression um when do you use it? I use it all the time on every vocal part always sometimes on a really quiet vocals they might get just like the tiniest little bit of compression but other than that every vocal we'll get some kind of compression so everybody understand compression susan uh yes, andrew I totally understand impression now jeff in the box jeff jeff in the box so cool about five minutes left. Okay, cool. Um excuse uh functions of the accused obviously functions of the accused you can add oh, tell me I made a cool okay, I made it cool chart for you guys actually ryan did, but we'll get to that in a little bit later it's to help you out with accuse um so excuse can add you can and take away cool stuff with accuse er here we obviously just use this cq to clean up the signal to take out that rumbly low and that we don't really need um you can also add airiness to a vocal easily you can add presence you khun give it more body you can take the body out a little bit you could make it blend in with the the uh with the mix better you could make it stand out you could make it really pop just by using any que, um and what's the difference that means what's the difference between every cue now every que has like whenever I use the cue that comes with pro tools, it kind of has ah really neutral sound there's not really anything like special about it. But then when I when I use like the s s l q and it's the same with the physical ssl accused, they have, like a harmonic distortion feature on them. And you can add brightness to something that you couldn't have at it added brightness to uh otherwise because the harmonic distortion is actually adding frequencies to the signal that never existed, so uh and we're going to talk about how to use that really well uh later, but uh how we doing on time we're good. Why don't we do some q and a and then she will go to our next break so you guys think about any questions you might have I have one here from grant mcdonald who says for mixing do you have a basic session template that you work tio uh I have a routed template where it's just all my buses and keeping everything organized in my session uh but no I don't have a template that's interesting I mean similar line brazen lane also wants to know how do you keep the same mixed sound across multiple pearled pro tua session when recording an album that's a great question uh I'll demonstrate that when we come back actually I don't have them my notes but I do I'm gonna write that down as soon as we go to break and I will talk about that back for yeah yeah that's really good really good questions you guys have any questions you guys all right? All right. Question from sorrow nineteen sixty eight how much compression too do vocal do you usually use or recommend compression on vocals yeah uh well we're really really going to get into that okay cool like all these questions are probably just all going to be answered like in exciting really well yeah well maybe we could find something about the effects here how about when panning going back to panning the the affects wide essentially mark zero was asking when you record multiple takes you prefer to pan them wide or keep them more centered uh if I do multiple tastes usually uh let's say is take a course for example I'll usually do three for the main vocal and then two or more for backups and the main vocal will be center and then there will be two on the sides that are the same vocal and they'll be turned down me about eight d b and then uh the backup vocals will also be they'll be panned left to right so it looks like this but it's a hard landing essentially you're going one hundred percent fifty years I can't bend my fingers that way but yeah we'll make a vulcan it's awesome um great and so I guess one of the last ones about plugging specifically moly tothe illnesses monolith there malita said some plug ins convert mano to stereo and is setting the panting to zero or less than one hundred and one hundred more preferred and why I asked that correctly did you understand that? Let me rephrase this is setting the painting to zero or one hundred and a hundred preferred and why far I guess stereo oh yeah yeah that's right uh yeah the usually the stereo uh it's preferred because usually an effect like that has some kind of thing like the reverb is in stereo and I will I love serial stuff. So, yes, I believe it. So default is a stereo. Even if you're working with an initial mono track, just yes, with the stereo, sometimes that's, kind of how you add a stereo escaped to something that's, kind of just centered.