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Recording Rock Vocals

Lesson 24 of 26

Mixing Softer Vocals Part 1

Andrew Wade

Recording Rock Vocals

Andrew Wade

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Lesson Info

24. Mixing Softer Vocals Part 1


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
3 Soundproofing Duration:24:20
4 DIY Acoustics Duration:12:34
5 Signal Chain and Microphones Duration:21:12
6 Preamps, Compression & EQ Duration:23:20
7 Working with a Vocalist Duration:36:53
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Editing Overview Duration:34:31
2 Fades and Basics of Melodyne Duration:13:53
3 Editing Female Vocals Part 1 Duration:27:39
4 Editing Female Vocals Part 2 Duration:09:51
5 Editing Vocals with VocALign Duration:17:34
7 Editing Screaming Vocals Duration:28:18
8 Vocal Effects Part 1 Duration:33:20
9 Vocal Effects Part 2 Duration:32:18
10 Intro to Mixing Duration:18:07
11 Mixing Softer Vocals Part 1 Duration:32:42
12 Mixing Softer Vocals Part 2 Duration:14:21
13 Mixing Screaming Vocals Duration:32:11

Lesson Info

Mixing Softer Vocals Part 1

Uh, still have some intro? Because I really want you guys to get a grasp on the major mixing tools that I use for mixing vocals uh I'm just going to continue here from where we were uh d s sirs, I use these a lot um it's a di essere isn't actually something special but it is kind of it's a compressor designed to control the high end frequencies usually where you're vocalist will have the s sound and sometimes that uncertain vocalists I always use a di essere so but uncertain vocalist it's extreme so you absolutely have to tame it down somehow. So di essere is, uh it's just a compressor that compresses the high end frequencies some of them very from like six skate all the way to twenty k just depends on the settings on the compressor or the di essere and stuff so, um it tames the s sound. How does it work works the same as a compressor kind of went through that. So when do you that I always use it always, always always. Uh I want to show you a really cool technique with a di essere toda...

y uh, it's not to me it's not just to get rid of the d s ng sound, it does a little bit more than that and we'll get into that, uh other major mixing tools reverb in delay we talked about that a little bit in the last thing they could help a vocal blend in with the mix and ads ambience and a stereo feel uh sometimes a vocal you know it's just it's one vocal it's mono sometimes you want to add a little bit more interest there so you can add these effects I probably always use at least a little bit of reverb and I don't always use delight but I use it a lot maybe sixty percent of the time on the main vocals um and then miscellaneous effects we had a whole section on effects and they can spice up an otherwise boring vocal problems uh I just wantto talk about a few of these problems I'm going to try to go over all of these vocals not cutting enough these these air really common problems vocals not airy enough to muffled sounding vocals not punchy sounding too soft screams cleans not full enough not enough body screams too airy vocal sound to separate from the song vocal sound jumbled can't understand the words um what's your problem so I that's what I want to know uh I want to ask some of you guys before you actually dive into this what are some problems that you guys have had with vocals and I know that you've had some problems we're mixing the cut thing is specifically a problem that I have getting vocals that air like usually kind of like a male vocal that's kind of low that's probably got a like a lot of bass and then it's also sitting in a dense mix with a lot of bases well, so I guess kind of getting that too separate from the rest of the mix without seeming too thin or just kind of getting some glue going I guess right just get it in the right spot in the mix um we were talking about some other things during the break yeah, just when you have a multitude of singers in a band um sometimes even having male and female simultaneously as lead singers or at least you know two or three different members who take on a lead even in aa kind of operatic situations where you're trying to still tell a story it's kind of interesting problem to decide where to put everything in the stereo field and still keep the the main vocal line centered. But if you have two people singing simultaneously that khun b a jumbled mess and keeping the clarity and definition still there yeah, we're gonna weigh have a complex volk arrangement I'm going to try toe highlight that a little bit yeah problem I usually run into is when people over accentuate like a specific word and it kind of I mean it's obviously louder than the other vocal lines like kind of how did I guess the main question is how to even everything out you know, in the mix just vocally so okay, cool. Um well I'm going to try to do this is going to be a huge participation thing for you guys because it's hard to it's hard to make fake problems here so there are going to be problems like that that you encounter we may not even be able to show you how to fix certain things but I do want to talk about all these things uh specifically if we don't if if I'm not able to demonstrate this for you I want you guys to keep in mind like what your problems are and the people in the chat rooms I want you guys this is where your questions are have been leading up to so um everybody has problems when it comes to mixing vocals I made this for you guys uh it's just a little reference uh and the first thing we're going to kind of talk about here is, uh is is q when we actually get into the song and we will in just a second. So, um this is something that you should definitely memorize and, uh, kind of take note of here we have I think this is pretty clear, but if you don't understand what this means, uh let's look over at thea says air the blue ball that that's kind of the range that you would boost on cue to get more of an airy sound in your vocal uh where the president's that's where you get a little more presence the yellow is a little more cutting mid rangy a little bit but sometimes that's uh pleasing for certain screamers that's like what they're absolutely lacking body thickness uh right there in that range so as always you kind of understand what these grafts are and on the bottom if you take away in these spots it makes it darker or muddier makes it blend a little bit more makes it thinner on way just have the high pass filter on there and it takes away rumbles and also adds clarity and I'm actually show you how that adds clarity which sounds like bizarre how does that thing down there at any clarity to the vocals but I will show you that so all right we're going to start by mixing jessica's vocals from yesterday take it slow so I want to uh I'm gonna take this stuff off we're just gonna start from nothing no pre sets here no cheating no nothing um all right let's just get into it now here's the here's the thing uh I haven't spent time mixing this at all this vocal is brand new to me obviously we just tracked it yesterday so I have no idea what to expect right now and I want you guys to understand that a lot of this stuff is trial and error on I will show you I'll say the kinds of things that I'm hearing, the problems and also a solution to these problems that I hear. So we have a track. This is actually pretty basic because it's, justin acoustic guitar and a vocal so that should be a simple thing to mix for most people, but we do have when you were talking about the male female vocal, we have a part in here where I actually do come in, and I'm going to try to mix that in there. Ah, with her and show show you guys how to do that properly. Uh, so I just wanted you guys to take note the key demonstrations for this part, uh, wilby howto work with the a clean, delicate vocal likes like quieter, softer vocals, even in heavy music. Sometimes we'll have parts where it's just really quiet. So I thought this, you know, this covers all angles uh, how to how to treat a single vocal, because that can be tricky. Um, backups versus duet. This is exactly what you're talking about. It's like this is kind of ah, this brings me back to what do you want the vocals to do? Is it a duet or is it just a backup vocals and that's kind of ah that's a creative decision that you have to decide and I'll show you how to mix for both of those um triple course vocals how to make that sound good uh I don't have a triple of her so I'll just do double chorus vocals but that's the same it'll basically be the same thing on dh then we'll get into the ambient complex vocal arrangement here okay so let's hear what we got this is straight off the board no way ah ah I got it so when you hear that it's to me I hear it's kind of buried in the mix is kind of muddy sounding there's no clarity sometimes it's hard to understand what words she's saying um now that's even with compression on it so that's the kind of compression that I was doing here it's not making a final polish sound all it did was control the dynamics as they were going into pro tools so this is straight off the board with just a very we have four and a half oh just so you guys can simulate this if you want I got this question on twitter and I thought it was a great question someone said what if we don't have this equipment and we're just recording straight uh you know into an interface I thought that was an awesome question so what you would do if you do kind of want to copy the settings that we have here virtually that would work and it would do the same thing. So, uh just so you guys know the on ly thing that we have going on the q uh from the vocals going in is about four and a half not about exactly four and a half minus four and a half d b at seventy hurts and, uh I believe that is a bell curve on this week you let me show you what a bell curve looks like and that essentially just your low cut on the way in to the system yeah, that that's what it is but it's not totally cutting it and I just want people to I don't want people to think that there's ah super unfair advantage or anything here so we got seventy hurts and, uh, it's hopes that's a different button it's basically like this the q is probably somewhere about here. So this is what is actually happening over here they seek you might have, like, a little bit of different sound, but it's nothing extreme and I'm just trying to demonstrate that you could do this on your own um but that's just to control the sound going in now if you do want to copy this, this is the first this is gonna be the first thing on your signal chain before the compressor before you keep well that doesn't make you before anything else this would be first and then second we have uh I think there's a think this is a copy of an eleven thirty six uh these are exact settings if you care to know I won't just literally coffee this exactly no, that doesn't really matter what unless this was for screaming but anyway, so this this is basically the settings it wasn't far from this I know the attack and release weren't different that input and output might be a little bit different but that's it so the ratios at twelve it's pretty aggressive but if you're not compressing if your threshold isn't that high it's not really pumping very hard so anyway, just so nobody thinks we're at some kind of unfair advantage those are the kind of settings that you would put first, I don't even think it's necessary, but I'm just saying that for everyone else okay, money I did here let's do this let's actually get into some really if we can hold on I don't wanna make any promises here is there I usually use there's ah crackling there I hear this crackling and it came from the equipment when we're recording and hey, sometimes that might happen so you could use something to eliminate that was this never used this does money awesome er didn't work okay um anyway there there absolutely are now this is not a common problem that you'll get into but I will just say mixing this is really distracting having these clicks here so if you have some kind of thing like this waves does make a plug in called x click that would most likely get rid of that um so if you do have any weird problems with your track like that get rid of it right away we can't do that kind of sh we could but um that's just how it goes sometimes uh anyway so let's start off with compression okay now the compression that I actually use a lot gasp is the one that comes with pro tools um I've noticed that this compressor has is uh very has a very quick response you can go the attack you could make very very short you can do cool things with these side change filters um I don't think we'll actually get into that but it does kind of have a have a has a mid range innis to it and so sometimes you might actually have to e q that mid range innis out of it later I don't know if I do this because of and I'm just gonna be honest here I don't know if I do this because it's super simple or if I do actually like it better but I'm very comfortable with it and I have gotten great results with it so I'm just gonna put that out there first being honest okay, so uh this is also a really excellent one the ssl compressor thiss one is excellent um this is probably the one that a lot of a lot of people have seen everyone can use this because you don't have to be on pro tools to use this so I think I'm gonna try to mix with this uh this is definitely not as an aggressive um compressor as the pro tools compressor so for this song it should work awesome like I'd probably use the one made with pro tools for screams specifically and we'll get into that okay, so uh what do we got thiss money for some time okay, so this is a really quiet something like I said, uh, obviously you don't you don't want to over compress this this it's so easy to over compress things so whenever I'm doing thiss money for us and I'm doing a single vocal see if I can explain this in a way that's easy to understand when I'm doing a single vocal and then it comes into a chorus of a bunch of vocals um what happens is in the chorus obviously it jumps up in volume and I think that was a question that you kind of had a uh yesterday and what I like to do is use it's usually at least two two compressors well one compressor for the actual vocal track and then another compressor on the vocal bus so I'll just I'll throw that up I'll deactivate it in a second but um what what what happens here is everything is getting compressed twice uh but the things that are a lot are getting compressed mohr and it is controlling it a little bit more but it's uh it is being compressed more so you have to keep that in mind when you have, like, a verse with a single vocal and then you have the course with double or triple vocals it's going to sound different all of a sudden I kind of like the way the difference that it makes when it actually gets to that part um but I just wanted to point that out because that's I don't want you guys to think this is the only compressor that I have on these vocals and I know I'm not the only one that does this technique case you guys were wondering this is like a pretty common thing I'll trade this money for some time I'll take whatever wreck and find it's like digging in for go it's getting no ah way so it's controlling it pretty well it's uh it's getting it it's gotten a little bit bolder here um now this is a trick now this is a trick that I do er usually on the in individual vocal tracks I don't put much I will maybe put the compressor just on that ah lot of the other things that I'm going to do are just on the vocal bus um I don't know if other people do it like this but this is what I do and this is what we're gonna learn today uh I put the d s ir on the vocal bus because tell me how this in stone yes thank you uh the waves yes, sir is my favorite dancer there's one that comes with pro tools I'm actually not a big fan of it it's caused some weird problems but uh it's easier to go overboard with the dsr so let's just get this money for ah take a look and get it now okay, so since I know kind of I kind of already know how this whole thing is going to play out um so I'm just gonna actually throw this is it sounds muffled so in the the way to take care of something that sounds muffled if you didn't if it didn't already sound bright enough going in is cq and and I know that this this has to be cute, so we're going to kind of flip back and forth between the two and the dsr uh and that's how I kind of get my uh the final result so uh, what I like to do is I like to overdo it and then back off and I'll demonstrate this for a second this money ah take it okay, so this is my fair setting when I wanna do it using high end on vocals this high mid frequency right here this channel is the magic channel and this is the magic button honestly take that note down magic channel magic button right there I don't really miss of this that much that's just the queue there and but I do miss with this the, uh what francie it's affecting in the er obviously think the gain of the frequency so I'm just gonna overdo it so it sounds really brittle and bright so I can really hone in on the presence of her voice that's what you want do you want to find where her voice naturally has oppressed and that's what we're searching for right now so you can't you don't wanna just throw high end because different people have high end indifferent registers of their voice so you want to actually it's like you're tuning in to the presence of their voice and your your finding you're finding that truth this money for some ah I'll take what I can find it like jake and for go scan no way ah because they run of all inside I gotta let him go get ah okay, so I'm hearing it might be hard for you guys to hear these subtleties and that's why you're mixing environment is actually really important to um I'm finding it around it's like uh three point four kilohertz is kind of where I'm finding her presence for her particular vocal and that is just a little bit lower than what we have on the presents for here so that's what that's about uh I'll trade this money for sometime I'll take a look and okay, so and while I'm doing this, I like to bounce back and forth to make sure that each plugging is making a difference and making the proper difference so I'm turning off the dsr to make sure that it's actually making a change that im happy with that's really important sometimes you'll throw is like uh guesses are too loud we'll just thought yesterday you know and it's it's being affected but is it exactly how you want it to sound so it's important to actually turn that off and sometimes you might actually like something better? And so you've got to re evaluate what you actually just did I'll trade this money for some I'll take a look and find it like diggin for go so those s is now to me this is this is a little bit unfortunate the way this is set up here in the studio when I'm mixing vocals I like to crank it because whenever I am using the d s sir I like to get to a point where it's not where the esses don't hurt my ears I know that is really weird uh technique but I like to crank my monitors um and just use the dsr so that it sounds a little more pleasant and then when I turn it down make sure the clarity is still there and find a balance between it being loud and quite I can't demonstrate this because these speakers are very, very quiet um so it's a little bit difficult to even do this technique that I normally do uh so let's go back to the d s a really quick trade this money for some ah I'll take what I can find it's like digging in for the oh wait I cool uh yeah so I had a little too much d essay on there and I also noticed like als they burn I hope there's a little bit low in there actually wanted to demonstrate how to get rid of these these up lotions after the fact if they do get through the pot filter yeah bye bye bye bye but that's another effect that you khun d'oh okay so michael's they burned a hole in said so that implosion is gone if you like girls they like on their way okay so now talking about verse verse cora verse versus the chorus um compression wise I like the way this verse is sounding this this track doesn't have a lot of just the acoustic and the vocal so I like the vocal to be very dynamic so I don't like toe over compress it however when the other vocals join in I'm just going to copy and pace this s s l q to the double vocal way tio way yeah wait teo teo wait s so now in this course I'm kind of I'm missing now I'm hearing other instruments I'm missing those s is that it's still a little too quiet this's way ah cool and that part wasn't vocal line just it normally would be vocal line but andrew I'm wondering the sorrow in nineteen sixty eight mentions that their vocals sound weak compared with the rest of the mix and even though they sound great when heard soloed what I'm seeing and what I'm hearing when you're doing these kinds of effects you're really bringing it out of the mix is this one of the main things or just one of the first things you d'oh in a siri's of getting the that to come really out of the top uh I think that question will probably be answered a little bit and are you able to talk back to them? Absolutely don't don't sass them but just great response is it like a heavier song that there yeah let me check and see it seems like it was kind of a general question but but I'll ask and get exactly I think it might have to do a lot with the actual, uh genre and how you're making that zero on here. Ciro why don't you get in the chat and tell us the answer to that question? Absolutely all right wait okay, cool. So so the compression here is really light on the actual vocal bus it's only compressing about four five d b in the course of this money you're versus it's on ly compressing it may be one or two dp so um that's kind of maybe it was that a problem that you were having with vocals when it went to from first first of course is that exactly what it was? Okay cool he said yes alright affirmation is good with this money fulsome toe now uh it obviously works a lot better when you're familiar with your monitors I'm not super familiar with these monitors, so I'm just trying to mix the best I can on these but to me I'm hearing that the vocals are just the tiny spit too brittle, so I'm just bringing that that high end presents down andrew and that response came back from sorrow on the chat rooms that it's e d m basically that they're trying to mix these vocals into oh wow um that could be anything medium is actually not something that I know about mixing to be completely honest, I don't really mix that might that might that problem might start it the mix of their music um, it's easy with a lot of the synths that ciro says lots of drumbeats and sense drumbeats and sent yeah, when you have a lot of sense, there's like a lot of high end that comes with a lot of sense. Um, and if you're not controlling that, the vocal is gonna have a hard time, like competing because the vocal has a lot of, like, high end in presence and that's kind of where it cuts through when you go to it to adjust it, though, uh, it's better to tweak the synth patch than to try to seek you it because you have remember, when you're dealing with, since you have complete control over the ottoman spectrum, right and it's better to tweak the patch insanity to make you absolutely, yeah, I've actually done that before, where it like if you are working with since and just so you guys know he works with electronic music a lot and he he knows what he knows this stuff on that, so yeah, I'm gonna assume that that's probably what the problem was great through this money fuss and, uh, okay, so I mixed this. Uh, I like to turn the analog off just so you guys know, I feel like that just adds hiss and that's it. It doesn't. Anything else, that's beyond me.

Class Description

Every great rock song starts with a stellar vocal. Get ready to learn the fundamentals of recording rock vocals from Andrew Wade, who’s worked with A Day to Remember, Motionless in White, and dozens more.

Andrew will cover everything you need to know about recording, editing, and mixing vocals for modern rock songs. You’ll learn about mic selection and positioning, key mixing techniques, and the secrets of time and pitch correction. You’ll also learn about how to work with each individual artist to get the sound they want.

By the end of this course, you’ll be fully equipped to work with a variety of male or female vocalists to get the results you need, from screaming to cleans and everything in between.



This is a superb course, was full of great informations and it has inspired me a lot. Learned alot of things, thanks to Andrew for this great presentation and sharing his knowledge and experience with us, also thanks to the people in the audience for bringing up good question and to the creative live team for making this happen. I really hope Andrew will come back to Creative Live someday, perhaps with a full course especially about working out and creating vocal harmonies :-)

a Creativelive Student

Absolutely essential information in this course. Very in depth. Even if you went and interned at a studio with a reputable producer, it would probably take months to absorb all the information so cohesively laid out in the course. I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking to properly record their own vocals, or for anyone looking to record other bands (whether in a bedroom, or a million dollar studio). Loved watching, learned a TON (learned a lot of great pro tools shortcuts as well). Well worth the money. Thanks for doing it Mr. Wade.