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Studio Pass with Joey Sturgis

Lesson 28 of 29

Mixing Vocals

Joey Sturgis

Studio Pass with Joey Sturgis

Joey Sturgis

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Lesson Info

28. Mixing Vocals

Lesson Info

Mixing Vocals

We will talk about vocal mixing and I know we're kind of flying through this but I'm gonna try and just, uh give you the main points that I think are are good takeaways here um now with this song I have to kind of give you a disclaimer some of the vocals that are in this song came from his demo and that's simply because we tried re recording some of the parts and they just did not sound good and sometimes I mean that's a really good point to convey that sometimes you just get in a situation where you you try to do something better and and just never comes out better that first moment that you captured is the best it will ever come out so you can see right here in the verse it kind of switches back and forth between this top track here, which is the demo that I got from him and then all these other layers that we kind of sort of added and, um, the real trick of all this is getting it to seem so seamless that you have no idea which came from the demo and what came from the actual product...

ion um so when I play this your you'll see how it all blends together no wait pretty it's pretty seamless I feel like I did a pretty good job of making that it's seamless possible considering that I couldn't really do much with this I mean this is just the vocals that came in theo can you know there's not much I could do with that so in order to get some of these other vocal parts to fit I had teo actually do some cq matching I don't think the matching actually loaded but what I did is I took an e q profile of this vocal track here yeah, I turned that into a profile and then on these other tracks that go with that that track I applied the same profile to those tracks so that they would all kind of live in the same frequency space um and then on the on these vocals I don't think I ended up doing too much compression or anything like that I did a little bit of lim limiting and a little bit of gsr at the end. Theo yeah, so that's all baked in there and then ah, dues are just layers that we added to kind of beef it up and for most of the vocals on this song I'm using gain reduction as the vocal compressor so like here's the main main line of the chorus wait and I'm just using gain reduction on like the default setting and then before that actually have a multi band compressor which just helps like level out some of this stuff before hits the gain reduction wait if I was like the bypass that way sounds a little bit more flat and then this is a little bit more exciting wait on dh that's kind of like a form of automation another thing that you can do is if you get like a vocal part that just has lycan xs excessive amount of trouble or something like that um like maybe it's a really high note for the singer and when they hit it it doesn't quite sound as pleasing as the other notes you could do like kikyo automation to kind of correct those type of things so unassuming find something ah all right so like on this ah yeah ah yeah ah so sometimes like if they had like a really high now and there's like a ton of like high frequencies in there theo you can automate the coming down to clamp that out you? Ah which is like one of my favorite tricks because, um a lot of the music I record has some very aggressive vocals so there are parts where the only way to really get it right is to do that e q automation stuff um a lot of times I do like to try and keep my top track for clarity and this song I didn't do that so I have some delay and re verbal my top track uh but uh on the doubles have a little bit less going on ah uh when you combine them together it's pretty clear oh, the things way big thing though with vocals is if you don't have any delay a reverb it's going to sound just really slap oh that faye found that's almost like freakishly dry so if I play that any delay on way theo how it kind of sounds a little bit more I guess amateur it's got like more of a demo type feel to it I feel like adding the the little layers of different delay timings and reverb is what really helps make those vocals a lot more at that can stand out um on the main vocal I actually have a slower delay s got half notes there and then all my double's actually have quarter notes a combination of those is actually really cool, so I I like to do most of my productions have tons and tons of reverb in delay on the vocals that just kind of my thing I like to do on screaming really short the delays loose if I have any on here because you can almost get like a, uh like a slap back or a reverb type of effect with a short delay, I'll just show you one so let's see stood on this part right here no, no, no no I don't like that part of the student departing eso eso look at me now when it's still huse off a better look at me now okay so like what you could do is added delay put it on like a really fast note like maybe sixteenth notes or eighth notes and then turn your feedback all the way down looking down teo right and then just change your filters and then lower your mix look at me now when it sells you something better looking me now when I tell you stuff about eye look at me now you're creating like a really really clean slapped back looking now when it's so here's something better look at me now when I tell you stuff a better look at me now and then without it look at me now when it's so here's something better look at me now when I tell you something that I look at me look at me now when it's so here's something better look at me now I I often do that with like a lot of the screaming parts um so because it gives them a little bit of space without having to use reverb because it's a lot cleaner if you're using delay so like here's the screen with it well so so and then without it cool show so so sounds a lot drier without that so so so so so that's ah nice trick to use um let's see distortion effects you can actually use distortion. Um, as like une que tal c if I did that anywhere. Okay, what's this okay? So, like, on this little rapping part in the course live all ofthis shit behind is the time to rise up from mine on the doubles actually put distortion on their live all ofthis shit being frank is assigned to rise up with your mind and that gives those takes a little bit more like mid range, combined with the clarity of the original live all ofthis shit behind us. It's time to rise out of your mind. It gives it a little bit more body and stuff if I were was to remove those it sounds like this level off chef behind because the sun to rise up those gone mine on with it live our love should be hank is the time to rise up in your mind so knows how it kind of sticks out a little bit more in the mix and makes a huge difference. So if it wasn't there, this is what it would sound like. Wait, that really helps that stick out over top of the mix. Um, now another thing that you run into when you're mixing with vocals is ah, semblance it's like all the little s sounds and uh oh, wait, find this one has level off ship behind us it's time to rise up lose go mine so yeah there's like a lot of essence in that line I'm going to show you an interesting way of actually fixing those esses or being able to manage the volume of those essays um you could do it by basically duplicating your track and then doing a phase reverse on it and so now these two should cancel out they do and then on the second track you cut out like you basically cut out everything that isn't an s so you would need to know where they all are avala so here's an s cut that out because this there's another one all right, so here's the s sounds in this part wait cut those out now we still have this phase reversed so when I hit play now all the essence air going to disappear level off sha ba hank is the sun to rise out lulu's going mine okay, something didn't work right? But let me do something I think it's going to print uh yes o you could see like I have live time stretching going on these these takes these yellow markers are orange ones so you have to actually bounce these out first and then you cut them out cool a love a love yeah behind because the sun to rise up, lose your mind and this one level left behind as the sun to rise up lucy on mine could be also the effects I have running behind is the sun to rise out lulu's going mine let me try try doing it as audio sten export okay, yeah, this might be something that only works with actual audio tracks because if you're working with live dsp the phase can be kind of funny so first phase all right, so it's completely needed now let's cut these out again. All right, so now is the time to write my okay so yeah every time every time this track lines up with this one playing back audio at the same time live a lot of shit behind us it's right here the the meeting that happens so what you can actually do is now when you change the fader it will change how muted it becomes level off ship behind us it's time to rise out, lucio so the more I turn it up the more the more mutes the esses live a lot of shit behind us. It's time to rise out lucio actually automate the amount of civilians in your song just buy this fader here live all ofthis shit behind and start to rise out lulu's going mine justin alternate way of handling s is um kind of like to do it that way and it's easy to manage instead of having to manage a whole bunch of tiny little automation points that air sprinkled throughout your song you could just cut them all out, reverse the phase of that track and then change the level of the fader so yeah that's pretty much it for the vocal mixing thing do we have any questions? I know that there's a plugin out there a di essere that is a particular kind of compressor that is already set to like level out those esses and pose and more impact sounds do you ever utilize that particular plugin yeah, absolutely you can use the esther's and they work pretty good but the problem with the dsr is that what least versus this method is that this method you can control what's happening on every single s in the song so if you wanted to go in and say I want this has to be this loud but I want this next one to be twice is loud is that one and blah blah blah that's what this trick is for and it's an easier way of managing it because if you were to do it the traditional way which is just taking volume automation I don't know if you've ever seen it done like this but this is the traditional way that someone goes in like this and like changes the volume of the whole track like that that's like the traditional dsr way office behind but what happens is these points become really difficult to manage over time. Because you, you will have, like, literally, hundreds of them throughout your song. And so by having all of them on just one track that's phase reversed. Then all you have to do is just automate this fader. And it becomes a lot simpler to deal with.

Class Description

Joey Sturgis is the producer behind some of the biggest names in metalcore, including Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, and I See Stars. His style is one of the most sought after sounds of the last decade and in Studio Pass he’ll show you how he produces it.

There is no magic bullet to Joey’s sound. It’s simply the combination of a million little decisions that add up to something incredible. In this class – for the first time ever – Joey will demonstrate his entire process: pre-pro, engineering, mixing and mastering, from A-Z. 

You’ll learn:

  • Writing and arrangement tips that take a song from good to great
  • Recording, editing, and mixing tips for guitars, vocals, bass, drums, and synths
  • How to get stuff to sound loud, super clean, and tight

Joey is a hands-on engineer – he’ll talk about how he works with bands to develop their writing and ideas so they are working with the best possible raw material. He’ll show you the specific signal chain he uses for mixing guitars, vocals, bass, drums, and synths. And he’ll give extra focus to vocal tracking, editing, tuning, compression, and effects.

If you want to transform your recording and engineering process, don’t miss your opportunity to learn from chart-topping metalcore producer, Joey Sturgis.

Class Materials

bonus material with enrollment


What is Vocal Production

Autotune Pitch Correction Modes and Tools

Understanding Pitch Graphing

Timing and Quantization

Vocal Mixing

Separating Lead & Background in Mixing

Mixing Harmonies & Adv Production Technique

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I have been following Joey's work since the early Prada days... This is one of the best discussions any producer has ever contributed to digital audio. I love the amount of transparency. He simply reveals everything and guides you on a very wise path on how to become a in-the-box producer like him! Turns out, the answer is -- a ton of hard work! Plus, this has to be the best use-case on his own awesome and super-affordable plugins. I have watched almost every popular producer/engineer workshops and have also sat-in on Eddie Kramer, Alan Parsons and Quincy Jones producer workshops and believe it or not... This is the best one yet.

Adam Train

I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of the bands Joey records. The only reason I bought this class was because I enjoyed the Periphery one so much. Joey takes modern production techniques to the absolutely extreme. He takes punch-ins and editing to a level where it's not even funny any more. If you're looking for tips on recording and mixing in general, this class is not for you. If you're looking for editing tips to see how far you can possibly push the strive for perfection, this is pretty spot on. If you're a beginner, don't take this class to heart - Joey's workflow is borderline psychopathic - go and get the Periphery session instead. If you've been recording for a while and you're looking to see how far editing can take you, it's worth a look.

a Creativelive Student

Easily one of the best investments I've made. There is so much information here that you'll have to watch it multiple times to really catch everything. Looked up to Joey Sturgis for a long time and this is literally a dream come true to get a behind the scenes look into his talent. He delivered the material in a very understandable fashion and was extremely clear with all his examples. I love creative live =)