8 Crucial Tips When Mixing Hardstyle Vocals
Getting clean and well-mixed vocals is crucial for a polished and professional-sounding mix. With these 8 tips, we can achieve consistently clean vocals that stand out and enhance our productions.
1. Proper Microphone Technique
The first step to getting clean vocals is to record them with proper microphone technique. This includes choosing the right microphone for the job, positioning it correctly, and avoiding unwanted noise and plosives.
We like to use a condenser microphone for its clarity and sensitivity. The way we do it is to position the microphone about 6-12 inches away from the mouth and angle it slightly towards the mouth to reduce plosives.
🔥 We love to use pop filters to prevent unwanted plosives and protect the microphone from saliva.
EQ is an essential tool for sculpting and shaping the vocals to fit the mix. By using EQ, we can remove unwanted frequencies, boost important frequencies, and make the vocals sound clear and defined.
We use a parametric EQ, such as the FabFilter Pro-Q3, to remove any mud or boomy frequencies and boost the important frequencies such as the presence and air frequencies. What we do is use a narrow bandwidth and a high Q value for precise adjustments.
🔥 We love to use it like that because it allows us to make precise adjustments that enhance the vocals without affecting the rest of the mix.
Plugins that work well:
👉 FabFilter Pro-Q3
👉 Waves Linear Phase EQ
Compression is an essential tool for controlling the dynamic range of the vocals and making sure that they sit well in the mix.
By using compression, we can even out the volume levels and prevent the vocals from sounding too loud or too quiet.
- We can use a vocal compressor, such as the UAD 1176SE, to control the dynamic range of the vocals.
- Adjust the threshold, ratio, attack, and release settings to find the right amount of compression.
🔥 We love to use it like that because it allows us to control the volume levels and prevent the vocals from sounding too loud or too quiet.
Plugins that work well:
👉 UAD 1176SE
👉 Waves Renaissance Compressor
De-essing is an essential tool for controlling sibilance and preventing harsh "ess" sounds in the vocals. By using de-essing, we can make the vocals sound clear and defined, and prevent them from sounding harsh or piercing.
We can use a de-esser, such as the Waves Sibilance, to control sibilance in the vocals.
✅ The way we do it is to adjust the frequency and range settings to find the right amount of de-essing.
🔥 We love to use it like that because it allows us to control sibilance and prevent the vocals from sounding harsh or piercing.
Plugins that work well:
👉 Waves Sibilance
5. Tape Emulation
Tape emulation is an excellent tool for adding warmth and character to the vocals. By using tape emulation, we can create a vintage sound that adds depth and character to the vocals.
We can use a tape emulation plugin, such as the UAD Tape Echo, to add warmth and character to the vocals.
🔥 The way we do it is to adjust the saturation and tape speed settings to our liking.
6. Automate your Process
We like to use automation to help us maintain consistent levels throughout the mix. This helps us avoid drastic level changes that can throw off the balance of the mix.
Automation also allows us to make small adjustments to individual words or phrases, ensuring that each part of the vocal performance is clear and audible.
Automate the volume of each section of the vocal performance.
For example, if a chorus is significantly louder than the verse, we would use automation to bring it down to the same level as the verse.
This allows us to maintain consistency and clarity in the vocal performance, ensuring that the listener can hear every word.
Another way we use automation is by automating effects.
For example, if we have a reverb effect on the vocal, we can use automation to turn it up or down at specific points in the mix.
✅ This can help us create a more dynamic mix, and it also allows us to fine-tune the effect for maximum impact.
Some plugins that work well for automation include:
🔥 FabFilter Pro-Q 3
🔥 iZotope Neutron 3
🔥 Waves CLA-3A
7. Edit your Vocal Performance
We love to use editing to help us get the cleanest mixed vocals possible. This includes removing unwanted sounds such as breaths, pops, and clicks, as well as fixing pitch issues and timing problems.
The way we do it is by using editing software such as Pro Tools or Logic Pro. We use editing to clean up the vocal performance and make sure that every word is audible and in time with the rest of the mix.
This helps us avoid distractions and ensures that the listener can focus on the vocal performance. Another way we use editing is to fix pitch issues. For example, if a singer is sharp or flat, we can use editing software to adjust the pitch and bring it into tune.
✅ This helps us maintain the overall musicality of the mix and ensures that the vocal performance sounds professional.
Some plugins that work well for editing include:
🔥 Antares Auto-Tune Pro
🔥 Melodyne 5
🔥 Waves Tune Real-Time
8. Finalize your Mix
The final step in getting clean mixed vocals is to finalize your mix. This includes balancing levels, adding final touches to effects, and checking the mix for any issues.
The way we do it is by doing a final listening pass and making any necessary adjustments.
This includes checking levels, making sure that the vocal performance is clear and audible, and adding any final touches to effects. This is also a good time to check for any technical issues such as phase problems or clipping.
Once we’re happy with the mix, we export it and listen to it on different systems to make sure that it sounds good on all speakers.
✅ This helps us ensure that the mix will sound good on a variety of systems, from headphones to car speakers.
What's The Key Takeaway?
In conclusion, getting clean mixed vocals requires a combination of technical skills and creative intuition.
By using these 8 tips, we can achieve clean, clear, and dynamic vocal performances that stand out in the mix.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced producer, these tips can help you take your vocal mixing to the next level. Happy mixing fellas! 💪
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