The Backwards Way of Mixing Vocals

vocal recording

I’ve been toying around with the idea of mixing vocals a little differently. I want to go back to a few of my mixes with a new technique.

In my eBook Mixing Strategies( I have a whole chapter about taking your mix to the next level.

Automation is one of the steps to taking it to that level.

In fact, I put automation as the last part of any mix. Once you’ve got everything good and groovy you can use automation to do a lot of different things.

  • Volume automation.
  • Making effects come and go.
  • Making the mix breathe.

In short, automation is a really handy way of making things that sound nice together, play nice together.

But I started thinking if maybe I’m thinking things backwards.

Mixing Vocals With Automation

Maybe automation shouldn’t be left until the last moment. Sure, maybe to sprinkle your mix with effects here and there, but I started thinking that automation might come in handy much sooner than that.

Especially with the vocal.

Once you’ve got your mix nice and balanced with levels, the vocal does tend to jump in level depending on the loudness of the part, inexperience of the singer etc..

Instead of slapping on a compressor, how about manually editing the vocal so that each part sounds as loud as you think it should.

Because manually, you’re having an actual human being listen to the mix, not a compressor just listening to erratic volume changes in a track.

After automating, you have a nice and level voice that you can EQ and compress more accurately, without a sudden squash in compression in a few key moments.

Because a compressor can make a track sound good, but it’s fundamentally an automatic level changer. If you take that part out, you free it up to do what it does best, make your vocal sound good.

Making the vocal sound terrific is only a small part of Mixing Strategies, but it is one of the more important parts of mixing.

That’s why I created the 9 step guide to a professional vocal sound, and you can read it here:

Image by: HokutoSuisse