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An Advanced Vocal Production Trick You Need to Try

Here’s a cool vocal mixing trick for when you want a lot of space around the vocal, but you don’t want to clutter everything up with reverb.

Step 1 – Mix the Dry Vocal

Make the dry vocal sound as good as you can with:

  • Analog emulation or tape saturation
  • EQ
  • Compression

Step 2 – Send the Vocal to an Effects Bus

On the effects bus, add:

  • Compression to even out the dynamics of the incoming signal
  • A subtle stereo delay with a couple of repeats, 1/16th or 1/8th notes depending on the style of the song
  • A medium, 1.2~ second reverb, maybe a hall or plate, to diffuse the delay repeats
  • Another compressor

Step 3 – Side-chain the Second Compressor to the Vocal

Make the compressor push down the level of the reverb any time the vocalist is singing. That way you’ll get very present vocals that still sound heavy on the effects because the effects swell up as soon as the vocal phrases end.

A high ratio will push the level of the effects-send down pretty drastically, but the trick is to take the time to tweak the attack and release so that the volume of the delayed reverb swells don’t sound too unnatural.

Use that Next Time

If the typical stand-by’s of plate reverb or slapback echo isn’t quite cutting it, try this technique out next time.

Vocal production is a pretty comprehensive and important topic to get right because the right vocal sound will make or break your mix.

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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