Mixing and mastering vocals is the cornerstone of a solid music recording. Poorly mixed vocals will make an otherwise perfect recording sound amateur and displeasing to the ears. Some people also find vocals extremely difficult to mix and master due to the many variables involved, but fortunately professional engineers use a variety of standard conventions that you can emulate from the comfort of your own home, creating the perfect vocal mix for your musical masterpiece.
Things You'll Need
- Audio editing software
Open your vocal recording using your audio editing software. Popular programs include Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase, FL Studio and GarageBand.
Eliminate unwanted noise from your vocal recording, such as breathing sounds between notes and faint background noises that appear during pauses. Simply click on the vocal region where the interference appears, highlight the unwanted areas with your mouse and click "Delete."
Add a touch of reverb. This will help the vocals to blend into the mix for a more natural sound. Use a short duration reverb, preferably below 20 percent, as too much reverb will give you the opposite effect and make your vocals sound unnatural and muffled.
Add EQ. Also known as equalizing, this is the first step in mastering your vocals and will help you to reduce the presence of unwanted frequencies and bring out the best qualities. The website Audio Recording Tips recommends cutting the 200 Hz frequency (high pass filter) to -6 dB and boosting both the 30,000 Hz frequency and the 15,000 Hz frequency to 3 dB.
Add compression. Compression will smooth out your vocals, reduce volume spikes and prevent your track from drowning into the background. Set the attack time to approximately 5 ms and the release time to 50 ms, with a threshold of -50 ms.
Tips & Warnings
- When mixing, less is more. Resist the temptation to add too many effects and filters to your vocal mix, as over-processing will make your mix sound unnatural.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
How to Improve Voice Effects on "GarageBand"
Included with Mac computers, GarageBand is an audio recording program that simplifies music production for professionals and novices alike. GarageBand comes with...
How to Master Vocals in FL Studios
Mastering is the last step in producing a vocal track. The mastering process involves shaping the vocal's sound using a series, or...
How to Mix a Lead Vocal
It's common to receive a project where the bulk of the material has been recorded at someone's home studio. Digital technology has...
How to Take Out the Vocals in a Song on GarageBand
GarageBand is a digital audio work station for the Mac. With it you can record, edit and mix your music using your...