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  #1  
Old 01-25-2011, 06:50 PM
ice0-5 ice0-5 is offline
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Question How do I get my vocals to flow better with my music?

Hey I'm been setting up my recording game with Pro tools and I am very happy with it, But I do feel some of the songs I record, The vocals don't suit or could sound better with the right tweaks.

I make screaming music you could say and I usually add the eq pitch higher and add compression, and bombfactory. Truely I just move knobs till it sounds ok.

MY QUESTION: My question is are there any tips that could help me or videos or easy to read guide to show me what will do what and why, for understanding compression better and flowing the vocals in with the music, I've tried youtube but alot of them are unhelpful.

I know its a lot about experimenting but I would also really like a guide to help me expand my recording abilities.

Any tips you do would be nice to know also. Thankyou!
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:19 AM
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Emcha_audio Emcha_audio is offline
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Default Re: How do I get my vocals to flow better with my music?

Saying what can work and not when you do not hear the music is really not helpful. So one general tip is. Clean all your tracks of unneeded frequencies.

All instruments have a frequency range that they produce sounds. At the highest of those frequency is often the part that is called air. That can be taken out, using a low pass filter, but you need to carefully listen that you do not take out too much so it doesn't affect the tonal quality of your sound, unless you are wishing it.

Also, you always need to pay a particular attention to the lower frequency, so that they don't overlap or very little. Overlapping low frequency or mid lows even, can muddy your mix. You can manage the bass with high pass filter and also wisely using your q settings.

One last thing, don't be scare to actually go in each track and listen to it with placing you Q to it's narrowest and then boosting the db, then slowly move through all the frequencies of your track. When you hear some frequency you don't like, that sounds awful, just drop the db. This will take out those frequencies.

Lastly about EQuing. Don't boost too much. It's better to drop the mids and lows, if you are looking to have more highs, and vice versa. Boosting a EQ, introduce artifacts.

Also, panning is important to clear the stereo field and make things easier to hear.

Ride your vocal. That means do an automation while listening, to make sure that when the voice goes down a bit or too high, that you will level it out, without having to necessarily use a compressor to much.

There are charts on the net for instruments frequencies, take a look at them, they can be very useful.

But all in all, it's do it and listen while doing it. It makes no sense of applying an eq, if you don't listen to what it does before and after, what sounds good without the other tracks playing might not sound as good with the other tracks. So yes, clean your tracks, apply an eq before, then tweak it with the other tracks playing.
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:22 AM
ice0-5 ice0-5 is offline
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Question Re: How do I get my vocals to flow better with my music?

thankyou very much, very helpful.
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  #4  
Old 02-01-2011, 12:53 AM
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Emcha_audio Emcha_audio is offline
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Default Re: How do I get my vocals to flow better with my music?

You're welcome.
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  #5  
Old 03-24-2011, 08:56 AM
AdamPT8 AdamPT8 is offline
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Default Re: How do I get my vocals to flow better with my music?

Compressors can be quite tricky to get your head around. They can be used as effects or as processors on a track. When and why to have the different settings (attack, threshold, ratio etc) is all about learning what does what and why it does it.

A good compressor to use in Pro Tools is the standard one with the graph, if you understand what the graph is showing then it gives you a better visual understanding of what is happening than the 1176 does.

A good book to read on this subject that I would recommend would be Modern Recording Techniques by David Miles Huber
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  #6  
Old 04-02-2011, 02:54 PM
ninjafreddan ninjafreddan is offline
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Lightbulb Re: How do I get my vocals to flow better with my music?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ice0-5 View Post
MY QUESTION: My question is are there any tips that could help me or videos or easy to read guide to show me what will do what and why, for understanding compression better and flowing the vocals in with the music, I've tried youtube but alot of them are unhelpful.
A good practice is to start your mixing sessions by fixing the lead vocals. Apply basic filtering and some compression, and maybe add a little reverb or delay just to make them sound nice. Listen to some reference music and try to figure out how the vocals are filtered and compressed. It doesn't have to be perfect just good enough to sound inspiring when adding the vocals to the mix. It's also good to do some basic volume automation lifting parts that sound too weak and maybe back down parts that are too strong, because adding compression won't fix it all for you. Then start mixing the drums and bass. Try to have the vocals enabled in the mix as much as possible when mixing the snare drum and toms, that way you have a better chance of mixing in the drums without disturbing the sound of the vocals. If the vocals at any point starts to sound a little bit unfocused or buried then one of the drum sounds are fighting in the same frequencies as the vocals. Mute/Unmute the individual drum sounds until the vocals sound okay again. Let's say it's the snare drum that disturbs the vocals then listen to just the snare and the lead vocals, add an EQ on the snare, set the gain to -6dB, Q-value to 1.5 and sweep the filter frequency until the snare isn't disturbing the vocals anymore. Then sweep the gain setting of the filter between 0db and -6dB until you find the suitable gain reduction. Sometimes more is needed buy often a little goes a long way. When you get the hang of it you can experiment with altering the Q-value as well, most often it will end up somewhere between 1 and 5.
Do the same practice with the rest of the drums, then the bass.

Distorted guitars will most likely fight for the same space as the vocals so it's very important that you filter them out to fit with the vocals. If it's hard to hear what's really happening in the mix it's okay to solo listen to the lead vocals and one guitar at the time, but it's better if you can have the whole mix playing when adding new instruments and filtering them.

The key is to prioritize different instruments and fit them in with the vocals; and if an instrument affects the vocals do some cutting. This way you will most likely end up with a more coherent mix with good sounding vocals. Like someone else pointed out, it's always better to filter out frequencies than to add.

But won't cutting out frequencies of my guitars make them sound thinner and weaker? When you make them fit with the vocals and the drums you can actually mix them louder without making them masking the vocals or the snare drum. And the vocals will sit better in the mix, so it's a win-win situation.

Regarding compression. When adding plug-ins it's easy to apply 10-15 dB of compression on every instrument, but is it really necessary? If an instrument is going to be upfront in the mix then it's useful to add some energy to it, but if the instrument is just going to fill out the background then it can be quite hard to fit in if it's hyper-compressed with high energy content. So, try to keep the compression on a moderate level because it will benefit the mix. Remember that compression easily can kill the natural dynamics of an instrument.

There are of course tons of great tips and tweaks how to make a good mix, but in the end it's your vision of the mix that should be the goal. So try to vision how you want the mix to sound and then work your way there. How do you know what to aim for? Well, a good start is to do a lot of listening to reference tracks in the same style of music and try to figure out how the songs are arranged and mixed. It's hard but very rewarding. Make sure to add a reference track in your mixing project, lower the volume until it's about as loud as your mix, then listen to it from time to time. How loud should the vocals be? Listen to the reference track. Is the hihat too loud? Listen to the reference track. How deep is the bass? Listen to the reference track.
In the end your mix will sound nothing like the reference track, but it will help you make mixing decisions.


Good luck mixing!

Fred
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  #7  
Old 04-02-2011, 03:23 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: How do I get my vocals to flow better with my music?

Some great advice already. Here's a couple of tricks that help me from time to time. I usually go thru the entire vocal track, bit by bit, and use the AudioSuite GAIN plugin to boost parts that are too weak, and lower any parts that are just way too hot. This does a couple of things in that it levels out the performance(usually a good thing) and also makes the vocal hit the compressor(s) more consistently(sometimes I will use BF76, followed by SMACK!). Another trick that just saved the day for me is something I picked up from Russ at the airusersblog site(a little plug for Russ). I had a vocal that was just too dull and had no clarity("s" and "t" sounds were just lost). I setup an AUX send(on the vocal track) to a mono AUX track. On the AUX track I inserted the EQIII one band set for high-pass and cranked the frequency up to 3KHz. In the next slot I inserted a distortion plugin(AIR distortion) and started with the AUX fader down. As I brought up the distortion track, the vocal came into clear focus and suddenly had the presence I could not get with EQ.(just don't listen to the distortion track alone is it is UG---------LY)
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  #8  
Old 04-05-2011, 11:24 AM
AdamPT8 AdamPT8 is offline
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Default Re: How do I get my vocals to flow better with my music?

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
Some great advice already. Here's a couple of tricks that help me from time to time. I usually go thru the entire vocal track, bit by bit, and use the AudioSuite GAIN plugin to boost parts that are too weak, and lower any parts that are just way too hot. This does a couple of things in that it levels out the performance(usually a good thing) and also makes the vocal hit the compressor(s) more consistently(sometimes I will use BF76, followed by SMACK!). Another trick that just saved the day for me is something I picked up from Russ at the airusersblog site(a little plug for Russ). I had a vocal that was just too dull and had no clarity("s" and "t" sounds were just lost). I setup an AUX send(on the vocal track) to a mono AUX track. On the AUX track I inserted the EQIII one band set for high-pass and cranked the frequency up to 3KHz. In the next slot I inserted a distortion plugin(AIR distortion) and started with the AUX fader down. As I brought up the distortion track, the vocal came into clear focus and suddenly had the presence I could not get with EQ.(just don't listen to the distortion track alone is it is UG---------LY)
That's a similar method to what I do (mentioned above), gives the same results, really good technique
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