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Mixing Vocals In Logic

Discussion in 'Studio Techniques' started by neonreymun, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. neonreymun

    neonreymun Member

    i recently started mixing vocals but to me they sound very dry and mediocre. they seem to kinda compete with the beat instead of finding its pocket and sitting right in the mix. i put a song together a couple days ago and u can listen to it here

    all i did for the chorus was record 3 takes and layer them. and for the verse i did two takes one lower octave and one higher octave. i added an EQ to roll off the lows and added a bit of delay and reverb to each of them. i didn't compress anything because i am still not entierly sure what a compressor does im still kinda learning. but basically im looking for a more stereo sound. i don't have any fancy plugins or anything, just what logic has to offer. i guess my question is about stereo imaging. does anybody know how to achieve a wider sound on the vocals? for example i LOVE the way these vocals were mixed it sounds so full and clean. not muddy at all. if anyone has any tips on achieving this kind of sound using stock plugins please let me know!
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
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  3. Cashy

    Cashy New Member

    Hmmm... what i usually do is have the main lead vocal, and for your hook specifically i probably do one more take of the lower layer so that you can pan one left and one right. I would keep the High octave centered. I would also use a direction mixer to stereoize the vocals and make them thinner a bit. Then I would run all the layers through a bus with the chorus plugin on logic. start with a preset that sound appealing to you and adjust it from there. I usually start with the preset "mega wide chorus" and just adjust the percentage of the mix. Here's a song i mixed so you get the idea of what i went for:

    Chorus plugin does wonders. Also i just read your excerpt again, compressors are really important. They control the dynamics of the audio, if i try to explain i would say it makes the lower volumes louder and cuts the higher volumes, essentially its squeezing it or compressing making it less dynamic. A larger ratio will squeeze it more, a lower ratio will have subtle differences. The threshold is the volume at when you want the compressor to start going to work. Attack is how fast you want the compressor to react and release is how long you want it to hold from the point of attack. On every audio track I always have an EQ and Compressor.

    For the back up layers, I would compress them hard so that it doesnt take away from the dynamics of the lead vocal. I would make the backup vocals sound very flat in volume to give all the dynamic range attention to the lead vocal. and maybe make the echo and reverb a little wetter to the backups. I love the sound tho man! just gave you a follow on the cloud, cant wait to hear more. The chorus plugin then pretty much glues them smoothly all together, adds more layers through modulation, and stereoizes it niceley depending on how u adjust the settings. just mess around with it and im sure youll find what youre lookin for.
    Listening to your track again, I think I would dip your vocal frequencies somewhere around 300 to 500Hz by like 2 to 3db, boost somewhere around 1000 to 1500Hz a little and increase all the highs from 6500 and up by 2 or 3 to add some airiness to the voice. if all of the sudden your "s's" start to hiss, just add a de esser and that should fix it.
     
  4. Cashy

    Cashy New Member

    what reverb are you using in logic?
     
  5. neonreymun

    neonreymun Member

    hey man thanks for all this! i usually only use the chorus plugin for hi hats and weird percussion sounds, never tried it on vocals but i will definetely mess w it. and your mix sounds nice dude the part around 0:52 sounds really good. also thanks for the compressor talk it makes a little more sense to me now. as for the direction mixer, would i only need it on the lead vocal or on all of them?

    for the chorus i used very little silververb and for the verse i think i used a vintage reverb from the native instruments guitar rig plugin
     
  6. Cashy

    Cashy New Member

    most def, i know the struggle. still struggling trying to achieve perfect sound but i think my taste requires thousands of dollasr of equipment to fully satisfy lol. i would use direction mixer on every vocal track. probably spread it 1.00 to 1.10 for the chorus, and .85 to .90 for verses so that the chorus is more airy and blended in the song and the verses are more present. i would also do panning with direction mixer because it gives true panning rather than the panning control on the track because that just deletes audio data. i love your reverb setting as is, but if youre going for the reverb in your reference track, i would try adjusting the lowcut in the silververb and cut it just a little higher.

    and mastering is also very important. im not the best mastering engineer but for this, i make sure my entire mix doesnt peak over -5db to leave headroom for processors to work, make sure all my track levels are how i like, and then i export it into one track on a new project. the first plug in i use is a compressor to lightly tame the dynamics of song, gluing everything together so that the dynamics sound uniform. next, i EQ. I low cut everything under 30 Hz, boost the bass from 300 and below to make the bass and kick a little more punchier, dip 300 to 800 to lower nasally muffle sounds of the song, and boost the highs to make it brighter. if there's still certain aspects of the song too loud or too quiet, u can then add a multiband compressor which logic has to zone in on a bandwith of frequencies and adjust to your taste. then i add stereo spread. the setting "medium mid & HF" is a good starting point but i usually tend to change the lower int. to 2 to 5% and the upper to 15 to 20% and change the order anywhere from 10 to 12. then i use a limiter to maximize loudness. i find this one tough to play with because i have to do several references to other songs and im constantly playing different mastering mixes on different devices such as car stereo, phone speaker, headphones, studio monitors, laptop to make sure volume and mix sounds well on all types of speakers while playing reference song back to back on all devices. you dont want to put too much gain on the limiter to where it destroys dynamics and sounds distorted and you dont want to not use it enough to where the song sounds too quiet in comparison to the rest of the songs in your library. maybe watch a video on limiters and expirement. final step, export. if your original mix before the mastering process was exported at 24-bit, i would use dithering in the export settings. never really noticed sound differences, but a bunch of articles say its a good idea.

    The mastering process will do alot for your vocals and all the instruments to blend well together.
     
  7. neonreymun

    neonreymun Member

    yeah this was my first time mastering also. i did it in pro tools but i didnt use a reference song like your supposed to and i didnt notice how low the volume was until i uploaded it. all i added was a 7 band EQ to cut a bit of the lows and highs, and any frequencies that sounded bad. then i used a plugin called maxim to boost the overall volume. no dither but ive also read about a lot of others recommending it. ive never tried mastering in logic but ill definetely give it a try. thanks for all the info man really appreciate it!
     

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