The devil is often in the details and it’s almost always in your mixes. When dealing in the world of audio, minutia can become especially important. Sometimes little things add up in the worst ways, but the good news is that sometimes a few small changes can add up to big improvements in your mixes and we think these 10 tips are just the kind of things that might help you see some serious changes and after the jump we’ll list them all – some might sound too simple but are often overlooked regardless!
2. Automate your vocals
No amount of compression at the
tracking and mixing stages will perfectly balance a vocal – you’ll need
plenty of automated volume rides, too. Approach this on a word by word,
phrase by phrase basis to make sure that each syllable is loud enough,
without sticking out too much.
With time you learn how to do this properly. The key to good vocal automation is you should never hear it.
3. Spin your delay
Another vocal favourite is the delay
spin, whereby an echo is set up on an auxiliary with the feed to that
bus automated. By doing this, individual words can be sent to the
delay, but be careful to make sure the results sound natural. Watch for
two things: the level of the delays and the amount of feedback.
4. Think about effects chains
5. Perfect your panning
This is a tip for those who
regularly work on headphones. Be bolder with your pan placements!
Because headphones don’t ‘bleed’ a left-hand signal into the right ear
like speakers do, even subtle pan moves seem huge on headphones.
However, check your mixes back on speakers and those small pan changes
won’t even be noticed. Spread those sounds out!
Like we have pointed out before check your panning in mono.
6. Use a variety of EQs
7. Mix up your compressors
The same goes for compressors.
Some compression models change a sound so much that they almost work
more like EQs than dynamics controllers. If you make hip-hop in
particular, the contour and sound of your beats will be hugely
influenced by the compression choices you make, so check out all
options before committing.
8. De-ess to impress
One of the biggest problems with
vocals is that applying treble boost with your favourite EQ also tends
to crank up the unpleasant sibilant sounds that tend to be a feature of
vocal parts. Be very specific with your top-end frequency boosts and,
if necessary, employ a de-esser, or alternatively be ready to ride the
volumes of any offending sections of audio.
As well watch over de-essing your vocals. Many people say you start to hear a speech impediment when you over do it. There is also a line before that where you can be creating too much compression. Do your vocal rides first then see how much De-essing you need.
9. Plosive woes
Also on a vocal tip, watch out for
recordings in which your singer has inadvertently tapped the mic stand,
or got too close to your pop shield. Plosive moments sound a bit like
beatboxed kick drums, but they can ruin a mix by adding bass and
sub-bass that shouldn’t be there. EQ can help, but so can old-fashioned
waveform gain edits – scoop those moments down by a few dB and they
should no longer be a problem.
10. Use random blasts of sound
If you’re at the mixing
stage and you’re looking for interesting ways to effect transitions
between sections of your track, try some wild sound design. We’ve all
heard white noise effects a million times, but that’s because they work
very well. On the other hand, try strange, backwards noises, fills from
junk percussion kits or have a go at running one of your instruments
through a weird effects chain. Anything goes!
For the full article see Music Radar