Vocal Mixing Tips “Special Vocal Effects Trick” in 9 Very EASY Steps by AFA

Vocal Mixing Tips (Special Vocal Effects Trick)

vocal mixing

How To Add More Excitement To Your Vocal

In general, the most important element of most mixes is the VOCAL, so you need to make sure that you are making your vocal track as interesting as possible, so the listeners would be more attracted to your song. Before all that, you should make sure that you have a decent material. By that, I mean you should have a well-recorded vocal track or tracks with no digital clipping or distortion. So that’s a very important step. Mixing is Exactly like cooking. You can’t cook healthy food with the expired and non-fresh ingredient, right? Well, I’m not a good cook lol, but the most important step is to have a good material with good quality. If I want to talk about recording that would take a whole another article, which I will write it later. Adding interesting and innovative vocal effects can be frustrating sometimes. Because you have an idea in your head but the important part is the way you execute that idea.

 

There are many ways to spice up the vocal in your mix. Especially in modern music styles like Dubstep, Hip-hop, Rap, EDM and etc, sometimes it’s good to add some unusual effects or some ear candies to your vocal tracks or other instruments to add more contrast and excitement to the song so the listeners enjoy more. Because of those little things happening in your mix, they will listen to your music over and over. For instance, the most typical technique is that you can automate your effects like Delay or Reverb. The creativity is only limited by your imagination. Here I’m going to demonstrate a very cool trick by using auto-tune and some other effects for one of my mixes, which I’ll share with you and tell you exactly how I did it step by step. Also, at the end of this article, you’ll find a video which you can see this processing in action. So make sure to stay with us, and remember to practice this trick as practising is the most effective tool to help you understand the concept better.

rvocal mixing 1

HERE IS THE RECIPE

Step 1: Make a copy of the VOCAL

Create an “AUX” or “Return” track or duplicate your vocal track if you want. However, I always prefer to do such things on the “AUX” track. If you are using Pro Tools as new software, you can follow this video, which shows you the fastest way to create a new track on Pro Tools.

  • PRO TOOLS Shortcut for Creating NEW TRACKS:

Windows: Ctrl + Shift + N
Mac: Cmd + Shift + N

Step 2: Solo the Vocal

Mute everything else but your vocal and the “AUX” track so you’ll be able to hear the processing clearly. 

solo vocal channel inpro tools - vocal mixing

Step 3: Tuning

Next, Insert an Auto-Tune effect on your duplicate or “AUX” track and tune your vocal heavily and exaggerate the setting. You can use any Real-Time tuning plugins you want. There are many choices out there and even there are some FREE Auto-Tune plugins, which are pretty useful:

Choose the key of your track, and make the tuning extreme (Speed: 0.1 | Note Transition 0.8), and put the mix at 100% wet. We want the full tuning, something like “T-pain Effects”.

Step 4: Haas Effect

For your next plugin, insert any Stereo Delay (even your DAW’s stuck plugin works), then, turn off either one of your Right or Left channel and another one all the way wet with 10ms delay, now you made your signal much wider. We call this the Haas Effect.

pro tools haas effect - vocal mixing

Step 5: Filter

After that, add a parametric EQ and filter out some of the Low and high frequencies. I prefer to make it as a telephone effect as you see in the picture.

EQ phone effect - vocal mixing

Step 6: Reverb

Now let’s smooth things up and add more dimensions and depth to our signal. One way to do so is by adding Reverb. There are many reverb types that you can use, but for this kind of processing, I tend to use Hall reverb or sometimes Chamber, that depends on the situation. If you are a Pro Tools user, the stock reverb works pretty well, actually, it’s one of my favourite reverbs of all time. 

Step 7: Delay

Next to spice things up even more, let’s add a Delay (just a touch) to make our effect chain sound even more interesting. You can use whatever setting you feel like it. 1/2, 1/4 or 1/8 delay time works better in my opinion. Feel free to experiment and have fun. 

Step 8: Cleaning Up

Since we added Reverb and Delay after our EQ. There might be some unwanted and harsh frequencies that have been reproduced. If so, let’s add an EQ and cleanup those resonances. You can either cut them or control them by using dynamic EQ like Fab Filter Q3 or if you want a free dynamic EQ you can use the TDR Nova. Of course, there will be some limitations to the TDR Nova, since it’s free but it does the job.

Step 9: Automation

Finally, after all those cool sounding processings, we need to automate our “AUX” or duplicated track and mix it with the main vocal track. Why? because we don’t want to bore our listeners. In fact, we want them to listen to our song over and over again. So we create some ear candies in our mix to attract them more and make it more enjoyable for them. Automation is a very subjective thing, you can just automate the volume, mute button, pan knobs or so, or also you can automate some elements from your effects too. For instance, the filter knob, feedback delay or anything you like. I personally prefer the second one. I do like to automate my effect and make things sound as cool as possible. 

recoridng vocal infront of microphone - vocal mixing

HERE IS THE VIDEO AS PROMISED

Conclusion

Mixing vocal can be very frustrating if you have no vision and do the processing blindly. However, if you see the final picture in your head or have a good mentor, it becomes very enjoyable and very fun. Back in the days, I used to get frustrated especially when it comes to the vocal mixing. So what I mean is that you should keep on practising. This is the only way you can improve your skills and become better at what you do. I wish there were some magical shots which could make you great at mixing but unfortunately, there is no such a thing. 

 

In this article, you have learned a very cool trick to make your vocal more interesting. This might work for your project or might not. So the only way you can figure this out is by trying it out and see it yourself. Don’t limit yourself by the list in here. Experiment with other effects too. Like, add Chorus or Flanger after Delay or add Saturation after Auto-Tune. As I said earlier the creativity is only limited by your imagination, so just have fun and enjoy what you do. 

Last but not least, if you need any help for Recording, Mixing and Mastering, please do not hesitate to CONTACT ME. I would be happy to help you guys to make better music, Either by having online classes or any Professional Audio Services.

 

If you enjoy this article and learned anything, please share this blog with your friends so they can learn something as well.

Stay Safe you all and have a wonderful time.

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