3

So whats the differences about regular edm track with no vocals vs pop/rock/rap tracks. Because i know it’s something different. I want to know how i should mix instrumental behind the vocals in pop/rock/rap tracks you know what i’m saying

I’m stuck with these sh*t. I can’t make tracks with vocals because i don’t know how it should sounds. I tired of mixing that. I have some knowledge about how it should be. I have one way of mixing, maybe even two. But I’m not sure why or when it works.

I create instrumental tracks(house,electro,etc.) with ease. Where only music is playing.

But tracks with vocals are another planet, it seems. Very strange!

5
  • Hm... as someone who's never tried, I'm not sure why it should require a whole different approach. Is the block-quote from yourself? Could you (or whoever said it) explain more about why you feel the instrumental approach isn't working? E.g., is it about how you process the vocals themselves, or about how you treat everything else to make them prominent? Also, mixing in different genres is very different. An EDM track with vocal samples, vs metal or a pop-rock or a hip hop track, all would take significant stylistic differences. Commented Jan 17 at 14:26
  • Yes, it's my block-quote. Commented Jan 17 at 14:30
  • Also maybe because it requires using a mic and i have a bad recordings and them don't mixed well. But i create tracks with my synth and it mixed good(EDM). Commented Jan 17 at 14:38
  • 2
    How about doing it backwards, start with a good vocal track and add instrumental tracks to it one by one? When the vocal track stops sounding good, figure out why that happened. If you can't make a vocal track to sound good even by itself to begin with, then you have a problem that has nothing to do with the instrumental things. Commented Jan 17 at 15:33
  • Ah; I do know that the best way to get a good mix is to start with good recordings! Maybe, instead of making your own with your own equipment, look for good vocal recordings under licenses that let you use them, like Creative Commons, and practice on those. Commented Jan 17 at 15:45

2 Answers 2

4

You're not going to learn this in a week, a month, or even a year, so be prepared for the long haul.

You need to create a vocal-shaped hole in your mix, into which the vocal will sit neatly - not spilling out, not being buried.
You can do it in the arrangement or you can do it in the mix. Here's an idea as to how to limit yourself to doing it in the mix. It gives you fewer choices, but makes you think… & learn.

On occasion I get a track that needs to be fixed, where I cannot for one reason or another touch the actual arrangement. Sometimes I've been given a bad stereo mix, which these days I break into stems using AI - but fixing it in the arrangement is no longer an option.

Here's a trick I've learned over the years.
Take two multiband compressors, one over the mix, the other just on the vox. I'm not allowing you any other effect for this, unless your vocal is totally dry, in which case I'll allow you one reverb & one delay. Don't cheat. Less is more.

Get the mix fairly happy first - treat the multiband as though you were mastering. You can't touch the mix, so you have to treat it as a master - then push a hole in it for the vox to sit. Make the vox sit in the hole using the other multiband. Stop the loud bits getting too loud & the soft bits getting too soft. Use it to EQ the vocal, so you can hear the consonants without them spitting at you. Tame the lows so they don't overpower. Make sure the mids are always clean; this aids overall intelligibility.

This is the bit that takes practise, but as I've only given you two things to adjust, you get to learn relatively quickly what works & what doesn't.

Make a version. Listen to it for a day or so on your phone, in the car, on friends' HiFis. Then come back & having learned what may be wrong with it… have another go.
Don't be scared to go back to the start. If you keep pushing the same idea further & further & it still isn't working, there was something wrong with the original idea - so throw it out & start over.

Here's a bit of a rough of a track I did recently. The song itself has been completely re-worked [brand new arrangement over original vox] for release, but this was the original version, done a long time ago, which the record company want to include as a 'historical version'. We had just the stereo mix to work from, which has some nasty buzzy synth badly clashing with the vocals, which themselves are over-worked. Basically the vox & keyboard are both trying to take up the same space. This does not work:\ My job was to get the keyboard out of the way, make the vox less smooshy [& they wanted 'wider'], and add a little clarity in the kick & bass frequencies [cleaning up the low-mids] while we were there. The new arrangement is a lot better than this old one, but the record company were happy enough with this re-working for the 'historical version [they're going to pretend this is actually what the original sounded like ;)
It's a 'radio edit' so not particularly pumping, let the radio compression do that [loudness wars 101] & the vox are 'radio loud' not 'dancefloor loud'. This is just recorded live off the board with me hitting mutes. You can hear the big clunk as it switches original to new each time, but not as it switches back again, you just hear it get fuzzy & small again. It starts with the fuzzy version. [File not level-optimised].

https://soundcloud.com/graham-lee-15/tc-demo/s-1Tvw6Sl758m?si=cbf663e6d0584ad3b1438c930cc1c68d&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

sekrit link… ooohhhh… ;)

3
  • 1
    Even though your approach is very different from mine, the fundamental goal of making room for the vocal is the same. I like your phrase "create a vocal-shaped hole in your mix".
    – Theodore
    Commented Jan 17 at 19:43
  • @Theodore - I wrote this as 'an exercise in one thing & one thing only', because, as you appear fully aware… there's no fast fix to learn how to do this.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 17 at 19:48
  • 1
    I think the OP's problem is probably with song writing and arranging. Trying to add a vocal lead melody to a song that already has an instrumental melody or other central attention-seeking musical elements. Multiple leaders with incompatible agendas. Conflicting musical ideas which don't make a sensible combination, like two people trying to tell a different joke at the same time. And then trying to fix it in the mix. This is what I suspect. The right solution would of course be to have exactly ONE leading coherent musical idea, and have all elements support that same common idea. Commented Jan 18 at 3:30
3

Even before you get to the vocals, there are some big differences between EDM, pop, rock, and rap. Too many to put in one concise answer.

If you have a good mix of the instrumental portion (in whatever style) and try to add a lead vocal line to it, the most important work you need to do is to make space for it:

  • The composition and arrangement need to leave space. This is especially important to consider if the instrumental part was created on its own without any expectation that vocals would be added.
  • The dynamics of the instrumental portion may need to be adjusted so that the vocal isn't buried. (I mostly mean altering macrodynamics by riding faders, not dynamic processing.)
  • The frequency balance/equalization of the instrumental parts will probably need to be adjusted so that they don't mask the vocal.

Considering the vocal track on its own, you'll probably need to learn something about dynamic processing (compression, limiting, etc.) and EQ for vocals. In some situations, with the right vocal recording, you might not need much of that, but with pop or rock songs, I'd expect to use at least some.

Even with a good vocal performance, recorded with good equipment, in a good acoustical environment, expect to spend some time on all these.

3
  • I'm already knew about compression and eq. I told you that i'm good at making House music. The question here was how to make tracks with a voice like pop or rock. Thanks for the reply. Commented Jan 17 at 18:13
  • @LyubaIvanova Knowing how to use a compressor or EQ to do House music is not the same thing as knowing how to use a compressor or EQ on vocals. It's probably not even the same compressor (or plugin).
    – Theodore
    Commented Jan 17 at 19:27
  • @LyubaIvanova Then you'll know what frequencies you find the various parts of the voice at, for men and women? Which frequencies are the fundamentals, which frequencies you can boost to increase clarity, and which frequencies you can cut to reduce breath noises? How to use de-essing? How you set up compressors (intentionally plural!) to reduce transients and get levels more steady? How much of what reverb works for different styles? Hint: If you've never worked with vocals, you don't already know any of this. It'll be easier for you to learn, sure, but you still need to learn.
    – Graham
    Commented Jan 18 at 10:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.