I used to get this impression from Rammstein's 'Heirate Mich'. Normally when I listen to music, it sounds like the vocals are ontop of the music (if that makes sense). With that song though, it sounded like part of the music was ontop of the vocals instead. I kinda liked the effect, even though it didn't last.

More recently, I seem to have encountered this effect in the songs of a short-lived metal group called 'wraith'.

Is this just my perception playing tricks on me, or is this a real phenomenon with a name?

  • Are those vocals ever sung without the background music?
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 14:01
  • What do you mean by "on top of": 'louder than' or 'at a higher pitch than'? I'm hearing what Laurence is hearing. Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 22:12

2 Answers 2


I think the terms you want to use are track or channel, level, balance, and mix.

In a recording you can have multiple tracks for instruments. In live performance they are called channels. Well, I suppose you have channels for both recordings and live - it's just the electronic path - the track would be the channel's data recorded to some media.

The track/channel's volume can then be controlled to set its level.

The relative levels between tracks is called balance.

The balance of levels is set for the final mix.

You could then say the vocal level is low in the mix. If you thought it was too low, you could then say the balance isn't right, etc. etc.

I don't know of a special term for putting the vocal level a bit low in the mix.


I'm hearing a low-pitched singer with some higher notes in the instruments. A very common orchestration technique - else the violin players need not show up for any opera featuring a bass singer!

No particular name for this I think, except describing it in plain English.

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