We receive numerous tracks that are mixed vocals against an mp3 track. STOP! This is not the way it is supposed to go down! There are numerous factors
involved that will make your Engineer kiss you, a big wet one right on the lips…lol. Well not really. But they will respect you at the end of the day. Here are
some Dubb Spot suggestions.
When you obtain a beat from a producer or you are the producer, use/request the whole session. Very important! Make sure that every sound within the beat is on its own audio track. Kick – trk.1 Snare – trk.2, Hats – trk.3, etc., etc.
Add your vocals to that session making sure that your vocals are coming in at a level that is not clipping (too loud). -6 is a good level or even -3 but no higher than that! If you record in crap, it’ll come out as crap. Record your main vocals, backgrounds, adlibs, and intro/outro (if applicable). Note: If another studio mixes your music, recording against your mp3 track is fine. You only need the vocals at this point.
While mixing your vocals with the session files (Remember them? The separated files?) , keep an eye on your master output and keep that around -3. You need some headroom for that master right?
Start with your drums by getting that kick, snare and hit hats to harmonize together. Oh how sweet the sound! Throw in your main vocal and make it sit just above your drums. Do you hear anything clashing? Is the kick overbearing your vocal? Well turn it down a
little. Going down in volume versus going up is always a plus. Make sure these two (kick/vocal) do not clash because they need to stay at a center pan. Use effects on the kick to quiet it a little. Like a low shelf setting. How’s that sounding?
Uh-oh it’s starting to sound sweet. Ok, now add in some of your sounds (FX, keyboard, guitar, etc.) and make those instruments sit in their own space within the mix. If something is clashing, pan it a little to the left or right. Can you hear every sound by itself now? How’s that kick sounding? How about the main vocal? Is the keyboard drowning it out? No? Cool! It’s getting better.
Now add in your background vocals. Add whatever affects you deem necessary according to the sound you are trying to project. That doesn’t mean hurry up and run to your closest auto tune vst… lol. Get those vocals sounding sweet and “clear.” We want to hear what you have to say. And you should want to be heard!
Ok so now we have the kick, main vocal, background vocals and an instrument playing together. Can you hear each sound within its own space without clashing against any other sounds within the mix? Yes, uh-oh even better! Let’s add in some more instruments.
Hurry and go take a peek at your master output level. Are you below -3? No? Uh-oh, not good. Go back to your track mixer and start adjusting things down until you are within the -3 range on your master output. How’s that sounding?
Ok so now you have all your tracks playing in unison. How’s it sounding? Can you hear your vocals and adlibs along with your backgrounds clearly? Are any of the other sounds clashing with anything? No? Oh so you’re telling me everything is in that sweet spot? Hey that’s great. Where are your vocals? Are they just above all the other sounds? See where I’m going with this? The key to a good mix is the way you record everything in and how it sounds during playback. Your ears are your best friend in this matter.
If all of your sounds are in their own space and you’ve applied the certain effects that you chose and nothing is clashing, you just might have a good mix! Before you get too excited and start contacting the world that you are the best mixing engineer around, go check that master output one more gain… lol. Are you below or at -3? No? Well get your butt on back over to that track mixer and keep adjusting until you get it right.
If you are at that sweet spot, well isn’t that just special? You’re all good, I suppose! Go ahead and save your file (better safe than sorry) and continue on to your master output. Now bounce that puppy off in two file formats. The first being a 16 bit wav and the second being a 24 bit wav. These files will become your master files. Use the 16 bit to play in several different music players to see how well or bad the mix is sounding. If it’s a little too rough, go back to the drawing board working on getting it as close as possible. Meaning hearing every sound within its own space and not clashing with other sounds. And again, the vocals just above the whole mix, sounding clear as a nice sunny day.
Once you get to the point where everything is sounding nice on every player, you are ready for a master. If attempting it yourself… well that’s another article, or sending it to your Engineer, your bounce should be good enough to work with for more enhancements.
Of course being that golden cd quality sound that competes with most commercial music being sold today.
It’s been real folks and happy mixing! If you have any questions or would like us to review your tracks, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org