How to professionally mix my vocals?
Updated: Feb 11
Recently I’ve gotten quite a few DMs asking me about vocal treatment. Before I jump into it I need to put out a disclaimer mentioning that the settings in the screenshot only apply to that particular session. Each vocalist and recording are different, that’s why it’s never a one stop shop for settings. However I hope my mindset behind these settings give you an insight that helps improve your vocal sound.
1.) @waves CLA-76 Blacky to tame vocal peaks, not exceeding 3dB of gain reduction. Usually I receive vocals that already have gone to compression during recording as well as post production compression. Some additional control can help keep the vocal steady in the final mix.
2.) Waves @solidstatelogic EV2 with the gate engaged to remove the empty passages between vocal takes. Some low-end roll off to make place for the bass and low-end of the kick so the master limiter won’t get triggered with a build up of too much low-end. Some clean-up for the proximity effect from 450Hz down on the lowest band of the EQ section. To further increase clarity on the vocals I removed some low-mids followed by a little notch to keep the sharp notes in the mid-high range under control and finishing of with some brilliance from 5k and up (these vocals in particular sounded a bit dark).
3.) Waves C1-sc (sidechain) using @davepensado’s “2K Remover” preset which I adjusted to fit to the vocals I’m working with. Around 4.5k the singer gets very sharp when sustaining notes and using a static EQ would kill the intelligibility of the vocals therefore I opt for a dynamic EQ so the frequency range only gets affected when singers notes go above the set threshold for a smooth controlled overall vocal sound without killing the performance.
4.) Waves RDeEsser to tame some of the added brilliance so the vocals don’t become to overbearing at times of sibilance.