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Leveling Vocals for an Album/EP
Old 12th August 2019
  #1
Gear Nut
 
dannydawiz's Avatar
 

Leveling Vocals for an Album/EP

Hey guys. I'm curious. how do you pro mastering engineers go about getting the vocals to be level during an album? What is your approach?

I'm lucky enough to have access to the actual project sessions. I'm sure from a traditional standpoint though that's usually not the case.

Is it all simply a matter of mid-side eqing on each individual album track? I can see how mid-side eqing could help with matching the vocals. That was my initial guess but I'm just trying to make sure here.

Also, how do you guys go about tackling volume differences that are caused by the vocalist singing in different registers between each track? Higher registers are more present by nature while lower registers contain more low end.

Trying to volume match these are difficult for me. It doesn't matter how much 10k I add to a vocal... if it's sung lower on the spectrum then by nature it's not going to exist in the same space as the higher one. The fundamental pitch is lower on the spectrum which makes matching them difficult.
Old 12th August 2019
  #2
This is more of a mixing topic. If you need to work it in a mastering context, then yeah I suppose m/s eq is worth looking into.
Old 17th August 2019
  #3
Bob Katz discusses ways of approaching 'putting the album together' in his Mastering Audio book: whilst not discussing levels, he does stress the importance of the first track as that sets the benchmark for the rest of the album.
Old 18th August 2019
  #4
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SmoothTone's Avatar
 

I think it's most important for the vocal levels to sound consistent across an album because that is the part most listeners focus on.

For me it's mostly a process of matching by ear and adjusting the overall level of a track so the vocals are consistent in a way that makes musical sense (e.g. ballads can be a bit softer, etc).

If, after having matched the vocal levels, the overall track volumes feel out of whack then I might get into some EQ, compression, dynamic EQ, or M/S trickery... whatever makes it work.
Old 18th August 2019
  #5
Topical advice from Streaky:


The new Mixerman book offers some good insight (about getting stuff right in the arrangement/mix stage) too: Musicans Survival Guide to a Killer Record
Old 23rd August 2019
  #6
Quote:
Hey guys. I'm curious. how do you pro mastering engineers go about getting the vocals to be level during an album? What is your approach?
Vocals tend to be in the center, so i would use Mid EQ at the frequencies the vocal is most predominant and cut and/or boost until it sounds level
Old 27th August 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
Why do the vocals need to be level between tracks on an album?
Old 29th August 2019
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruairi View Post
Why do the vocals need to be level between tracks on an album?
Personnel preferences are a main reason
The feel/vibe for the entire album is another reason.
Wanting a cohesive sounding vocal for the entire album is another reason

Just to name a few....
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