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Getting the right mix with vocals and a 2 track
Old 21st August 2018
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Getting the right mix with vocals and a 2 track

Long story short short; the majority of my client record over 2 track waves or mp3's and I'm not getting a good enough mix with the vocals and the instrumental my vocals always seem louder than the instrumentals. im wondering about where should I blend the vocals is it a dB thing or more of EQ if the track i topping out at 0dB where should the vocals be volume wise.

Can you guys give me some tips or advice about how you all get a good mix??

Thanks
Old 21st August 2018
  #2
DAH
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DAH's Avatar
Redirect your clients to those who know.
Old 21st August 2018
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoustonGee View Post
Long story short short; the majority of my client record over 2 track waves or mp3's and I'm not getting a good enough mix with the vocals and the instrumental my vocals always seem louder than the instrumentals. im wondering about where should I blend the vocals is it a dB thing or more of EQ if the track i topping out at 0dB where should the vocals be volume wise.

Can you guys give me some tips or advice about how you all get a good mix??

Thanks
Here ya go
Old 21st August 2018
  #4
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Lando Calrissian's Avatar
Buy this if you're more of a visual learner:

https://audioschoolonline.com/produc...-for-mixtapes/
Old 21st August 2018
  #5
Gear Head
 

Gotta Few tips for ya.

1. Turn the instrumental down, especially before recording. It sounds to me like your running out of headroom.

2. A lot of two track beats are limited to piss, so you have no dynamics, that means the vocals will sound super dynamic over it. Make sure you're hitting the vocals with a good amount of compression. Try using 2-3 compressors but just hit each one 3-5db of gain reduction.

3. Bus all the vocals and effects to one bus. That way you can turn all your vocals up and down with one fader. Sometimes your vocals might just be too loud or soft in general. if the vocals seem too loud, bring the fader down slowly till they sound a bit too soft. Then bring it back up in one db increments till you have a nice blend where you can still feel the beat, but hear all the vocals clearly.

Hope some of that help.
Old 22nd August 2018
  #6
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Divide the Two track mix into 4 separate Stems...
1.Highs
2 Mids
3.Low Mids
4.lows

On each stem use eq and remove only the frequencies that correspond to THAT stem. For instance on the stem for the highs use a eq and remove all the Lows, Low Mids, and Mids. Leaving only the high frequencies for that stem. Do all the stems like this.
Vocals will usually sit in the Low Mids area so use a sidechain to duck the Low Mid Stem so that when the vocals play the low mid stem will duck and the vocals will cut through the mix. This will essentially cause the vocals to sit in the mix better giving the perception that the vocals were recorded in the same session. Be sure to use a stereo bus compressor on the master bus to gently glue the entire mix.
Old 22nd August 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAH View Post
Redirect your clients to those who know.
Old 22nd August 2018
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedbymatty View Post
Gotta Few tips for ya.

1. Turn the instrumental down, especially before recording. It sounds to me like your running out of headroom.

2. A lot of two track beats are limited to piss, so you have no dynamics, that means the vocals will sound super dynamic over it. Make sure you're hitting the vocals with a good amount of compression. Try using 2-3 compressors but just hit each one 3-5db of gain reduction.

3. Bus all the vocals and effects to one bus. That way you can turn all your vocals up and down with one fader. Sometimes your vocals might just be too loud or soft in general. if the vocals seem too loud, bring the fader down slowly till they sound a bit too soft. Then bring it back up in one db increments till you have a nice blend where you can still feel the beat, but hear all the vocals clearly.

Hope some of that help.
thanks
Old 22nd August 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney D View Post
Divide the Two track mix into 4 separate Stems...
1.Highs
2 Mids
3.Low Mids
4.lows

On each stem use eq and remove only the frequencies that correspond to THAT stem. For instance on the stem for the highs use a eq and remove all the Lows, Low Mids, and Mids. Leaving only the high frequencies for that stem. Do all the stems like this.
Vocals will usually sit in the Low Mids area so use a sidechain to duck the Low Mid Stem so that when the vocals play the low mid stem will duck and the vocals will cut through the mix. This will essentially cause the vocals to sit in the mix better giving the perception that the vocals were recorded in the same session. Be sure to use a stereo bus compressor on the master bus to gently glue the entire mix.
thanks
Old 22nd August 2018
  #10
Gear Maniac
There’s really no paint by numbers, “always do this”, answer. It all depends on how good the mix is. If possible, get a copy of the 2trk without the brick wall smashed limiter. Something that isn’t always possible when snatching beats. 1 tip not mentioned that can help is to use a light touch of low pass on the roof of the instrumental to remove some of the brightness.
Old 23rd August 2018
  #11
Gear Head
 

Turn down the two track for 1 for 2 I found M/S eq is your friend,
Old 23rd August 2018
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ T Havoc View Post
Turn down the two track for 1 for 2 I found M/S eq is your friend,
Out of everything I think the m/s eq trick is the most effective from what I've seen.
Old 28th August 2018
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedbymatty View Post
Gotta Few tips for ya.

1. Turn the instrumental down, especially before recording. It sounds to me like your running out of headroom.

2. A lot of two track beats are limited to piss, so you have no dynamics, that means the vocals will sound super dynamic over it. Make sure you're hitting the vocals with a good amount of compression. Try using 2-3 compressors but just hit each one 3-5db of gain reduction.

3. Bus all the vocals and effects to one bus. That way you can turn all your vocals up and down with one fader. Sometimes your vocals might just be too loud or soft in general. if the vocals seem too loud, bring the fader down slowly till they sound a bit too soft. Then bring it back up in one db increments till you have a nice blend where you can still feel the beat, but hear all the vocals clearly.

Hope some of that help.

Very similar to what I do (steps 1 & 2)


Another thing to consider is many 2 track beats are engineered to sound full and loud without a vocal, which can mean you can have competing freqs with the vocal.


I sometimes will EQ some of the mids out of beat (maybe 1-2k, to make room for vocal)
Old 29th August 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ T Havoc View Post
Turn down the two track for 1 for 2 I found M/S eq is your friend,
When using mid-side eq should I be spreading the instrumental or should I spread the vocals?
Old 29th August 2018
  #15
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1) fix the beat. Transient/expansion/etc., M/S EQ, etc. So it sounds good and has it's dynamics back
2) sidechain compress ALL the vox and their fx returns from the beat to mimic the rest of the 2buss compression that you couldn't undo in #1 above.

People are always wowed at my mixes from freakin' 2 tracks (which drive me crazy. luckily I don't get too many of them). I readily share my process, but people don't like to use it. I guess it's hard to do well or something.
Old 30th August 2018
  #16
Here for the gear
Thanks for the tip Chris, I mix 2 tracks all day everyday and cant wait to try this.
Old 2nd September 2018
  #17
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoustonGee View Post
When using mid-side eq should I be spreading the instrumental or should I spread the vocals?
Instrumental eqing a lil more high end on the sides opens the sound up a lil brings out claps and snares a lil bit. That's if I need that type one of the main engineering just fs the track if you forget to KISS ( Keep It Simple Stupid)
Old 1st January 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
1) fix the beat. Transient/expansion/etc., M/S EQ, etc. So it sounds good and has it's dynamics back
2) sidechain compress ALL the vox and their fx returns from the beat to mimic the rest of the 2buss compression that you couldn't undo in #1 above.

People are always wowed at my mixes from freakin' 2 tracks (which drive me crazy. luckily I don't get too many of them). I readily share my process, but people don't like to use it. I guess it's hard to do well or something.
Make a tutorial I’m willing to pay
Old 2nd January 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvin III View Post
Make a tutorial I’m willing to pay
I'm not in the education business. I give away knowledge for free right here on GS. But I have zero interest in trying to start a business making educational videos!
Old 2nd January 2019
  #20
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Lando Calrissian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
2) sidechain compress ALL the vox and their fx returns from the beat to mimic the rest of the 2buss compression that you couldn't undo in #1 above.
Can you elaborate on this part? I'm familiar with sidechain compression, but what do you mean by sidechaining to "mimic the rest of the 2buss compression that couldn't be done" in step 1?
Old 2nd January 2019
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lando Calrissian View Post
Can you elaborate on this part? I'm familiar with sidechain compression, but what do you mean by sidechaining to "mimic the rest of the 2buss compression that couldn't be done" in step 1?
It's because the beat was already compressed and you likely can't undo it all, so you have to get the rest of it here.
Old 2nd January 2019
  #22
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Lando Calrissian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
It's because the beat was already compressed and you likely can't undo it all, so you have to get the rest of it here.
How in theory does side-chaining the vocals to the 2-track cause it to expand?
Old 2nd January 2019
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lando Calrissian View Post
How in theory does side-chaining the vocals to the 2-track cause it to expand?
It doesn't. It causes the vocals to compress.

This is why almost nobody does it this way. Although it's INSANELY effective, it is somewhat complicated for people to wrap their heads around. I've explained this process numerous times on GS and people's eyes glaze over every time.
Old 2nd January 2019
  #24
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Lando Calrissian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
It doesn't. It causes the vocals to compress.

This is why almost nobody does it this way. Although it's INSANELY effective, it is somewhat complicated for people to wrap their heads around. I've explained this process numerous times on GS and people's eyes glaze over every time.
Ok, I think I have an idea of what you're doing in Step 2. You explained in a little more detail here: Care to share your techniques for mixing vocals to a stereo two tracks?

I'll try it.
Old 20th May 2019
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
1) fix the beat. Transient/expansion/etc., M/S EQ, etc. So it sounds good and has it's dynamics back
2) sidechain compress ALL the vox and their fx returns from the beat to mimic the rest of the 2buss compression that you couldn't undo in #1 above.

People are always wowed at my mixes from freakin' 2 tracks (which drive me crazy. luckily I don't get too many of them). I readily share my process, but people don't like to use it. I guess it's hard to do well or something.

Hi chris, super new to Gearslutz infact I've made an account specifically to reply to this....
Are we talking about side-chaining the vocals to a compressor on the instrumental such as a Waves F6 so the beat ducks when ever the vocals are playing to create space?
Thanks for all the info also!
Old 20th May 2019
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VALLYVAND View Post
Are we talking about side-chaining the vocals to a compressor <> so the beat ducks when ever the vocals are playing...
I'm not Chris, but no. I think you've got it backwards. The track makes the vocals duck so it sounds like it's "all one thing."
Old 24th May 2019
  #27
Quote:
When using mid-side eq should I be spreading the instrumental or should I spread the vocals?
You do what ever sounds best for that particular track and mix. There are no right or wrong answers, as long as it gets you the sound you want. No one hear can tell you yes or no, as its not a yes or no answer. Its not mix by numbers. You use your ears and then decide what is best for that mix.
Quote:
Long story short short; the majority of my client record over 2 track waves or mp3's and I'm not getting a good enough mix with the vocals and the instrumental my vocals always seem louder than the instrumentals. im wondering about where should I blend the vocals is it a dB thing or more of EQ if the track i topping out at 0dB where should the vocals be volume wise.

Can you guys give me some tips or advice about how you all get a good mix??
You have to make these judgement yourself. That's what your clients are paying you for. Use your knowledge, ears talent, skills and experience and make it sound its best.
There are no set steps to get there.
Quote:
im wondering about where should I blend the vocals is it a dB thing or more of EQ if the track i topping out at 0dB where should the vocals be volume wise.
I would read up on proper gain staging. In short, lower what ever tracks are needed to get you not to top out. Its just gain staging.

From reading this, I agree with POST #2 from DAH. Do your clients a favor
Old 25th May 2019
  #28
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atma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney D View Post
Divide the Two track mix into 4 separate Stems...
1.Highs
2 Mids
3.Low Mids
4.lows

On each stem use eq and remove only the frequencies that correspond to THAT stem. For instance on the stem for the highs use a eq and remove all the Lows, Low Mids, and Mids. Leaving only the high frequencies for that stem. Do all the stems like this.
Vocals will usually sit in the Low Mids area so use a sidechain to duck the Low Mid Stem so that when the vocals play the low mid stem will duck and the vocals will cut through the mix. This will essentially cause the vocals to sit in the mix better giving the perception that the vocals were recorded in the same session. Be sure to use a stereo bus compressor on the master bus to gently glue the entire mix.
this sounds like a potential phase nightmare. i think you'd get better results using a multiband comp and/or a dynamic eq with a lot less effort.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
You do what ever sounds best for that particular track and mix. There are no right or wrong answers, as long as it gets you the sound you want. No one hear can tell you yes or no, as its not a yes or no answer. Its not mix by numbers. You use your ears and then decide what is best for that mix.

You have to make these judgement yourself. That's what your clients are paying you for. Use your knowledge, ears talent, skills and experience and make it sound its best.
There are no set steps to get there.

I would read up on proper gain staging. In short, lower what ever tracks are needed to get you not to top out. Its just gain staging.

From reading this, I agree with POST #2 from DAH. Do your clients a favor

Thanks FLORIDA MAN
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
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atma's Avatar
I think Chris Carter has the best technical advice in this case.
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