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Lead vocals for all songs (not just mine) sound muffled in monitors
Old 5 days ago
  #1
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Lead vocals for all songs (not just mine) sound muffled in monitors

I’m very new to mixing, and as I’ve been starting out, almost everything sounds fine in my monitor (I’m only using one and mixing in mono at the moment because I could only afford one, but I’m setting panning and listening in stereo on headphones and commercial speakers) but for some reason the lead vocal track is incredibly faint, but only in my monitor. Whenever I listen to other professionally recorded songs, the lead vocals also sound similarly muffled, even though they sound normal on other speakers and headphones. Likewise, my own lead vocal track sounds normal on other speakers and headphones, and if I set it to sound normal on the monitor, then the gain goes way above 0 db and the track is way too loud and distorted on other speakers and headphones. I can only imagine that it’s a hardware issue, and either I need a new speaker (it’s a “lightly” used Yamaha HS5 I got on eBay), or I haven’t calibrated them correctly. Anyone know what my problem might be?

Last edited by Ross49; 5 days ago at 03:03 AM.. Reason: Typo and adding information
Old 5 days ago
  #2
You probably need more sound treatment in your room. You likely have standing waves that are causing a buildup in the low mids and perhaps phase cancellation in the high mids. Or maybe your monitor just sucks.

What monitor are you using? Also, how are you summing to mono? Something tells me you might have a problem there.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
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Gain staging. What level is going through each step.
Most likley there is a poor piece of gear somewhere in the chain choking the sound.
Old 4 days ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Norton View Post
What monitor are you using? Also, how are you summing to mono? Something tells me you might have a problem there.
It’s a Yamaha HS5. And I’ve got my computer connected to my audio interface (a Scarlett Solo) which is then connected to my monitor by a cord that plugs into the interface as two RCA cords that combine into a 1/4 TRS jack that goes into the monitor. I’ve assumed that that would automatically sum the audio into mono since it’s a single TRS output but maybe there’s another step I missed?
Old 4 days ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
Gain staging. What level is going through each step.
Most likley there is a poor piece of gear somewhere in the chain choking the sound.
Correct me if I’m wrong (as I said, I know very little about audio equipment), but doesn’t gain staging primarily have to do with recording and mixing? How would that result in lead vocals sounding muffled in other people’s mixes as well?
Old 4 days ago
  #6
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Sounds like you could have left and right combined in your single speaker but out of phase.
Old 4 days ago
  #7
What Brent said is exactly what I’m thinking.

That cable is no bueno.

I’m actually blown away that the Scarlett solo only offers rca unbalanced outs.

I don’t think a Y cable is a good way to sum. I’d suggest getting a very small mixer that has rca inputs and xlr main outs. Then just plug the left (mono) only into your speaker. This could probably be found for under $50
Old 4 days ago
  #8
Alternatively you could use a second mono master fader to sum your mix ITB. This might be tricky depending on your daw but it can be done.
Old 4 days ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Sounds like you could have left and right combined in your single speaker but out of phase.
Do you know how I might fix that?

Edit: disregard, i just read Patrick’s response. I’ll try to figure out how to use a second master fader if I can, and if not I’ll look into a mixer. Thanks!
Old 3 days ago
  #10
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Wow. Turns out simply unplugging the right RCA cable fixed the issue completely. Thanks everyone!
Old 3 days ago
  #11
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Well, actually, I take that back. I’m just realizing that all that does is output only the left side of the stereo audio (duh...). I’m trying to combine both the left and right and have it come out as mono so I can listen to everything, but obviously not phased since I only have one speaker. I’m assuming that summing to mono as Patrick mentioned earlier is the way to do that, so I’m gonna go back to trying to figure out how to do that.
Old 3 days ago
  #12
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Relatively easy fix: on Logic, there’s a “gain” plugin that I applied to my master fader that lets you switch between stereo and mono without losing the phasing settings. I won’t be able to listen to reference tracks with both channels playing, but that’s not the end of the world. Thanks again y’all!
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