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Let's talk about your leadvox in a mix. What is your typical worklflow?


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  • Let's talk about your leadvox in a mix. What is your typical worklflow?

    Can we talk about your lead vocal in a recording?   

    What are your usual instincts and workflow when you have a freshly-recorded,  "naked"  lead vocal?  

    Do you have a preferred style in how you like your lead vocals to sound?   

    In particular,  I am interested in how much low frequencies you like to remain in your final leadvox track.    From listening to older,    pre-digital pop hits,  I notice that many famous singers were identifiable by their highest frequencies,   and that the producer had no need for their throatier deeper timbres.   So a high-pass filter was surely used just to allow passage of the crispiest trebles,  consonants,   breaths/transients---     and the singer's unique "stamp" was conveyed that way.

    Rarely,  it seems to me,  did a traditional pop record need to bring in the warmth and intimacy of lower frequencies  as the microphone surely "heard" it.

    Your comments,  please?     ras

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  • #2

    The less 'intimate' the mix, the more I have a tendency to roll off the bottom on the vocal.

    I will often tend to roll off bottom on most miked instruments, not so much to thin out their own sound as to eliminate low frequency noise sneaking in from my physical environment. I have zero isolation here (bit windows and plenty and the houses in my beach neighborhood are like stacked shoeboxes [I have a tiny flat over some garages, don't hate me for living at the beach, I'm as broke as the next guy]) -- but even in my old house's project studio, which was pretty isolated, very low frequencies would get in. (Typically from Harleys or dudes blasting their 2KW bump truck stereos, but there was a bus stop about 50 yards from my house on the other side of the block.)

    Thinning out below the program material in live-miked tracks helps keep the mix clean. And, of course, I also will thin out guitars or other instruments to make them fit in a mix better, too. I also take off top end to keep instruments from interfering with each other, vocals.


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    • Mark L
      Mark L commented
      Editing a comment

      Well, I press 'record' and then sing into the mic

      You're welcome

  • #3

    rasputin1963 wrote:

    What are your usual instincts and workflow when you have a freshly-recorded,  "naked"  lead vocal? 


    It's a sculpturing job. Each piece of music is different and the mixing workflow varies. Lead vocals are usually cut below 120 Hz with a HP filter so about 6-12 dB step. Depending in the microphone used eventually a little boosted around 2000 Hz and 5000 Hz, only a tiny bit... when a vocal track needs to be doctored too much  then there went something wrong in the recording.

    It's a sculpturing job and balancing the tracks until the music makes sense in a final mix. Film and TV scoring also requires a RMS maximum standard which is rather low in level compared to pop/rock.


    • #4

      Hey Ras,

      For me, lead vocal treatment is determined on the instrumentation of the rest of the track. For a sparse recording with just piano, I`ll give the lead vocal more weight with more reverb.

      A pretty consistent rule for me is: the busier the tune, the smaller each track gets.