Any advice on how to mix untreated vocals with free/stock plugins?

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Im happy to help, can you be more specific about what you are trying to do and what DAW you are using so we know what stock plugins you have available?
Thank you, I'm using FL Studio 20 and I'm trying to compensate for a lack of acoustic treatment on a demo track for a female artist in my community (However, I doubt she'd approve if I were to share it yet). It's really just a learning experience for me but, I hope it could become something bigger (she also told me she wanted to take me on tour :biggrin:) So far, the vocals coming on good. I did some Desessing, EQing,noise reduction, compression(Fruity Limiter and Fruity Compressor), removed breathiness (unless where it sounds really nice) and double tracking techniques.I also used the Transient Processor to take out the natural yet unwanted reverb that existed in her house and it worked (despite not being designed for that when it comes to vocals). Everything seems to be going smoothly but, something is missing. I really wish I could share her vocals to one of my beats right now but, I'd have to run the idea by her first and that would take some time. Nevertheless, this should give everyone an idea of how much I already know about vocal mixing. Is there anything else I could do the up the quality? Should I do what I'm already doing but, better? (Man, I wish I could share the demo song with you now; I'm also still working on it).
 

thedreampolice

When chemists die, we barium.
*** ill o.g. ***
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Are you also doing any eq post compression? I find compressors change the tone and I like to do both. How much compression are you using? Another vocal trick I like is to automate the reverb send so that there is next to no reverb on the first part of the sound but automate it so the reverb kicks in the last half of the sound so the vocals sound clear. What about eqing other instruments that are in the same range as her vocals so you carve out space for her so to speak?
 
"What about eqing other instruments that are in the same range as her vocals so you carve out space for her so to speak?"

I tried something like that first; basically I made her vocals sit squarely in the mid frequencies with the Fruity Parametric EQ 2. However, I'm not sure if that was proper. So instead, I decide to put Fruity Limiter on the Mastering Track and then put on her vocals on it as a sidechain in hopes that everything else would just make room for her when she sings. It generally sounds good and folks around me tell me it sounds okay but, there is obviously something non-professional sounding about it.

"How much compression are you using?" For the sake of simplicity, I'd say a lot and necessarily so. After to using Transient Processor to remove the unwanted reverb, it also took some amount of loudness from the vocals that I wanted back yet cleaner. The gain for my Fruity Compressor, on her main vocals, is at 26.3 dB while the threshold is all 0 dB. I'm also using Maximus on the main vocals to even compress it some more (even though I don't fully understand it).


"Are you also doing any eq post compression?" It depends on what you mean, I have decided to use the compressor effect after first applying an eq.
 

thedreampolice

When chemists die, we barium.
*** ill o.g. ***
Battle Points: 21
yea I would NOT do that with a limiter on the master, with herself as a side chain. I don't know that doing that makes sense actually. In theory her vocals could trigger herself kinda. These days I refuse to use a limit on the master and it may be more natural to just automate your volume on her track to get it to sit right.

A few things in regards to the compressor. In the case of vocals my signal path is usually compressor THEN eq as an pre compressor EQ can trigger the compressor when you don't want it to. What's your compressor ratio? Compression in general is pretty misunderstood and while I have done hundreds of mixes over the years with tons of compression, these days I really try to go easy on it. It can make a track dead pretty darn quick if you use it wrong. This is an interesting article on the topic https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/inside-track-jack-white

Also I am a HUGE believer in LCR mixing. It really helps me carve out the mix how I want it. See this video
 
yea I would NOT do that with a limiter on the master, with herself as a side chain. I don't know that doing that makes sense actually. In theory her vocals could trigger herself kinda. These days I refuse to use a limit on the master and it may be more natural to just automate your volume on her track to get it to sit right.

A few things in regards to the compressor. In the case of vocals my signal path is usually compressor THEN eq as an pre compressor EQ can trigger the compressor when you don't want it to. What's your compressor ratio? Compression in general is pretty misunderstood and while I have done hundreds of mixes over the years with tons of compression, these days I really try to go easy on it. It can make a track dead pretty darn quick if you use it wrong. This is an interesting article on the topic https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/inside-track-jack-white

Also I am a HUGE believer in LCR mixing. It really helps me carve out the mix how I want it. See this video

Thanks, I'm gonna check those out. My compressor ratio on the main vocal track (and on the double tracks) is 1.0 :1. Now that I thought about it, maybe it wasn't such a good idea.
 
Hmm...I'm checking out the LCR panning video right now, I think I did something like that in regards to the main vocal track being centre, while panning the double tracks left and right. For reference, here is a tutorial I followed (if it's crap, let me know):


Additionally, I sounded stereo separation and Fruity Stereo Enhancer.
 

thedreampolice

When chemists die, we barium.
*** ill o.g. ***
Battle Points: 21
Which tutorial is the best?? I like this one
Also check out Joe Gilder, he is an old friend of mine an has tons of great advice https://www.youtube.com/user/HomeStudioCorner

Man, I have not used a Stereo Enhancer in years. I leave that stuff to the mastering engineers. And I only double parts if the musicians are there to replay/resing the parts for real but that could depend on you. It kinda depends on what you are going for in your mix, these day I go for more dynamic and intimate mixes even for hip hop. This is a track I produced and mixed (not released yet) and its pretty sparse but I think it sounds great. Everything has its own palace, LCR mixing lots of head room to breath but still hits hard.

I think you need to spend a lot of time learning the craft of mixing in itself and develop some ethos that are important to your tastes. For me its that the song should breath, but maybe you want that in your face club bass. Then you are going to use a compressor totally different then I would. SO spend a lot of time thinking through what you want this song to do for the listener and don't use a tool that you don't fully understand. Take your time and really listen.

Oh and do you have good monitors? Is your room treated? Do you KNOW things are sounding right?
 
I don't have any monitors yet and my room is untreated but, I do have studio quality headphones. I know that there is something that doesn't sound profession about my sound that has been very hard to articulate. People around me tell me the vocal mix sounds professional but, they aren't experts and I know it doesn't sound like anything mainstream. When I have the opportunity to, I'll probably do a recording of myself on my own beats in a demo song and then bring it here for feedback.
 

2GooD Productions

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Thanks, I'm gonna check those out. My compressor ratio on the main vocal track (and on the double tracks) is 1.0 :1. Now that I thought about it, maybe it wasn't such a good idea.
With that ratio no compression will occur
 
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