Friday, August 21, 2009

Mixing Hip Hop Vocals(A deRaNged Tutorial)

Wassup, I thought I'd do alot of beginners a favor and give them a template to mixing. Keep in mind there are no rules to mixing, and I don't want to be chewed out by people who dissagree. This is however what works for me, and keeps my studio clients happy. In panning, I will refer to right and left often. To achieve the mixes I get you'd have to either do this exactly, or do the exact opposite(go left when I say right). This is about hip hop vocals, can be used for other genres, but other FX would often come into play.

I end up with about 8 tracks. The order isn't concrete, you may record chorus 1st, this is based on a song where the verse came 1st. Any FX should be applied in light ammounts barely noticeable without headphones or top of the line monitors(about 5-10% wetness).

Track 1 - Beat - stereo / no panning / fx : compression, eq if needed

Track 2 - Lead Vocals - mono / pan 10% left / fx : delay(optional) If more than one rapper is on the song, use automation to keep all the artists at close to the same volume.

Track 3 - Backing vocals(the exact words from the main vocals respoken where needed) - mono / pan 20-30% right / fx : chorus(optional), delay(optional, you don't want to use if it's already used on track 2)turn the background vocals down to the point they do not drown out the leads, you want them to sound like a guy in the background reciting the song alongside the lead vocals without overshadowing them.

Track 4 - Adlibs(all the "yeah!" "uh huh" "that's right" stuff throughout the song). - mono / pan 20-40% left / fx : reverb(optional), delay(if not used on track 2 or 3)these shouldn't be mudded up with any other fx. leave them as clearly spoken as possible so they can be turned down to the point they're damn near subliminal.

Track 5 - Chorus 1 - mono / pan 40-60% right / fx : bus track 5 & 6 to the same stereo Aux and use a small ammount of Reverb(5-10% wetness)"hallway" and "cathedral" presets are good.

Track 6 - Chorus 2(same chorus recited a second time word for word. Gives your chorus more color) - mono / pan 40-60% left / fx : bus track 5 & 6 to the same stereo Aux and use a small ammount of Reverb(5-10% wetness)"hallway" and "cathedral" presets are good(your chorus should be a slight bit louder than your lead vocals so when they come in they catch attention. The reverb and stereo seperation provides alot of this.

Track 7 - Sound FX(optional) - stereo / no panning / fx : none. Use stereo sound effects with alot of stereo effect to them to begin with. Paste and go.

Track 8- Anything extra - use your best judgement.

Apply trim and eq to each seperate track as needed(small ammonts if any) then bus all tracks except 7(SFX) and 1(Beat) to the same stereo aux. Afterwards apply compression, de-essers, noise reduction(all optional) to all your vocals at once. Make sure your final mix is lower than -0.0db(out of the red on most DAWs) by adjusting the "master volume". Done.

Afterwards, you may choose to apply dynamics(compression, eq, limiting)to the entire mix(optional, you could just get it mastered). If you want to do it yourself, try a finalizer plug in like Waves L1, L2, L3 or PSP Vintage Warmer, or T-Racks, Sony Wavehammer, any other plug in that mentions "dynamics/compressor" or "limiter" in the title.

If you can manually get results from these, awesome, if not, dig thru the presets until you find one that sounds good for your final mix(most have presets like "final master" or "16 Bit CD Master" or "Final ..." .

Let me know if this helps. Good Luck.

deRaNged 4 Phuk'dup

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