Mixing your song can be an overwhelming challenge. It’s hard to know where to start.
Should you mix the drums first or start with the vocals? What effects should you put on?? Ugh!
I think it’s best to try a minimalist approach. The less plugin and processing the better. So if that’s the direction we are going, in what should we do first?
Prepare the Vocals for Mixing
I like to start with vocals first. They are usually the most critical part of the song. So my creative brain power should be put best to use on the vocals. Here are the steps I take:
- Clean it up! Clean up the parts that have room noise and headphone bleeding. This is pretty easy to do cause you can visually see this on the waveform. I also like to add fades to the parts that I leave to avoid clips and clicks.
- Gain down Breaths. Some singers take deep breaths before every phase. The breath can become very distracting. When this happens, I like to gain down each breath 5 to 10 DB. I do this instead of cutting them out because it makes the performance sound more natural.
- Kill the Plosives! Sometimes an artist won’t have a popper stopper or they might pronounce “p’s” too loud. This can kill a recording and be very distracting. Cutting out some of the low-end can help eliminate this. I tend to use the Izotope RX-6 De-Plosive plugin. It works wonders.
- Multiband Compress. Next, I like to kill any unwanted frequencies. You can do this with a standard EQ, but I like to use a multiband compressor or dynamic equalizer. So instead of carving out whole frequency ranges, I can pull down unwanted frequencies when they come up too much.
- Reduce Sibilance. This can be done by using a de-Esser or by manually gaining down the parts that have strong sibilance. I tend to do a bit of both. De-ess for general sibilance maintenance, while gaining down the super strong elements.
I hope this helps, check out the video below for a more detailed explanation of some of these concepts. Also, if you feel your struggling trying to get that perfect mix, you can check out my mixing and mastering prices here.