Getting the vox in the same space as rest of track

Hey all, 

I've always had this trouble, and it's starting to bug me.. Basically, No matter what reverb or delays I use on a vocal, it always tends to feel disconnected from the rest of the band. It's feels like it's in another room ya know?

How do you remedy that? Do you pull up one track, and try to match a reverb/delay to the ambiance that's on that track (like maybe the drum OH or something?) Lately I've been trying to just use delays because I like how clean they can be without the mush of reverb, but still they sound a bit out of place.
drums
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Maybe it's more an EQ thing. If the vocals and the rest do not fit frequency-wise, no reverb or delay will help.
Actually, a good mix should still work if you mute all effects.
Do you maybe have excessive ambience already recorded on the vocal track beacuse of the room? This would certainly complicate it further.

Have you tried just sending the vocal delay into a reverb? It's nice and works often for me.
keandakin
Interesting thoughts, thanks for that. I have tried sending the delay through a reverb to push it back a it more, I liked the way that sounded. What kind of reverb would you typically reach for tha... (read more)
140dBSPL
Typically, the louder the reverb, the shorter the reverb time. For ballads and such I usually take a long plate. For (classic) rock stuff, a small to medium room somewhat louder often does the tric... (read more)
keandakin
Ok, I almost always do rock, so I'll try your suggestions there.
I low cut my verbs often, and sometimes i'll scoop a touch of low mids too depending..
Compressing the verb huh? I've done... (read more)
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Yeah, well I guess I was having drums in mind when I wrote about compressing the reverb. However, frequency dependent compression or an extra de-esser on the aux before the reverb is sometimes good to get things more even.
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Would you mind listening to a track and telling me if the vocals sound odd or anything?

http://soundcloud.com/bornofsound/thats-what-theyre-for-1/s-qr8Hg
living sounds
The vocal timing is totally off, it's almost like he's singing to a different tune. Mixing leaves something to be desired, too, but the performance needs fixing first.
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Also, too much low cut is the easist way to detach the vocal from the rest of the mix. It needs low end information to be "grounded" in the mix.
johnmck6
I think this is a bit dependent on the material and the voice. Too much lowend (and low mids, in particular) can make the vocal sound 'karaoke' ish. A lot of times when a band says the vocal is too... (read more)
living sounds
But 400hz is not where you'd set a lowcut,  would you? Taking out some 400hz with a parametric EQ - yes. But you got to leave something in the 100-300-ish area. And with vocals we're talking about ... (read more)
140dBSPL
The LA-2A has an "EQed" sidechain path. I'm not sure if it has a low cut, but a high boost if I remember correctly, that works well with vocals (and most everything else  ;D )
johnmck6
Haha, true!
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No, I'd put a widish notch at 400hz or so. I agree that taming low freq peaks is a big part of getting the vocals to sit. My observation was just that if the vocals have too much low end (more than the rest of the tracks, in proportion,) they'll feel out of place with the mix.

It's not usually a big problem, but some singers, especially when using a dynamic mic, get some proximity effect going that causes problems. Live recordings, in particular are prone to this.
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I frequently omit or minimize reverb on the lead vocal, using primarily delay there, with heavier reverb on BV's.

I find high-pass and low pass filters indispensable, but try to do my EQ thru mic choice and placement, with mebbe a narrow bump or cut for clarity.

I almost always gain-ride and limit - vocal level consistent within context of the song is essential to it sitting correctly.
Xander
I agree that getting the level right is imperative to getting the vocal to sit in the mix. If the vocal is extremely dynamic, then it sometimes helps to split it up onto a couple different tracks a... (read more)
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Don't ever be afraid to chuck a multi-band compressor at vocal tracks. It can control the lower frequencies without compressing out the top end. It is also usefull in bringing out the high/mids if your running a strong'ish de-esser.

The bass drum is way too soft, compression is fine - just the slap of the beater needs to be beefier. The snare is coming through alot on the overheads as opposed to it's own mic which is making the overall drum sound a bit soft.

People can't just say a notch at (x)Hz, and boost at (y)Hz, just sweep through them gently and and find which sounds best - they are your ears after all.

With some good mastering to bring out the sparkle, I quite like the track actually!
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I know I haven't built up a huge reputation in here.  So you can take my comment with a grain of salt.

For the longest time I have always tried to figure the "secret formula" to making the vocal fit in the mix.  There really isnt one, but you can develop a philosophy to an approach to help you get there.  Thats the best you can do.  That being said, this is a list of a generalization of things I either do or try in mixing my vocals to get the to fit.

1) Compression = If its not inserted its definitely in parallel, infact I almost always parallel even if its a little.  It helps me keep control of the vocals without demolishing the dynamics.  And it sounds better to the ear
2) EQ = I dont think I have never EQ'd a vocal, and if I havent its very rare.  Generally what Im looking to do is eliminate lows and cut some low mids, maybe boost something in the mids and tops
3) If the vocal was recorded in a crap room and or is just sounding boomy, I will maybe add so... (read more)