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Thread: "Messy" - stuck on the vocal mix

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    "Messy" - stuck on the vocal mix

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    Hey everyone!

    Last March I posted to ask for feedback on a mix for my band's first single and you guys were all really helpful! The song did really, really well. Now, I'm busy mixing our second single but I'm hoping I can get a bit of feedback to get me to the finishing line!

    I'm pretty happy with how the instrumental track sounds but I'm falling at the last hurdle - vocals. It's not really sitting in the mix and I'm particularly struggling with reverb and delay. I've spent literally hours on just this but it's always either too obvious and artificial sounding or too dry.

    We're going for a retro/vintage sound but with a modern edge. We want it to be bright and clear and ready for the radio but with a bit of 70s soul too. Like Arctic Monkeys' recent albums or like if Fleetwood Mac recorded Rumours in 2019.

    For reference, I love the vocal mix on Wolf Alice songs like Bros and Beautifully Unconventional:



    I can hear a bit of delay and a long reverb but the vocal is still very clear and upfront. How can I do this?

    Any feedback would be amazing! Thank you!

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    Real nice song.

    I am only listening at work, on a Mac desktop's built-in speakers. I don't hear reverb or delay at all. Not sure what verb or delay you are using. There should be some sort of control to adjust the original vocal signal and the effected vocal; I would say to tweak that until you hear just enough verb to "glue" it together with the song. Right now, the lead vocal seems way upfront, and it's creating a demo or karaoke effect, rather than the polished (though retro) sound you are going for. Also consider adjusting EQ. Again, I'm only on Mac speakers, but it seems like the vocals need just a touch of hollowing out to blend them better with the music and get a retro effect. You might also want to find a nice tape effect or otherwise analogue VST and run the vocals through that, just a bit. Maybe even put it on the master fader FX channel and see how that sounds (for an overall vinyl record type sound).

    The MusicianOnAMission site has good tips for vocals when it comes to delay and reverb. I can't apparently post the direct link, since I forgot my old account and this new one won't let me drop a link until I post a bit more. So try Googling it.

    Good luck! Looking forward to hearing more!

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    Oddly enough those Musician on a Mission resources are exactly what I've been using on this mix! They're very helpful and I've been trying out all the tips about delay and reverb but it's still not coming together. If I raise the level of the reverb/delay even slightly it quickly becomes too noticeable and starts to sound even more karaoke-ish. Maybe my settings are wrong? Or maybe there's something else that's the problem?

    Other people have mentioned that I need to make some cuts in the low mids, compress a bit harder, and add some saturation so I'll definitely look at that.

    As for analog sounding VSTs, I'm using a Waves J37 on the mix bus for flavour and again on the vocal for delay. I could crank it up a bit harder I guess.

    Thanks for the feedback!

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    I think the overall reverb levels are pretty good on the vocal. It's subtle.

    What I am noticing is that it's reinforcing the the nasal frequencies of your voice. It's most prominent in the choruses where you're towards the top of your range. You may be able to address it by EQing the 'verb itself. Cut out some of the high mids maybe.

    I like that synth outro.

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    im new so what I think means heee haw … to me the vocals fit nicely in the verse... but when the chorus comes the vocals stand out way in front and the backing track fades a bit in the background... not sure how that happens as with all the instruments coming in I would imagine the vocals would get swallowed up a little but I don't know whats been done...

    So yeah sounds great overall especially the verses.

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    Hi again everyone! I put together a new mix! Everything has been tweaked a little bit but I spent a long time fixing the vocal. I did a lot of EQ work to tame the mids, gain automation, compression, delay, reverb, and some tape saturation. I also redid the double automatic double tracking to give it a bit more width.

    Have another listen and let me know what you think! Are there any other areas I need to look further at?
    Thanks for your help!

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    The reverb sounds less nasal; that's helping.

    On this listen, I'm noticing some tuning issues with the vox. The doubling is also introducing some phasey noise to the vox.
    I'd recommend having her actually double-track the part if possible. It's really hard to mimic the effect of just layering multiple takes. Plus, that gives you more options for dealing with pitchiness.

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    Thanks for your feedback!

    Unfortunately we don't have time to record anything else now. I did try to use Melodyne but it was really confusing and I just ended up making it sound really unnatural and horrible! Are there any particular places where it's out of tune? Are there any other techniques or plugins I can try to fix it?

    I'm not sure I can hear any phase problems. Where exactly are you hearing it? If it's the quiet part before the final chorus then you're hearing a phaser and a flanger on an aux track panning back and forth.

    How is the rest of the mix?

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