Curious about concept of vocal amplitude in a mix

Chelonian

Member
It seems to me from my amateurish attempts at mixing, the loudness of the singing voice in a song matters greatly to how integrated (and professional) the song sounds. Too quiet or too loud but particularly when it's a bit too loud, the voice sounds like it is separate from the music, like just some guy singing in his room, whereas I find there is a rather small range of amplitudes for the voice within which it seems to lock into the music and it sounds more like something one would hear on the radio.

Is there a term for this effect, so I can learn more about it by searching online?
 
One process that may help is referred to as "gluing". Gluing a mix brings all the tracks together as if they were being performed simultaneously in the same space. This reduces or eliminates anything that may be sticking out, so to speak. Research "gluing a mix" - lots of material and videos out there.

I use Reaper as my DAW, so here's a video using that :

 
It seems to me from my amateurish attempts at mixing, the loudness of the singing voice in a song matters greatly to how integrated (and professional) the song sounds. Too quiet or too loud but particularly when it's a bit too loud, the voice sounds like it is separate from the music, like just some guy singing in his room, whereas I find there is a rather small range of amplitudes for the voice within which it seems to lock into the music and it sounds more like something one would hear on the radio.

Is there a term for this effect, so I can learn more about it by searching online?
You're definitely right. That's one of the first things most people tackle - the overall balance of the tracks in terms of level.

As home engineers, we're usually also the one writing and mixing; and that can lead to bias toward certain aspects of the instruments. We tend to make our vocals buried since we are already familiar with the lyrics and the nuances of the performance. We aren't hanging on every lyric - we already know what we're saying.

The first thin I do with my mixes is turn all the faders to 0 and bring them up one by one, starting with kick and snare, and then bass. Don't rely on compression to achieve volume leveling to large degrees. If needed, you can always slice the audio file in sections and slightly adjust its level, or, better yet, automate the volume in areas where it needs a little nudge either way.

Like most people here will tell you, just use your ears. Bring the vocal up until it sounds like it fits just right.
 
T
One process that may help is referred to as "gluing". Gluing a mix brings all the tracks together as if they were being performed simultaneously in the same space. This reduces or eliminates anything that may be sticking out, so to speak. Research "gluing a mix" - lots of material and videos out there.

I use Reaper as my DAW, so here's a video using that :


Thanks for this video--helpful!
 
You're definitely right. That's one of the first things most people tackle - the overall balance of the tracks in terms of level.

As home engineers, we're usually also the one writing and mixing; and that can lead to bias toward certain aspects of the instruments. We tend to make our vocals buried since we are already familiar with the lyrics and the nuances of the performance. We aren't hanging on every lyric - we already know what we're saying.

The first thin I do with my mixes is turn all the faders to 0 and bring them up one by one, starting with kick and snare, and then bass. Don't rely on compression to achieve volume leveling to large degrees. If needed, you can always slice the audio file in sections and slightly adjust its level, or, better yet, automate the volume in areas where it needs a little nudge either way.

Like most people here will tell you, just use your ears. Bring the vocal up until it sounds like it fits just right.

Thanks for your thoughts and some good points!
 
It seems to me from my amateurish attempts at mixing, the loudness of the singing voice in a song matters greatly to how integrated (and professional) the song sounds. Too quiet or too loud but particularly when it's a bit too loud, the voice sounds like it is separate from the music, like just some guy singing in his room, whereas I find there is a rather small range of amplitudes for the voice within which it seems to lock into the music and it sounds more like something one would hear on the radio.

Is there a term for this effect, so I can learn more about it by searching online?
So what you are saying is the Vocals Quality is related to the professionalism of the performances - so if you are world class all the way around - you will sound good.

As for how you mix the vocals so they blend - its the way you start the mix - First Drums - Then Bass - Then Vocals - Then Guitars and Keyboards - then the ear candy stuff - if you mix that way you will hear how your vocals fit.
 
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