Tips for mixing and panning multiple vocal doubles and harmonies

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by Triple, Jun 13, 2018 at 8:31 PM.

  1. Triple

    Triple Noisemaker

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    Hi!
    I have a synth pop song and want to mix in the following vocal tracks:
    - a Lead vocal + 2 doubles of the lead vocal
    - a harmony vocal which is a different melody than lead vocal (a few semitones higher than the lead vocal)
    - 2 takes of the lead vocal sung an octave higher (the same melody as the lead but sung an octave higher)

    Can you give me some tips/ideas how I can place all those vocal tracks in the mix?
    Do you tend to e.g. pan doubles of lead vocal hard left and right? or do you have some other tricks?

    The instrumental will be ducked a bit by lead vocal (with Trackspacer2)



    Btw. I listened to the song below and I noticed that some BG vox disappear after summing to mono. Is it a modern mixing trend to make some BG vox so wide (sending them to out-of-phase) that they disappear in mono?



    Thanks!
     
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  3. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    Seems like the (two) backing vocals have one side almost totally phase-flipped, making them super-wide (but cancel itself out in mono). There is still one harmony double-track in the center, which you can hear when you listen in mono.

    As a Swede myself I tend to comp a perfect lead vocal that I fine-tweak in Melodyne and thrn place that center (to be the main one that everything spins around). On the center lead I put a tiny bit of Soundtoys Microshift to add some width to it. Then I add two pretty good double-tracked leads (they don't have to be perfect) and counter-hardpan these L and R, and then turn down their volume quite a bit (som they just add that yummy Abba/Nirvana/Elliott Smith/etc chorus width).
    I'm pretty sure this is what Benjamin also did on Dance You Off.

    Then there are octaves coming in and out, but those are for filling up. Effective, especially here since Benjamin has a very "kiddy" voice.
    Edit: Also just wanna add that you can de-ess and volume automate the ess and ssh pretty damn hard on harmonies, as they are covered by the lead. Otherwise it can overlap too much (in the high-end) and sometimes create double-esses.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018 at 10:37 PM
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  4. junh1024

    junh1024 Platinum Record

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    You don't need to use all of them, &/ not all at the same volume.
     
  5. Kwissbeats

    Kwissbeats Rock Star

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    fully agree on this, especially the hard-pan (so not 50 -50 or anything between).

    since then there would be 3 tracks fighting in phase on both sides when you don't do that (Left and right)
    with hardpan, you'll have the lead battling one double on each side. Which makes phase cancellation less audioble

    harmony/extra vocals could use a lowcut, expecially when the lyrics have different intonation and nuances or lyrics.

    And Last, I would NOT use Trackspacer2 because it's very quality degrading.
    U don't need these tools and the results will be less in my opinion. But if you really need to I could imagine that spectralayerspro could deliver a more "natural" quality.
     
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  6. Triple

    Triple Noisemaker

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    Thanks a lot for your replies!

    1) Ok. Assuming all the vocal tracks have the same loudness, let's say I pan the main lead voc dead center and the 2 doubles of lead voc will be counter hard-panned left and right.
    By how many dBs would you turn down the 2 double vocals?

    2) Where would you place a harmony vocal and the octaves of lead vocal? dead center?

    3) How to make sure the harmony vocal doesn't confuse the listeners with regard to which vocal is the lead vocal (and which vocal melody should be remembered:)).
    I imagine that we can have a memorable lead vocal melody but adding a different harmony vocal melody can make it more difficult for first-time listeners to remember the lead vocal melody, right?

    4) Do you tend to make a harmony vocal quiter than a lead vocal by a specific amount of dBs ?
    I know it can be a taste thing and it depend on a song, but is there a starting point that works well? e.g. 3dB quiter that the lead?
     
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