Ever since I've started editing my vocals/music, I've used Adobe Audition. Something that I've never fully understood, was to properly mix the vocals so that it blends in with the music (so the music isn't louder than the vocals or you can't understand the vocals). Is there any tips, references or guides on how this can be done? Anything would be helpful. I would greatly appreciate the help. Thanks guys.
You question is actually a pretty relevant and meaningful one. In order to blend vocals with muse you should apply a couple of principles:
- mix every siingle parameter of the music in quite a structure way;
- doing differential mixing in order to give space to every single instrument in the mix;
- doing everything pretty slow and using critical reasoning to judge your output;
regarding the first topic (structure):
- every mixing process as a sequential order;
usually you follow something like:
- doing volumes first;
- then doing panning;
- then doing gating;
- then doing compression;
- then doing equalization;
- the doing post processing;
by different mixing I understand the following;
- making sure that each instrument doesn't occuppy the space of each other and everything has space on the mix;
in relation to volunes:
- make sure you follow an hierarchycal order according to the meaningfulness of an instrument in the orchestration to choose the levels;
in relation to panning:
- use ambisonics if you are mixing in stereo whenever possible;
- make an overall panning where eveyrthing has it's own space in the mix similar to what you would hear live;
- use automation to drive small changes durign the music to make eveyrthing having it's own space
in relaion to dynamics (compression, and gating);
- make sure to take advantage of parallel compression to properly give space in the mix for every single instrument;
- using sidechain compression and gating, to set help making space in the mix for prohemnient instruments
- lets say you have an instrument in the same registry or instruments or occupying a similar registry
please make sure you do the following:
- boost the more important frequencies of each instrument separately, using high or high selve;
- bring down the less important frequencies to each instrument, in order to give space to the other ones;
- make critical judging and boost low-down smaller frequency rangers if instruments overlape
- only use what is necessary in the things that are necessary
bearing this in mind:
don't put reverb in a kick if you don't need it
finally use buses to control the whole mixing process
finally in relation to doing eveything slow and using critical reasoning:
one of the worst things that can happen to a sound engineer is to mix things wihout being in control of what he or she is doing;
- this way it's important to always make sure you stop to listen, you compare your results, if possible having references close to you, as well as multiple speaker systems, and making sure to use critical judging rather then intuition to base every single decision
- only use intuition if you have already been mixing for more then 10-15 years and you already know how things work and why they work the way they do
what you are talking about is an effects chain, which usually consists of Equalization and Dynamics at the very least - the order of which is often personal preference.
Again, this is an ear-training exercise. Operating a Digital Audio Workstation is trivial these days, you just have to listen to enough reference material and learn how to break down the sounds that you are hearing - then replicate the results.
Setting levels in a mix is a very fine line to draw and getting a good result that mixes in spectrally is quite a challenge if you havn't trained your ears to listen for the right elements of the mix.
There are various techniques you can use to make the dialogue/vocals "stand out" a little - EQ'ing the "music" bus so that there is a 3db "hole" where the dialogue sits is often a good technique - you still get good level on the music, but there is a "space" in the music where the vocals can sit.
I would start with some good ear training - get some good reference tracks and then learn to emulate some of the sounds you are hearing in your own DAW. Particularly pay attention to EQ and Dynamics (compression) settings.
it's also true that if you record things pretty well, you don't need to work out the mixing so much, and subsequently the mastering. even though every step in sound engineering process is important and crucial to a final good result