How To Mix House Vocals Like A Pro | MACROLEV | Skillshare

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How To Mix House Vocals Like A Pro

teacher avatar MACROLEV, DJ / Music Producer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (39m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Importing Stems And Arrangement

    • 3. Cleaning and Tuning

    • 4. EQing, Compression and FX

    • 5. Thank You

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About This Class

OK, You have produced a banging dance track, now what? You need a decent vocal to compliment it, right?

If you got great vocals to go with your track, great! Congratulations! Step One complete. Step two - go and watch this class for a step by step guide on how to mix vocals.

If you haven't got vocals for your tracks yet then don't waste time, go on Instagram, search for hashtags like #singer #songwriter #vocalist and so on, find a vocalist you like and start collaborating!

Once you got your vocals stems - watch this class and dive in, but make sure you don't copy settings like for like! Experiment! Different source signals require different processing. I'm just giving you the basic idea, the concept is you will:

  • We will start by importing vocal stems in our project, then get rid of everything that we don't need. After we have done some basic cleaning we will arrange vocals the way it makes sense to us in the context of our track.
  • Next, we will further clean our stems as well as tune them to the pitch of our instrumental track so everything is in the same key.
  • And in the final steps, we will take our vocal performance to a next level by the use of EQing Compression, Saturation and FX

If you follow along, I'm confident that, by the end of this class you will have way better-sounding vocals than before. This class by no means is named at beginners, but rather at seasoned music producers that want to take their music production skills to a next level!

Let's Make Some Music!

Meet Your Teacher

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DJ / Music Producer


Probably the tallest DJ on earth, 6 foot and 9 inches in height and goes by the name MACROLEV. Based in London he has graduated Point Blank music school, where studied music production, recording, sound design, composition, arrangement, mixing, mastering and live performance. To help take his skills even further MACROLEV graduated from London Sound Academy’s Elite DJ Course.

MACROLEV gradually working his way up in the industry by breaking regularly into Beatport charts and releasing music on labels like Stashed Music, Baikonur Recordings, Vivifier Records and more as well as mixing and mastering music for other artists. Worth saying that he also hosts a weekly show on YouTube and Mixcloud called MACROSOUNDS featuring hottest dance music from around the globe.

MACROL... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hey, what's up? My name is macro left and deejay producer. Not so much with the DJ these days, but anyways, I've been making music for like seven years now. And I'm here to share my knowledge with you. I am going to guide you through the process of how I mix bulk books for my tracks from importing roars thence to the barrier to the final polished product. We're going to start with this. Now the rules, natural gas, they're all the same and finish with that. So let's get started. Shall we? 2. Importing Stems And Arrangement: Hello and welcome to my Ableton Live project. It's called Another World. And we did it in collaboration with super talented singer songwriter IDA flow. Definitely go and check her out. She's amazing. Basically. There's multiple ways you can go about adding a vocal track. One would be to go and splice and find a vocal, download the sample pack. But the chances are there's going to be so many other producers who's gonna use the same sample in the tracks. So you essentially running into a problem of not being original. Therefore, by far the best way of doing it would be to find a singer songwriter and write something together once you receive vocal stems than you just create an audio track in your project, drag the vocal stamps into, into the track. So good idea to create as many tracks as you stems are. So in my case, I've got six stems. So I'm going to create six audio tracks, which is Command T. 3456, colored them and grouped them, which is Command J, and renamed group. So now that you've got this focal group, you can just simply drag and drop and make sure you hold command so that each stem has got its own channel, its own audio track, and you just drag and drop like this. So now that you've got your vocal stems imported as graduates who just go ahead and listen to what's going on. That is moving bed in home. Mean is a compliment Jane likes enough Inaki me. Now the rules does change in. Adding in Garfield is saying some degree arranging. And what can explain to my brain. Right down, right down I read now Moran and own that go into the day using time and again Joe. And you can now reach goal. Reached will begin to overflow. And do another hadn't happened, then another. And then another world is, is another way. Ok, by doing this, you're just listening and kinda making notes in your head where and what should go and. What sounds good, what doesn't bought to get rid of what to keep straight away. I can tell that I'm not a big fan of this beginning, so I'm just going to get rid of it. So from now on is basically cleaning up an arrangement. So you just removing unnecessary information. At this point, you just chop the Odeo and arrange in a, in a way that makes sense to you in a track, going to mute everything else. And just listened to these 2, first 2 tracks. So again, we're looking at now, I'm going to use this. The soil is harmonized. Back gamelan and o, though. Probably that one as well. Let's have a listen host says that down the rabbit hole. Depth. We do this into the day. Having gain and go about this one is a two parameter each speech. The speech swell to go in here. So we get rid of this. So this is what's known as a compiling. Essentially this is combining the good stuff together so you listening and analyzing what sounds best to you and keeping what sounds great and getting rid of what doesn't. So this nervous though. Another, not a fan of this. You get an idea. So you just go around, listen, and arranged stems the way you want them to sound. I'm going to finish with this and see you in the next lesson where we're going to clean the vocals up, remove unwanted frequencies, Sibyl lenses, as well as tune them up a little bit. 3. Cleaning and Tuning: Hey, welcome back to part two of mixing vocals series, where we're going to continue to work on our vocal stems. Once you arranged the vocal stems in more or less sensible order, the next thing to do would be to add something like gate to clean the vocals up from unwanted noises. So just drag a gate onto a track, solo a track, and have a listen. Now the rooms does change in. So you see you got this noise going on. To get rid of it. You're going to have to lower the threshold. Increased lookahead. I've found that increased in lookahead ten milliseconds works best for me, decrease the flow level to minus infinity. So basically everything gets cut. We don't need any hold released around 60 milliseconds and have a listen. Now the rooms does change in. You see here, all this noise gets cut. You can compare on-off. And you can even see it, some spectrum analyzer working its way into my brain. So only the vocal passes through whatever the background noises was recorded, gets gated with this to further get rid of unwanted frequencies, you could apply something like a high-pass filter. Working its way into my brain. Right down, right down, right down. The best practice for this would be to listen and push the frequency up. Once the sand drastically changing, then you have to back up a little bit. So working its way into my brain, x0, that's way too much. Let's just back up a little bit. Working its way into my brain, working its way into my brain, working its way into my working its way. And the key here is just to get rid of all this unnecessary low-end that's cluttering our mics. So and then you just go track by track like this, applying, you can just copy command C and paste on a new track. And have a listen how it sounds. Go. Okay, here you see something went past the threshold. Let's meet this. Okay, we can hear some like pops and noises. We can just select all this and backspace and just get rid of it. It's good practice freely to just go around and clean it manually as well. But the gate is kinda the quick way of doing it. Right now. Of course, here I could have increased the gate threshold and that would cut the pops and noises even further. But then you run into an issue where it can also kinda cut the vocal as well, the pots that you actually need to hear to overflow. Here some some noise that we probably don't want. And you also got this what's known as a fade. You can just drag in and fade out. Losing damn AND gate. That's losing. Losing, losing, damming a debts, losing depth, read down a rabbit hole. So yeah, you just go around and clean every single channel, every single track the same way. So everything is nice and clean. Once we got everything cleared, we could tune in focus to the key of the track. These track is in a D sharp harmonic minor. One way of doing it would be to use something like AUTO-TUNE. I made this preset ages ago, which is called T Pain. It's exactly what it says, AUTO-TUNE effect that he made famous in his tracks. The next thing would be to select the key of your track. In our case, it's the shop, which is E-flat as well, harmonic minor. And then just have a listen how it sounds. Yeah, right down, right down. In due the day that live within dam and gain in flow. Obviously this is way too much to decrease the amount. Used is pitch correction control tools. You can humanize. This is correction style. This is like reach door, Classic. And none of the correction is happened. We each bring a perfect flex tune reached dog breed, dog begun. They also also soon after the gate helps a bit because of the noise and stuff can kinda get in a way of tuning. Maybe even after EQ reach dog breeds door, because low frequencies can mess with the auto tuning as well little bit then you can try a different tuning plug-in. This one is by waves. Same thing. Basically, you choose your input signal, you choose your key of the track, which in our case is T sharp harmonic minor. And then you play the track, reached door to door, big, big, big. Then you can basically compare to tuning plugins and make your mind up which one sounds better for you? They again, no, big. So I'll pick waves, Tune in same way here. Go ahead and just copy this tuning across to all channels, obviously making sure you listen throughout each performance and what it does. Lose in Tam and gain in a flow. Until our reach reach a door. They do overflow. As her performances really, really, really good. I'm just going to decrease the tuning because I don't want to ruin her vibe reached door. So you can obviously tune to a 100%, but that sometimes that's not necessary. Good practice is to reduce tuning so that it's not as noticeable in amex, reach a door. You want, obviously you sing it to hit the right notes. But if you're churning too much and is thus to get noticeable unless you go in for that effect, then it can kind of sound bad. And until I reached dog breeds door begun, she's super in tune, so just a tiny bit of help makes it better. In my opinion, some things you just don't want to churn in basically are quite like this performance here. This is most of an effect almost. If you tune this end, it would not sound the way it should sound. So yeah, you just go round and continue tuning your vocals. A buddy that women today, these people, they may be achieved today. And then tomorrow in the mountain named Madeline testing again. Infinity, Madeline his destiny. Not limited testing in enormous nicely in here, not there. So the next thing I wanted to show you something called DSA. It's essentially a compressor aimed on reducing the certain frequency, which is usually the sound of a say, right? You go very simple parameters, frequency which you can select according to your input signal, then there's threshold. I prefer to use this DSA by waves simply because it's already aimed to vocals in particular, unlike the normal compressor which you're going to have to set the attack and release separately as well. This is already set to optimal results and going to AB it for you. And I don't think I fill this. And I think I feel this. You aiming here just to reduce these harsh Ss, slightly. If you overdo it, your vocal starts to sound unnatural. So just copy the same settings onto another track. I don't think I feel the same. Make sure there's like three to six db reduction depending on your source, obviously in combination, this sounds like, I don't think I feel the same, just slightly taming the harsh frequency range. Another practice would be to just I don't I don't think I feel the same symptoms. We arrange to go around and just drag the volume of sum, sum, sum of civil answers manually like this. Sometimes we are sometimes rearrange and sometimes it's actually better to do that. Because that way you get way more control over the sound. We can just call around. It's wagging its way into my brain, made its way into my broken, it's way into its way, its way into, its way, in, its way into right. The key here is, if it sounds bad, changed if it doesn't leave it. So I prefer to use a combination of Meno, volume reduction and the testing and not a good practice to make sure your vocal sounds as professional as possible is to align the harmonies. I prefer to align them by just selecting, cutting the clip and just manually dragging over. Sometimes you need to align certain words or phrases. In this case, you're going to have to walk the selection and you have these markers on each transient in order to align certain phrases, can insert marker, insert another marker where you don't want anything to be moved and then you can just drag it and align it that way. So if I wouldn't have put this marker in, this would drag the whole. But I only wanted to push a little bit. So you just go around your vocals like this dominant, obviously listening and manually separating the clip dragging where it needs to go, and then selecting declared warping place in market. Now the rooms does change. That's before. Now the rules does change. That's after. Make sure you do that for every single piece of vocal you've got. So I'm going to continue working on cleaning up vocals. I'll see you in the next lesson where we're going to look at qn vocals, compressing them and applying effects. 4. EQing, Compression and FX: Hey, welcome back to part three of mixing vocals series. And this lesson I'm going to show you how I would EQ my vocals, shaped the sound and compress them, as well as apply some creative effects. Let's start by compressing each individual channel. I prefer to use CLIA today for my channel compression. It's known to be good for vocals. This knob is acting to reduce the peak obviously, and this is the gain compensation. So make sure whatever goes in, goes out in terms of volume. Only that way you can truly compare if a compressor does something to a sound or not. By default, this analog is engaged. What it does is just produces white noise. So I've saved the preset, so it's always off. I don't like introducing more noise than I need to my sound working its way into map brain. So obviously there's language right down, right down into the day at losing dam and gain inflow. Or just want to slightly reduce into the data, into the data, into the day at, into the data, into the data into the day at losing DOM and gain and flow into is endowment gain inflow. So yeah, and that way you just 01 by one and apply the compression. Do that for every individual channel. Once you compressed all the individual channels, it's time to move on to the group and processed the sound altogether. So I like to first shape the sound with EQ. Basic low cut. Then just reduce unwanted low frequency of a female vocal. By boosting around this area, you introduce more presence. I'm playing the track and I'm sweeping around the frequencies and I'm listening where the pleasant tones and unboxing that area. I soloed this out for you, working its way into my brain. Working its way into my brain, yet just brings it a little bit of presence. So the next thing is to add biotech EQ and boost this high-end Shema around 10-12 k. Working its way into my brain. Working its way into my brain. Literally as the polish of sound. Down back down the ladder and go through it or if it was a new daily, increase the volume a little bit. Right down, back down the red and oh, go. Insert a day. And it was a new dangers, drought and impair our e to go reach. The next thing I like to add is a little bit of compression, which is to catch the peaks and further glue the sound together. And again, our e to go, we like very quick attack. So literally taming older peaks may pass through and impair our e to go it alone. Again, same thing here. Just make sure they input gain matches the output gain. Crank this gain Nobel and impair our e to go three to go in. And they had no it along with your love. I'm not a secret weapon I like to use to add a bit of color to the vocal is this thing quotes sausage, fat Anna, I drop it on the whole vocal group. And a crime this color, nope, up to a maximum. Have a listen. So this is without and this is with up, no idea what's behind this plug-in, how it works. I can hear some compression going on. I can hear some saturation, but I'm guessing there's a lot more than that. Another thing I would love to add to my vocals is some delay or echo. In this case, I'm going to drop an instance of phaco, drop it into a rack, duplicate the channel, drag all the way, like so. And then fade this top bar. Like so. Assign this, select such a macro one, call it dry wet. Now remove echo from a second channel and call it dry. Quotes help channel wet. So to make sure that there is a 100% dry and here you have to drag wet signal, wet channel to one. And then to make sure it's a 100% wet, you kind of have to drag dry channel to 126. If deselect all the way to wet is plain. All the way through the first channel and dry all the way through the second channel, which is try. And that's going to be your 50% dry wet. So thing I did all this just because I want my echoed to sound clean. I don't want any echo when the main vocal is playing. So to do that, you just dragging a compressor of the echo and setting it to a side chain mode on a vocal group increase the ratio, decrease the attack. Slightly increase, release. And then push down the threshold, increase echo to a 100%. And now increase the dry wood signal. So now this echo plays and parallel to the main vocal, have Listen. I don't think I see now the echo only place after the main vocal stops playing. And we're going to hide this and use automation to only have this in certain areas of our vocal. So for example, a quote like this, changing, just going to push this slightly. Now that has changed. Doh, doh, doh, de, doh, doh, doh, go. So let's put this to ping-pong ran at all adults into the day using new games up bread and our whole adult dot, dot, dot, Gauss is perhaps too much ran at all adults in today's day. And using, maybe we can do something like this. Decrease in the volume into the same here. And start saying damn. Adding, engulfed the age, score around and push delay like so into phrases where you want it in z, m in games though. Another cool trick would be to change the timing of the echo occurring. Right-click and then show automation and a new lane. Once you hit the echo, you can change the timing. Let's say we're going to go quicker here. So I have a list and how that sounds. Maybe we can remove, go back here and change it halfway. Oh. Uber quicker, a towel. Until our e to go and enter. This is set in breed pitch mode. That's why every time that echo time is changing a pitches to sound. So that's how this effect is produced. Without an intermediary to go, we can further shaped the echo with this filter. Now the real step change in cash. Now the room stuff. Yeah. And you just go ahead and add this onto your vocal and wherever you need, just be created to spice things up even further, I'm going to be using one of my favorite plug-ins. It's called Portal. I'm going to drop another Dry Wet rack of created this earlier. I use all the time drag portal into wet channel. So this is how the plugin lurks a bunch of my favorites in here. It's going to select this spreadable preset. And the same way to automate the Dry Wet around his somewhere. Let's hear how it sounds. Okay, sounds cool. To finish this off, let's put final plugin on this group, which is called free clip. It's exactly what it says. It's free plug-in acquire Like it's a clay pot, basically clips and shaves off all the peaks and makes the senior louder. Essentially, acquired like this soft clipped type. There's multiple clipping algorithms and hey, acquired like this is a bit more rounded curve, not as hot clipping as the first algorithm, slightly softer, also, like crank out this oversampling, it reduces artifacts that plug-in produces. Obviously, it will increase your CPU as well, though if your computer can handle it, go for a brilliant plugin for worry costs, which is nothing. It's insanely good. So, and here you've got low display of waveforms. So you start by reducing the clip ceiling. Look for the waveform. The red will show you where the reduction is happening. And he told me to go it alone. So as you can see, it just levels or the vocals out. I'm a big fan of using multiple stages of compression. The reason to do that is the one compressor, for example, this procedure can even possibly handle order. Peaks and uneven performances like this. You see you got like very loud splashes and very quiet areas like here and here. I like to spread my compressors out around the chain. So I've got compressor before they EQ than after AQ, then after the saturation and echo. Once you're happy with results, make sure everything is balanced. I'm a big fan of adding the same reverb that I use on the rest of the tracks. For example, here, in mid frequencies. You can see I've added of God this long reverb setup on a return channel. It's well, hello room with this medium ambience preset. And think of tweet the decay time though bit, and a little bit of overdrive, as well as slightly b of e cueing to just separate a little bit from the main elements. So yeah, you just play the sound and increase your reverb to taste. Another good practice to go around and just decrease the volume of individual clips like so, so the compressor has slightly less of work to do. And what can explain? Right now. Another thing I forgot to mention is panning. Essentially you just want your doubles to pan left and right. And that's as simple as this. Nothing more to really, there's just gives a little bit of stereo spread as before. And that's after. You can't spread certain elements. Slightly more. To give it a little bit of distinction is to start saying, okay, I'm going to select all the plug-ins on our main fox group command G to group them all together and disable it. So we can compare before and after. So this is before. And this is often a huge difference, right? 5. Thank You: Thank you very much for watching. I hope you enjoy it. I really hope that you've learned something about mixing vocals today. If you've got any questions relating to anything I've talked about in this class, please feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to explain in more detail. On that note. Please stay safe. Is amount.