How To Mix Rap + RnB Vocals With Waves Plugins (Any DAW) | Kia Orion | Skillshare

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How To Mix Rap + RnB Vocals With Waves Plugins (Any DAW)

teacher avatar Kia Orion, Artist & Music Producer

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

6 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. Course Intro

    • 2. Waves StudioRack Demo

    • 3. Controlling The Vocal

    • 4. Enhancing The Vocal

    • 5. Vocal Width

    • 6. Parallel Compression + Final Touches

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About This Class

Want to learn how to mix your own vocals with Waves Plugins?

You’re in the right place. 

In order to follow along and build this template you'll need Waves StudioRack (it's free)

You can download that here. 

Who is this course for?

This class is designed for artists, producers, and engineers who are starting out and want to get professional sounding records from their bedroom.

As an artist one of the best skills I ever learned was how to mix. You have COMPLETE control over how your music sounds out and it’s an incredible service if you’re looking for a full-time or part-time hustle. 


By The End Of This Course

You’ll have a better understanding of how to mix your own vocals and the steps you need to take in order to achieve the sound you want. 

I want to be clear. This isn’t about shortcuts. This isn’t about secrets. This is about learning the fundamentals, applying them to your own work, and taking your career into your own hands. These are tried and true methods I have learned through countless tutorials and recording sessions over the years that I wish someone had taught me at the beginning. 

I also want to make the statement that there is no right way or wrong way to this. This is simply my way. If you want to hone your sound take your future into your own hands and craft what sounds good to YOU.


What If I Only Have Stock Plug-ins?

Great question, you.

All the strategies and techniques I teach can be done in your native DAW with all stock plug-ins. 

I’m using 3rd party plug-ins from Waves but all the ideas and concepts are universal, your native plug-ins will work just fine. 

That said, if you only have Stock plug-ins and want to take courses specifically on those DAWs you can take my other courses here:

Mixing vocals in Logic Pro X


Mixing Vocals In Ableton Live With Only Stock Plug-ins


Do you have any free resources for beginners?

Absolutely. You can download my mixing cheat sheet here.


Where can I download your template?

You can download this Waves StudioRack template directly from my website.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kia Orion

Artist & Music Producer


Ay! I'm Kia. 

I'm an artist and educator who believes life wouldn't be the same without music.

Or tacos.

I realized that I was equally as passionate about teaching music as I was making it.

In 2016 I founded Beat School, an online platform and series of educational programs to help aspiring artists and producers learn how to make beats, accelerate their growth, and stay inspired. 

I'm originally from New York but these days you'll find me traveling around the world writing songs or playing beats on a rooftop somewhere.

I appreciate you stopping by, and if you'd like to get in touch you can DM me or shoot me an email at 

Life is too short not to do what you lov... See full profile

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1. Course Intro: What is going on now? It is a boy key Orion, the man who is obsessed with making Don't music and teach and knew how to make your own. In today's course, I am super stoked to teach you how to mix your vocals. In, in particular, I'm going to walk you through how to use the studio Reg plugin from waves. What I've done is I've built this studio, right plug-in exactly for you, where I labeled everything out. This is an artist's particular, this is going to be for kind of R&B or modern wrapped vocals. You can kind of tweak it to make it what you want In one, to mix these vocals in a rather quick fashion so I can show you how quickly I can get a good sound. And then I'm going to walk you through each of the different things that different knobs, the different decisions that I made in putting this together that I think is really going to help you guys out. So if you're interested in that, you can check all of the information in the description below, but without further ado put aside maybe 15, 20 minutes. Good, your beverage of choice, get locked and loaded and I'm gonna show you how to mix vocals. Let's do this. 2. Waves StudioRack Demo: All right, we're back in action. My head is looking super shiny. That's how we doing this. So I want you guys to pay attention to, first of all, how terrible these vocal sound. I didn't record them intentionally to sound as bad, but I was recording in just a horrible environment. And so the good news is a lot of you guys are probably recording in less than ideal situations as well. Probably in your bedroom like I was like under recover or in your closet or something. So this is how the vocals and everything sounds without this. And you're going to see me as a kinda go through. And I'm gonna make this sound from, sounds terrible at first, and then make it sound a little better. And I want to just note that I already do have AUTO-TUNE enabled to help me a little bit hit the notes. So let's do this. We'll do it. Just may differ. We'll do two friends just made up but you still gun. Yeah, we can fix this and I want to listen to kind of pick and choose. And now it's going to show, I think this is, I can't imagine had to put the lysogenic. We can slow down. If it's so much different. I think what she was still guns. Yeah. So not bad in only a couple minutes. So it goes from this to this, which is pretty rad. So that's from all these macro knobs that way if you don't know what you're doing with mixing and you don't want to spend a ton of time having to learn all the ins and outs. This is going to be a game changer for you. And now what I'm gonna do is I'm going to jump in here. And it looks like it's pretty simple because just these what, eight knobs. But if you can see all these are parallel splits. This actually has a ton of different waves plugins and I've kind of organized to all be working together to help you get a sound just with these knobs, make it as easy as possible. So that's what we're gonna jump into next is each piece in the decisions that I made and what you can do to level up your vocals. If you want to use something like this. 3. Controlling The Vocal: Okay, so the first thing that we're gonna do jumping in years, I'm going to turn all of these. Actually, I'm going to leave them on so you can kind of see what each one is. But the first thing that I, that I like to do is actually, let's turn them off first so as you can tell as well, I've programmed with. So when they're off none of the plug-ins around to save you CPU. So the first thing is first is, let's go to this part of the track. And I pulled up an all you need for this is the waves gold bundle. I'm pretty sure I've only use things in the waves go bundle. So if you have that, your inaction, so if you look at this, I've taken all of these kind of different points in the REQ and made them. If you go all the way, is pretty exaggerated, but pretty much what you're also going to want to do with figure out where your voice lies in the spectrum. So I'm going to play it along with my voice. You can hear what is going on. But first of all, when I crank this all the way up, That's obviously going to be a little bit too much. But what I've done is taken out kinda these problem areas as well as in this vitamin piece. These three pieces go up along with it. So as you go, as you push that EQ, these two piece of the vitamin go up as well to kind of give you that high-end boost. So check this out is what happens when you turn it on and you use it or ICU where you at. All right. I'll take which you still gotten down. We can fix this. Now. We're going to listen to that of our gotta pick into those different modes. Now it's done the shone through to look like. So maybe around in there. So you've got some clarity going on. The next piece that we're gonna do is control. And this is one of my favorite knobs because these are just concepts that I believe in. So the first is this C4, which is, I am using only here to control the dynamics. So as you look, if you boost this up the control knob, it's affecting the threshold pretty much these are set standard, these three different bands, but it's affecting the threshold of these. And obviously I've set them so that they move at different times as well because I typically like to compress the low-end. I have this low one mbox. The frequencies that you're going to compress the lows quicker than you do the highs. Because I find that it's easier for my vocals to get boxy. So I have a little bit hitting the lows, little bit harder, as well as an, a compressor that's coming in. If you notice the threshold knob as you kinda turn this up, and I have it locked out there. They don't let you guys go overboard. But pretty much what you're shooting for here is with this compressor. I don't like it. I'm just trying to catch the peaks for this initial for this initial compressor, which is why it's not in this compressed button. Again, we're just, this is an object to control, a vocal, kinda bring it in a little bit. So when you're dialing this in and you're going to want to look at those two things. And then as well, uh, siblings, which is, this is pretty much a DS or so that way, as you kind of start to boost things on the control side, it doesn't get too, it doesn't get too messy as you start to compress things. So check this out with jihad, our lives text object which you still got. Yeah, we can fix this. I went overboard, listen to kind of pick and choose those different modes. Now it's on the show improved. I don't like this to go pass negative three or excuse me, three in terms of gain reduction on the compressor. So that's kinda what I'm shooting for us. That's B. That would be kinda what I'm looking for right there. And the last piece of this kind of the whole controlling the vocal piece is the our compressor. So what I've done is I've linked a threshold and the game together. So that as you push this up, those two kind of work in tandem. I've also left about four ratio for you can control this outer much left that open. So if you want more compression, you can put more compression. And then they attack and release. I left these open as well because these are going to be things that you're going to want to maybe come in and dial in on your own track. But this you can kind of feel it out for your own track to depend on, depends on where you want, how much compression or her level you want to test optic which you still gun to? Yeah, we can fix. So that's a lot, right? I want you to listen to our gotta pick and choose. You feel those different modes. Now it's time to show them proof. Look like I think this is maybe somewhere in there. But now you're, so right now we went from this jihad albums attempt to this test, just clear, more controlled. And after we had those in, we're going to start to add the kind of fun different pieces to actually enhance the vocal. 4. Enhancing The Vocal: All right, so the next piece that we're going to jump into, his shine, this one's really fun. So this is VQ, which is kinda cool, vintage GQ. And I'm affecting the high mids and the high frequencies. And as, as you add these in. So if you can tell this knob is not directly correlated. So if you push this, this, because this will really change your vocal lot. So do you want to be careful with this one, which is why if you watch, I don't have them going at TEN, only have them going up some in, as they go up. I've also added a ds are in here to kind of knock down the S's little bit because this one, if you aren't careful, will make your S's really SE, for lack of a better term. So now we're going to come in here at some high mids and some high frequencies, give it a little bit of shine. Hot object which you still guns. Yeah, we can fix this and I want to do down here, you're going to listen to, I got to pick and choose. You feel those different modes. Now it's time to show improved. This is, excuse me, as you can see, it's catching the S's and T's on there. And the DS or the next piece is actually not what you think. So this power knob is really wrong here and the order in case you wanted to give it some power here. But what I recommend is actually coming back to this knob at the very end. So we're actually going to leave this because this knob, think of this as like a parallel compressor which has a bunch of things going in or going on inside of it. But we're going to hold off on that because that can get a little carried away. First, we're going to just keep getting the vibe of the book that we want. And then we'll come back and add the parallel compression. So the next piece then that we're going to add is reverb. This is one of my favorite knobs. So what we're actually doing is we're adding a little bit deceiving because the name is reached says reverb, but it's actually a little bit of reverb and delay. So there's a plate Reverb. There's true verb with this is going to be like your long reverb. As long as I have this, this reverb dequeued. And then I also have this h delay at a better one, about an eighth note. And so as you bring these in, these actually don't change themselves. It's the dry wet knobs that you are actually affecting. So you can tell if you crank it up. I've I've affected them differently. So they go up at different times because these you don't want these in equal amounts. And so that's why I've affected them like this to kind of go up, I change the ratios. So that way because you don't want the same amount of plate verb as you want your long verb, but it's still nice to have and it kinda adds suits. And with the delay, don't want a super wet delay on this. If you want it to be more reverb. So let's add some reverb to the vocal. You see what I mean? We have to test object which you still guns. Yeah, we can fix this and then I want to push it down too much. You're going to listen to. I got to pick and choose. You feel those different modes. Just like a bit more Tory lanes. Your idea of jihad OWL website test object which you still gotten. So yeah, we can fix this and I want all your data. You're going to listen to it. Maybe a little bit more drake, you write in here still some reverb, little bit plate verb, but not too much. And then we're going to jump into the last piece, which is kind of the fun part with making the vocals wider, dressing them, and then the parallel compression. 5. Vocal Width: So when it comes to the width knob, is this next parallel chain. We have a dabbler. We have an S1 imager to kind of help push things are stereo spread. Then we also have met a flanger set to medium chorus. Again, if you notice with this knob, if you watch these, I have working in tandem. I'm pointing at the screen, but you can see it. I'm like these, like What are you talking about? If you look at these two knobs, this is the dry wet now for both of them, they are going up at the same time because this is one that I did want them to be in tandem at the same time. So listen again, this is one that you can overdo really easily, use wanna help spread the vocal a little bit. So check this out as we go. Again at a tip that I have is sometimes you want to overdo it to hear what it sounds like, the effect, and then bring it back in. So watch your ears. We're gonna do this false. You can hear what the effect is and we're going to dial back, watch ears. I'll take what you've still got. Yeah, we can fix this. How are you going to listen to I got to pick and choose. Now it's time to show them proof. Look like. Listen closely for this one because it's going to, do you want this to be a subtle effect but it still there for hot object which you still gun to. Yeah, we can fix this and then I want to let you down now how are you going to listen to kinda hard, got to pick and choose, just spreads it out a little bit. And then the last but not least, is the DSR. This is the sibilant plug-in again, but this one, rather than having the threshold being able to crank all the way, I've only go to 35 because this one, it can be easy to overdo this new and off-center like you have a lisp, so I didn't want it to be too crazy. I've had the look ahead on 5050 split 5050 detection and range about negative 12.5. I always have a DS or at the end of my changes to pick up any kind of last minute and that last minute, but kind of the final kind of high-end trade instead of trying to come through. So you want to ds this after you've done pretty much all the other knobs. Optic which you still guns. Yeah, we can fix. Listen I data. And you want to look at this thing to see how much reduction is actually going on. Optical. Yeah, we can fix this in and I want to let you down. You're going to listen to, I got to pick and choose. And then the last piece now we're going to come in and dial in on the power knob. And so this one is fun. Think of this as a parallel compressor. We're going to jump into it right now. 6. Parallel Compression + Final Touches: If you don't know what parallel compressor is or what any of these parallel splits, what parallel split means is it pretty much means that it's another signal that is being blended into your dry signal. So this is not directly affecting your wet signal. Think about that. It's called parallel, meaning it's running in parallel. So all of these effects in these parallel splits, that's why they have these knobs. Your drive OCl is going to be the same. But all of these parallels like this, this is your dry signal, and then this is the wet signal that we're blending in. Now here's the thing. There's a lot going on in here. And it's going to look extreme, which is why I tell you to use it in moderation. So if you look and we dial up this power knob, all it's doing is for this one, I'm pointing at the screen again, sorry, for this one for the H comp. It's actually, it's not turning any knobs. All it's doing is if you notice all of these, it is actually it's just a dry wet knob. And if you notice when I pushed the power all the way, the knob is only a, maybe a quarter because again, this is one you want to use sparingly. You don't want to push this all the way, which is why I have that to save you from yourself. So if you don't really know what you're doing, you can't really mess up by cranking this too much or I've pretty much built-in different locks into this template. So that way you can't really mess up even if you're pushing things and you don't really know what you're doing.