Mixing Academy: Learn How to Mix Rap Vocals in Pro Tools | Byron Hill | Skillshare

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Mixing Academy: Learn How to Mix Rap Vocals in Pro Tools

teacher avatar Byron Hill, Online Mixing and Mastering Courses

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

15 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Byron Hill: Professional Mixing Engineer

      0:48
    • 2. Welcome To The Class

      3:32
    • 3. Harmonic Saturation

      2:10
    • 4. Compression

      1:58
    • 5. Dynamic EQ

      2:23
    • 6. Subtractive EQ

      1:18
    • 7. Multiband Compression

      2:49
    • 8. Secret Sauce

      2:57
    • 9. Adding Presence to Rap Vocals

      1:22
    • 10. De-Essing

      2:16
    • 11. Final Touch

      1:02
    • 12. Pro Reverb Settings (Bonus 1)

      2:02
    • 13. Pro Delay Tricks (Bonus 2)

      2:51
    • 14. Rap Vocal Mixing Recap

      0:40
    • 15. Conclusion

      0:29
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About This Class

Welcome to the Mixing Academy: Learn How to Mix Rap Vocals in Pro Tools course!

Who I am:

Hey! My name is Byron Hill and I am a professional mixing engineer and music producer. Having worked with over 1000+ clients worldwide on over 1000+ mixes, I am here to share with you my knowledge and show you how to professionally mix rap vocals.

Credits Include: Druski2Funny, Syleena Johnson, Q Parker, DJ Tunez, Eugy, Vory, Caskey, Jarren Benton, SeanDoesMagic, Calico Jonez and many more!

About This Course:

In this vocal mixing course, I'll show you some of the best mixing techniques for rap vocals in pro tools to help you achieve that modern industry-ready sound. 

Whats covered in this class?

We will be looking at how I professionally mix rap vocals first hand and diving into the exact techniques that I use when mixing rap vocals such as:

  • Dynamic EQ
  • Mutliband Compression
  • Harmonic Saturation
  • Lush Reverbs
  • Clean Delays
  • High End Presence

Who's this class for?

This class is catered to the intermediate engineer and above who is looking to take their sound to the next level by learning advanced mixing techniques used in today's music to achieve radio-ready and industry standard vocal mixes.

IMPORTANT! What happens if you don't learn how to properly mix vocals?
Well ask yourself this: 2 months from now how much better will my mixes sound? Without having proper teaching from an experienced engineer, you can spend days/weeks/months/years without much improvement. YouTube courses mostly teach surface-level information and and don't dive into the specifics or advanced techniques needed for you to take your sound to the next level. I've spent the years learning the secret techniques and how to get that sound and I am here today to share them with you.

We're excited to see you inside!

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Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Byron Hill

Online Mixing and Mastering Courses

Teacher

Hey! My name is Byron Hill. I have provided online mixing and mastering services to over 1000+ clients worldwide and I am here to help you take your song to the next level!

 

1000+ Clients Worldwide

100m+ Total Streams

 

Credits Include: Druski2Funny, Syleena Johnson, Q Parker, DJ Tunez, Eugy, Vory, Caskey, Jarren Benton, SeanDoesMagic, Calico Jonez and many more!

 

Having worked with 1000+ clients worldwide and mixed/mastered over 1000 songs to date, I have created online mixing courses  to help you take your sound to the next level. 

Some of the aspects of mixing and mastering we will be diving into in my mixing and music production courses:

 

H... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Byron Hill: Professional Mixing Engineer: Hey, what's up? Yeah, my name is Byron hill. I'm a professional mixing engineer and music producer of 10 plus years. I've worked with over 1000 clients worldwide on over 1000 mixes. And I'm here today to show you how to professionally mixed wrapped vocals. I'm going to be showing you how we take a song and go from this night is over. I guarantee you that you won't catch me. So I've said this before the night is that you aren't just me so that no Actually away for you. And that will be going over techniques such as EQ compression, dynamic EQ, multi-band compression, reverb delay, everything to make your vocal sound nice and crisp within the mix. So yeah, let's go ahead and dive right into it. 2. Welcome To The Class: Welcome to my course. Today we are going to be looking at how to mix wrapped vocals. And I'm going to be showing you a few different techniques such as harmonic saturation, compression, EQ, just a few techniques to really get the vocals, to get your wrapped vocals to sound nice, clean, clear, upfront and really just cut through the mix and give you that modern, that modern sound that you hear today in today's music. So yeah, let's go ahead and take a listen to the raw vocal as is. Yeah, before the night is over, I guarantee you that you won't catch me. So no, I came away for you and that man Abbe to. Okay, cool. So this is our raw vocal that we're going to be working with. Let's go ahead and just dive right into it. So the first thing that you'll notice is I have my lead vocal routed to an ox track right here, in which I am doing all of my processing with the plugins on it. So on the lead vocal track, the very first thing that you'll see is that I have Auto-Tune. Now what I'd like to do with Auto-Tune me personally, I like to set the humanize all the way up. So if you look at Auto-Tune, there's a few different knobs around here. Of course, the two most important ones would be the retune speed and then the humanize. The closer that you set this to 0, the more it's going to give you that Auto-Tune sound. Let's have a listen to this. Let me take the human eyes off. Or actually let's bypass it first. Yeah, before the night is over, I gave you on catch me so Aramco away for you and that Abby tell my dad, I don't know. So I kind of have it say weighing got him the VL. That gives it that kinda hard Tuning sound. I don't really like that sound too much. Me personally, I like to keep it more natural. So let's dial this back a little bit and listen to what it sounds like with with less return. Yeah. But I gave you on catch me so that no, I came away for you and that man, Abbe, tell my dad I don't know Abby flow. So I can have it say when God, him that cool, That sounds good. But one thing that I like to do, a secret of mind is I'd like to turn this human eyes all the way to 100. Just crank that all the way up to 100. What that does is it allows the bulk with the sound as natural as possible, while still grounding out some of the edges to the tuning. But you're going to have it sound a lot more clean and less of that hard tune sound. So let's go ahead and listen to that real quick. Yeah, before then 9 is 0. I gave you on catch me, So no, I came away for you and that man, Abby, tell my dad I don't know Abby flow. So I can say when God him that that's how we knocked out the tuning for the vocals. Are. That's how I like to do it. It gives it that really nice, you know, rounded out sound with making sure all the notes are being hit, but it makes it sound natural. And now let's head on to the next section. 3. Harmonic Saturation: Now we're going to dive into mixing the actual vocals. Now, the very first plug-in that I have in my book will chain over here. This is going to be my vocal chain. We'll start with each plugin one-by-one, and I'll explain what each one of them does. The very first plugin that we're going to be looking at is a plugin called Spectre. And what this is is it's a harmonic saturation plug-in. It adds some harmonics saturation to the vocals, which I believe is a good thing to have at the very beginning of the vocal chain. It just adds a little bit of texture to the vocals that you normally would get from analog saturation or like, you know, analog gear, it just gives it that high-end boost. If you look right over here, you can see that I'm boosting it around, yeah, One 0.3 dBs around the eight kilohertz and five kilohertz. And this just adds some topping Xin. Let's go ahead and listen to what this does to the vocal. Yeah. Before then. I guarantee you aren't changed me so main cow that no, I can't wait to see you in that flow. So I can have it say playing God him that via quality, shoddy on a stage she was. So yeah, we just want to add a slight amount of boost to the high end. We don't want to do too much with all of the plugins that I'm using. We're just doing small incremental adjustments to the vocal. You never wanna make any drastic adjustments. Everything that I like to do, I'd like to do in moderation. Doing things in moderation will allow the vocal to retain its integrity. If you over process the vocals, it's going to sound not natural and that's not what we're aiming for. We're aiming to make everything sound as clean and as clear as possible. So yeah, that's how I add harmonics saturation to the vocals. That's the very first plugin that we're setting things off with. Next, we'll be looking at some compression. 4. Compression: Nice. Now here's the compressor we're going to be using. It's a plugin called our box by waves. Now, this plugin is a very simple plug-in. As you can see, we have a gate right here, a compressor, and game. Now, what we're going to be doing is we're going to be compressing the incoming signal by a few dBs just to kind of smooth things out. Now a lot of times people will mention that it's good to know EQ first and then to compression or compression first, then do eat you. There's really no right or wrong way to do anything in music. Everything is just, you know, you go off a feel, you go up the intuition how you feel, how their record fields, how things sound to you. And if you develop a workflow that works for you, then that's what you want to do. You know, you want to stick with your workflow and try new things and just always kind of expand upon your knowledge and your techniques in just way of doing things. So let's go ahead and see what the compressors doing. Yeah, Before I gave you on catch me away for you and that it's okay. Where am I? When God him that. So yeah, as you can see, we're compressing about three bb with the compressor is doing, is it's rounding out the peaks and the volume of the vocal. When mixing the vocal, we wanna make sure that everything is well with wrapped vocals. We kinda wanna make sure that that vocal is kinda in place. You know, who we want to make sure that it's not moving all over the place, that the peaks or, you know, that the volume of the vocal is just pretty much upfront and clean. So by introducing this compression at the beginning, we're kind of getting ready to start sculpting the vocal so that the volume can be consistent. 5. Dynamic EQ: Next we're going to be looking at some dynamic EQ. Now, this plug-in right here works wonders. This is a plugin called DSE Q3 by TB pro audio. What this is is it is a dynamic spectrum EQ. Now, I used this before using a static EQ because this one adapts to the incoming signal and will dynamically EQ the incoming signal to be balanced out. Now, let me show you what I mean. Yeah, before then. I guarantee you aren't just me so Cow away for you in that. And Abby, tell care with, so as you see right there, the EQ is adjusting to the signal in real-time. And it is lowering those frequencies that are kind of like popping out in the low end. And that's where a lot of the problem frequencies come from. So what this plugin does is it pretty much dynamically does everything for you using its algorithm so that you don't have to make static EQ adjustments that are kind of just taking over the entire vocal recording. You know, this will dynamically adjust to the signal. So with this plugin, the two main knobs are going to be the attack, the release, and the threshold. And as we bring the threshold down, it's going to be producing the volume. The more that we lower this, the volume of those frequencies that it's taking out. Let's have a listen and take a look and see me so far away for you and that man, abi tell, can I add I don't know. So you just wanna do a little bit. I have the text sets of fast because it's going to grab the signal very quickly and it's going to release it very quickly as well. As opposed to, you know, if I had a longer, you know, if the attack was longer, then it would take longer for the, for it to process the signal, but we just want to have it processing the signal immediately. So this is the dynamic EQ. And next we're going to be moving onto just regular EQ. 6. Subtractive EQ: So here we have the fab filter procured three. This is one of the most versatile EQ plugins that I have used. I've used a lot of different plugins and this one here is just so simple, it's intuitive. It allows you to make very precise EQ adjustments. And you can just do so much with this plugin in regards to just, you know, its functionality is just an amazing plugin. So right here what I did was I dipped out some of the frequencies at two kilohertz and then at around six K as well as around 126. And when I was listening to the beaucoup, de sounded like the areas that I needed to make some adjustments to. So yeah, when I use EQ, I like to use subtractive EQ, as you see here. And then I like to boost the high-end frequencies using some saturation plug-ins and things like that. As we saw with the very first plug-in that I used. I just feel it gives it a nicer sound. When you boost the high-end using EQ. Sometimes it sounds a little artificial, but I believe when you add saturation to the high-end frequencies, it makes it sound a little bit more natural. It makes it shine, it makes the Boko Sparkle a little bit more. So that's my process for doing that. 7. Multiband Compression: Next we're going to be having a look at the mic, DSP, MC4, 100 for plugin. Now this plugin is an amazing plug-in. It is a multiband compressor. Now, what that means is that I'm able to process the different bands of the vocal separately. So let's go ahead and take a look at that. I'm going to play this real quick and just show you what that means before the night is over. Go, so let's go ahead and just mute the beat real quick so we can listen to the vocals by themselves. Where I guarantee you that you want to go around and now I can't wait for you that in a moment. So as you see, you're basically listening to the different isolated bands of the vocal. And what this allows you to do is it allows you to compress these individual bands separately. So when you compress the entire beaucoup, it's going to, you know, for example, if you're using a plugin like our Vox that we looked at previously, that compresses the entire vocal, which is, which is great. But when you want more control and you want to make sure that the vocal is just, yeah, you know, when you want that upfront sound and you want the different peaks of the vocal to kinda be in place, then you're going to want to use a multiband compressor like this to be able to do that. So when looking at a compressor like this, the way that I do it is I have the attack set to relatively fast. It's around 2.5 and the release is set to 250. And then you have the threshold and the compressor. Now, the more that you bring the threshold down, the more it's going to compress over here, if you have a look around and now I can't wait for you. They'll care wherever I am. I know Adi Florida. So upper-level. So you can really just play around with those settings to adjust your vocals to sound exactly the way that you want them to sound. And really just kinda lock in the volume of the vocals so where they're not moving all over the place. And you have that just solid, solid volume across all of the different bands. So let's go ahead and have a listen to the vocals with this plugin enabled. Before I then night is over, I guarantee you that you won't catch me. So by ramming cow that now I can away for you in that and a mom and Abby, It's a very subtle, but it's working magic in the background. 8. Secret Sauce: Cool. Now let's move on to the next plug-in. Right here we have CLA vocals, which is another fantastic plug-in to use on the vocal track. We have four different knobs that we are going to be looking at. We have the base treble compressor and then the spreader. There are different settings right here that work differently for different source material. You know, it's always good to try out what works for, you know, the source material that you're using. Let's go ahead and just hear what this plugin is doing real quick. Then we can kind of dive into looking at the different aspects of it. Before the night is over, I guarantee you that you won't catch me. So around and Cola. No, I can't wait for you and that in a moment, Abby, It's okay wherever my dad I don't know Abby flow there. So I can levitate when God, him the VLC, me Yamaha Rhoda, I get a green light yo at some of his party, the mighty good. Some of which no Bonollo shouting out just before the night is over. I guarantee you that you won't catch me. So by around ENCO law, now I came away for you in that and then a mom and Abby, it's LCA with cool. So these different aspects of the plug-in right here, you have, of course, this kind of increases in boosts the base frequencies. This will increase the trouble frequencies. This will kind of, you know, compressed a little bit. And there's different settings for each of these. So it's good to kind of play around with them and see which settings work best for your vocal sound. And then I like this aspect over here, the pitch, there is a spreader aspect that kind of widens the vocal. It acts almost like a dabbler slash, almost reverb sound, which kind of adds a certain texture to making the vocal sound not as dry. Let's just listen to this and I'm going to x in it a little bit before the night is over. I guarantee you that you won't catch me sober around and Cola. No, I can't wait for you and that in a moment, Abby, it's LCA wherever my dad I don't know Abby flow there. So I can levitate. When God him the VIOS, me Yamaha role. I get the green light yoga at some of his party, the Mardi Gras, some of which no Bonollo shouting out on stage, she wow. But at those cash bad it DO bag if you got it before the night is over, I guarantee you that you won't catch me. So by around McColl that now. So yes, CLA vocals is a really good plugin to add texture to your vocals. It's really a, it's really a multi-use tool that can allow you to really just kind of shape your vocal after you've done the EQ and compression and everything. So yeah, I would definitely recommend playing around with that a little bit to just really fine tune and shape your vocal to sound exactly the way that you want to. 9. Adding Presence to Rap Vocals: Next we're going to be looking at this ear EQ plugin. Now, this is another fantastic plug-in that adds some high-end sheen to the vocals. It adds that kind of tap into as, as you hear, it's called IRR EQ. It adds that eerie presence to the bokeh Willis. Let's just go ahead and listen to it right now and here with here what it does to the vocals. I'm going to bypass it first and then I'm going to be, I'm going to enable it and bypass it while listening. And before I then night is over, I guarantee you that you won't catch me sober around and Cola. No, I came away for you in that and then a mom and Abby, it's LCA wherever my dad I don't know Abby flow at a so I can levitate when God, him the VLC, me, Yamaha roller, I get a green light yoga at son his party, the Mardi Gras, some of which no Bonollo shouting on stage. She wow. But at the cash bad it before then night is over. I guarantee you that you won't catch me sober around and Cola. No, I can't wait for you. And that in a moment, as you can hear, this plugin is adding that high-end sheen and presence to the vocals. That's really going to help it cut through the mix and, you know, give you that presence in that bed. Nice, clean, clear sound. So that's why I definitely enjoy using this plug-in the air EQ plugin. 10. De-Essing: Now here we have the fab filter pro ds. And this is just a solid plug-in to really, yeah, you know, this is one of the best DSRs. I believe it's the best ds or that I've heard personally. It just sounds very natural. It has a very natural decreasing sound and you don't really have to worry about it. Compromising the integrity of the vocals. It just sounds really good. Let's go ahead and see what it's doing and you'll be able to watch this right here and see be it has a couple of knobs, it has a threshold and arrange knob. And then you can set the frequencies that you want it to kind of, you know, DSN. So let's go ahead and listen to it and see what it's doing. You'll be able to see right here on this bar, it'll highlight in green when it's decreasing the vocals before then night is over. I guarantee you that you won't catch me sober around ENCO that no, I came away for you in that in a moment, Abby, it's LCA where my dad I don't know Abby flow there. So I can levitate. When God, him the VALS, me Yamaha row, I get the green light Yoda. So yeah, as you see, it is pretty much decreasing at the parts that it needs to. And you're able to control that with the threshold and then the range with these two knobs. So when you're mixing the vocal is just make sure to adjust these to fit exactly to the vocal that you're using. And yeah, that's I ds my vocals. I always usually put that at towards the end of my chain because everything that you're doing up until that point, the EQ compression, all of those things are going to be enhancing what the Boko sounds like. So you really want to throw the ds are on at the end of your vocal chain as opposed to the beginning. Because if you throw it on at the beginning or, you know, anywhere before the last part, the compression that you'll be doing, the EQ, all of that will just kind of make the DSL and NAL and not really make it work the way that it should be. So that's why I put my ds are on at the, at the very, pretty much the last step of the vocal chain. 11. Final Touch: And at the very end of the vocal chain, I have my DSI Q3 here once again, just to kind of round at any of the peaks that we may have missed. I have the attacks at the 2.6, they're released set to 25. And you know that threshold around 17 dB. You can play with this as you know, however much you want, but you know, I have it generally taking out around one dB or two dB in the low-end at this point, just to kind of round out anything that I may have missed along the way here. Yeah, and that pretty much wraps up the end of the vocal chain in terms of the, you know, just the processing that makes the overall vocal sound the way it is. This is pretty much how you process the vocals in regards to the EQ compression dynamics. And the next aspect that we're about to be diving into is reverb and delay, which are also equally important in sculpting the sound of the vocals. So let's go ahead and dive right into that. 12. Pro Reverb Settings (Bonus 1): Dive right into that. All right, so here I have my reverb, as you see right here on my vocal chain. I have my reverb and delays routed via a cent. So I have this plate sin to going to a reverb track over here, which has this less stress plates on it. And this reverb is a revered by liquid sonics. It's one of the best reverbs that I've heard. It just sounds really good. Let's just go ahead and take a listen to it real quick. Before I then night is over. I guarantee you that she won't catch me sober around NCO. No, I can't wait for you. And that in the moment, Abby, it's LCA wherever my dad, I don't know Abby flow there. Um, so I would say when God, even though VLC, me, Yamaha roller, I get a green light yoga at son his party, the Mardi Gras, some of which no Bonollo. So as you hear it just sounds very clean, clear. It gives space around the vocals, unless the vocals shine, but it's still engulfs the space around the vocals and just really, you know, allows the vocals to have their own space. But also adding that texture around the vocals to kinda really engulf them and give them that nice smooth vibe. So the way that this plug-in works is you have a dry and wet knob over here. I like to keep it at a 100 percent since I'm using it as a sinned, you have a pre-delay, which if you increase this, it's going to increase the time before the reverb actually hits. And then this is going to be the length of the reverb. You know, if you can increase or decrease this to your taste. Those are the main two knobs that I mess around when using the reverb did this plugin is very simple, but offers a lot of functionality. So you can really just kind of play around with it to develop your own sound. 13. Pro Delay Tricks (Bonus 2): Lastly, I have a delay plug in here called Echo boy by sound toys. This is one of my favorite delay plugins. It's very versatile. So once again, as you see, I'm routing the delay via as sinned track and it's being routed to the delay right here. Now, with this plugin, it is very versatile and flexible. You can change this from a quarter note to eighth note C. These are two different size. This is echo one at goto. So you can affect the different sides as far as you know, have this one being a 16th note delay, have this one being a quarter note or a half. And though you can increase the feedback, you know how much delay you're going to hear. And it also has a dry and wet knob so that if you were to put it directly on the lead vocal over here or anywhere on your track. You could adjust it to taste. Since I'm using it as a sinned, I keep the track a 100 percent it wet. It also has the ability to create a dual Echo, ping pong single echo. So you can really have infinite customization with this delay. And there's different sounds that you have over here. I had this one. This is a preset called clean ping-pong. And this style is set to digital delay and also have some processing over here. I believe I, i e cubed the delay a little bit and added a filter. So one thing that I like to do with my delays is as I'm listening to the vocal, our EQ that delay a little bit just to kind of, you know, removed the frequencies that I don't want our EQ to kind of remove some of the frequencies that I don't want to be accented. And yeah, and that really helps you just kinda shaped the delay. You can also do that with reverb as well. But yeah, that really helps you kind of fine tune di, exact sound that you want out of your delay. So let's go ahead and listen to this. Ever for the night is over. I guarantee that you won't catch me sober around ENCO that no, I came away for you in that in a moment and Abby, it's okay or wherever and my dad, I don't know Abby flower there and so I can levitate when guard him. Nobody else. Me Yamaha row. I get a green light yoga at son his party, the Marty Tam which no Bonollo, shoddy on the stage. She wow. But at those cash bad it doorbell give GAD it. So yeah, when it comes to using delay, I like to just use a tiny bit. I don't like to have the delay sounding too loud or overpowering. I'd just like to add a slight amount, the edge, just a tiny amount to be in the background while the vocal is playing to give it a certain texture and put it in a certain space so it's not completely dry. But I don't like to overpower the vocals by the i just warming it with the layer or anything like that. I feel that a subtle amount is just the right amount needed when mixing vocals. 14. Rap Vocal Mixing Recap: And yeah, that's pretty much the last plug-in that I have on my chain. This is pretty much very simple and straightforward. Just to recap, we have the harmonic saturation to set the vocals off, we have the compressor dynamic EQ, the regular EQ multiband, the CLA vocals, FREQ person, the top in presence, that FAB filter pro ds and then a dynamic EQ. To finish it off. In, up here we had the less stress plates, which is a fantastic sounding reverb. And for delay, we had the echo boy plug-in. Yeah, and that's how you mix rap book was to sound nice, clean, clear, and upfront. 15. Conclusion: Yes. So I hope you enjoyed this session. I hope you learned a lot and you can take this knowledge and improve your mixes and prove just the sound that you're working on. Never be afraid to try new things and just kinda push that envelope when it comes to mixing. You know, it's very mixing is just this. There's no rules to it. You can do whatever you want as long as it sounds good and feels good to you. So yeah, Once again, my name is Byron hill. That look forward to seeing you next time. Thanks.