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There's this school of thought that since the vocal is usually the most important element in the mix; the entire mix should be built around it. In this video, I am going to show you how to build your mix by starting with the vocal first. So just like with all the other mixes, the first thing we are going to do is we're going to bring the vocal up so the master mix bus levels read about -10 dB. (music playing) Once again, that's just an average.
It will peak above. It will be a little below. I just want to get it so it's around -10, just so you have some head room left for all the other instruments when they come in. Now we are going to bring the kick drum so it's about the same level. It doesn't have to be exactly, but you're trying to get in the ballpark. (music playing) Now we are going to bring the snare drum up, as well as all the other drums, just so we can hear them, and they are roughly the same level as the vocal.
We never want to go louder than the vocal. If anything, we want to go a little bit less than the vocal. (music playing) Once again, in order to check the overheads so we can hear the cymbals and check the toms, we want to go to a place in the song where we can hear both cymbal crashes or ride cymbal, or we can hear tom fills.
So we are going to hit the Command+5 or Ctrl+5 to bring up the Memory Locations window. Once again, we'll come over to our memory location that has the drum fill, and we'll listen from there. (music playing) [00:02:09.0] So now we bring our overheads up so we can hear that crash cymbal. Now we are going to bring our toms in so we make sure that we can hear all the toms as well.
And once again, you can see that the kick and the snare and the toms are all grouped together, as we talked about in previous videos. (music playing) Now we are going to bring our hi-hat up. (music playing) Once again, we're bringing that up so we can hear the definition on the hi-hat.
We are not bringing it up for level so much, just so it becomes more defined. Now we are going to bring the room mic up as well. So once again, it's going to add some glue to the drum mix. (music playing) Last but not the least, we are going to bring the bass channel in. Now the bass channel is going to come up with about the same level as the kick and the snare.
A little more, a little less. it depends on the song. it depends on the sound of the bass. (music playing) Now, you can hear what happened. No matter what we do, the vocal is always front and the center.
By bringing it in first, we make sure that it never gets buried in the mix. One of the things that happens frequently, if we build a mix from the drums, or build the mix from the bass, or build a mix from any other instrument and bring in the vocal last, which a lot of mixers do, sometimes there is no space for it and they are really have a hard time fitting it in into the mix so you can hear it clearly. So by building the mix around the vocal you make sure that it's always a center of attention and it never gets buried. This approach keeps your vocal front and center in the mix.
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