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Many times background vocals conflict with lead vocal and can even cover it up. In this video I'll show you just what to do when that happens. Let's have a listen to the song with both the background vocals and the lead vocals together. (Music playing) Now there are two things about the background vocals. The first thing is that they cover up the lead vocal on the third line that we just heard and the other thing is they are kind of dark and we can brighten those up little bit so we can hear them a bit more distinctly.
There is one thing that you should know about background vocals against lead vocals and that's if you attenuate anywhere between 2K and 5K, just a few db, all of a sudden you open up a space for lead vocal frequency wise. That will allow you hear both pretty well. The first thing we're going to do though is we're going to look at the lead vocal EQ and we're going to see that there is 4db boost at 2K. So really what we want to do is now attenuate the background vocals at 2K and that will automatically give a space for both of them to sit.
Let's solo them up, have a listen. (Music playing) A third line again is a little indistinct and we can fix that. Once again we'll put our 4-Band EQ in, and since we're 2K, we're going to dip that a little bit. Let's have a listen. (Music playing) All of a sudden we can hear both the background vocals and lead vocals, because both of them have their own sonic space and that's the whole trick here. We want to make sure that we never boost at the same frequencies and we never cut at the same frequencies for that matter.
We want to make sure every instrument or vocal has its own space in the frequency pan. The next thing we're going to do is brighten these vocals up a little bit, because they do set a little dull. So at 6K or so, we'll add a few db. Let's have a listen. (Music playing) And we can even add a little bit more. (Music playing) Now they don't sound nearly as though as they did before. They don't cover up lead vocal and there is a space for both of them.
The final thing that we're going to do is we're going to add a high-pass filter once again, because just like all vocals there is things that exist in low frequencies that don't really help the sound, and again, that could be a rumble and it could be footsteps and it could be any kind of low frequency interference that isn't adding anything to the sound or to the mix and if we get rid of it, it'll just make everything sound better. So what we're going to do is disable our bottom two bands here, insert a high-pass filter, and go to a 150 cycles or so. Have a listen and you're going to see that it doesn't affect the sound of the vocal at all and yet it cleans everything up.
(Music playing) Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) So that's how you keep the background vocals from conflicting with lead vocal.
By cutting a little in the 2K to 5K range in the background vocals, you will be able to hear every word of your lead vocal. Don't forget to add a high-pass filter in the backgrounds that clean up any low frequency clutter.
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