Background vocals are the subject of this short mixing tutorial, and Brian discusses the choices a mixing engineer has to make, including panning, reverb, EQ, balance and separation. He talks about the placement options when male and female vocalists are singing the same parts in harmony and how that blend can be treated in different ways for different impressions.
- [Voiceover] Okay, let's continue on…discussing vocal treatment,…and I'm going to scroll back up to the tracks…that I'm going to be talking about now.…And this is a little group of background vocals…that play different parts in different parts of the song,…but here they're just doing some simple oohs.…And, let's play it in the track for a moment.…("Better For You" by Max Liberty)…There they are.…
Let's solo them now so you can hear them.…I'm a solo 'em and I'm gonna take off…the main effect I have on 'em,…just to demonstrate panning for a second.…And this is probably instinctual to a lot of you,…but I want to tell you about why I think of these things…the way I think of them…and what causes me to make certain decisions.…So, let's take just the first two parts.…(female background for "Better For You" by Max Liberty)…So that's the female part…and she's singing the higher of the two notes.…
Here's the male.…(male background for "Better For You" by Max Liberty)…And, you have several choices in the panning of these.…
Brian starts with the basics of creating a mix template and getting a good raw balance of the instruments in the mix. He then dives deep into signal processing techniques on many types of instruments, including drums, bass, guitar, keys, vocals, percussion, strings, and brass. He'll pick out and treat individual tracks with compression and EQ, add space with reverb and echo, and modulate the sound with flangers and phase shifters. Pro Tools is used throughout the course, but the techniques will work equally well with the DAW of your choice.
- Customizing a mix template
- Understanding the interplay of volume, panning, EQ, and dynamics
- Processing drums
- Processing lead and background vocals
- Gain processing
- Treating the bass guitar and synth guitar
- Placing piano in the mix
- Treating strings and brass