Should Vocals Be Louder Than The Beat?

Let’s face it, mixing is a very delicate craft in music production and it requires a lot of understanding,

careful attention to detail and an overall good ear.

one of the most asked questions online is:

Should the vocals be louder than the beat?

The vocals should not be louder than the beat, there should be a perfect harmony between the two, a perfect blend.

Doing this requires a great deal of careful attention to both the beat and the

vocals, and a good ear to go with  the entire process.

Loudness of Vocals in a Mix

The vocal track is the most important element of the song, therefore the lead

vocal should be considerably loud, it should be the loudest element next to

the drums.

How loud the vocal will end up being greatly depends on the genre of

music, the type of vocals and the style of music you wish to create.

Some styles of music require a sort of balanced loudness between the vocal

and the beat, while others require a much more powered vocal that is at the

front of the beat.

But a good rule of thumb is to basically create a good harmony of the beat

and the vocals , a good “mix” of the two.

Should you master a beat before vocals?

It’s much more ideal to mix the vocals first before you go ahead and master

the beat.

Mastering is the final step in the music production process and it is done to

improve the song after all the necessary mixing has been done.

Therefore worry about getting the vocals mixed and leveled out properly,

then go ahead and master everything together.

There maybe situations in which the producer gives you the 2 track beat that

has some mastering done to it, in this case you have to work with what is there.

Which would mean mixing the vocals and blending them with the

instrumental and then doing your best to master the track.

It is for this reason that you may sometimes need to ask that the producer of

the beat to give you the beat and the stems to the beat,

this way your job will much easier and you won’t have to deal with the

headache of trying to get your vocals to blend with a mastered beat.

if the only option you have is to get the 2 track, then its advisable that you get

the Wave format of the instrumental because MP3 format compresses audio

and will give you problems when trying to mix and master everything

together.

How do you add warmth to vocals?

Warmth to vocals is very important because you don’t want them sounding too thin.

here are some ways you you can add warmth.

Avoid cutting out too many frequencies

Getting rid of the entire 250 to 500hz might not be such a great idea because

that area can give some warmth to your vocals by giving it some fullness and

a little mid presence,

therefore to prevent ending up with an overly thin vocal you should not cut

out the 250 to 500Hz frequencies.

You might notice that your vocals may sound boomy or muddy but before

you start looking at the 250-500Hz frequency area, it is wise to look below

that range because that’s where most of this business may come from.

The low mid frequencies maybe found at 150 – 250Hz , so you might want to start at around that area.

Saturation

If you don’t want to boost your low frequencies, using a saturation plugin

maybe your best move.

You could throw on a tape saturator or tube saturator and see how warm

your vocals sound.

Parallel processing

Another great way of adding warmth to your vocals is parallel processing.

Parallel processing is processing a copy of the original vocal and then

blending it with the original.

this could work well if some tape saturation is also utilized.

Conclusion

It is best to create a harmony between the instrumental and the vocals, without having either louder than the other.

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