Mixing The Human Voice

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

You make great music.


Your lyrics are dope and you hand pick the best beats for your style or you make your own... but mixing your vocals right seems like a chore when doing it on your own, and it's getting expensive sending every song out to an engineer.


Let me help you grab control with a few tips!


 

The human voice is one of the most dynamic instrumentals in the world.


From bass and baritone, to contralto and tenor, to alto and soprano and stretched to falsetto, vocals span the entire frequency spectrum.


Finding the right mix for these wonderful vibrations can be difficult given that no two voices are the same.


It mainly comes down to EQing properly.


"Equalization is the process of adjusting the balance between frequency components within an electronic signal."


EQ is a tool used for correction and/or enhancement.


For vocal tracks there are a few things to consider:

  • The gender and age of the vocalist

  • The style of performance (singing, rapping, whispering, falsetto, alto etc.)

  • The biological timbre of your natural vocal chords.

  • Microphone placement/position

All of these factors will dictate where you would cut out frequencies, and where you would boost them.


There is no "one-size-fits-all" setting unfortunately, but there are areas in the frequency spectrum that all represent a specific tonal feature, no matter the voice:


  • Below 20 hz - Cut these out completely with a HPF. Humans can't perceive anything below this, so there's no point in keeping them in the mix.

  • 20 - 80 hz - Low end rumble. Usually caused by being too close to the mic when recording.

  • 100 - 300 hz - CORE VOCAL FREQUENCIES. Boost or cut as needed. Too much boost will result in muddiness / too much cut will make it sound too thin.

  • 350 - 600 hz - The Box Region. Be careful with this spot.

  • 1 Khz - 4 Khz - Midrange Bite. These frequencies compete with guitars and synths. Too much will cause it to sound harsh.

  • 5 Khz - 8 Khz - Sibilance Zone. This is where you add brightness, but will also cause your "S" sounds to become problematic. Use EQ with a De-Esser plugin.

  • 10 Khz - 20 Khz - Air Region. Some voices have natural air to them. Roll these off with a LPF or add as needed.


At the end of the day, use this information only as a starting point and a guide.


The only thing that will help you create great and professional sounding vocal mixes is with years and years of experience, trial and error, and consistent gathering of information like what I've provided above.


So don't ever stop making your music!


There is always something to learn and the more of this you can do on your own, the less money you will have to spend on mixing services and rely on others.

 

Are you in the market for beats? Check out the latest tracks below!


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