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Mixing: vocal riding
Old 13th September 2012
  #1
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Mixing: vocal riding

Hi guys,

Are there any "rules" to vocal riding? What are the best practices? Listening with the mix or solo the vocal? Eq before or after? Compression ?

Thanks!
Old 13th September 2012
  #2
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mowmow's Avatar
 
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🎧 10 years
I think the basic rules when mixing is not to solo unless you have to because you never know how it sounds until you put it in the mix.
There aren't any rules which order you should process but I'd EQ first before using comp and ride the faders later.
This is how I do it when recording so I do it in mixing too.
I might change the order for different instruments.
Old 13th September 2012
  #3
Deleted 4d73b7c
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpchartrand ➡️
Hi guys,

Are there any "rules" to vocal riding? What are the best practices? Listening with the mix or solo the vocal? Eq before or after? Compression ?

Thanks!
NOPE! I do things a bit different, but keep in mind im a bit tedious as far as editing is concerned. When I am editing and not even mixing with plugins If I can't fade it essentially take out an error or comp with something else I will automate it. So say someone makes a slurred "fff" sound with spit as they transition to a new word. I'll automate that real narrow. After I've done all my editing and automation I will bounce that stem and import back into the session. After I've gotten a solid mix I will then go in and automate everything else. Making soft words louder, up to level and vice versa. But it also depends on the tone and type of record. If you have a real sensitive record where the artist is very emotional and the music is mellow I wouldn't have everything IN YOUR FACE so face. Automation is creativity. Do what best suits you.
Old 13th September 2012
  #4
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Thanks for the great feedback guys!
Old 13th September 2012
  #5
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Tinderwet's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpchartrand ➡️
Hi guys,

Are there any "rules" to vocal riding? What are the best practices?
Yes. Look in the eyes of the vocalist and follow his/her performance - breathing, moving in and out of the mic etc. - with your fader controlling hand.
Old 13th September 2012
  #6
Deleted 56021e5
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I compress a bit, EQ and still perform vocal ridings afterwards..
Old 14th September 2012
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
define vocal riding for me please.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaoTzu ➡️
define vocal riding for me please.
Adjusting the vocal level in the mix.

I like to make my EQ cuts before compression and then if necessary boost frequencies post-compression.

You can automate the levels with your fader or for an even easier process, try out Vocal Rider - Vocal Mixing Plugin | Waves
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00stiffy ➡️
Adjusting the vocal level in the mix.

I like to make my EQ cuts before compression and then if necessary boost frequencies post-compression.

You can automate the levels with your fader or for an even easier process, try out Vocal Rider - Vocal Mixing Plugin | Waves
oh in that case i do that last if its the lead vocal. with the whole mix you want to create a bed or foundation for the vocal to be most dominant on. cut all the eq range thats not needed on all the instruments. seperate everything with panning and proper placement. cut out any unwanted mic chatter or dead space. once thats done adjust the vocals accordingly. have them the most dominant in the mix when there singing and when there not adjust to what you think the track should sound like instrumentally.
Old 14th September 2012
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
That's a nice approach and emphasizes the great thing about mixing - everyone has their own process!
Old 14th September 2012
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
thanks dude much appreciated i just think the vocals can make or break a song. if you have the best musicians in the world but you have justin beiber to deal with... you get my point.
Old 14th September 2012
  #12
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Is it common practice to mix the whole song and then mix the vocal?
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpchartrand ➡️
Is it common practice to mix the whole song and then mix the vocal?
i find it depends on the song itself. if your going for a pop song then most definatley coz thats alll people hear that and a few beats.

always mix with the audience in mind. if your mixing a rock song i like to mix the guitars and vocals slighly more together for that fighting for air kinda vibe.

if its soul and good r and b then mix the vocal with the bass more. stuff like that its all about listening to how others do it and then trying it for yourself.
Old 14th September 2012
  #14
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How much riding do u do on instruments?
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpchartrand ➡️
How much riding do u do on instruments?
as much as needed or how much i like. isnt it the same for you?
Old 14th September 2012
  #16
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I use compressors a lot to reduce the riding part. However i usually ride drum overheads, bass and guitars.
Old 14th September 2012
  #17
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🎧 5 years
In the GS Q&A archive with Michael Brauer, in answer to a "Mixing: vocal riding" question, he described this in a very cool way that really stuck in my head. I hope it's ok to re-post his quote here. If not, please remove it mods...


Michael Brauer's answer dated 9/21/05 (pasted here);

"I’m not sure I can explain this one in a technical way, but I can give you a kind of guide that may help.

If you make a vocal loud, the tendency is that it will sound like a vocal up mix. The vocal sounds like it’s sitting above the track and not connected. Yet, I get them loud and they feel like they’re driving the song. The answer is that you need to have little threads attached to the vocal connecting itself back to the band. I know it sounds a bit too ethereal but that’s the vision I have of it. It’s a combination of compression on the vocal, small delays, delayed plates, short plates and riding it. But it’s more than that, when you mix the vocal, imagine it’s a cork bopping on top of the water. It has to stay on top of the wave at all times. The lower the cork is floating on top of the wave, the more into the mix it feels. Giving you delay settings, and reverbs won’t do you any good so I’m not going to waste the time. It’s the image you have to get in your head as you’re mixing the vocal.

Michael Delugg taught me that image when I assisted him at Mediasound. He did all the Barry Manilow records. The first time he had me ride a vocal (no automation so it had to be just right every pass) I was lost. I couldn’t keep the vocal driving the song. I kept riding him out of the mix or getting swamped by it. So Mike had me close my eyes and imagine the vocal was just a cork floating on top of a wave. The wave being the mix, of course. It was hard, my finger would cramp and have little indentation marks on the tip from pushing on top of the fader so hard. In time, I relaxed and I could feel the place where the fader always wanted to be and I just followed the moves instead of fighting it. It doesn’t happen overnight, nothing does, but without the image in my head, no amount of mix notes on what he was using would have gotten the correct result."
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by string6theory ➡️
In the GS Q&A archive with Michael Brauer, in answer to a "Mixing: vocal riding" question, he described this in a very cool way that really stuck in my head. I hope it's ok to re-post his quote here. If not, please remove it mods...


Michael Brauer's answer dated 9/21/05 (pasted here);

"I’m not sure I can explain this one in a technical way, but I can give you a kind of guide that may help.

If you make a vocal loud, the tendency is that it will sound like a vocal up mix. The vocal sounds like it’s sitting above the track and not connected. Yet, I get them loud and they feel like they’re driving the song. The answer is that you need to have little threads attached to the vocal connecting itself back to the band. I know it sounds a bit too ethereal but that’s the vision I have of it. It’s a combination of compression on the vocal, small delays, delayed plates, short plates and riding it. But it’s more than that, when you mix the vocal, imagine it’s a cork bopping on top of the water. It has to stay on top of the wave at all times. The lower the cork is floating on top of the wave, the more into the mix it feels. Giving you delay settings, and reverbs won’t do you any good so I’m not going to waste the time. It’s the image you have to get in your head as you’re mixing the vocal.

Michael Delugg taught me that image when I assisted him at Mediasound. He did all the Barry Manilow records. The first time he had me ride a vocal (no automation so it had to be just right every pass) I was lost. I couldn’t keep the vocal driving the song. I kept riding him out of the mix or getting swamped by it. So Mike had me close my eyes and imagine the vocal was just a cork floating on top of a wave. The wave being the mix, of course. It was hard, my finger would cramp and have little indentation marks on the tip from pushing on top of the fader so hard. In time, I relaxed and I could feel the place where the fader always wanted to be and I just followed the moves instead of fighting it. It doesn’t happen overnight, nothing does, but without the image in my head, no amount of mix notes on what he was using would have gotten the correct result."
that sounds so jedi
Old 15th September 2012
  #19
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LOL +1
Old 15th September 2012
  #20
Deleted fe72b38
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I've spent a day riding one vocal, down to the finest of automation moves only to decide that I had brilliantly polished my vocal into obscurity.

If you get a great vocal performance then treat it with respect and only make changes where absolutely necessary same goes for any tuning changes.

Listen to Peter Gabriel "When the Flood Comes" .... what a great vocal and performance, sometimes the vocal jumps out and bites you on the a*se, on the face of it, it sounds like it needs the vocals riding, but of course it was left as it was.

it's a subtle thing for sure.

tht
Old 15th September 2012
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Before I get to riding vocals I normally listen and look and the vocal waveform - whereby I manually go in to the waveform and edit any large jumps in the vocal performance which are not required as part of the song. Its quite simple to do in Cubase SX.

However, in Logic Pro its a real pain, so I normally open the vocal in Melodyne and rewire to Logic - I then reduce the amplitude of the vocal line where needed by adjusting Melodyne's amplitude blobs.

After this I use compression, if required for effect or sound, and then its automation.
Old 15th September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaoTzu ➡️
that sounds so jedi
Indeed!
Old 15th September 2012 | Show parent
  #23
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor ➡️
I've spent a day riding one vocal, down to the finest of automation moves only to decide that I had brilliantly polished my vocal into obscurity.

If you get a great vocal performance then treat it with respect and only make changes where absolutely necessary same goes for any tuning changes.

Listen to Peter Gabriel "When the Flood Comes" .... what a great vocal and performance, sometimes the vocal jumps out and bites you on the a*se, on the face of it, it sounds like it needs the vocals riding, but of course it was left as it was.

it's a subtle thing for sure.

tht
That's a good post. Riding vocals in the mix can turn pretty much into just another way of compression.
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #24
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by string6theory ➡️
...But it’s more than that, when you mix the vocal, imagine it’s a cork bopping on top of the water. It has to stay on top of the wave at all times. The lower the cork is floating on top of the wave, the more into the mix it feels...
That right there is one of the best tips I've heard in a long time! Make the vocal flow with the dynamics of the song when riding the fader.. YES! Before I'd only thought of it as giving the vocal a more steady level without having to compress it as hard... Just had one of those "ah ha" moments right there! Thanks for that man
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Durt_Grizzly ➡️
That right there is one of the best tips I've heard in a long time! Make the vocal flow with the dynamics of the song when riding the fader.. YES! Before I'd only thought of it as giving the vocal a more steady level without having to compress it as hard... Just had one of those "ah ha" moments right there! Thanks for that man
I agree! Thank Michael Brauer for that nugget of wisdom! Check out the GS Q&A archives as there's many more of those wonderful insights and perspectives from very experienced pros.
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