[Mixing Hack] Consistent Vocal to Music Ratio

Mixing vocals in mono on headphones

Mixing in mono is a way to detect phasing and balance problems in your mix before the end user hears it.

Mixing vocals in mono on headphones is a hack that I have found that makes me keep the vocals slightly on top of the music.

I have found that if I mix vocals on headphones but in stereo, I tend to mix them a little loud (which is a whole ‘nuther hack).

When I mix on headphones and in mono and think of the vocal as equal and not really louder than the band, the vocal sits in the track.

When you come out of the mono and go back into stereo, usually find that the vocal is slightly lower than it needs to be.  I then can just raise it up by 1-2 db.  What this will achieve is a consistent vocal to music ratio.

If you are mixing pop or rock where the vocal is not quite as important, you may want to leave the vocal where it is when you come out of mono.  If it’s a more lyric driven style such as gospel or country, you’ll probably want to pull it up a little.

Having the vocal consistent to the music will allow you to avoid that endless tail-chase of “Raise the vocal… wait, now it’s too loud”.

I hope this helps you get your vocal just right in the mix.

Do you have any vocal mixing hacks?

2 Comments

  • Lee Knight

    Reply Reply February 5, 2016

    That’s a good one. I use mono a lot in phones, mono two speaker and mono one speaker. Once I get a nice solid balance and it’s time for subtle or not so subtle volume rides I like to close my eyes with hand on vocsl fader and picture the vocal as a cork floating partially submerged in the ocean. No, acid was decades ago for me.

    As the surface of the water rises and dips, it’s up to me to maintain that balance of keeping its head out of the drink and safe. But still INthe water. Weird but it works quite well for andinitial performed automation pass. And mono, usually in phones, is how I do that pass.

    • Kevin Ward

      Reply Reply February 5, 2016

      Thanks Lee. I do that too. Sometimes I actually get lost in the vocal. I love it when that happens. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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