In our How to Mix Music guide we talked about why mixing dynamic sounds is a tough egg to crack. Vocals are super dynamic so they’re trickier to mix.
The auto tune effect is great in R&B, Hip Hop, and maybe even Pop music. Your imagination is the limit when you're working with vocal effects. With the large selection of royalty-free loops that come with GarageBand, there is a lot you can do if you're an indie musician. Using auto tune is surprisingly simple, it only takes a few steps.
But you don’t have to pull your hair out every time you hit the mixing board to get the perfect vocal.
There’s a dizzying amount of audio effects plugins out there. That’s why we did the digging so you don’t have to.
Here’s 9 plugins that will help you get your vocals and beats fitting together like peas and carrots.
Ever recorded an entire vocal only to realize you had the mic in the wrong spot? No sweat.
The Vladg and Tokyo Dawn Proximity lets you change the mic placement AFTER you record. Pretty useful and pretty cool.
Vocals need some color. That’s where a chorus plugin comes in.
Acon Digital’s Multiply Chorus will thicken up your sound. It’s a whole bunch of tiny delays (we’re talking milliseconds) that fill out your vocals to liven them up a bit.
Auto-tune’s origins are pretty strange. But there’s no denying that it’s an invaluable tool for producers dealing with vocals.
Auto-tune is the vocal mixer’s secret weapon. MAutoPitch is one of the best auto-tune plugins around. It fixes pitch, corrects sour notes, and even gives you that iconic T-pain/Cher effect if you want it.
This one comes in a free plugin bundle with all sorts of fun mixing toys.
Reverb for vocals is essential. Reverb takes your vocals out of the room you recorded them in, and allows you to make your own sound space.
OldSkoolVerb has got you covered no matter what your needs are. From huge halls to a tiny closet, it gives you all the options to create the perfect sonic space in your mix.
The DC1A is a nifty little character compressor by Klanghelm. It uses sophisticated compression settings and an easy 2 knob setup that has you covered “from smooth levelling to heavy pumping.”
Be sure to check out their absolutely EPIC demo video.
If you’re wondering how far you can push your vocal track this plugin will do a great job letting you know.
Using a step-style sequencer the A1 Trigger Gate packs in a boat load of cool effects. It’s good for all sorts of stuff. So grab it and start experimenting.
Just like any other part of a mix, vocals are a great place to experiment. The effects on Hysteresis definitely deliver a whole bundle of experimentation.
This delay plugin creates “robotic artifacts and abstract music malfunctions.” Count me in.
All good mixing needs a keen sense of EQ early on. Vocals are no exception.
I exited out. I looked at it and found that it was version 220.127.116.11 which I assumed was an older version but for the sake of anything possibly helping I tried to install it and got an error message that a newer version was already installed and I would need to uninstall that first before continuing. Ericsson wwan wireless module device 01 driver.
That’s why the Ochre from Acustica is so useful. It’s perfect for sculpting out the best vocals you can.
Exciter plugins add subtle harmonics to your vocal track for some extra sonic-excitement in the high range.
The free La Petite Excite from Fine Cut Bodies (you just have to signup to get it) is a great plug to try out.
Throw it on your vocal and enhance it to your liking with some subtle harmonic distortion.
Vocals are tricky to mix. But with these handy plugin tools it doesn’t have to be so tough. Grab ’em all, hit the studio and get cracking on that perfect vocal track.
And don’t forget to let us know your favourite plugins for mixing vocals. We wanna know all your tips and tricks too. :)
Get all of the LANDR-approved free VST plugin collection: