Tips & Techniques

Mike Cave's mixing tips - Pt 2

Better vocals in a mix

In this episode of Mike Cave's mixing tips he tells Russell Cottier about his methods for getting a better vocal sound and getting vocals to sit better in the mix. One technique which he uses is to always use solo safe with the vocal so that when he's working on any element of the mix in solo he always hears how it works with the vocal.

Mike also sweeps the EQ on each channel to find the frequencies that clash with the vocal so that they can be pulled down to leave space and another tip is to key compressors with guitar tracks etc from the vocal to 'duck it'. As a matter of course Mike looks to see what HF he can take out of many instruments, around 18kHz etc as that also helps open up space for the vocal.

Mike's big tip is to judge vocal levels using small speakers at a low level. This is something we see many other top engineers doing.

Many mix engineers start EQ'ing drums and other instruments in isolation before blending them in to a mix. Mike never does that as he believes that the vocal is the most important thing and everything has to fit around it. If you always hear the vocal, even if it's slightly down in level, when you are making tweaks you can be sure that things are going to gel.

In the short video Mike talks with Russ about other vocal related ideas.

mike cave by his mixing board in the recording studio

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