How to make vocals interesting through adding effects like reverbs and delays

How to make vocals interesting
This is about how to make vocals interesting

How to make vocals interesting

The most obvious way to make vocals interesting is adding some kind of atmosphere through effects like reverbs and delays. Both effects can have a huge impact and influences the overall sound of the vocals. Further you can add more specific effects to widen vocals in the stereo panorama or add some kind of autotune / pitch correction effects. In the following article we are going to dive a little deeper into this.

In the world of music production, audio engineers are the unsung heroes behind the scenes, orchestrating the magic that transforms a raw vocal recording into an enthralling sonic masterpiece. Through the careful integration of effects like delays, reverbs, and autotune, these professionals add depth, dimension, and character to vocals that capture listeners’ hearts. Discover now how to make vocals interesting. In this article, we’ll dive into the techniques employed by audio engineers to craft captivating vocal performances that resonate with audiences.

Short overview on possible vocal effects

  1. Delays and Echoes

Delays are an essential tool in an audio engineer’s arsenal, allowing them to manipulate the perception of time within a track. By introducing controlled delays and echoes, engineers create a sense of space and dimension around the vocals. Short delays add subtle thickness to the sound, while longer delays create a spacious, dreamy atmosphere. The careful adjustment of delay time, feedback, and wet/dry mix ensures that the effect complements the song’s mood and tempo.

  1. Reverbs

Reverb is the secret ingredient that breathes life into vocals, simulating the natural acoustics of different environments. From a tight, intimate room to a vast cathedral, reverb choices influence the emotional impact of a song. Audio engineers tweak parameters like decay time, pre-delay, and diffusion to strike the right balance between a singer’s presence and the sense of immersion. The art lies in choosing the appropriate reverb type and tailoring its characteristics to fit the vocal’s context in the mix.

  1. Pitch-Perfecting: Autotune

Autotune, often both praised and criticized, is a tool that audio engineers employ to fine-tune vocal pitch. Beyond correcting off-key notes, skilled engineers use autotune creatively, intentionally introducing subtle pitch modulation for an artistic effect. This lends a natural, human touch to the performance, enhancing its emotional resonance without compromising authenticity.

  1. Compression

Compression is the secret sauce that ensures a vocal track sits perfectly in the mix. It smoothens out volume discrepancies, enhancing vocal consistency and intelligibility. By adjusting parameters such as attack, release, ratio, and threshold, audio engineers sculpt the dynamics of the vocal performance, allowing it to cut through the arrangement while maintaining a natural and dynamic feel.

  1. Chorus and Flanger

Chorus and flanger effects are like the painters’ brushes of audio engineering. These modulation effects add dimension and texture to vocals, creating a sense of movement that captivates listeners’ attention. Chorus spreads the vocal sound, emulating multiple voices, while flanger imparts a distinct sweeping sensation. Skillful manipulation of these effects contributes to a richer, more immersive vocal texture.

Using Plugins

There is a huge amount of plugin you can choose from and especially for beginners it’s quite difficult to figure out where to start. First of all most DAW’s these days are equipped with a lot of professional sounding plugins. You can go through them first and find plugins you could work with and start to learn to to use them properly.

The next stop could be the huge library from waves.com. They have tons of really good plugins with all kind of effects even the pro’s in the audio world use a lot. Hit the following link to take a look at the waves library:

Go to waves.com

Try to develop your own sound

It helps a lot trying to copy vocal effects from established productions. This gives you a great feeling on how dial in specific effects. But as soon as you feel comfortable with vocal effects you should start to experiment with them. go beyond the borders and try stuff that is actually ‘wrong’ from a technical perspective but sound good. Trust your ears: when it sounds good – it is good. If you would like to dive deeper into creating your own signature sound our free signature sound cheat sheet could be a good help.

Download you free copy of our signature sound cheat sheet here


In the intricate world of music production, audio engineers are the architects of emotion, sculpting vocals into captivating sonic landscapes through the use of delays, reverbs, autotune, and an array of other effects. Their craft isn’t just about technical mastery—it’s a blend of creativity, artistry, and technical know-how that transforms a simple vocal recording into an unforgettable auditory experience. So, the next time you find yourself lost in the spellbinding magic of a song, remember the audio engineers who worked tirelessly to make those vocals come alive in ways you can feel.

How to find a good starting point for the vocal volume

After we went through some point to find a good bass volume in the previous blog article / video, we are heading over to find a good starting point for the vocal volume right now.

Hit the following link just in case you missed the previous blog post / video:

How to find a good starting point for the bass volume

Vocal Volume – where to start

First of all make sure your vocals are a little more consistent when it comes to dynamics. Even when we are in the static mix phase right now get rid of some unwanted frequencies in your vocal tracks and make sure the wanted frequencies are audible. After that compress your vocals a little do get some control about the dynamics. When your vocals are reasonably stable and not jumping up and down in volume too much, you can get over to the next step.

Just a quick reminder: this is not about finally polishing your vocals, this is just about finding a good starting point. So don’t play around with that too much. Just make quick decisions that feel good to you.

Vocal fader down

Now turn down your vocal fader. After that bring down your monitoring volume that much, that you can barely hear the snare drum and the most important parts of the song so far.

Now you are ready to bring up the vocals again. Listen for the snare drum compared to the overall vocal level. You want to bring up the vocals so far that they are just about the same level like the snare drum. But even when your monitoring volume is that quiet your snare and the vocals should not compete each other. Both should be about the same level but the snare drum should not distract you from listening to the vocals.

If so, you can bring up the monitoring volume again to your normal level. Now your vocals should have a good place to be in the mix as your starting point. The vocals should be audible right in the mix, not on top and it should not compete with the snare or any other element.

And that’s it

If you have followed these steps from the blog posts / videos, you should now have a rough drum mix, a proper starting point for your bass and now also a good starting point for your vocal volume.

Important: check these balances all the time through further mixing. Every step you do next, might also affect these balances. For example when you add some saturation to your vocals it might make them a significant amount louder. Same thing when you compress your bass mix bus to make it even more consistent for example. It might bring up the bass volume.

But keep also in mind: these are just ideas for the starting point. When you have dialed in your vocal volume like I’ve explained above and it doesn’t feel right for you and that particular song because the vocals seems to be very quiet, go for it ant make them louder. Trust your ears and not what you someone else might tell you, even when it’s me 🙂

Vocal Volume YouTube Video

Bass Volume YouTube Video

Sheps Omni Channel 2 for vocal volume

In the video I’ve used the Sheps Omni Channel 2 Plugin for my goto channel strip plugin to quickly dial in an EQ and a Compressor for the vocals. If you want to try the Sheps Omni Channel, you can find it here at waves.com