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

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