Nobody said mixing vocals would be easy, but with powerful tools and some knowledge of tips and tricks to back you up, you’ll have everything you need to get those vocals finally sitting nicely in your mix.
Let’s start with a free plug-in
Lead vocals are often supported with multiple vocal layers to add emotion, build intensity, and give your choruses and hooks a boost. With iZotope’s free Vocal Doubler plug-in, you can achieve the same natural doubling effect in an interactive UI with simple controls. Quickly add natural, human-like excitement with the Variation knob, and wide stereo doubling with the Separation knob. No matter your budget or genre, professional vocal doubles are a few clicks away—free of charge.
Be sure to run Vocal Doubler on clean, “dry” vocals that don’t have reverb or other effects. The processing Vocal Doubler applies could potentially interact with any effects you leave on the track, causing unintended artifacts, like popping. Watch the video below to learn more.
Vocal mixing 101
We’ve rounded up our most popular vocal mixing content to help you improve your skills.
- Vocal Mixing Basics: How to Make Vocals Cut Through the Mix
- Mixing Vocals: What Makes a Professional Vocal Sound?
- Vocal Production and the Evolution of a Pop Song
The vocal mixing workflow
If the free plug-in and vocal mixing tutorials weren’t enough, poke around Music Production Suite Pro—iZotope's membership dedicated to music producers and engineers. Enjoy a collection of plug-ins, sample packs, courses, and more curated to help you get the sound you want. It includes some of our best vocal tools to assist you from the recording stage to the final mix.
Vocal noise reduction and repair with RX Elements
If you’re new to vocal production or want to save a bit of time cleaning vocals, try Repair Assistant in RX Elements. Repair Assistant automatically finds noise within your vocal track and offers up three repair options to choose from. Check out this video to learn more about Repair Assistant, and listen to a dry vocal before and after repair with RX:
Before Repair Assistant
After Repair Assistant
Pitch correction with Nectar and Melodyne
Whether used to adjust sour notes or to match a genre’s vibe, nearly all modern vocals pass through pitch correction software like Nectar 3 for larger global pitch correction or Melodyne 5 essential (included in Nectar 3) for note-by-note surgical pitch precision. Learn the fundamentals of vocal pitch correction, how to pitch correct with both Melodyne 4 essential and Nectar 3, and the history of pitch correction in music.
Hear the difference pitch correction with Nectar makes below:
Fit your vocal in the mix with Vocal Assistant in Nectar 3
After removing noise and correcting pitch, it’s time to add processing to sculpt the tone of the vocal. The Vocal Assistant in Nectar 3 was created to listen to your vocal like an extra set of ears—finding the best settings to create a custom vocal preset specifically for your vocal.
Adding this kind of processing to a vocal track will get you on your way to your finished vocal.
Hear the difference Vocal Assistant in Nectar 3 makes on our example vocal:
Before Vocal Assistant
After Vocal Assistant
Carving out space for your vocal is next. EQ is often used to cut frequencies in other tracks that may be masking the vocal. With Nectar 3, just use the Unmask feature, along with the included Relay plug-in, to have Vocal Assistant automatically do this for you. Place the included Relay plug-in on any track that’s masking your vocal, and Nectar 3 will use inter-plugin communication to notch out the masking frequencies on the relay track.
Check out the video below to learn how to use the module.
Add extra vocal color with modules in VocalSynth 2
Like most audio processing, VocalSynth 2 works best on audio free of clicks and artifacts, highlighting why the repair stage of vocal production is so important. Modules like Biovox, Vocoder, and Polyvox provide low-end harmonic power, while Compuvox and Talkbox contribute texture and grit. Here’s our track before and after adding color with VocalSynth 2:
Before VocalSynth 2
After VocalSynth 2
Learn how to use VocalSynth 2 in the video below.
This article has been updated to reflect the newest versions of iZotope products.