Vocal Mixing Tip: Enhancing Consonants with Clip Gain
Probably my most asked questions are in regards to vocals and drums. And today I’m gonna talk a little bit about vocals. Now if you haven’t already yet, give a little plug, you can go to mixingvocals.com and I’ve got a premium training course there where I’m gonna walk you through a to z how I’m mixing rap and hip-hop vocals, r&b vocal, I think I’ve got the live vocal gospel vocal, pop acoustic, singer-songwriter vocal, there’s piano and a ballad vocal so you can see how I’m mixing the vocal across different genres, different effects, different ways of doing it. The backgrounds the ad-libs, etc.
Today I want to talk a little bit about something that was recently mentioned on Pensado’s Place. The guest was Bob Horn, and he was on sharing all kinds of — dropping all kinds of gems. And something that caught my attention is something that I’ve done before and it was exciting to hear that he does it. And he described — correct me if I’m wrong in the comments — but he described smashing the vocal pretty much with compression and then lifting the consonants, the different ‘k’ and ‘p’ — the different sounds.
What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna take a look at this vocal and then we’re gonna give that a shot and see what it sounds like. So for the most part, this stuff I’m not gonna go over. This is EQ, compression, some multiband to control the lows, all kinds of stuff in here — go to mixingvocals.com — and maybe I’ll do some more teaser stuff later but right now I just want to focus on this technique. And let’s take a listen to this vocal as we have it in the track.
[female vocal in the mix]
What I’ve done in the past and what I would like to think that Bob was mentioned was where you can go in here and let’s solo this vocal and let’s look for a word that we can maybe help it be a little bit more articulate. And Dasha Moore, she’s already got a great voice and she’s already pretty darn articulate speaking and communicating really well through her lyrics and her singing. But let’s see if we can help her out a little bit with all this compression that we’ve got going on to get the vocal sitting on the track.
[solo female vocal]
It looks like if we zoom in we might be able to take that, I’m gonna guess is the ‘k’ for kings. I’m gonna break it and let’s see if we can pull it up with the clip gain.
[vocal with clip gain on consonant]
Wooo, much better. Before.
[vocal before clip gain]
[vocal after clip gain]
If you don’t have clip gain you can simply turn on the volume automation. What I do is I hold shift and tab to transient. It didn’t work for me in this case so I’m just gonna go in and make a selection. But tab to transient usually doesn’t fail me like that. And you just pull up the ‘k’. Let’s see what that sounds like.
[female vocal with volume automation on consonant]
I like clip gain better but let’s try this again.
[female vocal before/after volume automation]
It helped out a little bit. I prefer clip gain. Let’s listen for another. Walk. That might be cool to pull up. Let’s see, might be about right there. Let’s pull that one up, jack it up real high. Ok not bad, let’s try that with clip gain. A little contrast and compare here. See from maybe just that last little. Let me zoom in. I’m gonna break it then boost it.
Not digging that one. We might be able to do this one. Pull that up with volume. Without it. With it. And then in the context of the mix that might be a good one for comparing, let’s boost it even a little bit more. Let’s hear it in the track. Here’s without it.
[vocal without clip gain]
[vocal with clip gain]
Without it. It’s a big difference. Like anything that I do in these tutorials, I’m not saying that hey, this is how you should mix a vocal. I’m saying, hey this is something that I’ll do something and it was pretty cool to see Bob Horn mention that he’s also going through and doing something similar, so. Or if not the exact same thing, so. Anyways, just another way to think about vocals and how to get some of those consonants back. Once we’re hitting it with compression with these modern mixes with everything kind of flattened. Be sure to check out mixingvocals.com. Emails to email@example.com and the amazing theproaudiofiles.com for more content and we’ll catch you guys on the next ones.