Shaping Vocals with EQ | iZotope Nectar

Welcome back. Now, the first thing that people normally reach for when you’re mixing is the EQ section.

It’s there you can change how boomy it is or how top-y it is, and I prefer to use words like that, rather than frequencies, but if you are someone that works with frequencies, Nectar can tell you that too.

So I’ve gone into the advanced view in Nectar and I’ve gone into the EQ section, and here we can see the EQ curve for the JB Soul. We can have a listen to that straight away.

[vocals with EQ]

At the moment, I’ve got it on three times view, but you can pedal through one, two, three, obviously, and six, and you can get real close and get into the frequencies.

[vocals, adjusting EQ]

Now, we can change the slope of that EQ or the Q, and we can make it sharp or wide.

[vocals, adjusting Q]

Now, one of the great features in this EQ section is if you hold down your Alt key and click on the graph, then you’ll get this, and this enables you to hone in on a frequency and hear what it’s doing to the music.

So we’ll play this again.

[vocals]

Hold Alt and click.

[filtered vocals]

And if you can see as well, as I’m pressing it, you’ll see the decibels either cutting or boosting, and the frequency. So if you want to find the frequency that’s causing a problem…

[filtered vocals]

It’s quite boxy there, and as you can see, it’s already being cut for that reason. It’s a great way of honing in.

The other thing you can do as well is you can also share the info. So you can bring up and see what each of these nodes is doing. Now the other thing as well is I have numbers. If we go into options, you pull that down as well, so now we can see, there’s the numbers, and they correspond to these numbers here, turn things on and off.

So what we’re doing here at the moment is I’m rolling off the bottom end here.

[vocals, low roll off]

And I can choose different types of frequencies as well. So for the top end…

[vocals, adjusting top end]

So the high shelf there, but I can go in there and change that. I can change that to bell instead.

[vocals]

So if we listen to it first without this EQ in…

[vocals, no EQ]

[mix]

Put the EQ in now.

[mix]

What we’re going to do now is pull the whole track down except for the vocal. Just go in there for a moment and pull it down.

[mix]

See, we’ve got some sparkle in there now.

[mix]

So if you wanted to add more guts into that vocal so it has more energy, we’d probably bring this node up here which is about 1.3kHz.

[mix]

We can push this up to 5kHz, and I talked about this in a previous video, this is the magic frequency. Gives you a kind of cut through.

[mix]

One thing to remember, and although I love all the presets in Nectar, is you can’t really rely on a preset for every voice you come across, because every voice has different frequencies and different tonalities, so you would be wise to go into things such as the EQ and really shape the sound of the voice that you’re working with.

[mix]

So we’re going to turn that back into a shelving EQ again.

[mix]

Now, second thing I’d like to show you is on the backing vocals, and the backing vocals are in a group, so I can put Nectar across all the backing vocals in one go. Let’s just bring up the backing vocals and solo them.

[mix]

We’ve already got doubler on here from a previous episode that we did, and the doubler’s got some EQ on it, but we can go in and add some more EQ now and put some sheen on it, roll off lots of bottom end.

[backing vocals]

Hear that there? Then…

[backing vocals]

So you can hear if you move these around.

[backing vocals]

There’s some bottom end there, some really nice low notes. Let’s just go in and see if we can bring those up a little bit, but we do have to be careful. What we don’t want to do is have them coming through too boomy, because they’ll muddy the bottom end, and what we’re doing often with a vocalist is cleaning up the bottom end so it doesn’t muddy the rest of the track.

Another thing we got to be careful of is we don’t want the EQ on the doubler fighting with the EQ in the EQ section, so we’ve got some top end here and some roll off there, and in a sense, we’re defeating the object, so we just come back to the doubler and bring this down again, then you wouldn’t need to roll off this.

[backing vocals]

Then the track now, with and without Nectar.

[mix]

Lovely vocals now. Lovely and wide. Turn it off again. So there we are using Nectar’s EQ on both solo and group vocal to take away muddiness, give it more presence, give it more sheen. Thanks for watching.

iZotope

iZotope

iZotope develops award-winning audio software and plug-ins for mixing, mastering, restoration, and more. Learn more at iZotope.com.
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