For an amazing result of rap vocals mixing, it is great to have clear and strong main vocal on top of the mix. However, the big problem most people have faced with mixing is that they give more attention to the word “vocals” without even considering the word “rap”. At the end, the number one complaint about rap mix is generated – people can’t hear the vocals.
Rap is supremely general; there are big differences in various rap vocal styles. So, when you’re mixing the vocals, make it loud and proud. Most hip hop and rap artists typically have one thing in common; they get the beat already done as a stereo file. When the beat file is imported into the session, the vocals quickly get up on top. The importance of getting the highest quality track is the same as getting a high-quality beat in wav or any AIFF format.
You can mix individual tracks together or you can get the stems for the beat alternatively. Just bear in mind one thing – get sweet instruments to let the mix going.
Understanding the Concept
Everything that goes in mixing rap vocals all starts with the concept. In order to mix anything, it’s something like you need an end game. There has to be an idea where the vocal should be going before you begin in getting it there. Having such idea will probably change along the way but at least you have some direction than having nothing at all.
Bring up some distinction. Remember that the shapes of the vocals are different and sometimes the elements you’re using have an extremely forward or aggressive end. The purpose of your rap vocal mixing should be meaningful and clear for the smooth flow of everything.
Usually, both hip hop and rap instrumentals are made up of a few common elements: kick, snare, claps or hi-hats, synth, and bass. These elements are important to get the right EQ and fit into the mix. Don’t be afraid to play with the components, make some combinations and observe its powerful responses in the mix. If the beat is just a stereo file, you can take MS EQ. Take some of the midranges out of the mid channel to make an EQ range sit for the vocals.
You can boost the highs on snare and claps to give some snaps. Synth tracks as well as other textural tracks that usually take a back seat especially those kinds that compete with the vocals in the midrange. It is better to keep them wide and lightly atmospheric in tone for a more tonal creation. Whatever techniques you have done with the instrumentals listen to it carefully first and this is how the listeners will listen to it nicely then.
A Bit Cleanup
Many rap vocals need to undergo a bit of cleaning before mixing. There are many issues why but the most common one is that vocals were recorded in an un-ideal location. Locations like closet or bathroom may sound good or something that is stupid but it can’t really give the perfect outcome you desired.
The other issue is that the vocals were recorded too hot. Others believe that it is a good idea to record vocals as loud as possible but then again it’s not. This is why you need a bit of cleaning. Doing so may not be that easy and comfortable because your scope is limited but at least you can make a change.
- For vocals recorded in the closet or corners will create comb filtering issue. One trick to make it ease is to pitch shift them up and down in a slight amount to change the frequency bands.
- For a too hot or too loud audio, do some clipping or use any distortion removal software. Some distortion can also be eased off with an EQ.
When you have the vocals cleaned or maybe the cleaning begins, decide what to do with them. This is how you should consider everything to become balanced. The vocals and the other instruments should be in the same frequency range. Vocals often need to have a little compression and also add a little tone. Processing vocals should have the shape and consistency consideration. Crunching the vocals is a stylistic choice.
The importance you give to what’s going on around the voice is just the same to the vocals themselves. Help the vocals by carefully pick what get rid of and make the filtering done nicely. Sounding vocals certainly have their place so decide where the vocal lives.
When you learn to mix rap vocals, you should be able to replicate it on any system. Just try to think of mixing as a software independent exercise. Know that all songs, captures, vocals, and performances are different. They can never be one formula to mix all vocals effectively and there is much advancement to do a vocal treatment.
Video create by The Pro Audio Files.