How to make space for vocals
Dense mixes are pleasing to listen to, but they can become quite a challenge to mix because it requires to carve space for each element, preferably without sacrificing much of any of the main sounds.
Generally, vocals need to cut through the mix and they often go along with other instruments such as guitars in Rock music, for example.
If you need both to be present and dominant, then you have to find a balance.
Instruments tend to fill more space than the vocal in both terms of duration and frequency spectrum. That’s because most vocals have distinct words with spaces in between.
So, the best thing to do is ducking the instruments in response to the vocal so they attenuate only when the words take place while leaving some space between them to shine through.
However, most instruments, especially guitars, pads, and synths are harmonically rich, and ducking them with a single band compressor would make the whole spectrum of the mix to tilt in response to the vocal, and that’s not what we refer to as transparent.
Luckily, there’s a plugin that solves this problem with a couple of clicks and it’s Trackspacer by Wavesfactory.
Trackspacer creates space in a mix by carving the frequencies that a track needs.
Trackspacer features an internal 32 band EQ that reacts to the incoming sidechain signal, and it applies an inverse EQ curve after analyzing the sidechain signal.
So, what does this mean? It means that you can make surgical sidechains with very low effort. Basically, it allows you to have distinguishable sounds without any nasty overlapping.
The cool thing is that you can select the frequency range Trackspacer is monitoring from the sidechain signal and duck only that range. This feature allows using more instances and cutting each frequency range by different amounts, without having to stick to the actual volume relationship between the frequencies of the sidechain signal.
You can see this plugin more in-depth and in action in our YouTube video.
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