The vocals are a vital part of a song, even if you have a great recording or acapella if it’s not mixed well it won’t stand out. To get the most out of your vocals you should be using audio plugins, compressors, and equalizers.
In all DAWs the workflow for vocals is usually the same, but the way of doing things is different, in this post I will be talking about the DAW that I use, which is fl studio 20. If you use other DAW but you know well how to use it, you can follow the post without a problem.
Nov 30, 2020 The easiest way is to click and drag the the instrumental over the program's icon and then drop it into the Playlist. The more difficult way is to click and drag the file from the folder it is in to the computer disk (C: Drive), Program Files,Image-Line then, FL Studio 12, Data, Patches, and Sliced Beats where you can release it. In order to record vocals in FL Studio 12, ensure that an ASIO driver is used. To access the driver settings, proceed to Options Audio settings Input/Output devices and choose an ASIO driver. Right-click on the Record button on the top toolbar and ensure that the Audio option is checked. This enables a direct recording into the Playlist.
- Hello, I am looking into buying a microphone for recording vocals for rap songs. The problem is that i can't record on a studio so i am trying to do the best i can for sound in my home. My question is, do i need to invest for a better microphone (around 350 euros i am thinking) to have a better result in home recording?
- In This Video we show exactly how we record vocals in FL Studio. It’s a very easy method and only requires a few minutes to set up. This method shows you how to record, edit, cross fade and comp vocals in FL Studio. We like to record a dry vocal signal but also experiment with effects while we record, for learning and fun:).
The first thing before starting to mix vocals is comping, which is basically fitting together the best takes of the recording, so it’s really important that you get a lot of takes before starting with the mixing.
When people travel, usually they take hundreds of photos of the place they have been to and end up only using a few, the same happens with vocals, when you listen to the recordings you will always notice some mistakes or thing that could be improved, so to get the result you have in mind you should get as many takes as you can.
Also before starting with the mixing process, you should check if you could improve your room acoustics, microphone or if you feel that the song needs some changes in the melody or the lyrics. You don’t want to expend a lot of time mixing a part you aren’t going to use.
Meet me in st louis street. When you have everything ready, and fitted with the rest of the track(Synth, instruments, ad-libs, samples), then is the time to start making room for the vocals and getting the vocals to sound louder and better.
To mix vocals you will need plugins and good takes from the singer. Before starting to mix you should comp your vocals and crossfade were you connect one part to the next one, once you have the final acapella you can start mixing. The first part of mixing vocalsis to De-noiseand Normalize, then use a plugin for pitch correction to get the acapella perfectly in tune, after that, you can use an equalizer before using a compressor to remove noise you couldn’t get rid offand then use a compressor for loudness and an equalizer in the instruments to make room for the vocal and another one in the vocal to enhance some frequencies.
Let’s make a summary:
- Comp the vocals, which is cutting the best parts of the recording and putting them together.
- Remove any noise that may have originated from the room where you recorded the acapella, or from the streets or noise from the singer being too near from the mic, whatever noise it is, remove it.
- Normalize and apply gain automation to make everything sound equally loud without applying compression.
- With a pitch-correction plugin analyze the song and look for any note that maybe out of tune and correct its pitch.
- Use an equalizer and listen to the acapella, maybe there aren’t noises but you may find some sounds disturbing, search for those sounds with the spectrum analyzer, then use a bell shape to raise the volume where those frequencies are, and when you find the exact point, just lower the volume of those frequencies.
- After that you can use a compressor to make everything sound at the same level or in other words make the quieter parts sound louder, it may enhance some frequencies you may not like, but with some plugins, you can decide which frequencies you want to compress more, so for example, you could get to compress the mids, and not the highs and the lows.
- Make room for the vocal, changing the volume and equalizing each instrument, so the range of frequencies where the sound of the vocal has more presence isn’t distorted by any instrument or synth.
- Use another equalizer on the vocal to enhance those frequencies you like the most in the vocal.
- Finally, use effect plugins, reverb, and delay.
Getting a perfect take is really difficult, even if the singer has been singing for years, mistakes happen, you may think that is the one after one listening but then you notice the mistakes, and you can’t do anything about it. To avoid this you should get a lot of takes and since it’s really difficult to get a perfect take, you should get the best part of each take.
This collage of takes is called comp(which is short for “compilation”). This method is not only a great way to get the best vocal possible but also it makes easier the recording process, once the singer has done a number of takes he/she can leave and you don’t have the problem of realizing there is a mistake when you are mixing it and having to call the singer for more takes.
You can do great with five takes, making more will mean a longer time to decide which parts to get from each take without getting a better result.
It is very important that when you do the first take before jumping into the next one you listen to the vocals with the track if you already have the track made or imagine how it will sound with the rest of the instruments to see if there are some things you want to change in the melody of the song or in the lyric.
Sometimes a word can be replaced with a shortened synonym that fits better the melody and sounds more natural.
Once you have the vocals, the first thing to do is to get the lyrics and separate the phrases of each verse and from the chorus. After that listen to each take and rate each phrase, from very bad to very good. Then listen to all the phrases rated as very good and if one of them doesn’t convince you got to the same phrase rated lower.
Once you got the best parts you just have to cut and put it all together.
In fl studio, you can have each take on a track of the playlist and have them one in top of each other so it’s really easy to have them all muted, and then listen one by one and then zooming and cutting each phrase you liked.
Now that you made the cuts, delete from the playlist the rest of the takes, and put each phrase near to the next one, to bind them as better as possible and make the transition sound smoother, make a crossfade, which means lowering the volume of the last and first bit of each phrase so when the transition happens both audio clips are at the same volume.
If you don’t do a crossfade, some clicking sounds may appear when you pass from one audio clip to the next one.
To crossfade an audio clip, double click on it, go to declicking mode and select Crossfade(bleeding). You don’t need to do anything more, but if you want more control over the crossfading you will have to automate the volume and lower the phrase that ends and raise the phrase that begins.
To automate the volume just double click the sample or in this case the audio clip, right-click the volume knob and select “create automation clip” from the list. You can do this same thing to automate a lot of knobs, from synths to effects.
If you have recorded the appropriate place you shouldn’t get any noise in your vocals, usually this happens when vocals are recorded near a fan, a computer or windows that are near the street, but vocals should be recorded in a completely quiet place which has some kind of acoustic treatment.
A plugin called Edison in fl studio can help you remove this type of noise, you can easily use it double-clicking on the sample and right-clicking on the wave image at the bottom and then click edit, which leads you to Edison.
Now in Edison select a part where you are not singing and there is only noise, then right-click on the toothbrush icon, it should say something like noise profile acquired, then right-click on the same toothbrush icon and here you can select the amount of noise reduction you want, if you get a lot of amounts it will sound distorted, so try to have the least amount possible, preview it to see if the noise disappears, and keep tweaking the amount till you have no noise but the audio still sounds good.
This is only for background noise, in case the singer has too much breathiness or there are ‘S’ or ‘P’ sounds, you should have used a pop filter in the mic, you can still use plugins called De-essers to remove those sounds, but is better if you just use a pop filter when you record the vocals.
Another thing you won’t remove with this technique is clipping in the vocal. If this happens is because of the mic, to remove it from the vocal or to know why your mic maybe clipping check this post.
Normalize and gain automation
Normalizing is as easy as going to the sample settings and clicking normalize, in Edison you can do this by section but is a bit dangerous, so just normalize the whole track and if some parts sound quiet, you can make them sound louder later with compression.
How To Record Voice In Fl Studio
Gain automation is the same as volume automation, which I already talked about. So you can raise the volume of quieter parts of the vocal, when the singer almost whispers, and lower the loudest part where the singer may scream.
This is similar to compression but it gives you more control and you are not affecting the quality of the vocal. The main problem with this technique is that you will expend a lot of time getting everything at the same level and also if you raise the volume too much you can get clipping.
This is a vital part, which is getting everything in tune. The vocal may sound great and in tune, it’s not difficult to sing in tune if you have sung for some time, but even if the singer made an “A” that “A” can be towards an “A flat” or an “A sharp”, so to get it in the perfect position you would need a pitch correction plugin.
This type of plugins can make any vocal sound in tune, but it will sound artificial if there is a lot of difference from the original note, so for example, if you get from “G” to a “C” with the plugin, you will hear something a little bit weird and robotic, you can also change another thing of each note, but you should just use it to make small changes, like changing from “B flat” to “B”, and think that there aren’t biggest spaces between notes in a vocal because usually when a singer is out of tune is just one semitone.
There are a lot of plugins to make this small pitch correction changes, I use Melodyne but you can use Autotune instead which has a similar graphic interface in the last version.
To use it, route your vocal to a track in the mixer, just by selecting a channel number where it says “track” in the sample settings and double-click to go to the mixer. Then just hit the record button on the plugin, and play a phrase to get all the notes, after that you can change the pitch of notes of that phrase. It is better to go phrase by phrase as it takes some time to recognize all the notes.
Eq for removing sounds
At this point, you won’t have any noise but you can have some sounds you don’t like. To fix this you need first to find in which frequencies those sounds are originating and once you know where they are, simply lower them.
I use FabFilter Pro Q for eq, but you can use fruity parametric EQ2 as well.
To do this load the EQ plugin in the track where your vocal is routed and select analyzer if you use Fabfilter, then double-click to create a band and right-click to select a bell shape. If you use parametric EQ2 just click on any band and select peaking(you should have it as default).
Now search for that frequency raising the volume of that band and moving it from left to right, and when you find it lower the volume in that frequency range.
Compression can be used for a lot of things. I use compressors to get vocals or sound louder, to get vocals or instruments only sound louder when the kick or beat is not present which is called side-chain compression, to change the sound quality of a sound and also to enhance and reduce some frequencies with a multiband compressor.
This sounds very complex, and it can be, but you don’t need to know all about compression to get good results, just knowing where to use one and some preset settings will do the trick.
In this case, we are talking about compression on the vocals. It’s important that you have all sounds you don’t want to hear in the vocal removed with an equalizer as I said in the previous step, this is because the compressor will make some frequencies more noticeable than others.
The compressor has different knobs: threshold, attack, release, output gain. The most important are the threshold/ratio and the output gain, the threshold/ratio determines how much compression is applied, the less db the more compression, and the output gain is like a volume knob, you turn it up and it sounds louder.
If you turn the output know all the way up you will get the signal to clip(red), which is really bad because it will distort your sound, but if you turn down the threshold it will leave you with a lot of room for output gain. What this means is that you can make your vocals sound a lot louder, but without getting them distorted.
First set the ratio between 1:5-3:1, then have your threshold on -3db, apply some output gain to raise the volume until is at 0db or near 0db in the mixer bus/channel. If it doesn’t hit 0db then reduce the threshold and raise the output gain, the more you reduce the threshold the more you can raise the output gain, but be aware that reducing a lot the threshold will apply more compression and some qualities of the sound will be lost.
A simple setting is to have the threshold at -30db and the ratio at 2:1, now you can tweak the output gain until the volume in your bus hits 0db or until you think the vocals sound loud enough.
The attack and the release will have a subtle effect on the qualities of the vocal. A slow attack(30ms) will make the vocal sound more aggressive and emphasizes the consonants and clarity of the vocal, while a faster attack(15ms) will make the vocal sound smoother but it can also make it sound further back. On the other hand, we have the release; A slow release will make the sound more natural while a fast release will make more apparent details like breathings sound.
The changes in the attack and release are really subtle you may don’t even notice. The important knobs are just threshold, ratio, and output gain.
There are two cases where you need to use compression:
- When your vocal sounds too quiet.
- When there is a lot of dynamic range, which means there is a lot of difference in volume between the quieter and louder parts of the vocal.
If your vocals sound loud enough, and everything can be heard clearly in every part of the vocal, you don’t need compression. You can use compression to give certain tonal qualities to the sounds, but that is better done with specific plugins used just for vocals.
Eq to make room for the vocal
You can use EQ in the vocal to enhance some frequencies and remove high and lows so it doesn’t get in the way of the instruments, but it isn’t a vital part.
What is really important is that you have the frequencies where the vocal is more present empty or really quiet, so all the instruments should have an EQ.
Obviously drums and bass don’t need mid-frequencies so you can cut those, but with guitars or pianos is more difficult because if you cut the mid frequencies in those instruments they will sound horrible. In case of EQ for instruments where you can’t cut the mids, you can lower them in specific parts, you can just lower 3 or 6db and that will make a huge difference.
Panning is also really great to create space for the vocal, but this is not possible in all music genres.
Sometimes songs make what is called a wall of sound, where all sounds overlap each other but if you want the vocals to be heard clearly you need to figure out ways to get space for the vocal.
Sometimes it doesn’t have anything to do with mixing, but with arrangement, for example, if the notes of a piano that is being played while the singer is singing are in a different octave there won’t be any problem with overlapping frequencies, the same would happen if a piano is playing notes in the same octave as the singer but only when she stops singing or it’s being played lower when the singer sings.
Mixing can do great things to make a vocal sound clear without being overlapped by any instrument, but to get everything to sound great and connected, you need to think before-hand about arrangement, instruments, melody and the production as a whole.
These types of plugins have compressors, reverb, delay, saturation, equalizer and other effects in them, all in one plugin. The benefit of this kind of plugins is that they are designed to enhance or mix vocals, and are also easier to manipulate.
You could use only one of this plugin alone to mix the vocals, but I prefer to use compressors, equalizer, reverbs and delays outside of the plugin, because usually you get more options and have more control in each part with a specific plugin.
One of the most popular plugins to mix nowadays is Nectar, which lets you mix everything, from equalizing to compression, and in this case, you get a lot of options to work around, and is also very visual and easy to use.
As I said before, the plugins made for vocals “Usually” are not made for making the entire mix with them, but it’s not the case of nectar, with nectar you can make all the mix with the plugin because it has a lot of features. This plugin has also a feature that automatically mixes your vocal called vocal assistant, the way to use it is as simple as clicking on it, playing the part of your vocals and you have your vocals mixed, but after that you have to tweak some of the changes made and add more things or remove others if you want to get a good result.
How To Record Vocals In Fl Studio Properly
The plugins that I use to make some aftertouch on the vocals are all from waves plugins, I have CLA vocals stereo, EKramer VC stereo and Butch Big Vocals stereo, but I mostly use CLA vocals and Butch Big Vocals.
With CLA vocals, you can change the lows and highs, compression, reverb, delay, and pitch. You have three settings you can choose from each effect and then you can just turn up or down a knob to get more or less effect, which makes it really simple to use but you will also get great results.
Butch Big Vocals, on the other hand, has more features and is a little bit more complex, I use it sometimes like a compressor to make the vocals sound louder but also I use it to make the vocals sound more crispy. You can change the presence, saturation, compression and even give the vocal more air.
Reverbs give space to the sound, for example, you can make your vocals sound as if they were sung in a stadium or a cathedral.
Obviously when mixing vocals is rare that we want that effect as if our track is being played in one place, the actual purpose of reverb can vary, sometimes is used to make the vocal sound bigger while other times it can be used to make it sound more close and intimate.
- Short reverbs(rooms or small spaces), will add clarity and realism.
- Long reverbs(halls, plates, and large spaces), will add depth and widens the sound, usually, this type of reverb is most used in vocals to make them stand out in the mix.
The reverb that I use the most is, Redline-reverb. Fl studio has it’s own reverbs but it is better if you get a better one like Redline orValhalla.
The great thing about this reverb apart from the quality is that they come with a lot of presets, so you can go a test each one, then when you like the effect it makes you can lower the mix level knob on the bus where you have loaded the plugin so you get the exact sound you have in mind.
In case the reverb you use doesn’t come with presets you need to know that what makes a short or long reverb are early-reflections and pre-delay, a reverb with less pre-delay and no early reflections will sound bigger than one with early reflections and pre-delay, and the decay controls the time when the reverb is present.
A delay plugin makes the vocal sound with echoes, which can be used for a lot of things, like creating more space or connecting one phrase of the vocals to the next one.
The main things in a Delay are the echo time and the feedback. The echo time is the time between each repetition of the echo, usually, it’s divided by fractions of a beat(1/4,1/8,1/16), and the feedback is the time that repetition is made, so if you put it all the way up it will be echoing forever.
EchoBoy is the delay that I use, which as the reverbs I mentioned before, comes with presets, and also presets for vocals. You can use the same trick here, try some presets and once you find one you like, you can lower the mix knob in the bus channel so the effect isn’t so big.
The problem with Delays is that sometimes it will sound great with the mix knob turned almost down but too much if it’s all the way up, you can try the presets with the mix volume knob down and see if it make the vocal sound bigger and more clear.
Reverb and delay are used together, but I use first the delay and after that the reverb because the delay of the reverb is what makes the sound more spacious. This is called a pre-delay and reverb plugins already have it but you will get better results adding a delay before the reverb.
Delays can also be used to connect parts of the song to others, you can, for example, automate the feedback and have the echo time at 1/4 beat, so it sounds the echo of the last word of a phrase and you sustain that echo until the next phrase because you automated the feedback and you can turn it down when the next phrase begins, and everything will sound more connected. This is really useful if there is a lot of space between phrases that is not being completely filled by other instruments.
There are a lot of things you can make with delay and reverb, but if the plugins you are using have presets just with that, you can get the vocals to sound really good and professional.
FLStudio is a complete software music production environment or Digital AudioWorkstation (DAW). It consists of all components that are required to compose,arrange, record, edit, mix and master professional quality music.
For any kind of music, vocals add an organic touch to the track and convey a message for a song. In this article, we shall describe the method to record vocals in FL Studio so as to enrich the track with unique sounds.
As a pre-requisite for recording vocals, it is essential to procure the FL Studio Producer Edition or higher. The other mandatory devices required for this activity are a reliable Microphone, an XLR cable to connect the microphone to the audio interface, an XLR to USB adapter and a pop filter. These accessories add to the quality of the audio and vocals.
How to Record Vocals in FL Studio
In order to record vocals in FL Studio 12, ensure that an ASIO driver is used. To access the driver settings, proceed to Options >Audio settings > Input/Output devices and choose an ASIO driver. Right-click on the Record button on the top toolbar and ensure that the Audio option is checked. This enables a direct recording into the Playlist.
Onceyour microphone is connected, choose any Mixer track for the audio to input. Atthe top of the signal processing chain, set the Audio input source to thedevice that the microphone is connected to. There are two sections, namelystereo and mono. Stereo will record in one stereo track. Both the mono optionswill record copies of the same signal in mono for both left and right. In thevocoder setup, the modulator is the microphone input panned hard left, and thecarrier is a synth preset panned hard right.
There are two ways to record vocals in FL Studio.
- The first method is to record into the Playlist as an audio clip. This clip will also be present in the Channel rack. This saves a file of the recording on the computer under the Recorded folder in the Browser/plugin picker. Ensure that the Mixer track on the microphone input that is routed to is armed for recording. When the microphone input is chosen, FL Studio will auto-arm the Mixer track. This can be checked by viewing the Mixer track and ensuring that the red Arm disk recording button is lit. Click it to toggle to on or off. There is an option to right-click and choose a different folder directory to save the audio clips.
- The second method to record vocals in FL Studio is with Edison in the Mixer. Edison is an audio editing and recording plugin by Image-Line and is included as a default with FL Studio Producer Edition. It enables better control during recording and is better suited for sampling than recording into the Playlist.
Tostart with, add an Edison to the microphone input Mixer track. Ensure that itappears above any effects that have been added the track. This enables a “dry”recording, which permits more control and flexibility in the mix at a laterstage.
The next step is to ensure that the microphone input signal into Edison is a maximum of -10 dBFS. This can be achieved by executing a few test runs within a desirable range from the microphone, with the loudness of the voice in consideration. Regulate the microphone input gain so as to maintain the shrillest portions of the test runs are around 10 dBFS. Start the Record button in Edison. If the trigger is set to “On” as Input, Edison will automatically start recording once it senses an input signal. In order to stop recording, click the Record button again.