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How to Mix Vocals with Plugins | Vocal Processing Tutorial

Learn How to Mix Vocals

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Mixing is equal parts art and science. You need both theory and practice to achieve mastery. In this course you will get both. Get the theory behind mixing and mastering with MixLab, a 5 hour course where Jake Perrine lays out all you need to know. Included are actual mix sessions of previous participants projects where he takes the sound from good to great! Learn to push your own projects over the finish line and supercharge your mixing game!

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In this Tutorial

How to mix vocals is one of the most challenging aspects of modern music production. Since vocals are highly dynamic, harmonically rich, and intensely human (humans aren’t machines), taming them takes patience and experience. Fitting them into a mix is often a daunting task.

A couple of years ago, Ableton Certified Trainer Ian Gallagher made a popular video showing some tried-and-true methods for processing vocals using only Ableton’s built-in effects. While Warp Academy still stands by those techniques, we wanted to update things a bit and reignite the conversation around vocal processing. In particular, many people have asked us to explain how to use popular 3rd party plug-ins, and we were happy to oblige.

Of course, we can’t cover all the 3rd party plug-ins suitable for processing vocals (at least not in one video). So in this video, Ian takes a deep dive into some of his current favorites, revealing his go-to tips, tricks, and general recommendations when using FabFilter and Izotope plug-ins.

Ian’s overall philosophy is simple: do whatever it takes to make the vocals sound awesome, whether it takes 1 plug-in or 50. Toward that goal, he uses a combination of multiple EQs, dynamic EQ, vintage EQ, compression, harmonic exciting, limiting, reverb, stereo imaging, and de-essing.

He covers basic ideas like making a vocal less “stuffy,” but also surprising new-school approaches such as using FabFilter’s powerful dynamic EQ and Spectrum Grab features. The result is a center-stage, emotionally-engaging, and fully modern-sounding vocal. Of course, every vocalist is unique, but the techniques shown here are guaranteed to level-up your vocal game.

If you don’t own the plug-ins used in this video (i.e., from both FabFilter and Izotope), you can find them over in the Warp Academy Store (

Skip to Somthin’ in the Video

0:00 Intro

2:24 Vocal Goals

2:41 Listening in Context

4:00 Low-end rumble clean up

5:30 FabFilter Pro-Q3 Spectrum Grab

7:10 Peak-chop compression

9:00 FabFilter Pro-DS

12:09 FabFilter Dynamic EQ

14:15 Pro-C 2 Vocal Style

17:30 Sweetening Vocals

17:45 Ozone Exciter

19:05 Ozone Vintage EQ

22:30 Ozone Imager

24:30 Ozone Vintage Limiter

25:40 Ableton Hybrid Reverb

27:30 De-breath