How To Process EDM Vocals



Processing EDM Vocals is one of the most important skills producers can develop.

Sadly many vocalist tend to stay away from EDM due to the fact that when a track is finished the producer usually get's most of the credit. This causes a lot of producers to go without ever processing raw vocals or develop their skill in vocal processing.

Today I will be teaching you how to process EDM Vocals using some of the vocals from Evolution Of Sounds newest vocal pack Nina Sung Vocal Sample Pack.


IF YOU ARE IN THE MARKET FOR SOME VOCALS from a vocalist who has collaborated with some world renowned artist make sure to check this pack out ;)

Step 1 Clean Up The Vocals


Vocals are gonna be some of the most beautiful elements in your track but in order to get them that way we first need to clean them up.

One of the first things I recommend that you do when cleaning up vocals is to use a Gate.

When vocalist record their vocals they are most likely hearing the music through headphones that may sometimes bleed and you will hear it in the background of their recordings.


A gate will only allow the sound to be heard when the threshold is hit like in this picture below. Just make sure that the threshold isn't low enough to trigger by the backing bleeding track.

Below you can see the thresholds hit so the audio is let out by the gater


The next thing we must do is eq out everything below 120HZ out of the vocal as that is usually dirt and doesn't play an important role.


Once we have done this we need to find the resonating frequencies in the recording. Resonating frequencies usually occur in very small rooms (like a closet) that aren't treated so we need to find it and remove it.

The way I find my resonating frequencies is by using a high Q and scouting around the 250-400hz area and 1,000 - 2,500k hertz area like so.


This is how the resonating frequencies sound like once we have found them.


All we do now is just reduce the gain where we found them and we will be done with the cleaning portion.


And this is how it sounds like.


Step 2 Compression To Create Strong Vocals


Compression is a crucial role in EDM Vocal processing as a singer will never be able to deliver a performance where her voice is loud at all times.

This is where compression comes in by making the loudest parts quieter and making the dynamic range on the vocal smaller.

I believe that in order to understand compression you need to do it on a vocal first as this is where compression really shines.

If you don't understand compression make sure to check out this video by Julian Gray on what it does and then continue with this tutorial.


I apply a standard compressor until the threshold hits the track and starts to do some gain reduction.

REMEMBER: Compression makes you lose volume in exchange for a smaller dynamic range. The reason it sounds like it makes stuff loud is because you are hearing the make-up gained version which brings the volume back up to the original volume you had.


The settings on the compressor are usually kept very minimal by having a 2.00MS attack and a fairly decent amount of release so that the vocal is compressed without choking the life out of it.

So remember this compression portion is to have a stable loud vocal volume throughout the song.

We are gonna follow it up with multiple stages of compression as each compressor will give the vocal a bit of color.


The renaissance Axx compressor from waves helps in giving it color while compressing even more to get the vocal sounding dynamically pleasing and stable.

Remember compression is used to have a strong vocal with a stable volume that isn't all over the place.

After that compression this is how the vocal now sounds like compressed.


STEP 3 DE-ESS Vocals To Rid of SHHHHH

De-essing the vocal will help make the vocal shine through the mix as it will get rid of those annoying SHHHH and Esss that you tend to hear in a vocal sample.

My favorite one to use is the Waves DE-ESSER and all I do is load up the female SHHH Preset if I'm working with a female and the male one if I'm working with a male singer.


The De-esser is easy to use after loading the preset. You will then use the threshold to pull down until you see the red kicking when the vocal produces the SHH Sound. You can also use the S Chain at the bottom left to see what the DeEsser is reducing.

Simple yet effective little plugin.


Step 4 Polish The Vocal and PROFIT!

The last step I believe is the most fun as this is where you get to apply reverb, delay, and all the effects that make vocals sound majestic and powerful.

The first thing in this step that we are going to add Is the Aphax Vintage Warmer by Waves to sature a bit.


This plugin is super simple to use and I recommend you use the presets and adjust accordingly.

The next plugin is a simple delay to add a bit of a delay effect to the vocal. Notice how it's only done to the left side.

The reason for that is that we want our vocal to be in the center of the mix and if we add the right channel into the equation then it gets turned a bit more steroish.


After this the final step for us will be to apply a reverb to the vocal via a return.

Why a return?

A Return will allow us to main the original signal without reverb and add in a fully wet signal in. This is a cleaner way of doing it but there is nothing wrong with using the reverb in the channel.

A return can be created in Ableton by right click on the top of the channel and clicking. INSERT Return Track.


The type of reverb a lot of EDM vocals use is Hall style so pick your favorite preset and don't go overboard with it.

IF YOU ARE USING THE REVERB ON THE RETURN MAKE SURE IT'S SET TO 100% WET.


After all that polishing our vocal now sounds like this.


CONCLUSION

Again this is just one way of processing EDM Vocals. People sometimes compress first and then eq but, as long as it sounds good that is all that matters.

In this guide you can substitute the compressors for third party compressors or native ones, and the reverbs. as well.

Try to come up with your own ways of processing vocals as well as this is a way to develop a sound for your own.

-Zen World

IF YOU ARE IN THE MARKET FOR SOME VOCALS from a vocalist who has collaborated with some world renowned artist make sure to check this pack out ;)

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