Audio School Online – Mixing Lead Vocals (Pop/Urban) Review

Audio School Online – Mixing Lead Vocals (Pop/Urban) Review

Back in the day when I first started recording vocals I knew very little about what I was actually doing in fact I didn’t know anything about music production at all really. My first vocal recordings were done using the microphone input of a PC speaker amplifier with the beat playing from either windows media player or something like Ejay. Both the signals being recorded using a Minidisk player which was hooked up to the headphone output of the amplifier, CRAZY. Later I would learn how to record using a DAW but still I knew nothing and although it sounded better than the way I used to record I just didn’t know how to process the vocals after I had recorded them. This is why I thought that this review of Audio School Online’s “Mixing Lead Vocals” would benefit many members of the MM community, so let’s get in to it.

Audio school Online has many tutorial videos covering a variety of topics ranging from sampling techniques to mixing your final tracks all hosted by Ken Lewis. Now if you don’t know about Ken, he has many credits to his name including Mixing, Recording, Producing and Co-writing. There are far too many names to mention but to list a few he has worked with such artists as, Eminem (Production), Wu-Tang ( He mixed the entire Once Upon A Time In Shaolin album), Common and Alicia Keys. So you know when you watch Ken’s tutorials that he knows what he is talking about.

In this tutorial Ken talks about and demonstrates his process of setting up plugin chains for vocals and how he gets them to sit in the mix. I’d like to add that this tutorial doesn’t talk about how to setup for recording or how to get a perfect vocal recording (he has other tutorials that touch on subjects like that, go to www.audioschoolonline.com to find them) it is designed to explain the options you have for processing vocals after recording. To do so Ken sets up 5 vocal chains of the same vocal and mixes them independently of each other using all UAD plugins on one, all Waves on another, stock Pro Tools plugins on another, a random plugins chain and finally a channel strip. Ken goes into detail about different methods of leveling out the dynamic range of a vocal so you don’t lose parts in the mix using compressors and limiters. He also talks about different things you can do with equalization to help your vocals sit where you want them in the mix and locate problematic frequencies to get rid of them. Then at the end he compares all 5 mixes so you can see how his different chains have affected the vocals and shows some methods of saturation for your vocals to help them sound warm. Ken even gives a brief explanation on how to use auto tune correctly.

Everything in the tutorial is explained in a nice and easy way to understand although you should probably have a basic knowledge of compressors, eq’s etc before delving into this one. I definitely recommend this tutorial to anyone who is recording vocals and wondering why they just don’t sound as nice as those you hear on your favorite songs. Also if you’re struggling to get them to sit nicely in your mix or even just want to brush up on your skills and want to see someone else’s perspective.

This tutorial has a running time of 1 hour 18 minutes so it’s not like sitting through a long boring lecture and can be downloaded to your computer for reference anytime you need it. Also included in the download are the session files for anyone running Pro Tools 7 – 10 and the sessions wav stems for use within any DAW, so you can practice what you are learning on the same session as Ken uses for his tutorial.

With a price tag off $14.99 I think if you need a little help with vocals then it is a no brainer and it comes with my recommendation for sure but don’t just take my word for it, head over to www.audioschoolonline.com to check out the 10 min preview of this and any of Ken’s other tutorials to see for yourself.

Until next time keep working on your craft guys, this is Woods signing off. Peace

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