Mixing Vocals with Ghislain Brind’Amour (Part 2 of 2)

Okay so we are back in action for part 2 of Mixing Vocals with Ghislain Brind’Amour.  If you haven’t checked out part 1 go do that now because it leads into what we will be talking about today.

In part 1 we discussed all the processing that went in to getting the overall tone of the vocal, which ultimately helped place it into the record.  In this article we move into the Automation, Parallel Compression and Effects.

I didn’t want to get into a long winded intro for this article so we literally just got right into it by starting with the Automation.  So here we go…

Before we start if you do want to contact Gee here are the best ways to do so:

The Automation

For the automation in this record Gee’s primary focus was on three things:

  1. Overall Balance and level
  2. Take out the occasional sibilance
  3. Bring up certain words that were too quiet

“The automation is one of the last things I do after I get tones and effects – all that kind of stuff.  It’s just a final layer of leveling out the vocals.

All the peaks are when the vocal is a little lower because Amos is a dynamic singer and certain words were a little low.  Sometimes they are too low that the compressor doesn’t get it and with the automation I can get it right away.

Most dips as for the Ess sounds or sibilance.  I didn’t use a DeEsser because I didn’t feel I needed it but there is still some Ess’s that I need to pull down a little bit.”


Parallel Compression

Waves CLA-76

Gee Mixing Vocals - Waves CLAGee elected to go with a parallel channel to help pull the vocal out of the mix by giving it some extra beef.  The CLA plug-in helped a lot in this case.

“I wanted to amplify the vocal and beef it up.  I like doing a parallel chain on the vocals which helps me achieve that.  In this case I’m using the Waves CLA-76 and I have it on All Button Mode.  I’m driving it and it’s saturating inside the plug-in giving it a cool colour

What it’s doing is bringing everything out form the room noise, to the vocal.  Then I’m tucking that under the vocal which is low but it still makes a big difference to the vocal.”

CLA-76 in Solo

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-Paralelle-only.mp3|titles=CLA-76 in Solo]

CLA-76 bypassed

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-No-Parallel.mp3|titles=CLA-76 bypassed]

CLA-76 engaged

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-With-Parallel.mp3|titles=CLA-76 engaged]


All Effects

Satson Buss

Gee Mixing Vocals - SatsonThis was placed on every effects return simulating a console like feel and colour.

“I have the Satson Buss on every single channel with the Fat Mode engaged.  That’s just for a little bit of colour.  It’s subtle but it adds a little something to the effects and it worked well in this circumstance.”



Reverb Return #1

Valhalla Vintage Verb

Gee Mixing Vocals - Valhala Vintage Verb1“The first one I’m using is the Valhalla Vintage Verb which is a very cool reverb.  The preset I used was Vocal Air and there’s definitely a bit of tweaking that I had to do on this one.  You need to be familiar with this plug-in to know what the colours mean but it’s really cool.

This is pretty modulated and short and is just surrounding the vocal.  There’s no pre delay on this one.”

Sonimus Sweetone

Gee Mixing Vocals - Sweetone Verb1“I followed the Valhalla Verb with an EQ.  I’m basically using for the filters on it which I absolutely love.  Since it’s a vocal verb, I cutting out a lot of the low end and top end, keeping it more mid focused.  I’m also boosting a little with the tone knob which is kind of like the mid range to make it work with the vocal even more.”

Valhalla bypassed

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-Dry.mp3|titles=Valhalla bypassed]

Valhalla engaged

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-Reverb1.mp3|titles=Valhalla engaged]


Reverb Return #2

Native Instruments RC 48

Gee Mixing Vocals - RC48 Verb2“The next reverb that I’m using is the Native Instruments RC 48 which is the Lexicon 480 in the hardware world and I’m a big fan of that unit.  I’m using the preset Male Vocal but there is some tweaking going on, mainly in the pre delay section (80 ms) and is timed with the track.”



Sonimus Sweetone

Gee Mixing Vocals - Sweetone Verb2“I’m using the Sweetone again and cutting out some lows and highs.  I’m doing this mainly because I like to feel reverbs; I’m not a big fan of hearing them.  I find this helps the reverb sit in the track a little bit better.”

RC 48 bypassed

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-Dry.mp3|titles=RC 48 bypassed]

RC 48 engaged

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-Reverb2.mp3|titles=RC 48 engaged]


Reverb Return #3

Native Instruments RC 24

Gee Mixing Vocals - RC24 Verb3“The third reverb is a remake of the Lexicon 224 and is another cool sounding reverb.  The preset I’m using is Touch My Hall and I’m modifying it.  This pre delay is about 40.5 ms, is timed with the track and fills in the gap that last reverb different fill in.”



Sonimus Sweetone

Gee Mixing Vocals - Sweetone Verb3“I am using the Sweetone again with heavy cutting on the lows and a little cut off on the highs and no mid boost on this one.  I think I was happy with the way the high sounded on this reverb.”

RC 24 bypassed

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-Dry.mp3|titles=RC 24 bypassed]

RC 24 engaged

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-Reverb3.mp3|titles=RC 24 engaged]


Eighth Note Delay

Soundtoys Echoboy

Gee Mixing Vocals - Echoboy“The first delay I set up was a eighth note and I’m using the Echoboy from Sountoys which is a very popular delay unit in the plug-in world.  The mix isn’t fully wet and it’s on a FX return but it was mainly a blend thing.  It’s not about the eighth note, it’s more about how the vocal and the delay blended in with the track.  There’s a saturation component on this plug-in and I am driving it a bit.  I’m also filtering the highs and lows a bit.”

Echoboy bypassed

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-Dry.mp3|titles=Echoboy bypassed]

Echoboy engaged

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-8th-Note.mp3|titles=Echoboy engaged]


Quarter Note Delay

PSP Echo Plug-in

Gee Mixing Vocals - PSP Echo“This was new when I mixed this song and I was all excited and that’s why I used it.  There is a distortion component to this unit and I’m a big fan of saturation.  There is some built in distortion that I’m using and the Feedbacks pretty low”



PSP bypassed

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-Dry.mp3|titles=PSP bypassed]

PSP engaged

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-4th-Note.mp3|titles=PSP engaged]



Waves Doubler

Gee Mixing Vocals - Doubler

“The last effect is the Doubler and this one here is the Waves Doubler.  I’m doing a +1, -1 detune thing here and I didn’t invent that, it’s just a cool little trick.  Those detuned parts are delayed slightly differently and are panned opposite of one another; It creates this double effect.”


Waves SSL EQ

Gee Mixing Vocals - SSL EQ
“I’m also EQing by pushing the top a little bit at 7kHz to open it up a little bit.”

Waves S1Imager

Gee Mixing Vocals - S1 Imager
“I’m also using the Waves S1-Imager to spread it out a little bit”

Doubler bypassed

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-Dry.mp3|titles=Doubler bypassed]

Doubler engaged

[audio:https://modernmixing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Amos-Doubler.mp3|titles=Doubler bypassed]



Thanks for checking out this little 2 part series on Mixing Vocals with Ghislain Brind’Amour.  I like talking to Gee because every time I do, I learn something new.  It keeps me inspired and challenges me to continue my learning in this mixing game.

I tried to bring something a little bit different to the table with this mini series because I know in the mixing world everyone has their own perspective on how things should sound.  It’s nice to have other engineers bring a totally different perspective because it sparks new creative ideas for me.

Hopefully you enjoyed that and learned something yourself, I know I did!