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My “Vig” Vocals


Today I want to talk about my own personal take on how I approach mixing vocals based on one of my favorite plugins to use on vocals, Butch Vig Vocals from Waves. I freaking love this thing, it’s dripping in character and just suits rock music to a tee, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it on any genre you want and make it sound fantastic. Now I’ve spent a lot of time using this plugin and I want to share with you my own interpretation of one of my go to vocal chains inspired by the Butch Vig Vocals plugin.



As with essentially every vocal track I have ever worked with I start with a cutting EQ, High pass, Mid cut and Low Pass (if required). Vocals are not sub-woofer material, it just doesn’t work (well not for me anyway), sweep that high pass filter in as much as you need in context with the mix, it could be 80Hz all the way up to 150Hz or even more, just listen for the sweet spot and you’ll just know. With the Mid cut (Mid Dip), there are a lot of sounds that really just don’t play ball with the low mids between 350Hz and 1KHz so just apply what most metal guitarists call the mid scoop and just sweep your frequency around that low mid area to find a nice little area that just cleans that vocal track up, you could be dipping 3db or 8db just use your ears and sweep away to find the sweet spot. Now the low pass filter (THIS IS NOT ALWAYS NECESSARY) but it can be a useful tool if used tasteful to clear up some shimmer room in the mix for acoustic guitar or overheads to shine.

Now onto compression, it’s always an argument with almost every sound guy I know on what order should the EQ and Compression go in, here’s my take… (THERE IS NO SET ORDER) the order is whatever sound goods with what you are personally doing for the mix, don’t be afraid to experiment with that order to find new and interesting sounds, but for my go to sounds, I like to use a De-Esser followed by Compression and then EQ, sometimes I’ll chuck the De-Esser after the EQ depending on the sounds I want to create for that mix. For De-Essing just find your go to De-Esser with your go to settings and adjust for the vocals you are currently treating. With Compression I’ve always been a fan of some medium to heavy compression while tracking Vocals because I feel it just adds that special little something, something to that character. But when mixing I always like to adjust my ratio to 5:1 to start and threshold in so your sitting at around 6 db of gain reduction, then I like to roll out the attack so the sharp sounds of the consonants just start to peak through the mix, readjust the threshold as required and then roll in the release so the compressor let’s completely go just after each word (or phrase if the lyrics are strung together quickly) is sung.

EQ Boosting, just pick 3 main spots, a Low, a Mid and a High. My usual go to spots are around 250Hz, 4-5KHz, and 12Khz. Just give your chosen frequencies a little nudge in the right direction, just remember not to over boost each area because we naturally hear boosted frequencies easier than cut frequencies, but if you don’t feel the need to boost an area then just don’t, follow your gut and listen to your ears.



Now after the sequenced mixing gets done send that bad boy to your Vocal Buss, and while you’re there send that mixed vocal to 2 separate Aux tracks, on first Aux I like running a mid band focused EQ between 1-2KHz followed by some solid slightly over heavy compression the bring out the character of that midrange. On the second Aux I will always chuck on my favoured vocal saturation dialed in completely wet and over saturated to most peoples normal tastes. With these 2 very basic Aux tracks dialled in we send them to the vocal buss and slowly bring them into the mixing to complement the original sequenced vocal chain as required for the overall sound and mix you are trying to achieve.



This method of mixing vocals, I believe gives creative control over the vocals with the ability to make the more or less aggressive or focused in any part of any song of any genre. I have spent a lot of time using the Butch Vig Vocal plugin and came up with this interpretation of how the plugin works while adding in my own little favoured flexibilities to give me more control over certain aspects of that chain to create more free flowing vibe and character for any vocal situation. Don’t ever be afraid to experiment with sounds and sequences against the typical grain of what is expected because you never know if you’re going to stumble upon something that you think sounds freaking cool, because that something cool could end up becoming your mixing signature.


Catch you all next time for some other mixing thoughts and tips from my brain to yours.

Wesley Edgerton – Bella Dose Music – Audio Engineer


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