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Vocals Getting Lost in the Mix

Q: I’m very happy with the big sound of the drums, bass, guitars, and piano in my mix, but I’m having trouble getting the vocals to punch through clearly. Any quick suggestions?

A: This is clearly a deep topic, but our first guess: It sounds like you need to carve out a space for the vocals to sit in, in the midst of all those big instruments. There are a couple of things you can try:

1. Consider notching the EQ slightly on the midrange instruments (guitars, keys, etc.) to allow the vocals to be heard.

2. Take a look at your panning. Can you position some instruments that are obscuring the vocals off to the sides, creating a hole in the center of the mix for the singer to reside in?

3. Consider re-building your mix from the ground up (literally), beginning with the vocals, kick drum, and bass, then bring the rest of the instruments in around that core.

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