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How to fix flat and lifeless vocals

If your vocals are flat and lifeless by comparison to the rest of your mix, there are a few things that could be causing this:

1. The vocals are over-compressed

Over-compressed Audio

Try using more compression on a parallel bus instead of on the lead track itself to get more excitement out of the track.

If you’ve recorded the vocals with a physical compressor in the signal chain, consider re-recording the vocals without compression. You can always add compression using plugins in the mix.

Unfortunately you can’t really do much (if anything) for a track that was recorded with too much compression on the way in.

2. The vocals (or other elements) aren’t EQ’d properly

Make sure the vocals have their own place and that other elements in the track aren’t fighting against the vocal for position in the mix.

There are few plugins that can help you with this. One is Voxengo SPAN – The free version of SPAN supports multi-channel analysis and can be set to display spectrums from two different channels or channel groups at the same time. SPAN Plus provides additional features and also allows you to select additional sources.

3. Over-processing of effects

But I want to use all the reverbs!

Over-processing can be too much of a good thing.

If you’re using a combination of reverb and delay, simplify your approach or maybe just pull back a little.

Try to stick to only one type of reverb i.e. Plate or Room or Hall – Don’t put the listener in too many rooms.

Did this help?

If you have any other suggestions or this helped you fix your flat or lifeless vocals, let me know in the comments below.

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