Working with vocals can be tricky. More often than not, when there’s a vocal present in a track it automatically becomes the defining part of the composition. Whether it’s a short sampled hook, a full recorded lead vocal or a remix acapella, the quality, clarity and tone of the vocal line can leave a lasting impression on the listener and define how they hear your track.
While, naturally, the source material plays a major role, how you process and mix vocals can totally transform the end result. In this month’s cover feature, we’re digging into the multitude of ways we can work with vocals to bring out the best in them. Whether you’re looking to refine a recorded vocal, flip a short sample or enhance an acapella, we’ve got ideas and tips to help you along.
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Scuba – Hotflush boss Paul Rose gives us an insight into the studio essentials behind new album Caibu, his first full length under his SCB alias
Mumdance – Get to know the UK producer who is reviving vintage Akai filters in Eurorack and giving grime a weightless makeover
Daniel Avery – As the UK techno artist returns with a killer second album, we track him down in his shipping container studio
The Track: Alexander O’Neal – The bonafide R&B icon talk reworking his classic Criticize, 30 years on from its original release
Classic Album – Lack Of Afro on his eclectic classic Press On
The Essential Guide To Vocal Processing – Whatever genre you’re into, a good vocal can make or break your track – we talk you through the essentials
Producer’s Guide – We return to Xfer Serum for a in-depth masterclass
Modular Monthly – Electro grit with the WMD TRSHMSTR
Toolkit – Add width with stereo field effects
Teenage Engineering PO-33 KO! & PO-35 Speak
Modor Formant Filter
WS Audio Trueno USB analogue synth
Bitwig Studio 2.3
HEDD Audio Type 20 monitors
MPC Madness – We break out Akai’s iconic beatmaker for this crunchy pack of hits, loops, stabs and one shots
Instant Hooks – Need a catchy lick for your next hit? Look no further than these synth, guitar and key earworms
Access the FM sample archive: Download the ‘Archive’ packs and get over 12GB+ of loops, hits and instruments from our back catalogue of high-quality and royalty-free samples. From vintage synths and drum machines to esoteric instruments and FX – think of it as our best of. All the samples you need to create great music!