Chapter 23 of 33 from Armin van Buuren

Vocal Session, Part 3: Editing and Mixing

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Learn how Armin uses editing and effects to get a clean, powerful vocal track that still sounds natural to the listener’s ear.

Topics include: Editing Vocal Tracks • Effects and Mixing • Getting the Best From Your Vocalist

Armin van Buuren

Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music

Learn how to make dance music from the platinum-selling producer voted No. 1 DJ in the world five times by DJ Magazine.

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- I would want to listen to the take without the music and without the auto-tune to see if I'm happy. And if I wouldn't be happy, I would ask him to go back and do a couple of takes more. But I think he did a great job. So let's listen to the takes, our favorite pick in one line without auto-tune. MAN: (SINGING) She woke up in the morning with the sunrise in her eyes. All that she sees is darkness, and she won't tell you why. - If you carefully listened, you heard he smacked a little bit with his voice, which is normal. But the DAWs are so-- you hear everything on a vocal performance. I don't remove all the breaths because it makes it feel unnatural. Sometimes I put the volume down on breaths and stuff. I do, however, want to remove the little click that he did with his mouth. And that was around here. You see? You hear a little smack going on there. And you won't really hear it unless you start adding compression. If you add compression to a vocal, which is something you normally do when you've finished recording and you've got auto-tune and everything set, and if you have a little click, the compressor will bring it up. And it will sound like something that could bother the groove a little bit. So that's why I always spend a little bit of time on actually cleaning the take and use fade-ins, fade-outs without making it sound unnatural. I would go in here, I would select this take, and I would say here, a little fade-in. MAN: (SINGING) She woke up in the morning. - Because I don't need to hear the other audio, so fade out here. But just be very, very careful that you don't make it too short. Because the human voice-- you hear when somebody is taking a breath. And it's actually part of the singing process for me. So I like to hear when he's taking a breath to sing a certain sentence. MAN: (SINGING) She woke up in the moon. - So I will remove that, then fade in on this one, fade out on this one. Let me say. MAN: (SINGING) She woke up in the morning. - And I would turn it up a little bit so I could really hear everything that's going on in the take. MAN: (SINGING) She woke up in the morning with the sunrise in her eye. - See? Now the S is gone. Where's the S? MAN: (SINGING) She woke up in the morning with the sunrise in her eyes. - See? I don't see the S, but I hear it, because the waveform is not showing it. But you do need to check. You need to be very, very careful when you're cleaning your vocal takes. MAN: (SINGING) With the sunrise in her eyes. - There's a little tick at the end. And we can clean that up with a fade out. MAN: (SINGING) With the sunrise in her eyes. With the sunrise in her eyes. - There's a little breath. I want to hear that breath. So here's the thing. This is where I also-- this is why I want the singer to be there when I'm comping the vocal-- because I think it's important to have a discussion. Some singers don't like their breaths, as some singers do. I...

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Every week, Armin van Buuren puts 41 million listeners into A State of Trance on his radio show. In his first-ever online class, the platinum-selling DJ breaks down his hits—and builds a track from scratch—to show you how he produces, performs, and promotes dance music. You’ll learn his technical process for using samples and plug-ins, mixing, recording vocals, and building a DJ set. Your crowd is waiting.

Join Armin in his studio to learn how he layers sounds, produces tracks, and prepares for his live sets.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class, along with exclusive audio stems from Armin's projects.

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Armin van Buuren

Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music