Chapter 23 of 33 from Armin van Buuren

Vocal Session, Part 3: Editing and Mixing


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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Class Info


- 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.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Armin and his label will also give feedback on select student work.


Armin van Buuren

Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music