Here is a series of things that you have to consider when you create a mix with the help of the headphones, especially if it is for the singer.
- make sure you use the best headphones there is, that they are not broken or you hear strange sounds. Nothing stops a recording session faster than a pair of broken headphones.
- set the big drum and the bass louder in the mix. This way the musician can feel the rhythm of the song. Now add harmonic instruments like a piano or a guitar to a level that is not that high as the bass or drums.
- if it is necessary send only the tracks of the mono instruments to the headphones, with no effects.
- set all the instruments from the mix to a slightly lower level than the bass and drums. It is good to raise the volume level of an instrument only if the musician requires you to.
- if you want the artist to sing more aggressively, stronger, set the voice track to a lower level or raise the volume of the other tracks, and if you want to play softly or more intimate, raise the voice track or lower the volume of the other tracks.
- add some reverb or delay to the voice track and the artist will feel more comfortable with the mix from the headphones.
- The majority of mixes today have a metronome track. The recording of a song to the same tempo not only that sounds better but makes the editing easier. It is much easier to set the delay and the reverb on a track that is recorded with the metronome. When an artist only hears the metronome in the headphones the inspiration kind of disappears.
Here are a few tricks to make the metronome more easier on the sound but still to be able to stand in front even in the more dense mixes.
- pick the right sound. Try something more musical than an electronic click: a cowbell, a frame or a conga.
- when you pick a sound to replace the click it has to fall in the context of the sound.
- choose the right number of clicks in a measure. Indifferently of the numbers of clicks the metronome track will be more efficient if the first tempo is more emphasized that the rest of the clicks.
- make sure that the drummer uses isolated headphones.
Drummers usually want the metronome very loud. Not because they might be deaf but because the acoustic drums around them sound very loud.
Many artists don’t like to sing with a metronome, or that sing very rigid with a metronome. In this case you don’t have to be afraid to record without the clicks, since there are lots of successful songs that were recorded without a metronome.
Nowadays in this world of music full of drum machines, loops, DAW’s, the majority of musicians have used to sing with something that gives the tempo.
Whether you use the metronome or not keep in mind that if you want the best results from an artist or musician the mix from headphones must be a priority. There is no better way to make sure your recording session will run smoothly with no other problems.