And there’s a finishing touch to complete back vocal mixing – gating the group to clean up the timing. The technique isn’t absolutely essential in all cases so you have to decide as the occasion requires. The reason that makes the mixing engineer resort to this technique is in too obvious carelessness of the ends of sentences when vocalists finish phrases from one take to another in different times. And as far as back vocals must sound as a single instrument, it mustn’t be admitted. The same technique is a simple way for the professional audio mixing and mastering engineer to get rid of aspirations and other noises in the intervals between phrases. It should be done in this way – the gate plugin is placed on BVs group and is set to closing when the shortest takes are over. For the precise operation, professioal engineers recommend setting hold time to minimum – 0 ms, a release, on the contrary, around 200 ms so that the gate can open smoothly, and there won’t be false operations with flow of noise artefacts into the mix. Such simple processing at back vocals mixing will turn the group of isolated takes into a single robust instrument that supports the basic vocals softly.
There’s another detail – if BVs professional mixing and mastering is required, and they have been recorded by the only one vocalist, sometimes extra tricks are necessary to enhance the difference in the sound of the takes. Some small variations in loudness and panning will suit, so will additional subtle equalization of certain stems. Saturators and bit crushers – the restrictions are only in the engineer’s imagination and the music style.
It’s sometimes helpful to use stereo field expanders that let the engineer achieve more clarity in a mid channel – some space for drums and percussion will appear.