Today I would like to focus on the subject of mixing vocals in Hard Rock music. We won’t go deep into any specific trend, as there are too many of them used at online audio mastering and mixing services and each of the approaches has its own peculiarities and preferences. I also won’t try to make a standard “tutorial” describing a range of techniques. On the contrary, let's talk about a general method of working with the vocals and find out what an engineer must take into consideration. As a bonus, you will learn about some technical approaches to solving this task.
Determine the main task
I’m sure that this should be the first step for you as an audio mixing engineer not only in vocals processing and not only in Rock songs. Decide if you would like to “place” the voice inside an arena-like space with a corresponding rich reverberation sound or conversely, into a confined space of a small club. Visualization can really help you choose the right options.
Another important detail: how “polished” do you want the sound to be?
Many Pop-Punk bands won’t be happy if an audio mixer makes the sound of their songs overly “sleek”. In these genres while mixing vocal over music, you need to deliver the natural sound of voice, so I would recommend keeping the changes of the source material as small as possible.
The Metal genres, on the other hand, require significant changes of the vocal tracks in order to get a more aggressive sound. Generally, the more precisely do you see the final objective and the intended effect, the more conscious the choice of a certain processing will be.