Mixing the Human Voice: EQ, Compression and Reverb Tips


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How balance should one strike between EQ, compression, and ⁣reverb when mixing vocals?

When it comes⁣ to music production, the human voice is often among the most complex elements ⁤to mix properly. However, with the right tools and knowledge, you can master the art ⁢of voice mixing. Principal tools to harness include Equalization (EQ), Compression, and Reverb. Understanding how to actively​ use ⁣these can significantly uplift your audio mixing skills.

Understanding Equalization (EQ)

EQ is a powerful ⁢tool used in adjusting the balance⁣ of different frequency components ⁣of an audio signal. It can either enhance or reduce specific elements within the sound ⁢spectrum, and when applied to the human ⁢voice,⁣ it helps cut ‍or boost certain frequencies to make the vocals stand out in the mix.

EQ Tips

  • Remove Unnecessary Frequencies: Try‌ to cut out frequencies below 80Hz‍ or⁣ 100Hz. These frequencies in‍ a vocal recording tend not to be notable and may generate undesired noise.
  • Boost for Clarity: Boosting ⁢the high-mid frequencies (around 2-6 kHz) can add clarity to your vocals. However, add ‍sparingly to avoid sibilance.
  • Presence: To add presence, try adding subtle​ boosts around the 5kHz range.


Compression is another integral process‍ in audio mixing. It helps‌ tame the dynamic range (the difference between ​the loudest​ and quietest parts) of⁤ the voice recording, which​ results in⁣ a more balanced and polished sound.

Compression Tips

  • Attack Time: ‍ A fast attack time (under 30ms) can help ‌control loud vocal parts, while​ a ‍slower ‌attack⁣ time can‍ allow more transient detail​ through.
  • Release Time: Generally, a fast release time can increase the perceived loudness of the vocals, while a slower ‍release can make the vocals sound more natural.
  • Ratio: The ⁣ratio defines the amount ‍of compression applied to ⁢signals⁢ above the threshold. A ‍ratio between 2:1 and 4:1 is a ‍good starting point for vocals.


Reverb helps‌ give the vocals a sense of space. It can make vocals sound like⁢ they ⁢were recorded in a larger room, or even create⁤ an ethereal effect, depending on how it’s applied.⁢ However,⁤ too much reverb can cause the vocals to ‍sound distant and washed out.

Reverb Tips

  • Pre-delay: This is the time between the‍ original sound and the reverb. Longer pre-delay times can help preserve the clarity of the vocals.
  • Decay Time: ⁣Also known as‌ reverb time, it’s the time ⁢taken ​for the reverberations to fade away. Keep this controlled to maintain clarity.


With these tips, mixing the human voice‌ should become a less daunting task. Remember, practice makes perfect and the more you experiment, the ⁢greater your understanding‍ and intuition when mixing vocals will become.