Making Room in the Mix for Vocals - MS Trick

As the low midrange around 250-500 Hz tends to get muddy (up to the midrange, 2 kHz tops) when you’re the process of mixing, here’s a simple trick for making room for vocals in your mix using only the F6 Dynamic EQ.

It uses Mid-Sides sidechain processing in order to compress the frequency areas from the center where the vocals should (usually) be more prominent but keeps the Sides intact so that no sidechain “effect” is actually heard:

  1. Output all your vocals to a “Vocals” bus and the rest of your playback to a “Playback” bus.
  2. Insert F6 on your Playback bus, turn on the plug-in’s external Sidechain.
  3. Send your main vocals (or the entire Vocal bus) to the Playback bus’s F6 sidechain input.
  4. In the F6 window, select Filter Band 3 (Low Mid).
    5.Set the SC Source to Ext and in the left-hand side, select “Mid”.
  5. Lower the Threshold down to about -8 dB, then start decreasing the Range until you see the Low-Mid area pumping and compressing the center according to your vocal.
  6. Set other parameters like Freq. Q, Attack and Release to your liking in order to extend the frequency range that gets compressed and its dynamics, according to your mix.

Obviously, you can use other filters to compress your playback as well.

I suggest starting with low values for Range and Threshold in order to make sure you’re not destroying your precious mix. Always monitor and compare A/B to notice the results.

What are your mix clearing tips?


It’s a very good one! thank you for that!
Side-chaining the entire track with vocals sounds very risky but i’m willing to try.

this technique sounds like a good thing to establish on FX group.

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I would also recommend trying it on the Synths/Guitars bus instead of the entire playback.:slight_smile:

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Will try that, sound like a good way to give space in the mono section of the mix. unlike normal SC between channels.

Check out Dave Darlington (Avicii, David Guetta, Sting :open_mouth:) demonstrating how to sidechain the lead vocal to help it cut through the mix, using MS processing in F6!


Both good tips there guys.

Alternatively, you can always add bit more stress in the voice to help it cut, by standing on the singer’s toes.

This is somewhat of a controversial method, though. :upside_down_face:


One thing I use Often while Mixing Dense Arrangements is Assign Vox to a Vox Buss and and Backups to a Backup Buss. ( All Rhythm Guitars, Pianos, Pads etc )
The Rhythms and Bass to a Drum Buss ( I have Api 2500 on the Bass track , Put it to Sidechain and Put the KIK as the Trigger .Api 2500 is my fav Sidechain comp.)
On the Backup buss i used the Center plugin on the insert.
Now when i decrease the Centre fader wrt how dense the arrangement is and how clear the Vox needs to be it really clears up the Vocals but keeps the Dimension and Punch in the track . On the Drums Buss , Backup buss and Vox buss i then send a bit of the SSL comp to glue things together .
It works good for me :slight_smile:


That’s not bad. Every track, of mine seems to go through some type of subgroup bus, even if it doesn’t get additional processing. I find it’s just more consistent and organised, and much easier to adjust whole groups of instruments at once.

Anyway, techniques like this would translate quite easily in my workflow. :wink:


This is what I tried in one of tracks & worked like charm :smiley:

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You got me curious here, I’d certainly like to hear one of the tracks you mixed like this :):smiley:


Sure. Have posted a Mix of Mine in the Channel Strip plugin Topic . Kind of follows this principle :smile:
Please take a listen and lemme know what you feel


You mean this post right? Looking for advice on channel strip plugs

It’s nice one :slightly_smiling_face:

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thank you @punitb . Glad you like it bro


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