How To Reduce Resonances In Vocals, Synths, Percussion And A Full Mix

Resonances can sneak into your mix in a number of different ways.

🚫 You might get resonances in your vocal due to a difficult recording space.

🚫 Layered synths can resonate when combined together.

🚫 Your percussion samples might have been exported with tonal balance and resonance issues embedded.

🚫 Resonances also crop up in a full mix when all the elements combine together, even if individual channels are sounding fine. 

In this video, I’ll walk you through finding and solving resonant issues.

You'll Learn How To:


✅ Reduce The Resonance Of A Vocal In A Rock Song.

✅ Remove The Harshness Of Synth Resonances.

✅ Solve The Resonances Found In A Percussion Sample.

✅ Reduce Resonance In A Full Mix When Mastering. 

How To Reduce The Resonance Of A Vocal In A Rock Song.

Click to watch this section in the video

Starting with a rock vocal, I’ll open an instance of RESO on the vocal stem itself, and solo the channel.


I’ll start by using the RESO frequency display to see where any abnormally large peaks are occurring.


I’ll then double click to create a node, which will begin the dynamic reduction of the frequency. I’ll set the node at the peak level where I want the reduction to begin. The resonance will then be dynamically reduced when it surpasses the threshold. 


RESO automatically sets the optimized Q for the frequency (wider band for lower frequencies and the thinner band for higher). However, you can scroll on the node to adjust the Q. The Threshold position of the node and the Q bandwidth plays a huge role in how the reduction sounds, so tweaking these to perfection is crucial to controlling those resonances without making your music sound thin.


A unique feature for identifying the harsh resonances using RESO is the frequency sweep feature. Press control whilst sweeping your mouse across the frequency spectrum, and RESO will slightly boost those frequencies to help you identify issues. The boost is very subtle, but should still be used with caution. You only need to reduce the resonances that stick out disproportionately in the mix.


Once you’ve identified the issues, created the nodes, and set the ideal threshold and Q, it’s time for a sanity check. Bypass the plugin to get a before and after preview. This will help you ensure that you’ve made positive progress with your sound and haven’t ‘over-done’ it. The delta button will let you hear exactly what you’re removing from your mix, giving you a clear insight on exactly what the plugin is doing.


You’ve been working with the vocal soloed so far. This is important as resonances can be subtle and require dedicated listening. The final step here is to preview the audio in the context of your full mix again and rerun the ‘bypass’ test. Make sure you’re happy with the changes you’ve made before moving on

HOW TO REDUCE THE RESONANCE OF A VOCAL IN A ROCK SONG.

Removing The Harshness Of Synth Resonances.

Click to watch this section in the video

Building on how I used RESO to remove the issues in a vocal, for the synth I’ll explain how to use the ‘Calculate Targets’ feature. 


Load up RESO on your synth or music stem, then monitor a section of your track that you feel sounds a little harsh or resonant.


Click the ‘calculate targets’ button whilst you play your audio. RESO will identify any peaks that are disproportionately resonant compared to surrounding frequencies. 


Once the peaks are identified, you can either engage all the nodes or click them one by one to choose the specific nodes you wish to engage. From this starting point, you can then tweak and adjust the threshold and Q of the nodes to better suit your audio. 


You can still double click to create a node to combine your own nodes with the calculated targets. 

Fix issues in a music or synth stem


Solving The Resonances Found In A Percussion Sample

Click to watch this section in the video

Sometimes you’ll hear something sounding off in your mix, and It can be difficult to pinpoint where the issue lies. A great way to zero in on the issue is to preview your mix, then mute channels one by one until the issue disappears. 


This is a great way to find problems with percussive channels. They’re often on their own channel, and due to their punchy and transient nature, they stick out in the mix like a sore thumb if there’s something off, like if they’re resonant. 


Not all samples that you download are created perfectly. A sample that sounds perfectly balanced in the context of one mix might sound dreadful in another production. 


With Hi-hats, getting the tone and balance right is crucial to a pro-sounding mix. If they sound too loud, this will affect the brightness of the mix, and your vocals might sound ‘dull’ comparatively. 


You’ll often find only a couple of resonances in percussive elements like hi-hats, toms, clicks, and snares. Reducing their strength with dynamic reduction is the best way to even them out and get them sounding clean in the context of your song. 


Load RESO on your hi-hat channel, use the visual display and the frequency sweep to find the problematic frequencies, then double click to create the node. Adjust the threshold and Q whilst listening in solo. Once you feel you’ve got a great sound, listen to the full mix, and make further adjustments if need.

Solving The Resonances Found In A Percussion Sample


Reducing Resonance In A Full Mix When Mastering. 

Click to watch this section in the video

As mentioned in the introduction, even if your channels sound fine individually, resonances can build up when all the elements are combined. You may decide to try and find the issues on the individual channels, but that’s not always practical or even possible. 


Adding a subtle touch of resonance control to the overall master can bring about amazing clarity and definition to your sound. But it’s important to go easy here as you don’t want to carve out too much and make your mix sound hollow or thin.


When using RESO on a bus or master channel, the key is to tickle the signal. Meaning, don’t push the threshold too hard, especially in the mids. Higher frequencies can handle a more significant threshold as long as the Q is also high (above 33).

Reducing Resonance In A Full Mix When Mastering


Conclusion

It’s incredible how different a mix can sound when the resonances are smoothed out. To get that pure and life-like sound gives the listener an immersive and pleasing experience. This is what we want to achieve to keep them engaged in our music.


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