Kim Lajoie's blog

Editing manually – don’t let the computer do it for you!

by Kim Lajoie on January 20, 2012

Joe Gilder: Inevitably the automagical software will try to “fix” things that don’t need fixing. Or it will stretch the audio and leave noticeable, audible artifacts [sic]. Read the whole post. Don’t just hit the magic ‘fix’ button and hope the software knows what’s best for your music. Joe writes about manual editing in the […]

A simple explanation of compression? No, actually it’s quite comprehensive

by Kim Lajoie on January 15, 2012

And in a good way. Keith Freund: Shorter attack and release times (smaller numbers) will make vocals sound more “energetic,” louder, and will also bring out the breaths between words. Longer attack and release times (higher numbers) will make vocals “punchier” which obviously isn’t as important for vocals as it is for other instruments like […]

Everything you wanted to know about de-essing but were too afraid to ask

by Kim Lajoie on November 28, 2011

Simply, de-essing is a process for reducing the level of sibilance in a vocal recording. What is sibilance? Sibilance is characterised by ‘sss’ and ‘ts’ sounds (and, to a lesser extent, ‘t’ and ‘k’ and ‘z’ sounds) in the English language. Unlike vowels, sibilant sounds have a relatively low (in volume) pitched component and a […]

Examples of using group busses

by Kim Lajoie on September 19, 2011

Group busses are a versatile and useful mixing technique. They’re often used in a variety of different situations: Distorted guitar stacks. It’s quite common to layer or doubletrack (or tripletrack or quadrupletrack) distorted guitar parts in order to make them sound bigger. Sometimes the layers are all recorded with the same setup (same guitar, same […]

How to make space for the vocals in the mix

by Kim Lajoie on September 6, 2010

Don’t! That’s right – don’t make space for vocals in the mix. When assembling a mix, there are roughly three scenarios you might encounter when working with vocals: The vocal is the main foreground instrument. In this case, the best results will be had by starting the mix with the vocal. If you’ve already got […]

Five ways to deal with an ugly vocal

by Kim Lajoie on May 31, 2010

Every once in a while as a producer or engineer, a project will come your way with one of those singers. With an… unconventional voice. Maybe they’re inexperienced. Maybe their voice is just like that. Maybe they’re doing it deliberately because they like it. Whatever the reason, you’ll recognise this kind of project by that […]

Eight ways to write effective backing vocals

by Kim Lajoie on January 25, 2010

Backing vocals are easily overlooked in the production process. After all, the lead vocal was hard enough to record and mix, why would you want to record a bunch of more vocal parts? Backing vocals are not always the best choice for a song or a production, but often they can add substance and reinforcement […]


by Kim Lajoie on August 17, 2009

Masking is a little-understood concept that is important to composers and mix engineers. Essentially, masking is what happens when one sound makes it difficult to hear another sound. An obvious example of this is two instruments playing the same note, with one instrument sounding much louder than the other. This can happen with notes or […]

Backing Vocals

by Kim Lajoie on August 5, 2009

Recording backing vocals is a little different to recording the lead vocals. Rather than recording them forwards, then backwards, then forwards, I simply record them one section at a time – typically four or six takes for each part. I prefer a combination of syncronised harmony vocals (in time and harmony with the lead vocal) […]