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Cubase 11: Vocal Rebalancing With SpectraLayers One | Audio

Hear For Yourself By John Walden
Published August 2021

These audio examples accompany my Cubase workshop in SOS August 2021, in which i explore how to use Cubase 11’s SpectraLayers One to rebalance vocals in already-mixed stereo files.

Cubase 11 Vocal Rebalance Audio Example 01

Adjusting the Sensitivity slider. This audio example is split into four sections as follows: (i) the original stereo mix (using a short ‘verse’ section of a song with a female vocal); (ii) the isolated vocal stem obtained with the Sensitivity slider set to zero; (iii) as before but with the Sensitivity slider set to +0.8; (iv) as before but with the Sensitivity slider set to -0.8. As described in the main article, different amounts and types of artefacts are present in the isolated vocal track for the different sensitivity settings.

Cubase 11 Vocal Rebalance Audio Example 02

Vocal gain rebalancing. This audio example is split into five sections as follows; (i) the original mix for reference; (ii) a gain reduction of -3dB is applied to the vocal stem; (iii) a gain increase of 3dB is applied to the vocal stem; (iv) a gain increase of 6dB is applied to the vocal stem; (v) as for (iii) but with additional reverb and delay (deliberately overcooked so you can hear the effects) applied to the vocal stem within Cubase.

Cubase 11 Vocal Rebalance Audio Example 03

Creating an instrumental backing track; this audio example follows the format of Audio Example 1 but shows the influence of the Sensitivity slider on the production of the instrumental backing track. The four sections contain the original stereo plus three versions of the backing track stem obtained with zero, +0.8 and -0.8 Sensitivity settings respectively.

Cubase 11 Vocal Rebalance Audio Example 04

Creating a remix based upon the isolated vocal stem; this audio example is split into seven sections as follows; (i) the original isolated vocal stem for reference; (ii) vocal stem plus solo piano; (iii) vocal stem plus strummed guitar; (iv) drums and bass added (v) a further guitar part is added; (vi) a synth part replaces the guitars; (vii) guitars and synth included to create a (deliberately OTT) dense mix. The progressively denser mix eventually masks the artefacts heard within the isolated vocal stem.

Cubase 11 Vocal Rebalance Audio Example 05

Unmixing a vocal from a denser stereo mix. This example uses a somewhat denser mix version of the same song section (it contains additional keyboard, synth bass and harmony vocal parts) and applies the same unmixing process.

The results are split into seven sections as follows; (i) the original dense mix; (ii) the instrumental stem obtained; (iii) the isolated vocal stem obtained. Sections (iv) to (vii) then apply gain changes to the vocal stem of -3dB, +3dB, +6dB and +3dB with additional reverb/delay. While the vocal stem undoubtedly has more artefacts (some caused by the presence of the backing vocals) than the extraction achieved from the less dense mix, the backing track and rebalanced mixes are still very effective.

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