How to Master Vocals in FL Studios

by Seamus Islwyn ; Updated September 28, 2017

Mastering is the last step in producing a vocal track. The mastering process involves shaping the vocal's sound using a series, or "chain," of audio effects. A typical mastering chain consists of a linear phase equalizer, which alters the vocal's frequencies, a compressor, which smooths out changes in the vocal's volume, and a de-esser, which removes harsh sibilance from the recording. Use the FL Studio digital audio workstation's built-in audio effect plug-ins to set up a mastering chain for a vocal that you've recorded.

Launch FL Studio and open the vocal track that you want to master. Click "View," then click "Mixer" to open FL Studio's mixer. Click the "Master" channel.

Click the down-arrow icon next to the effect slot labeled "1." Select "Fruity Convolver." Click the down-arrow icon again and select "Presets," then click "Linear Phase EQ (Short Latency)."

Click "Equalizer" in the Convolver window, then click and drag inside the equalization window to adjust the parameters as desired. The higher you set a given point on the equalization curve, the louder that frequency is. Adjust the equalization curve so that the equalizer highlights desirable frequencies in the vocal and removes unwanted sounds.

Switch back to the FL Studio mixer window. Click the down-arrow icon in the second effects slot. Select "Fruity Compressor."

Set the "Ratio" knob in the Compressor window to approximately "4:1." Turn the "Attack" knob to "10." Set the "Release" knob to around "200." Turn the "Type" knob to "Soft."

Start playing the vocal. Turn the "Threshold" knob in the Compressor window to the left and turn the "Gain" knob to the right. Adjust these two controls until the vocal sounds smooth and full.

Return to the mixer window and add the "Maximus" effect to the third master effect slot. Open Maximus' "Presets" menu and select "De-Esser (Split Band)." This effect reduces hissing, noise and over-emphatic "ess" sounds in the vocal.

Open the "File" menu. Select "Export," choose an audio format, type a name for the vocal and press "Enter." You can now import the mastered vocal into a project.

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About the Author

Seamus Islwyn has been writing for radio, print and online publications since 2003, covering subjects from independent Canadian music to automobile smuggling in the Balkans. His work has appeared in the "Tirana Times" in Albania, and he also composes and produces electronic music. Islwyn holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from McGill University and a certificate in radio broadcasting from Humber College.

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