USED: Noel Soto - "Most important thing with editing vocals is having good vocals in the first place"

In our blog series "USED" we will be featuring established as well as upcoming producers, who are using our vocal samples. In the first post we talk to Noel Soto - a young New Jersey music maker. He has been using samples from our free vocal sample packs and is now an owner of the "All Vocals" and the "Vocals Starter". You can check his music and learn more about his music path and production techniques below.


Producer: Noel Soto (New Jersey)

Producing For: 3 years

DAW: FL Studio

Describe your music genre in your own words:

My genre is whatever I'm feeling in the moment. I have made many tracks varying from house, deep house, hip hop/trap, downtempo, synth pop, and more recently taking inspiration from rock music.

SoundCloud | Instagram

Did you have a single life event that got you into music production or did it happen gradually? Tell us more about how you started making music.

As far back as I can remember, music was always a part of me. As a small child I had a Yamaha electric piano that I would always practice on in my free time. I never had lessons and it was never something I was really serious about. Just a hobby. In the fifth grade I picked up playing trumpet in band class. I did this for three years until I finally decided in 7th grade that it wasn't for me.It wasn't until 3 years ago that I decided to download GarageBand on my new iPhone to pass the time with. The music I made on that app was by no means good but it definitely sparked the life of music in my life again. I had a friend a few years older than me that made his own music on his laptop and I would ask him questions about what he used and how he made his music. One summer we were hanging out and he let me use his laptop to make a beat. That was the first time I ever used Fl Studio. My birthday was coming up that summer and as a gift to me he gave me a copy of his Daw. The rest of that summer and the following months are a blur of me making music literally every day and spending every second that I wasn't making music researching music theory and watching YouTube tutorials on Fl studio and mixing and mastering. As the months went by I saw real improvements in my music such as in the quality and the composition itself. Even now I'm always looking to learn new things in music production and theory.

Do you think growing up in New Jersey helped shape your music style in any way? Tell us more about the local scene, your early influences and what kind of music do you like to listen to yourself.

I can't say for myself that the geological location itself really shaped my music style because I've never lived outside of New Jersey so I don’t have a reference point. That said, I do however think my music interests derived from my older sister, mom and step-dad. Between the three of them I was exposed to a lot of different styles such as pop music, rock, alternative rock, punk rock and hip hop. Artists such as Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, Three Days Grace, Kanye West, Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Madonna, Lady Gaga and everything in between really expanded my taste in music.

How often do you find time to produce music and do you consider music the dream path of your life?

I use to spend maybe five hours every day making music but more recently the past year and a half I've had less and less time due to work and school. Now a couple times a week I'll spend a couple of hours messing around in Fl Studio. Despite the amount of time I've had more recently to actually be “in in the studio" I know it is my one ambition that I will follow my whole life.

"It is my dream to have my music heard by millions and to be remembered decades to come."

Your last few songs in SoundCloud sound pretty well-mixed. Do you mix and master all your songs yourself?

Yes, I take pride in my work and always aim for originality in all my music. From drum processing to sound design on all of my synths all the way up to the final stages of my mix.

Can you name your top 3 plugiins for editing audio you use the most?

In processing audio the three main plugins I use are the Parametric EQ2 native to FL Studio, the Fruity Limiter for compression and Ambience by Magnus for reverb

If you could give a single piece of advice for music production to your younger self what that would be? (Or what do you consider as one of the most important lessons you have learned about making music since you have started?)

"One of the most important yet overlooked pieces of advice I could think of is to use reverb to enhance a sound, not to make it sound good."

In my earlier music I would drown every sound in reverb because I thought it made it sound better. I now realize that it muddied my mixes and made them sound washed up and incoherent. Another tip I would add is not every element in a track should stand out. Every sound needs a reason to be there and must complement the main focus of the track (drums/chords/baseline) not overpower it. I wasted so much time trying to make each sound sound good on its own without taking into consideration the space in the mix for other elements of the track. This was a huge issue for me as it often led to clashing frequencies, phase cancellation and a muddy mix.

How often do you use vocal samples in your tracks and what kind of vocals do you usually search for and enjoy using?

I actually don't really use vocal samples a lot because I find it hard to find free or cheap vocal samples I like that don't sound cliché to me. Also a lot of my music doesn't really have room for vocals in the mix. However I do write lyrics and plan on making full songs in the future once I either have more confidence in my voice or meet a talented vocalist I trust.

Do you have a specific process for editing vocals in particular, or plug-ins you always use for that purpose?

"The most important thing with editing vocals is having good vocals in the first place."

This means good acoustics and a talented singer. That said I don't do a lot of vocal processing unless its it's the style I'm going for. I always use an EQ to remove harsh and unwanted frequencies, a compressor and a small amount of reverb for space.

How did you process the vocal sample/s in your “Imagine your dream” track that’s part of our free vocal sample pack? Please share as much details as possible on any plugins or techniques you used.

The vocal processing for Imagine your dream is actually very simple. Keep in mind it is one of my older tracks and I have learned a lot since producing it. Imagine your dream features 2 samples from the free vocal sample pack. “Imagine your dream" and “I can feel it in me".  To start off I pitched the vocals down 4 semitones to fit the key of my track. I also made a duplicate of the “Imagine your dream" vocal which I pitched 3 semitones up from the original pitch (seven semitones apart from the main vocal) which plays every other time for a nice harmony to keep things interesting. I duplicated each sample and dragged them into Edison. I used the blur tool to create a wishy washy version of the vocals that I blended with the original dry signal. I then routed all samples to the same mixer track. I used three plugins. The Parametric EQ2 to cut the lows and remove any harsh frequencies, the fruity limiter for compression and Fruity reverb 2 to put the vocals in a large space. Looking back I could have used my own advice and used less reverb on the vocals and some other elements of the track.

Do you see yourself as a music artist touring and playing your music live, or rather staying in the studio and producing music for other people?

I don't really see myself doing a lot of live music but it is something I would definitely like to try out. I prefer being in the studio making new music rather than replaying music I already made.

Do you have any upcoming releases in the plans? Have you considered releasing an EP or even an album? Tell us more on what’s next for you.

I have been wanting to put out an album for over a year now but every time I make a new track that I like, my previous music doesn't seem good enough to put out there to me. Also like I said I've had very little time to focus on my music. This summer however I plan on spending all of my free time to really work on some new music that I hopefully deem good enough to release under an album.


Do you want to get featured? Send us a track you have created using our vocal samples and we will consider featuring it in our blog.

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