Black and white shoegaze convert with crowd, band, and smoke

Mastering the Art of Mixing Shoegaze Vocals: A Comprehensive Guide

Shoegaze, with its ethereal and dreamy soundscapes, has always captivated listeners. Central to this genre is the art of mixing vocals that blend seamlessly with the lush instrumentation. But how do you achieve that dreamy vocal quality reminiscent of bands like Cigarettes After Sex? Let's embark on a journey to unlock the mysteries of mixing shoegaze vocals.

Laying the Foundation

Before diving into the effects, it's crucial to ensure the basics are right. A good vocal take is imperative. Ensure your vocals are in tune, and depending on the genre, consider using tools like auto-tune or melodyne. Once you have a solid vocal take, focus on foundational elements like compression, EQ, and saturation. If you're new to these, consider diving into specialized tutorials or guides.

The Magic of Pre-Delayed Hall Reverb

A hallmark of the shoegaze sound is the extensive use of reverb. But not just any reverb. For that dreamy vocal, consider using a pre-delayed hall reverb. This technique involves a delay between the dry vocal and the onset of the reverb, creating a distinct separation that adds depth and dimension. Tools like Valhalla Vintage Verb can be instrumental in achieving this sound.

Introducing Dreamy Delays

To further enhance the ethereal quality, introduce a dreamy delay. This delay, especially when automated, can add a dynamic layer to the vocals, making them float and drift in the mix. Using tools like Valhalla Delay, with its ducking feature, ensures the delay doesn't overpower the vocals but complements them.

Experiment, Experiment, Experiment

Once you've got the basics down, it's time to let your creativity run wild. Try out different effects, from phasers to chorus effects. Tools like Valhalla's Supermassive can offer a plethora of options to experiment with. Remember, the key is to not be afraid of trying something new. Sometimes, the most unexpected effects can lead to the most mesmerizing results.


Achieving that perfect shoegaze vocal mix is a blend of understanding the basics and allowing room for creativity. With the right tools and a willingness to experiment, you can create vocals that transport listeners to dreamy landscapes. So, grab your DAW, and let's start mixing!

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