A common way to create space in a mix for vocals is to use a compressor across the mix and use an external side chain fed by the vocal to dip the level of the track to make room for the vocal. This is a great technique but using a wide band compressor will dip the whole track against the vocal. To put it another way, it creates a wider “hole” in the mix than the vocal needs.
Using a multiband compressor and dipping only the area in which the vocal sits is possible, though multiband compressors can often be complex. A simpler and more effective way to create a “hole” of exactly the right size for the vocal to sit in is to use a pitch tracking EQ like Surfer EQ from Sound Radix.
By using the vocal as the source into the side chain of Surfer EQ the EQ can track the pitch of the vocal and cut the rest of the track by just the right amount and in just the right place to create room for the vocal to be clearly audible above the elements of the mix with which it might otherwise compete.
What Is Surfer EQ?
Surfer EQ from Sound Radix is a pitch tracking EQ, this means that it analyses and tracks the pitch of incoming audio and so can adjust the level of specific harmonics in a pitched sound, ensuring a consistent timbre as different notes sound. This is similar to keyboard tracking filters in synthesisers but this can be used on any monophonic audio.