Everything is in the right place, the vocals are recorded, it's time to mix everything down. Mute the instrumental and leave the vocals by itself. Before applying any effect to the vocals, clean them a little. Remove anything before the actual vocals, remove the parts where you messed up. If you've recorded multiple vocals, synchronize that.

There is a chain of effects that are usually applied to the vocals: Compression + De-Esser + Eq + Reverb

Compression is an effect that allows the vocal to stand better in the mix. It will make the soft part of your vocals to stand up, and will tone down the loud parts. Be aware, it's an effect pretty hard to master, and sometimes can damage the quality of the voice. Don't put too much compression to the voice. A 4:1 ratio is pretty fair. Lower the threshold, and add some gain to your desired level. Almost every VST compressor out there has vocal presets. You can use those to get some ideas.

This plugin will remove the excess sibilant sounds in your recordings. This plugin can be used before or after the EQ. Your choice. It can be found in the Waves Bundle Pack, and has some presets for male/female voice.

By applying equalization to your vocal you'll be adding sound color to it. It's also used to get rid of unwanted frequencies as possible. With voice, it's really important to take out the sub bass frequencies because the human voice does not project that. So, with vocals just cut down everything under 150 hz. The picture above has a vocal Eq example.

Any Reverb plugin has many features, and it's really hard to understand them all. You must experiment with it to make it sound the way you want. Vocal reverb is applied different from genre to genre. If you're making a rock song, you need a little more reverb. If you're recording a rap song, you need just a touch of it. Experiment is the word when it comes to reverb.

You can also add chorus or stereo delay effects to your vocals, but that depends on your taste.

Waves provides the best VST plugins on the market, used by audio engineers in large recording studios. They are around $200, a small price to pay for such high standards.

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