One of the most unclear questions in vocal editing.
I have been producing music for 12 years. This is one of the top 5 questions I get asked.
I’ll get right to it. The answer is, it depends. Bad answer I know. I always hate that answer.
It depends what genre you’re making, what your song goals are and among other things, if you’re trying to get on the radio.
Assuming we’re talking about a song that’s ready to go to radio, the song's vocals should be a little bit louder than everything else.
Here is a trick that one of my mentors taught me back in the day…
Turn the song volume down all the way until you can barely hear it. The only audible element left should be vocals. A little bit quieter than your vocals should be your drums.
This is the gain staging used by most of today’s pop and rap songs.
In order to test this out yourself, try it on your favorite song. Turn down the volume. Where do you hear the vocals in context of everything else?
Let this technique be your guide.