Recording Vocals

Recording Vocals

Here are my Steps for recording vocals

Step 1: The first thing you should do is to put the microphone on a stand. Don’t let the singer touch the microphone. This will add noise as the microphone is moved around. Place it just a little higher and angle it downward so the singer will tilt their head slightly upwards when they sing. This will give you a better performance. If the singer must hold something due to habit then give them a microphone that is not plugged in to hold.

Step 2: Use a Pop Filter: A pop filter is something you place in front of the microphone. It filters out wind sounds from P or B words. These words can cause a meter to spike. A pop filter takes away unwanted wind noise, plus if positioned right it will keep your singer from eating the microphone. If the singer is right on top of the microphone you will get more bass then normal due to the proximity effect.

Vocals 2Step 3: If any lyrics are written down on paper put them on a music stand for the singer to read. It is very disappointing to hear the rustle of paper in your perfect vocal track. This could ruin a good take.

Step 4: Use a condenser microphone: The condenser will make any vocals sound better because it will capture the higher frequency range often found in vocals.

In some rare cases you may have a loud vocal singer or someone who likes to scream into the microphone depending on the style of music. If this is the case then using a condenser microphone may make the track sound distorted. This is because the SPL rating is usually lower on condenser microphones. Even though condensers sound better than dynamic microphones for vocals, Use a dynamic microphone if your singer wants to scream into the microphone. Some condensers may allow you to cut by 10 db or 20 db, try that first. Whatever you do don’t record the distorted sound of someone screaming in the microphone and think you will fix it later in the mix!

Step 5: Use a Hardware Compressor: No one sings at the same volume level all the time. Sometimes the volume level can change while a signer is singing the same note. A good compressor limiter will keep the signal from clipping giving you unwanted distortion. It will also boost the signal when the signer sings to soft. It will give you an overall better recording level. Too much compression will color the sound and it could ruin a good vocal take so be careful when using compression.

vocals 1Step 6: Send a little reverb back through the mix: Record the vocals dry with no effects, but send some reverb back to the vocalist so they can hear the effect while they record their track. This will cause him or her to give a better performance.

Step 7: Try layering vocal tracks: Another Thing you can do to thickening your vocal tracks is to record another identical vocal track. This will add thickness. No one sings the exact same thing all the time. Tiny variations in the second track will add a great doubling effect.

When recording vocals it is good to have as little room reflections as possible. You want a treated room that will absorb sound. Unfortunately extra rooms and vocal booths are kind of pricey for small home project studios. You can get around this by using Gobos. A Gobo is a slang term that refers to a movable acoustic isolation panel. Gobo panels are used to control the acoustical properties of a room by absorbing and diffusing sound waves. A vocal booth or a room for vocals would be better, but that would not be practical for a home studio on a tight budget.

Yet another solution would be using a product similar to the one in the picture on the right. This is called a portable vocal booth. It does a great job suppressing room reflections. It also works well when you want to record other things too. It is an interesting way to record an acoustic guitar. You can pick these things up for around 300 bucks which is much cheaper than a real vocal booth.