Good vocal recordings are the ultimate discipline in any production. The subject is challenging, but a great vocal sound is not that difficult to achieve if you follow a few basics.
Vocal recordings in the home studios and project studio with the proper acoustic, dynamic mics for proximity effect, condenser microphone,
Are you looking for working on good vocals, acoustic treatment, a pop filter, etc., for your vocal recording in a vocal booth, a recording studio, and other kinds of recording sessions in your living room?
The vocal sound is an important part of your song to sound good. With Eventeus.com, you can now find the best vocal recording professionals able to properly set up the mic stand and work the polar pattern and high frequencies, with a cardioid microphone with a small diaphragm and other recording tools.
What is Vocal Recording?
Two factors determine a successful vocal recording: You need a technically good signal and — more importantly — an emotionally credible performance. It is essential to reconcile this.
Often the result stands or falls with the preparation. If both the vocalist and the recording engineer know what to do, nothing stands in the way of a good result. That means: the more experienced all those involved go to work, the greater the chance that no unforeseen events disturb the session’s flow — and that is usually the most important thing.
Vocal recordings are psychology, but only if the vocalist feels comfortable and can bring creative and artistic peak performance. And that’s what it takes: most of the time, vocals are the most critical element of the production, and when the vocals kick in, it can take the whole piece to a higher level.
The reverse case can also occur: If the vocal performance is not convincing, then even the fattest sound and sophisticated groove programming will not mask the amateurish impression. However, one should beware of excessive perfection. Just because you did everything “right” doesn’t mean that the result is convincing on an emotional level. With today’s post-processing options, a “usable” result can be conjured up from almost every performance. Perfect intonation and the absence of any background noise do not make a good song.
The goal should always be to record a vocal track that best conveys the song’s emotional state and message. And the courage to make “objective mistakes” is part of the repertoire. If the vocals have a charming impression, then a little noise cannot destroy them — or contribute to a specific sound impression.
How to record Vocals?
A minimum of technology is required so that the recording chain does not become an eye of a needle that does not allow a successful sound. You can also work with a mixer and the studio computer’s onboard sound card, but certain hurdles cannot be overcome with this minimal configuration.
First and foremost, one should pay attention to the microphone. There are no upper limits on the price scale. Still, many expensive (vintage) particular parts require special attention when used and are not necessarily recommended for beginners if they are affordable. Some voices harmonize particularly well with specific microphones. Still, once you get into the field of an extensive microphone collection, firstly, you have to invest a lot, and secondly, the chance increases that you will go wrong.
To get started, we recommend a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that sounds as clean and neutral as possible and covers a wide range of applications. Maybe it doesn’t have quite as much character as a specialist, but it will also produce a decent result with every voice.
The market here offers an almost endless range in all price ranges.
For louder voices or rock vocals in general, a dynamic microphone is ideal, which on a good preamp can also sound “more expensive” than the price suggests.
The preamp should, of course, harmonize with the microphone. Experimentation is required here — and a good preamp for the audio interface can also deliver good results to start with. We have put together some equipment tips for you on the shoulder on the right and the next page.
Preparations before vocal recordings
As a vocal recording professional, you should already show sensitivity during the preparations. The discussion while setting up the technology can be a nice warm-up for the session. Still, nothing is more deadly for the beginning of the recording than that the singer is already impatient in front of the mic, and you have to hide in drawers in a panic search for cables.
So, it’s usually best to drive when everything is set up in tip-top condition before the vocalist enters the studio. A small checklist can help here: Is everything well-wired? Headphones in place? …
It can be beneficial to test the whole track by putting yourself in front of the microphone before the singer is there. Here you should also make use of the phase rotation switch on the preamp. If the cabling is wrong at any point, the monitor signal on the headphones may be out of phase, and this should be avoided. It would help if you tried both the switch positions — one fits, the other doesn’t.
A pop screen is also a helpful tool. It not only helps to suppress plosive sounds but also to maintain an even distance from the microphone.
Monitor the sound
You should consider a routing in which you can set the monitor level (or the ratio of vocals and playback) separately from the actual recording level. Direct monitoring is possible without having to go through the converters and the system latency.
Many preamps have a unique monitoring output that can work wonders with a small monitor mixer on which vocals and playback are brought together. If this is not possible, the system should be operated with the lowest — fail-safe — latency and clarified whether the vocalist could handle it. A small space on the monitor vocals is sometimes helpful, but under no circumstances should the reverb be too long, which can be critical for the intonation.
The monitor signal is also essential and should be checked before the singer hears it. If the headphone sound is much too loud or gets feedback, then the mood is in the can before a sound has landed on the hard drive.
Most of the time, the home or project studio’s acoustic conditions are not ideal for recordings. It would be best if you collected empirical values as to where in the room you can achieve the best results.
The vocal recording
There are different philosophies regarding the actual recording signal path. Either you record the vocals as pure as possible or give them a little analog “push” during the recording using a compressor and/or EQ.
However, especially if you have little experience, the former is to be preferred. You do not accidentally record an error, and you have all the options for post-processing later.
It is recommended to record with 24 bits. If you leave around 6 dB of headroom above the singer’s loudest passages, you still have a recording of about 24-bit resolution. You don’t need a compressor for recording these days; you should only use it if you really know what you are doing — and even then, not too blatant. Experienced engineers also like to use the preamp potentiometer.
You should avoid using an EQ when recording. If it seems necessary, you should better solve the problem elsewhere and experiment with microphone selection, distance, and positioning, for example.
What is the best mic for Vocal Recording?
Are you looking for a good studio vocal microphone? Many singers and producers think of microphones first, such as the often costly microphone classics for vocal recording. These studio mics are consistently a good choice — if you don’t have to be careful about price.
In most cases, a large-diaphragm condenser microphone is used.
But you can also record with other microphones, such as live vocal microphones.
Small diaphragm condenser microphones or the two types of dynamic microphones, moving coil microphones and ribbon microphones, are also suitable. Even typical live vocal microphones, which are usually held in hand on stage, are theoretically suitable. As with all dynamic microphones, however, the highs are a little weaker, and often the resolution is also not that high.
There are two fundamentally different ways in which a micro can convert sound into voltage. The capacitor principle is what is used in most cases. The advantage: Extremely thin skins (membranes) are used, which can move rapidly and undisturbed. As a result, these microphones are very detailed, pick up different frequencies reasonably evenly, and, theoretically, have good treble reproduction. Therefore, they are often the first choice in studios when recording vocals. We estimate the use of condenser mics for vocal recordings to be a good 90%.
However, this does not automatically mean the end of the dynamic converter principle. So-called moving coil microphones, of which the Shure SM58 is undoubtedly the best known, are also used now and then in the studio for vocal recordings.
How to record vocals in the studio?
There is one thing when recording vocals that always apply. That has to be right in advance: The performance is more important than any technology or music equipment you may have in your recording studio! If the singer does not give 100% in front of the microphone, you will always hear it in your vocal recording.
The best vocal recording tips
- The room you are recording in plays a huge role in recording vocals. Therefore, you should try some test recordings in different places and then hear where it sounds best.
- If you hear too much from your recording room, you can use diffusers and absorbers to reduce the cooldown time. In addition to the commercial (and not always inexpensive) methods, a bookshelf, a plant, or a couch can also help.
- The correct microphone position is essential for good recordings. Not every singer has to be recorded from the same position and distance.
- The consonant “S” creates unwanted sibilants in many singers, which you later have to remove with an EQ. A simple way of eliminating sibilant sounds while recording is to position the microphone on the side.
- If you position the microphone above the puff of air and to the side of the singer’s mouth, the membrane should point towards the mouth and be 10-20 centimeters away from it.
What’s the best Vocal Recording Software?
Recording programs are a dime a dozen. But how do you find the right one?
In reality, practically, no one will come to a clear statement because no recording program meets every requirement universally. It means extensive research in advance of purchasing audio recording software for newcomers to music production or those switching.
If you do a lot of projects in a recording studio, you should buy Pro Tools.
Checklist for buying your recording software
- What operating system do you work with?
- Do you need the notation option?
- What is the format of your samples?
- Do you need virtual instruments?
- Are there any particular features that are particularly important to you?
- Are you planning to expand?
- How many projects do you manage with the recording software?
- Do others also work on your recording program?
- What is your budget?
Of course, there is no such thing as the best recording software, as everyone has different demands on a DAW. Tastes are different, and so in the end, it doesn’t matter who has the most expensive software, but who can work with it best.
The DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is the heart of your computer to start your project. There are now countless providers who specialize in this. Depending on what you plan to do in the future (band recording, songwriting, producing beats, etc.), I’ll show you the most common and widely used programs on the market.
Proven recording programs: Avid-Pro-Tools-Full Version-EDU-Student-Teacher-0
- Avid Pro Tools
- Steinberg Cubase
- Apple Logic Pro / X
- Cakewalk Sonar
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