You’ve done it. You’ve crafted the perfect song, and it’s time to show it to the world. But something happens when you go to play the file.
The vocal recordings are terrible. There’s background noise, the volume slips in and out, and occasionally there’s a screech of static or patch of fuzz. This audio’s un-usable: you’re back to square one.
So how can you prevent this nightmare scenario from coming to pass?
All you have to do is listen up because we’re here to give you 5 pro tips for recording vocals perfectly every time! Are you ready? Then let’s get started.
1: Use The Right Tools For The Job
Would you use a wrench to hammer a nail in? No, because that’s not the right tool for the job. A similar idea applies to vocal recordings.
For example, adopting the “one mic solves all” approach is a bad idea: different mics will better handle different sounds. The two main types are condenser and dynamic microphones.
Condenser microphones are microphones with a small, lightweight diaphragm inside to capture sound. As a result, they record high-frequency instruments like the piano or acoustic guitar best. Dynamic mics have bigger diaphragms and are more equipped for lower frequency sounds.
Mic selection can be tricky, you’ll want to analyze the type of genre youre working with as well as the type of singer you’ll be working with if you’re recording someone else. If you’re going to bew working on pop or rock, a dynamic microphone like thge Shure SM7B might do just the trick, although that might not always be the case. In most styles of music, most producers will go for either a condenser or a tube microphone due to their polar patterns. In this scenario, some of the most sought after microphones are the Neumann U87 and the Telefunken u47, however there are more affordable options like the Rode NT1 that will give you a great result. So when picking a microphone, always consider the style of music you’ll be working with and remember to do your research!
If you’re not sure what gear you might need, taking a look at equipment lists professional companies use may prove helpful.
2: Take Steps To Make Post-Production Easier
Eventually, you’ll get to mixing and mastering your track. So as much as it’s a headache now, take steps to make it easier on yourself in the long run.
Need an example? Track your vocals in mono, but route your effects, such as delay and reverb to a stereo track. While you should still check those mixes in mono, recording the effects in stereo will give your vocals a more vibrant and rich quality.
Another example is to study good mic technique: how far away should someone stand, how should they stand, etc. This way, you can coach your vocalists to avoid mistakes that you’d have to deal with in the editing process.
3: Don’t Have A Pop Filter? Get One
A pop filter is a special “guard” built to help disperse the intensity of air that comes when you say “hard” letters like B, T, P, etc. Without this guard, you run the risk of overloading your vocal recordings whenever these letters show up in your vocals.
Pop filters are pretty inexpensive too, so if you can spare the funds to get one, we recommend it.
4: Check The Acoustics
The place where you record your vocals is as important as the tools you use to record those vocals. Recording in a room with bad acoustics can make you sound hollow or weak. So make sure to treat the room you’re going to record in with techniques like placing foam panels on the walls to absorb sound waves or putting things in to diffuse the sound.
Running tests ahead of time is also a great idea. Nothing worse than recording only to find out that there’s a problem testing beforehand would have found.
5: Keep The Singer Comfortable
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean springing thousands of dollars to pamper their every need.
It’s as simple as applying a reverb effect through the singer’s headphones while they are performing. This helps to drown out some of the tiny imperfections singers can have in their normal voice so the singer can feel free to relax and give it all they’ve got.
Start Recording Vocals
Congrats! You are now equipped with 5 tips you need to help you with recording vocals as perfectly as possible!
If you’re interested in learning more about the process of recording and mixing music, check out the other posts on our blog! So until next time: break a leg and keep on singing.