I wanted to walk through 8 things that will help you record your vocals like a pro. Right now is the greatest time in history to be making music and more specifically, making music in your home studio. We are now able to write, record and release music from our homes that can touch the world and I want to help you do that as much as possible.
Vocals are the main focus for most of modern recording so I wanted to discuss some really key things to keep in mind as you are either already, or thinking about recording yourself. If you follow these simple guidelines you’ll be tracking the best vocals yet in no time!
Make sure your input levels are not peaking and are at least 6DB below unity (0) on your fader.
If you can’t hear yourself try turning down all of the tracks in your project until you can hear your vocals clearly.
Once you’ve found a healthy volume, then turn your headphones up and make sure all of your levels are safe and not clipping.
Use A Pop Filter
A pop filter is the windscreen that is set up between the microphone and the vocalist.
This will help cut down on plosive sounds. Another great benefit of using a pop filter is it keeps a healthy distance between the singer and microphone.
Yes, you can edit out most plosive sounds in post production, however the better the signal going in, the less editing you will need to do.
Use A Mic Stand
Singing is very dynamic and at times inconsistent.
Using a mic stand will help give you a central location to sing into and you can control your dynamics much easier this way. When the mic is in a fixed position on a stand, you will know how close or far you need to be from your mic to make sure you are recording good levels.
Keep A Safe Distance
The distance from the mic may change depending on the intensity or the section of the song.
If you are singing an intimate verse, bridge or chorus try to stay 4-6 inches from the mic.
But, if you are belting a huge chorus or high note, you may need to back up 12 inches for more. Being aware of your distance is very important to capturing great sounding, clean vocal.
Use Sound Absorption
The quieter your room, the cleaner the vocal recording will be.
You could make your room quieter with acoustic treatment, recording in a closet full of clothes or with a sound-deadening attachment for your microphone.
If you are recording in a room with a lot of natural reverb it can make things very difficult as you start to compress, edit and effect the vocal.
Sing multiple takes of each section.
This way you will be able to go in and create a “comp” track of the best parts of each vocal take.
I like to have 3-4 takes of each section to choose from.
This way you can focus on singing with passion and emotion and then building your main take from the best sections of each take.
A great way to create a big vocal sound is through doubling.
Doubling is simply singing the same melody parts at least twice in addition to the lead vocal.
So for instance, you will record your lead chorus vocal then another and then another. Then at the mixing phase you will pan the additional vocals (one to the left and one to the right) This creates a full sound vocal.
Create Tracks For Each Section
I create new tracks fo each section of the song.
For instance, I will have a separate verse, chorus and bridge track in each session.
This way I can treat each vocal differently without having to do any automations on the effects.
In addition to this, I will have my left and right double tracks and I will also double any harmony vocals as well.
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