Every song is unique and is designed with its own style, but it goes without saying that the vocals of your track are the main focal point for your listener. This is the part of a track they’ll listen to, relate to, and resonate with. This is why it’s so important to invest time in making sure they’re recorded to a professional level. While there’s no definitive way to record vocals, there are plenty of things you can consider in order to achieve the best results.
Today, we’re going to explore several tips to help you achieve this professional level, ensuring your vocals are recorded to the highest possible quality so that they make maximum impact.
1. The Room
The most important factor you’ll want to think about, even before you start thinking about your mics, is the room that you’re recording your vocals in. The acoustics of a room will be a definitive factor as to the quality that your audio is recorded.
If you’re recording in a small room, the sound is going to reflect closer together, resulting in less audio decay, but you may find the sound thinner, and it could even sound strange. In a larger room, your vocals may sound boomy and produce an echo or reverb-like sound. Of course, each room is going to vary dramatically, so if you’re recording your vocals at home, your best bet may be to try recording in each room to see what works best. Go for a medium-sized room that feels balanced and doesn’t have many objects in it that may distort your sound. Sound-proofing can also be extremely beneficial.
2. Choosing the Right Mic
Depending on the type of vocals you’re going to be recording, you’re going to want the right mic for the job. Of course, singing opera is much different from rapping, so purchasing dedicated mics is a great way of helping you record the best sound.
Likewise, if you’re not singing, but say recording the vocals for a podcast, there’s an extensive range of shotgun mics for your DSLR camera that can help you record the vocals more suitably. Whatever vocals you’re recording, it pays to research the best mic for the job.
3. Setting Up Your Mic Correctly
When you’ve got the right mic for the job, the next task is to set it up. Place the diaphragm of the mic, so it’s facing your lips and make sure you test the sound with headphones, so you can hear the output properly. About 2-3 inches from your lips should be ideal. It’s also a great idea to use a pop filter for when you make ‘p’ and ‘t’ sounds. This is an essential piece of kit in nearly every type of vocals you’ll be recording.
4. Experiment with Levels
Since every type of recording is different, there’s no hard and fast rule as to what levels you should be using, so it’s important to experiment so you can find the setup that works best for you. You’ll also want to check the computer to make sure your levels aren’t peaking or clipping which will ruin the quality of your sound.
5. Don’t Settle for One Take
Perhaps the most important tip to remember is the fact that you’re probably not going to get things perfect in the first time. This means recording the same piece at least 3-5 times, giving yourself a range of options on what sounds best for you. This is also important because it may take several takes to warm up your mic and your voice, ensuring you nail the version you’re going to use.