How To Record Vocals Like A Pro!

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Learning how to record vocals is a great way to ensure that anytime you record a new track you will have a better and better result. The question is, are you doing it the best way you can?

When it comes to using recording software like GarageBand, Mixcraft, Acid, Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase or Audacity you will find out that the basic steps are the same in order to use software to record great vocals.

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How To Record Vocals Like A Pro!

How To Record Vocals Like A Pro!
How To Record Vocals Like A Pro!

I will take you into few tips on learning how to record vocals better and better and remember, practice makes perfect so keep trying.

It’s all about the microphone!

When it comes to picking the right microphone, there isn’t a specific right microphone so I would recommend a large diaphragm condenser microphone is a popular choice for vocals.

Most of the time these types of microphones are pretty sensitive and pick up the subtleties of vocals well. Another thing is that they give a more warm sound yet capture the high frequencies in order to deliver a pleasing vocal recording. That’s what we want, right?

If your room is kind of open and you find difficult to limit the amount of reverb in your recordings then you should go for a dynamic microphone.

Dynamic microphones are less sensitive and more directional compared to other large diaphragm condenser microphones.

Where did you position your microphone?

Since most of the rooms in homes don’t sound great acoustically you should consider recording in the middle of the room so you’ll reduce the amount of noise reflected back into your microphone from the surrounding walls.

Why do you want to do that? Because sound waves travel past your microphone, bounce off the wall behind it and come back around and bounce off the wall behind you.

What happens next is that it goes back into the microphone. All this activity can cause your recordings to have a more “open” sound and in some cases, a “boxey” sound if recording in a particular poor sounding room.

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Level the height of the microphone according to your mouth.

You don’t have to stretch to reach the microphone, all you have to do is set the microphone level with your mouth for a comfortable recording position.

By placing it too high you end up forcing yourself to have to reach up and strain (a big no-no) or too low for you to slouch when recording (not comfortable at all).

If you want to get the best possible vocal recording then you want it at a comfortable height that will result in great results.

A nice trick is marking with a marker at the right height once you find a height that works for you so that you can always return back to the exact position. (You’re welcome!)

Stay like 8 to 12 inches from the microphone when recording!

By doing this you won’t sound too bassy or thin and this will give you the most accurate representation of your voice.

When you’re too close to the microphone what happens is your voice will start sounding boomy and deeper.

If you want this on purpose to get deeper sound then that’s okay but as you back away from the microphone, your voice thins out. This is also known as the Proximity Effect.

giving yourself the 8 to 12 inches range will allow you to record a vocal recording that is true to your voice.

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Where did you drop that pop filter?!

When it comes to recording vocals always use a pop filter!

What is a pop filter? A pop filter is a piece of thin, stretchy fabric from over a piece of plastic in the shape of a circle but there are metal pop filters too.

Its purpose is to stop excessive pop sounds from being picked up in the microphone during recording.

There are words that start with “P” and “B” that don’t’ really sound well without a pop filter. It can also prevent air and “woofiness” from being picked up in the microphone.

Most of the time your pop filter will be attached to your microphone stand and will have a flexible arm that will allow you to position it in front of your microphone.

Always try to position the pop filter about 4 inches away from the microphone and position yourself about 4 inches away from the microphone. (This will allow you to stay in that 8 to 12 inches range that was mentioned earlier.)

Hug that wall with some moving blankets

This is a pretty quick trick but you can hung up on your wall, ceiling some moving blankets and it can help to reduce reverb in a poor sounding room and give you a pretty dry vocal recording.

Closed Back Headphones anyone?

You want to make sure you use over-the-ear closed-back headphones when it comes to recording vocals because these types of headphones will prevent sound from escaping and from being picked up in the microphone.

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Cold? Warm up before recording and take multiple takes.

If you’re recording in your own home studio you can record as many takes as you want, you should still do proper warm up exercises and get yourself ready before laying down any final vocal takes.

A good thing to do is to make warming up a part of your routine anytime you’re recording a music track.

A perfect take with loops and comp!

Most DAWs have the ability to loop your recording and do multiple takes. Then, you can choose sections from these takes to create a perfect vocal track. If you want the best possible vocal recording for your track, make sure to use this technique.

 

Switch on and plug in

As we mentioned earlier using a microphone is important but don’t forget to turn on your computer and plug in your microphone. If you’re getting one USB microphone, it will plug directly into one of the USB ports on your laptop or desktop computer.

If you’re using a non-USB it might require an audio interface. Just plug the microphone into the audio interface and then plug the audio interface into the computer.

Test the levels

A good practice is to always test the levels. If you’re recording a musician, ask him/her to sing a section of the song and watch the input level meter.

Re-record?

When recording you should decide whether you want to re-record the whole thing, or any smaller sections. remember, Don’t delete the original recording! You can simply mute it while you record another take on a separate track.

By that way you can choose the best bits from all takes at the end.

There you have it, How To Record Vocals Like A Pro!

What are some vocal recording tips that has helped you?

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