5 Top Tips For Vocal Recording
5 Top Tips For Vocal Recording
If you’ve read our post on noise reduction you’ll be aware that we believe the most important aspect about making a great clean track comes in the audio capture process. Most of us have a limited number of microphones or a budget to obtain a vocal mic. The good news is that with a bit of attention to detail, it’s more than possible to capture a great vocal ready for the mix. Here’s our top 5.
1 – Find a good location to record
Set up in a spacious room that has no reflective surfaces. The microphone should be secured on a shock mount at a comfortable height for the performer. Place a rug on the floor. By doing this you’ll prevent foot noise and rumbles from the ground travelling up the mic stand which will of course end up being recorded with the performance. These few easy steps will mean that you’re already off to a great start.
2 – Use a pop shield
A pop shield does exactly what it says on the tin. It shields the recording from pops by preventing the capture of over-emphasised p’s and t’s. That’s not to say that the performer will be putting any specific effort into these two letters. Loads of words contain syllables starting with these consonants, which when articulated tend to sharply move a lot of air, resulting in an audible pop. You’ll hear it when you listen back to a track without having used a shield.
A pop shield won’t cost you a bomb and if you really can’t stretch your budget for one, you can DIY it by stretching a pair of tights or sock over a frame made with a wired coat hanger.
3 – The effect of proximity
Once you are set up and ready to hit the record button, it’s worth experimenting a bit with the distance from the microphone to get your desired sound. Close proximity is well suited to a sweet and delicate sound where pronunciation and strong diction is necessary. For more powerful melodies and dynamic belts, standing further away will allow room for increases in volume without clipping. Standing further away will however increase the signal to noise ratio, which will be exaggerated with post processing. To help overcome this problem read our post on noise reduction.
4 – Record dry
It is tempting to add reverb and compress the sound such that you feel more comfortable with the take. That’s fine if you’re simply monitoring in this way, but recording the effects to the track is a bad idea. Once the effect has been captured you’ll never be able to take it off. Record the track dry, and be happy with the performance. You can then start adding effects to the desired level.
5 – Avoid unnatural manual editing
The gaps between sentences and words will contain the acoustic personality of the room, breathing, and the natural sounds which lead up to deliverance of the vocal. Watching some producers manually chop out all the breathing sounds between the vocal phrases can sometimes be a frustrating thing to watch watch. Of course it depends on the style of music and what you are trying to achieve, but often these edits are unnecessary and also time consuming. There’s a natural beauty about the organic way we sing, including the various utterances we make. This gives a song more personality and makes it sound less robotic with the vocal ducking in and out of the track.
Here at online session we offer professional top lines to tracks, backing vocals and editing.
We’d love to her from you in the comments below, and as always welcome you to get in touch with us for any further info, or just for a chat.Tags: microphone, pop shield, top tips, vocal recording, vocal session