Recording studio

5 tips for recording studio-quality vocals at home

Recording vocals can be an incredibly fun and rewarding experience. However, in order to get the best possible voice recordings at home, there are a few factors that you need to consider.

Let’s take a look at the most essential things you need to look at when recording your voice at home.

1. What type of microphone do you use?

Close-up of a black microphone head next to a pop screen.

The choice of microphone is going to be very important when recording your voice. There is a wide variety of microphones, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s worth covering the basics when finding your ideal vocal mic.

If you are new to voice recording and just want a quick and easy experience, you are better suited to using a USB microphone, such as the Blue yeti. USB mics offer an excellent blend of recording quality and convenience. They are incredibly easy to set up and require minimal technical ability to use – just plug the mic directly into your computer’s USB port and start recording.

One downside to using USB mics, however, is that you’d be sacrificing sound quality over XLR microphones. If you are looking for excellent voice quality then you should choose from the latter.


Related: USB or XLR Microphones: Which Should You Buy?

XLR microphones, on average, cost more than USB microphones and will require an audio interface, for example, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2– to connect to your computer. But, the end result is much better.

There are two main types of XLR microphones that you will need to consider when recording different types of voices: condenser microphones and dynamic microphones. For musical performances, large diaphragm condenser microphones, such as the Aston Origin or the RØDE NT1-A, are the standard for recording vocals in the studio and can also be used for recording instruments such as acoustic guitar.

The examples mentioned above are cardioid condenser microphones, which pick up sounds in front of them and slightly to the sides, while rejecting noises coming from behind them, perfect for picking up clear vocals.

On the other hand, if you are looking to record more aggressive vocals or vocals for a spoken environment, such as for a podcast or a show, you might be suitable for a dynamic microphone such as the Shure SM7B.

There isn’t a perfect microphone for everyone, which is why it’s worth researching the type of microphone you’ll need for your voice, taking into account your purpose, budget, and capabilities. techniques.

2. Consider the position of the microphone

A person wearing black headphones sings into a black microphone with a pop shield in between.

In addition to getting your microphone, where you place it is critical to recording your ideal voice.

As with the type of mic to get, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to where to place your mic. You should experiment with different distances until you find the right place to record your voice; monitoring your voice when you find the right position is a great way to help.

Looking at the two types of microphones mentioned in the previous point (condenser and dynamic), here are some general indications. Note that the majority of USB microphones are condenser mics, although a few can be dynamic mics, such as the Audio-Technica AT2005USB.

Condenser microphones are much more sensitive than their dynamic counterparts, which means it will be easier for you to capture more detail and nuance in your performance. For this reason, your distance from the microphone will affect the tone and character of your voice.

Related: How to Record Your Acoustic and Electro-Acoustic Guitar

Generally, you should keep a distance of 6 to 12 inches from your condenser microphone. Singing closer to the condenser mic will create an intimate and warm voice, while singing further will pick up the character of the room, as well as increase things like natural reverberation.

To keep a consistent sound in your recording, you shouldn’t try to vary your distance while singing, especially if your starting position is close to your microphone. In contrast, dynamic microphones are much less sensitive. You should aim to be much closer to your dynamic microphone than you would with a condenser microphone.

Experimenting with microphone placement is essential: everyone has different preferences when recording, and it’s best to find the distance that’s right for you.

3. Invest in an anti-pop shield

A black and white image of a microphone and pop shield.

It can be heartbreaking to record a perfect performance, just listen to it again and hear a “cracking” sound at various times, often when you sing or speak a plosive (i.e. anything that begins with a “p” or “b”) or by suddenly exhaling (as when singing in falsetto).

This is why you should always record your voice with an anti-pop shield (pictured above) between your mouth and your microphone. These circular frames fitted with layers of stretch fabric greatly reduce, if not eliminate, these “pop” sounds.

Even if your mic comes with a built-in pop filter, you should still have a pop shield as part of your voice recording setup. If you don’t have one, try it Aokeo professional pop filter.

4. Isolate your voice

A Neumann microphone in the foreground with an acoustic screen in the background.

In order to get the most user-friendly vocal recording to mix, you will need to make sure that your voice is well isolated. You’re essentially trying to create an environment that drowns out any excess noise from other rooms, while making sure that the room you’re recording in removes all acoustic artifacts.

When recording at home, a good step you can take to acoustically treat your room would be to invest in acoustic foam panels to fit the walls. You can also try covering your windows with sound absorbers, such as curtains or blankets / quilts.

In addition to treating your room, you can focus on isolating your voice using a reflection filter. While they are not a substitute for the acoustic treatment in your room, reflection filters can help isolate your voice, especially if you are using an omnidirectional microphone (that is, a microphone that picks up noise from all directions. ).

Effectively isolating your vocals will be essential in producing a clean, focused vocal recording suitable for the mix.

5. Make sure you feel comfortable

Verse Simmonds recording vocals.

One of the most important factors in effectively recording at home is making sure that you are comfortable, warmed up, and ready to record. It can be easy to forget when you just want to start recording, but checking you have the right mic, setting it up in the right position, and then performing a sound check can help you have a successful session.

Sometimes setting everything up on your own, especially if you are new to all of this, can feel like you’ve set up a house of cards that at any time could crumble, maybe even in the middle of it. ‘registration.

Trust yourself; you’ve taken the time and effort to make things right. The last and most important step is to make sure that you are mentally and physically ready to deliver exceptional vocal performance.

Integrate your voice into a larger project

Now that you know how to get high quality, clear sounding vocal tracks, it’s worth diving in and gaining as much experience as you can. The more you focus on each of these points, the better your vocal track will be.

As you begin to feel comfortable recording your vocals at home, why not incorporate them into a larger project, solo or in collaboration?

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