20 Quick tips on Recording Vox
Here are 20 quick tips from SonicJar on Recording those perfect Vocal tracks!!
1. Make sure the singer is well rehearsed, physically comfortable, and under no psychological pressure. Most singers perform best standing up in a room that has a comfortable but not over-warm temperature.
2. Take time to get the vocalist’s headphone mix right, and give them a little reverb to help them sing more confidently.
3. Always use a pop shield between the singer and the microphone. Failure to do so will almost certainly result in unnatural ‘pops’ on plosive ‘b’ and ‘p’ sounds that can’t be fixed afterwards.
4. Use a good microphone: it doesn’t have to be anything too special, but you should avoid low-cost ‘bargain’ models or those designed for use with home stereos or portable cassette recorders.
5. Pick a mic to suit the singer. Singers with thin or excessively bright voices may actually sound better with a dynamic mic, such as the ubiquitous Shure SM58, while those needing more of an open sound would benefit from a capacitor or back-electret mic.
6. Use the right mic pickup pattern: most project studio vocal recordings are made using a cardioid or unidirectional mic, as these pick up less sound from the sides and rear.
7. Put the mic at the right distance, because if you get too close to it you’ll increase the risk of popping and the level will change noticeably every time the singer moves slightly.
8. Minimise the room’s influence on your sound. The mic picks up both direct sound from the singer and reflected sound from the room.
9. Use mic technique to help control level: if the singer can be persuaded to pull back from the mic slightly when singing louder notes, there’s less risk of overloading the recorder or mic preamp, and you won’t need to use so much compression to even things up.
10. Where possible, mount the microphone on a stand.
11. Don’t settle for anything less than the best vocal performance you can get, and don’t expect to get it all perfect in one take.
12. Use suitable compression — even well-disciplined vocalists tend to sound uneven against the very controlled dynamics of a pop mix, so it helps to apply a little compression while recording.
13. Don’t be afraid to use more compression on the vocal track once it has been recorded. When the performance is in the bag you can try both subtle and heavy compression to see which works best with the track, though if you’re using a lot of compression you may need to gate the vocal track first.
14. Don’t gate the vocal while recording.
15. Don’t run amok with the EQ: on most budget desks the EQ only sounds decent when used sparingly or to cut unwanted frequencies.
16. Use reverb sparingly: vocals recorded in a dry acoustic environment need reverb to give them a sense of space and reality, but don’t use more than the song really needs.
17. If the vocals are very brightly recorded, they may cause any added reverb to sound sibilant. Instead of de-essing the vocals (which often sounds unnatural), try instead de-essing just the feed to the reverb unit.
18. If you do have to de-ess the vocals, try to use a split-band de-esser rather than the simpler compressor with an equaliser in the side-chain, as the split-band approach produces fewer undesirable side effects.
19. When you’re using prominent echo or delay effects on a vocal, try to get them in time with the song, either by calculating the delay needed to match the tempo or by using the tap-tempo facility if one is provided.
20. To ensure that the vocal is mixed at the right level in the song, listen to the mix from outside the room and see if the song has the same balance as something you might hear on the radio.
About us : SonicJar is a Music Production House based in Mumbai that produces genre-bending, accessible recordings for Ads, Commercials, Documentaries and short films that stand out of the crowd. We also provide Music Mixing and Mastering Service for the Indie Artists, Musicians and Bands!