The lead vocal is one of the most important elements in many recordings. These days’ good engineering practices can go a long way towards capturing the best vocals. However, if you really aim to slay your vocal session, there are a few basic tips you can follow in the recording studios that have proven useful again and again…
5 recording tips to help slay your next vocal session
- Recording space
First off, it’s always a good idea to record vocals in a tight space. You don’t want that room to be overly dead, because you will lose a lot of the high-end crispness in the performance.
- Finding the right mic
The choice of microphone is an extremely important key to capturing the best vocal quality.
- Use a condenser mic. On stage, most people use the familiar handheld dynamic vocal mics that you see everywhere. But dynamic designs, while providing excellent sound, often lack that extra degree of clarity and openness that you’d want for a studio recording. Condenser mics utilize a lightweight charged plate as a diaphragm, which allows a better transient response, and a more open, airy, sound quality—perfect for capturing the subtle nuances of the human voice.
- Most recording studios use a tube mic. This mic works best when suspended upside down. Tube mics can generate a lot of heat. As heat rises, this upside down installation allows the tube to release the heat up, so it won’t pass over the diaphragm of the microphone and interfere with the sound quality.
- Distance from the mic
When you record it’s recommended to be about six to eight inches away from the mic. Generally, two fists away from the microphone is the standard distance, which gives the vocalist a pretty good idea of exactly far to keep away from the mic. Naturally, with the performer at this distance from the mic, any other sound in the room must be eliminated or at least minimized as much as possible to avoid unwanted leakage. Over time, really good performers will develop excellent mic techniques, and learn how far away from the mic they need to be in order to create the most dynamic performance.
- Mic placement
It also recommended to position the mic about 2-3 inches above the nose and place it slightly off axis. This helps eliminate any pops, nasal sounds, lip smacking, and breathe sounds because they breathe is not passing directly over the capsule. This placement also prompts the vocalist to lift the head slightly up, stretching the neck to open up the airway allowing for a more full-bodied sound.
- Pop filters
To eliminate additional unwanted access vocal sounds, it’s standard to install pop filter to the mic. Pop filters usually consist of acoustically transparent foam and/or mesh and work by being placed in front of the microphone element. They help to minimize plosives like Ps and Bs and can cut down on sibilance (the hissing noise that can come from overly apparent S sounds). Pop filters are great tools for singers and actors alike who want help achieving the best possible performance.
If you want to slay your vocal be sure to follow these helpful tips for optimal results. With a little care, you can get great vocal recordings in any environment!