How to record good quality vocals?
Updated: Jan 28
Recording a sound is an art, it is not just putting a microphone in front of your mouth and you start speaking into it. There is more technicality and creativity in it than meets the eye.
Let's discuss the steps included in recording good-quality vocals.
a. Prepping the room.
This one may sound absurd. But to get a good performance from a singer, they must find the recording room comfortable. This means, turning the AC on, and spraying a room freshener to remove any foul smell if there is one. And make sure you do all this at least 30 minutes before the recording starts. You don't want to waste anyone's time.
Also, make sure that you turn the air conditioning off before recording and make sure the room is so silent that the only source of sound the microphone is capturing is your singer.
b. Microphone selection and Placement.
Unless you're recording choirs or an interview, you're going to need a cardioid condenser microphone with a large diaphragm, and good sensitivity. The reason we choose a condenser microphone for recording vocals is that it has higher sensitivity than that of a dynamic microphone which will help you in capturing the minute details in the vocals that a dynamic microphone wouldn't know exists.
The safest distance to put a microphone is 15 to 20 cm away from the singer.
And make sure the microphone is directed toward the mouth of the singer. Keeping the microphone too close can result in a proximity effect. This means an increase in the bass response of a sound when a microphone is brought closer to the source of the sound.
And moving the microphone too far away from the singer may result in getting an unnatural sound will less bass and less treble.
c. Pop Filter
Once the microphone placement is taken care of, make sure you put the pop filter on. A pop filter shields the microphone diaphragm from capturing the tiny blows of air when the letters 'p' and 'b' are spoken.
Try saying "bhindi" with the back of your hand brought closer to your mouth, you'll know what I am talking about.
d. Go for a rough/ demo take.
Once the microphone is set in the right place to record, ask the singer for a demo recording. This demo recording will help you judge the details of the audio. If this is the quality and loudness levels that you wanted, then good, if not make changes accordingly.
- SOME PRO TIPS-
Make sure you record the portions that require more strain first because you don't want your singer to be exhausted by the time they reach that particular portion.
Just like in a sport or dance performance, warm-up is very important. This will prepare their throat to withstand the strain that they're about to experience.
Record multiple takes of portions that you're not confident about. Because in case the recording turns crappy in the post-production at least you'll have some backup recording to switch to.
Export/ render/ bounce the recorded vocals to good-quality settings. The most desired audio setting is 24-bit audio with a 48KHz sample rate.