How to Get The Best Vocal Recording at Home

In the crazy world of audio engineering capturing quality audio is a rat race we’re always running.

With most studios being run out of our spare bedrooms or garage, unless our recording space is acoustically treated to the highest standard, achieving results we’re satisfied with can feel nearly next to impossible.

A great vocal recording, in my opinion, is the ‘bricks and mortar’ of a quality project, without an excellent vocal you won’t be walking down the red carpet anytime soon.

It doesn’t matter whether your beat is the best thing since sliced bread that’s just the way it is.

Also see: Setting up your first home recording studio.

As complex as it may feel it’s not at all daunting when you put things into perspective and approach the problem from a different angle.

In this article: I’ll teach you a basic set of principles that if followed will put you on the right path for consistently capturing quality vocal recordings.

1

Learn about Microphones and Buy the Right One for you!

When it comes to capturing a quality vocal recording having a great microphone is a complete necessity.

Some people will tell you that having the most expensive model off the shelf is the only route to go down if you want the best and cleanest recording possible!

In some aspect that’s true! But in others, it’s not.

I’ve been audio engineering for over 10 years and in that time I’ve learned that if you really know your microphones like their your children! you can avoid an attack on your wallet.

One microphone that I’ve had in my collection since day one is the Samson CO1.

This large-diaphragm condenser microphone has all the performance features you need for quality vocal recording (*heads up* it also sounds f***ing awesome as a drum overhead)

Costing only 46 GBP / 79 USD on Amazon UK and US it’s not too big of an investment to put a hole in your wallet, at that price it’s totally worth it to have a few of them in your mic box.

*Click Here to buy from Amazon UK / US

While using an expensive microphone can put you at a slight advantage, if you don’t know how to use it in the correct configuration and acoustically treat your environment, Joe Bloggs can come along with a $50 condenser and blow you out of the water.

Why?

Simply because you want a microphone that picks up only your vocals and cuts out all ambient noise surrounding the space.

This is especially important when recording in a room that isn’t treated.

Opting for a condenser microphone is also important.

This is because condenser microphones require phantom power, which helps to increase the volume of your vocals when recording.

It takes some levelling to get right but once it’s right! It sounds great.

2

Stay Consistent

  • Always use the same room and session settings.
  • Maintain the same distance from your mouth to the microphone. (if needs be, measure out an appropriate distance between you and the microphone and then stick masking tape on the floor, 5 inches is usually a great start)
  • Use a pop filter to reduce plosives and sibilance when recording.

3

Make sure you dampen the sound

So you’ve been in a few professional studios, right?

They’re treated perfectly throughout, and you’ve wondered how can I replicate that setup.

One cost effective way is to build a small cubicle, that you can use as your recording booth.

If you’re DIY savvy (I’m not, I struggle to put up a shelf) install some rails on the wall and then hang up blankets, or stuff some pillows in a tight space (this works just as well).

This will go a long way in absorbing sound waves and leave you with clear and quality audio.

4

Get to know your room

Learning to trust your ears can be an important lesson when it comes to capturing quality audio.

This is a skill that only time can teach, so, the sooner you get started the sooner you’ll become a master!

Begin by walking around your recording room clapping your hands.

This will show you how various areas of your room sound and the changes you need to make to get quality audio.

Make any adjustments to your settings that your ears tell you to, further down the line your ears are going to be your only friend.

Conclusion

Capturing quality audio at home isn’t as complicated as people try to make it sound.

Following just 4 basic principles can help you achieve your desired goal quickly! And cost effectively!

  • Learn your microphone!
  • Dampen your sound!
  • Get to know your room!
  • Use your ears!

Stick to this process and I promise you, you’re on the path to success, don’t make it complicated, just get on with it.

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