5 Tips to Record Vocals in Your Home Studio
- Written by Rodrigo Marques
Recording vocals is often a challenge for us Home Studio producers. Typically, recordings sound without presence and dynamics, producing a lifeless result. Let's check out five amazing tips that will help you record vocals in your personal recording studio.
1. Use an Anti-pop Filter
If you're recording vocals without a pop filter in front of the microphone, you'll probably suffer from the pops produced by the vocalist's blast. This can be avoided by just using an anti-pop filter. These blow screens are very popular and you can buy a couple of them from Amazon. Using an anti-pop filter is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve the quality of your vocal recordings.
A trained vocalist, who understands how audio capture can be affected by silly noises, can prevent many problems. A balanced dynamic is what we can expect from the most experienced vocalists in studio recordings.
Just as a studio guitarist, when in a recording session, needs to be meticulous when typing his solos into the instrument, the vocalist should also moderate the variations of pressure and expression on his vocals. Good vocalists produce good recordings.
2. Check the Acoustics
Check out the acoustics of the room where the vocals are being recorded, taking care to reduce the reverberations. Exaggerating a little, if you recorded your vocals in the bathroom, you'd get a reverb effect similar to the Beatles' 1960s recordings. To be moderate: Use a bedroom that has furniture, rugs, and curtains to muffle the reflections of the walls.
I'll talk more about acoustics here on the blog, but we need to remember that there are important differences between an "acoustic insulation" and "acoustic treatment". Both techniques, while allowing their combination, produce distinct results and serve specific purposes.
A Home Studio doesn't need, to a large extent, an acoustic insulation. On the other hand, a minimum acoustic treatment is required. A room with little reverberation can protect the integrity of sound waves, avoiding phase cancellation, so damaging to your vocal recordings.
3. Filter the Lowest Frequencies
It is very common in home studios the presence of external noises that end up appearing in the vocal recordings. The most common noises are cars passing by on the street, people talking, etc. Some of these noise can be avoided by filtering frequencies below 100Hz.
Something that is not intuitive is about the influence of frequencies below 100Hz. If you have such large sound waves, your equipment will probably suffer to represent them. This may prevent the drum from sounding with the punch it should.
Although noise reduction attacks higher frequencies, this low-pass filter is still a good way to cancel vocal bursts.
4. Use a Compressor
The vocal can be a very dynamic instrument compared to the others within the mix. When you record vocals, it can be quite tricky finding the right level for them within the mix. That's why we use compressors or maximizers to fix these vocal levels and keep control of the mix.
As I mentioned earlier, an educated vocalist can help solve many problems, even reduce possible saturations during the dynamic peaks in the higher parts of a song.
However, as not everything is perfect, we have to resort to the help of our friend Dynamic Audio Compressor / Limiter. This type of equipment is almost like a horse trainer, who tames the vocals so they walk gracefully through the mix. This language figure is basically what we can expect from an audio compressor when applied to a vocal track.
5. Try To Use Delay Instead of Reverb
Reverb has been the preferred effect for vocals in pop music. Thus, many people tend to overuse this effect, and as a result, these vocals end up sounding dull.
Try to use the Delay. It will give the voice space and depth, but will also keep it present and open. A sound that is very common in modern pop music.
You can also use a moderate combination of reverb + delay, which results in a very attractive texture and can be applied in a wide variety of musical styles.
When using these effects in your mix, remember not to exaggerate in your application, neither for much effect nor for little effect.
Using these tips will help improve the sound of your vocals and make your mixes easier and more exciting.
An extra tip from Rodrigo: If you want to know How To Build a Home Recording Studio From Scratch And Get High Quality Audio Using a Production Process, I recommend you take a look at our kindle book right now.
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We believe that a Home Recording Studio can change the future of many entrepreneurs and artists who need to show how great their talents are. Enjoy it!