How to Record Vocals 2Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Dim the lights, get in the mood, you are about to record a killer vocal track for your song. You’ve put a lot of effort into recording your song and even put some money into buying your own home recording studio gear for recording vocals. Now it’s your turn to get the most out of your vocals to complete your song’s production.
Singing Tips that Work!
Stand up! Most chances are you’ll get a better vocal performance standing rather than sitting. When you stand up, it’s easier to breath and sing with full strength.
Use the right headphones: Your condenser microphone is very sensitive. It will pick up almost any noise, even the noises that come out of your headphones. Make sure to use Closed Circumaural headphones that will keep the audio from reaching the microphone. For example: AKG K 271 or Sony MDR-V150.
Sing full takes: Nowadays it’s very easy to punch in and record one part at a time. But the best advice I can give you is start by singing the entire song from start to finish. At the very end of the vocal recording, after you’re 99% happy with your full length take, punch in at a few places and fix that last 1%. Singing your song from start to finish rather than one part at a time, will make it sound more dynamic and capture the moment of the song. Singing a song is like telling a story. Singing from start to finish helps make it more authentic.
Listen to yourself: After you record your first take (from start to finish), take the time to listen to it and write down the things you like and don’t like about it. Do not rush and skip this step. Listening to yourself singing will give you perspective of what you’re doing right an wrong and keep you from repeating your mistakes. Hearing yourself while singing is a very hard to do. Most singers can’t tell their mistakes while singing.
Keep every take: You might find yourself going back to the first or second take you recorded that day, even if it’s just for one section. Keep all your vocal takes and label them correctly.
How to Sing Better, Staying in Tune and Keeping The Beat
The next singing tip is so simple and yet, so important that you’ll kick yourself in the butt for not trying it before: Take one ear out of the headphones and listen to yourself sing! The headphones often prevent us from hearing our own vocals clearly. Many recording engineers like to add Reverb and Delay effects to help recording artists get into the mood of the song. While this can help the vocalists get comfortable in the studio, it sometimes covers up the fine details of a vocal track. This technique blends your vocal with the song and makes it very hard to stay in tune. I recommend singing without effects while tracking and add them later to sweeten up the performance.
Find it hard to keep the beat? Turn the click track on. Most likely you’re not recording live with a band but recording each instrument at a time. The glue that holds the instruments together in this case is a click track. You probably want to have the click louder than the song. However, make sure that your microphone isn’t picking it up as well through your headphone bleed.
Take breaks: If an hour has passed and you’re still feeling like you just can’t nail that take – Take a break. Your voice is not an electronic instrument. After singing for a while it won’t sound and perform the same (that’s why your first or second take might be better than the 15th take). Singing also depends on mood. Since you’re recording at your home recording studio, you have the privilege of getting back to recording your vocals on another day.
When you finish your vocal session, create a rough mix of your vocals and listen to it in your car or even email it to fellow musicians. They might have some good insight for you.
In our 3rd and last part of how to record vocals, you’ll learn how to edit your vocals and prepare them for mixing.
If this the first time you see this article, be sure to read the first part of how to record vocals.