How to Record Better Vocals

Here are a few tips for recording vocals:

  • Make sure you have a quiet isolated room. Make sure you don’t hear the computer, air conditioning, heater, traffic, family noises, etc.
  • Put the mic stand on the carpet and cover your music stand with a towel to avoid reflections.
  • Use a shock mount. Don’t let the singer touch the mic or mic stand while recording.
  • Have the singer maintain a consistent distance from the mic while singing.
  • Make sure there is no bleed from monitors in the control room.
  • Make sure the singer is in a comfortable, private singing environment.
  • If your room is very live, put up some carpet, rug or towels on opposing walls to create diffusion.
  • Find the mic that works best for your voice. Test all of the mics you have to find your favorite.
  • Make sure you have decent lighting. You don’t want too much natural light. You want enough to be able to read the lyrics, but you also want to create a comfortable mood.
  • Have your lyrics and a pen handy for the singer to jot notes.
  • Check the headphone mix, make sure the music and the vocals mix well to create excitement for the take.
  • Be familiar with the song, so you know exactly where the parts go.
  • Keep notes on the session. You want to know what tracks are keepers, etc.
  • Have the singer record a scratch track so you know where everything goes.
  • Have the singer listen back to everything on the monitors so he can get an idea of what things “really” sound like.
  • Sometimes you might need one side of the headphones off so they can hear themselves. Sometimes different headphones may help.
  • Make sure the mix in the headphones is dry and not too loud.
  • Use a tiny bit of compression when recording vocals.
  • Have some water or tea to keep the singer’s voice from drying up. Never beer, pop or anything carbonated.
  • No smoking while recording vocals.
  • Keep things fun and upbeat.
  • Move on if something is taking more than 4 or 5 takes. You don’t want the singer to get tired.
  • Use a pop filter.
  • Chop everything up into small parts. Don’t expect the singer to record the entire song. Break it up into manageable sections.
  • Punch in as necessary to fix parts.

Using these tips when recording vocals will ensure a decent vocal track and a happy singer.…