How to Record Vocals at Home: A Beginner's Guide
You no longer have to go rent a studio to record your audio. You can record vocals in the comfort of your home!
Recording your vocals properly can tell a good story and set an emotional tone. You need a quality vocal set-up no matter your goal to be a singer, producer, podcaster, or creator.
Don’t fret, we’re here to help. Here's our guide showcasing how to record vocals at home.
Find the Right Microphone
Although a cheap microphone can work, finding the right mic can get every detail of your vocals. Better mics can help reduce noise and keep your vocals clean and clear. First, let's go over the three types of microphones: condenser, dynamic, and ribbon.
For Sensitive Singing Vocals
The condenser microphones pick up the details of your voice and it's popular for recording vocals and subtle sounds. It's the right choice if you're looking to start recording high-quality. It's also great for acoustic instruments and sounds for your studio set-up.
The best condenser microphone is the Audio Technica AT2035. It's the ideal first mic for anyone starting a home studio or has a small budget.
For Loud and Fast Vocals
The dynamic microphones are less sensitive in getting sound. It works well with recording high sound pressure levels. This mic works well when you're doing a voice over for audio books.
It's also a good microphone for rap battles, heavy metal screaming, and any forceful voice. If your volume and intensity constantly go up and down, go for a dynamic microphone.
The best dynamic mic is the Shure SM57, it's a good preamp and many big studios use this mic for a lot of applications.
For Accurate Vocals and Instruments
The ribbon microphones are more expensive, fragile, and less common. These mics pick up sound from both sides of the mic and they are usually passive, meaning no phantom power needed.
Stop Reverbs and Comb Filtering
Getting reflection filters are optional, this material is to make sure that any reflective vocals don’t come back to the mic. It’s a foam-like material that absorbs bass, middle and high-range frequencies. The best reflection filter is the SE Electronics Reflexion Filter PRO.
Things That May Ruin Your Audio
There are a few things that could ruin the audio even with the right microphone in tow. Make sure to address these to guarantee better quality recording. One of the most prominent issues is the popping sound when pronouncing some words.
When you pronounce any P and B sounds, a blast of air comes out of our mouths. It creates a punchy low frequency called popping.
To solve this, you have to sing into the mic at a slightly off-axis angle so the popping doesn't strike the mic directly. You can also get a pop filter to act as a net to catch popping and plosives.
When you pronounce any S and F sounds, you usually emit a high-frequency blast of air called sibilance. You'll hear an annoying hissing noise. To remove these, you can edit with de-esses and compress.
Depending on your flooring, sometimes you can hear every footstep throughout the entire house. If you tend to tap your feet, it can travel up to your mic stand.
To see if you need on, set up your mic then enable record on your track, and crank up the gain. Put on your headphones and walk around your mic stand.
If you do hear your footsteps, a common solution to this problem is to add a shock mount. It creates acoustic isolation between your mic and stand.
The Do’s When Recording Audio At Home
With the right mic and tools to eradicate some common issues, you’re almost ready to start recording. There are some important factors to keep in mind, however. It starts by practicing the right vocal techniques.
Have the Right Techniques
Before starting anything, always remember to have warm-ups to stretch your vocal cords and clear your throat. It also helps relax your muscles and reduces the risk of straining your voice.
Three of the overall principles you have to remember is the support, avoiding to protrude your jaw, and tightening your lips. Support meaning the way you breathe, most singers use their diaphragm to make it work with them.
When you protrude your jaw, it often produces uncontrolled constrictions on your vocal cords. Bend your head back and place a finger between your lower and upper jaw and stay in that position as you sing. You should also open up your mouth to form vowels with the tongue.
Find the Right Room
The room you plan to record in can change the tone of your vocals and instruments. Find a small-to-medium room, a room with plenty of soft items like pillows, rugs, beds, and the like. Those items can absorb sound making it less echoey and more neutral.
Avoid rooms with a lot of hard surfaces and windows like your kitchen and bathroom. You can also treat your room by adding soundproof filters onto your walls to make it feel like recording professional vocals at home.
When you're placing your microphone, consider the distance, height, and axis. The distance for you and the mic affects the tone because of the proximity effect. It's where the closer you get to the mic, the boomier your vocals become.
Stay five inches away from the standard condenser mic and about two inches for dynamic mics. Consider getting a boom stand a pop filter to prevent you from getting to close to the mic.
If you raise the microphone, it will put stress on your vocal cords. Make sure to position the diaphragm of the mic in line with your mouth. When you rotate the mic, you can reduce the bass and plosives from your voice.
Learn Vocal Editing
How do you mix your vocals? Start with equalization cleans up any frequencies, take out any low-end rumbles, and high-end hisses. Use compression to level off peaks and you can make breaths and nuances clearer to the ear.
With distortion or warmth, those annoying crunchy effects can turn into sound effects.
Use reverbs or delays to add a voice to fill it out and it can give your instruments a fuller sound. Some of the best audio editing software are Adobe Audition CC, Audacity, Ocenaudio, and Acoustica Standard Edition.
Now You Know How to Record Vocals at Home
Once you’ve got all these checked off, you’ll know how to record vocals at home.
There's no absolute right or wrong in recording audio at home, only some general guidelines. Always test out what works out for your vocals, equipment, and recording space.
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