Creating great records is such a good skill to have because it can take you and your music places.
Starting out as a music producer can be tough and trust me I’ve been there. It takes a lot of effort, consistency and an open mind capable of learning more and more.
Recording great songs is a process and requires that you follow specific sets of principles in order to get it right.
This post will help you know and learn how to record music like a pro.
Enough of the small talk, let’s get to it…
How do I record a song professionally?
To record a song professionally, you need professional recording equipment.
Below is a list of the recording equipment you’re going to need.
First things first, you need a microphone that will capture vocals.
The recommended microphone for recording vocals is called a condenser microphone and it’s specific role is to record and capture vocals as accurately as possible.
Condenser microphones have a flat frequency response which makes them perfect for record production.
A computer is an absolute must if you’re going to be recording music because it’s going to be your digital tool which will accept recordings and allows you to edit them.
There are various music production computers available out there and you should choose one that’s in your budget range.
You can go for a desktop or laptop depending on what you’re comfortable with.
A good computer with the right specs will make your music production work alot easier.
So, go for a good processor paired with a good amount of RAM,
This article will help you with that.
A computer and a microphone are absolute essentials to music production.
With that said, let’s go on to the next important thing.
An Audio Interface.
An Audio interface is an external soundcard whose role is to allow you to connect equipment and instruments that you can then use on your computer.
It’s a Digital to analog converter as well as a Analog to Digital converter.
In simple speak, it allows you to record audio into a computer which you can edit and also allows you to playback your recordings that are analog signals that your ears can hear.
It’s an essential part of recording music professionally.
Headphones are another necessity that you need to record songs professionally.
Your artists will need them when it’s time to record so that they can hear the beat playing.
For recording you need a good pair of closed back headphones that keep noise within your ear space, without letting it leak out to be picked up.
You want to avoid open back headphones because your microphone will capture audio running through them.
This will make the job of editing and mixing a lot harder.
You also need a good pair of studio monitor speakers that are specifically meant for music production.
Their output allows you to get a good and true representation of audio.
They usually come in pairs, so get those.
They’ll be pretty handy and they’re the most recommended studio speakers.
Decide on a DAW
You also need what is called a Digital Audio Workstation or a DAW.
If you already have one, all well and good.
Just make sure it’s optimized for audio production.
A DAW is recording software that will allow you to record, edit, mix, and master.
It pays to get to use a DAW that you’re familiar with.
You also need Digital Plugins mainly for effects.
There are various plugins out there. You can start out with a Mixing and Mastering suite of Plugins by Izotope.
They offer some of the best Digital plugins out there.
How to record a song professionally
Set the right mic levels
First things first you need to ensure that you use the right levels for your microphone.
Condenser microphones are pretty sensitive so ensure that the mic volume is not more that 80%.
This depends with how close your recording artist is.
They need to be around 2 to 3 inches away from the mic. You can therefore test various recording distances and settle for the optimal.
Also turn off your limiter on your master channel.
Use Gain appropriately
Mic gain is great if you use it moderately.
Used recklessly it can be pretty destructive.
Don’t use too much gain, strike a balance.
Avoid being too close to the mic
Avoid the person that is recording from being too close to the microphone.
Being too close to a microphone will result in your microphone picking up things like plosives and too much sound energy.
Such things will easily ruin a vocal.
Coach your artists for perfection
Not all artists are experienced at recording. Sometimes you just need to coach them through the session.
You should be patient enough for this.
Ensure that your artist is ready to record. They should have an idea of how they want the record to turn out.
Get them at the right mic distance, make them comfortable, guide their vocal projection etc.
Treat your room acoustically
Good acoustic treatment is essential in recording vocals that sound professional.
Make sure to use sound absorption material on your walls and deaden the recording booth with soundproofing.
Check out this article about soundproofing an existing wall.