Getting good sounding vocals and overall songs is all that every musician and producer thinks about when they set foot in a studio.
I usually carry out most of my work at home and I’ve spent a lot of time curating my home studio to professional sounding vocals.
It’s not always easy to make music from home; therefore it pays to know what you need to do in order to get the best out of your home studio.
This post will walk you through this so that you make better music in the comfort of your own home.
So, let’s get into it.
HOW YOU CAN RECORD PROFESSIONAL VOCALS AT HOME
First things first you need to get the right audio equipment that will help you in capturing your vocals.
Below are the basic things that you’ll need
You need a computer that will store the Digital Audio Workstation which will be the tool you use for capturing and processing your vocals.
Ensure that you use a good music production PC so that you don’t have problems in the capturing and processing of your vocals.
Always go for a good processor and a good amount of RAM preferably upwards of 8GB.
This will help you eliminate lagging and latency issues both in recording and processing.
The ideal microphone for vocal recording is a condenser microphone. Condenser Mics are tailor made for studio recording.
They have a flat frequency response which means you’ll get the recorded signal in its truest form without any additional colouring or altering.
An audio interface is simply an external sound card.
Your computer has an inbuilt sound card that is meant for conversion of audio. However, these inbuilt sound cards are not optmized for tasking work like music production.
This is why audio interfaces are the best form of audio conversion tool to use as a specialized external sound card.
There are different audio interfaces out there and you need to buy one with the inputs that can support the connection type of your microphone and any other instruments or equipment that you may need to hook up to the interface.
Good recording booth
You also need to use a well optmized recording booth when recording because it is essentially going to determine the quality of the vocals that you record in it.
Your recording booth needs to be a dead room with no sound travelling in or out.
It should have absorption materials on the walls and ceiling. You also need to engineer the floor of the booth to be absorptive.
A thick carpet can work just fine in such situations.
Most professional recording engineers will tell you that the recording booth needs to be a room within the studio room.
Therefore, invest in the construction of a good recording booth.
If you don’t have a booth you may need to record in a closet that is fully packed with clothes.
Clothing material has sound absorbing properties.
You need to avoid recording in rooms with bare concrete walls because these reflective surfaces will reflect sounds that will then be recorded by the mic as you record.
Tips for recording professional vocals at home
Train your ears
Ear Training is an important part of audio production. Without a trained ear, it is difficult to detect or catch the subtle errors and mistakes that come with audio recording.
Therefore, spend time training your ears so you get them to a state at which they can detect when something sounds off or wrong.
Use a pop filter
Pop filters are tools that are meant to block out plosive sounds.
Plosive sounds are huge bursts of energy that come from a person’s mouth as they record into a microphone.
They can be difficult to get rid of once they’re recorded which is why professionals use pop filters so that no plosives make it into the recording.
Therefore, invest in a good pop filter or perharps just purchase a microphone that comes with a pop filter as a free add on.
There are plenty of those floating around these days.
Some mics even come with free shock mounts and stands. It’s all about you finding the right deal.
Avoid performer proximity
When recording vocals always ensure that your performers don’t record too closely to the microphone because this can lead to capturing distorted vocals.
They should keep a healthy distance in between them and the microphone.
Use gain wisely
Gain is useful when recording certain vocals and instruments.
There are situations when gain can be helpful in amplifying an audio signal so that it can be recorded into a DAW.
However, you don’t really need a lot of gain in recording vocals so you might want to steer clear of the that little gain button on your audio interface.
Check the mic volume if you feel it’s not giving you a good loudness level.
Adjust it moderately and then test your mic again.
Where and how you place your microphone is important.
If you have a recording booth set up at home, you should ensure that you have your mic firmly mounted well inside the booth.
If you’re recording outside of a booth then you need to test different locations with you mic until you find the right spot for recording.
The right spot for recording is the spot at which the microphone picks up clean audio.
Choose the right DAW
Also, get or buy a DAW that is outfitted for music production work so that you don’t run into any recording or processing issues.
Pro Tools is the industry standard but you can use Ableton, Logic, FL Studio, Cubase etc.
It’s all up to you and what you’re used to.
Stay away from entry level DAWs like Audacity that are not meant for serious recording and processing work.
Check for mechanical noise
Also be very attentive when you playback your recordings. Listen for any static, hiss or hum or any other mechanical noise that may be creeping into your recording.
If you find your mic capturing mechanical noise, check electric power supplies and your cable connections.