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Tips And Tricks For Recording Your Voice

May 6, 2008
Now at last it's time to put your voice on tape. make sure you have everything set up the right way before you start the tape rolling and begin to sing. Voice is one of the hardest things to properly record, but is often the most important part of a recording session. You'll want to know how to go about things before you begin.

First off, don't record your vocals first. Get everything else into place before you even think about recording your voice. Having to work from the vocals as a starting point will only bewilder everyone else involved; it is far easier to add vocals last into the mix. Putting vocals first can even cause the track to get off, which is hardly the result you want for all your hard work.

Once everything else is properly recorded, get your studio set up for recording vocals. You'll want a small, enclosed space for this so as to not have too much resonance. You want to capture the voice, not the room here. You'll need to position the microphone or microphones to capture voice from all sides, yet not pick up any other sounds present in the room.

Very important when recording vocals is keeping an eye on peaks. Vocals can easily peak and go into the red, which can ruin your vocal track! Compressors are the way to prevent this. Many microphones have compression built in, which compresses (thus the name!) the sound waves created by the voice before they are passed to the mixing board. Even if you are using compression, make sure to check the peaks on the vocal track before you actually record. You'll want to leave yourself some space to adjust volume.

From here on in, it is all about getting the mix right, which can be tricky with vocals, particularly for the novice recording engineer. Equalization units (or EQs for short) can assist in getting exactly the sound you want for your vocals, and everything else besides. You can use EQ to control the highs, lows and middle frequencies in your recording. This can be done on the mixing board as well as in post production via software. Noise gates can also be a great help. Noise gates prevent and control resonation and can be set to cut off resonation above or below a certain threshold which the engineer may define.

With the voice recorded properly, the engineer can then treat it like every other track in the mix, adjusting volume, normalizing to match other instruments and so on. The important part is getting it recorded well in the first place.

After normalization, there are a lot of software tools available for the recording engineer or producer to work with on vocal tracks. What has been removed from the vocals during compression can be added back into it with reverb, flange and other effects. Don't be afraid to experiment with the tools at your disposal, you will likely need to tinker to get that perfect sound. With software, you can always undo any changes you make; so take your time and get just the vocal sound you want!

By using these simple rules given in this guide, you can turn recording vocals from a dreaded chore to one of the most enjoyable parts of the entire recording process. Record the vocals right, and you will give yourself ample room to work with the sounds and get that perfect vocal track on every recording you produce.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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