Tips For Recording Vocals at Home
Tracking vocals can be the most challenging part of your recording process, and it only gets harder when you tackle the project on a budget in your home. The bottom line is that you’ll never get studio quality vocals at home, but there are a few simple steps that you can take to improve your sound quality by leaps and bounds.
Choosing the Room to Record Vocals
The most important issue when tracking at home is the room you choose. Even the most expensive gear, will not sound right if you do not take the time to set your space up properly.You could buy an isolation shield that would attach to your stand behind the mic, but it’s more of a short cut and won’t provide the best results if your using a cardioid microphone; because most of the reflections will come from the surfaces behind the vocalist’s head.
You can take care of many of these types of reflections by using a packing blanket and attaching it to the wall with some light nails or drape it over a tall piece of furniture and holding is down with some double sided tape.
You’ll want to cover as much of the surface behind the singer as possible, and covering a small portion of the ceiling wouldn’t hurt either.
You’ll get the best success in a carpeted room, but if you use a room with tile or hardwood, get a rug that will cover as much of the offending floor as possible and also be sure to draw your blinds or curtains over the windows as glass in incredibly reflective.
How To Place The Singer for Recording Vocals
Where you place your singer and his/her mic can be difficult in a home situation. You won’t want to be too close to a wall or window, and stay away from your desk, because bass frequencies tend to build up underneath the desktop.
My best advice would be stand with your back towards your treated wall (the one with the packing blankets), and move forward until you are half way between the center of the room and where you started. Assuming that didn’t put you on top of your bed, desk or other furniture, its time to set up shop.
A few more tips for Capturing Vocals
Most first timers will tend to record their vocalist too loud, this will cause clipping and definitely cannot be fixed at any point in the mix. So keep a close eye on your meters, and leave yourself plenty of head room. You can always increase the volume of your track, but getting rid of distortion is impossible.
Making your vocalist more comfortable and easing their nerves will help you get the best quality possible out of the tracking session. Since every singer is different there really isn’t a sure-fire way to do this, but compression and reverb are a good place to start!
One last thing. Practice makes perfect. If you’re not getting the results you want, make changes and try it again, and again.
Recording at home doesn’t have to sound like you…recorded at home.