Recording Vocals: Our Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts

Recording vocals is one of the highlights of a singer’s life! There is no feeling quite like hearing yourself back through the speakers. For those of  you new to recording, here are our top 5 do’s and don’ts of recording vocals!

Our Top 5 Do’s

1. Do Use a Pop Filter

Employ a pop filter, a thin piece of fabric or metal placed between the vocalist and the microphone to minimize plosives (harsh forces created by B and P sounds). Beyond reducing plosives, a pop filter also helps maintain an optimal distance from the microphone. Placing it a few inches away makes life easier in the mixing process.

2. Do Maintain a Consistent Distance from the Microphone

To build on the previous point, it’s ideal for a singer to maintain a fairly consistent distance from the microphone while recording. This doesn’t mean they can’t move or vibe with the music, but a steady placement of their mouth to the microphone enhances the overall recording quality!

3. Do Choose the Right Microphone

Like clothing, certain microphones complement specific voices while others may not. If possible, experiment with different microphones before recording to find the one that suits your voice best. In general, a condenser microphone tends to yield the best results for vocal recording.

4. Do Get Used to Singing with Headphones On

While recording, singers commonly use headphones to ensure the microphone only captures their voice, making the editing process smoother. This can be a challenge for live performers accustomed to the natural bounce-back of their voices. Practice with headphones takes time to get used to, but familiarity grows with experience!

5. Do Stay Relaxed

Remind yourself that in the modern age, there are unlimited takes. There’s no pressure to achieve a single perfect take. If you’re not satisfied with a recording, you can always redo it. Release the stress and enjoy the recording process!

Our Top 5 Don’ts

1. Don’t Record a Lead Vocal over Multiple Days

Even if your recording setup remains the same, our voices subtly change each day. Plan recording sessions to complete what you start. For main vocals, even small variations in tone over multiple days can be noticeable to listeners.

2. Don’t Rely Solely on Post-Production Fixes

While music technology allows for extensive corrections in post-production, assuming everything can be fixed is a mistake. A better initial recording yields a superior final product. Learn the song thoroughly before recording, putting your best on tape.

3. Don’t Record in a Noisy Environment

While some noise can be removed in post, it’s advisable to record in the quietest environment possible. Even seemingly quiet noises, like a ticking clock or air conditioner hum, can be distracting on a recording.

4. Don’t Forget to Set Levels

Adjust recording levels for different song sections, erring on the side of caution by recording quieter rather than too hot. A balanced sound during recording facilitates the mixing stage, leading to a better final product.

5. Don’t Overdo the Number of Takes

While modern recording allows for unlimited takes, over-recording can diminish the energy and emotion in a performance. Preparation is key, and minor flaws can be corrected in post-production. Emotion takes precedence over perfection.

Closing Notes

We hope you enjoyed our Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts of Recording Vocals! If you’re considering stepping into the vocal booth and would like to work with one of Toronto’s best vocal coaches to prepare, contact us today!

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