Vocals - Recording and Mixing - We'll show you how it works!

Equipment for recording vocals

Good vocal recordings start with the right choice of microphone. It is therefore important that you test different microphones in advance, because not every microphone is suitable for every voice. This is the recommendation for a larger budget (up to 1000 euros) Brown Phantom Classic, for the smaller budget Neumann TLM 102. Of course you can also spend a lot more money - but for starters this is one solid equipment. However, if you have a lot of money, I recommend trying out the Brauner VMA 🙂

Just picking the mic for singing or voice recordings is particularly important. Here you should take your time, compare test reports, try out different microphones in a home studio atmosphere and then decide on the one that suits you best. For one more Help with microphone selection you can find a test on various microphones in the Hobbesy blog area that can serve as a small decision-making aid.

When you have found the right microphone, you should deal with the topic of microphone preamp (preamplifier of the microphone signal). I can recommend preamps from SPL, Avalon, Neve, or RME. Here, too, you should try different preamps, because each preamp has its own sound characteristics.

For the cabling in home recording you can use the Thomann house brand - the sssnake To fall back on. As a pop filter, I recommend this to you K&M 23956 Popkiller or the t.bone MS 180.

High-quality cabling is available from Vovox or Sommer, among others.

Every chain is only as strong as the weakest link!

So you can imagine that not only the points mentioned so far are important, but also which AD / DA conversion you have, right up to your recording format (which is hopefully set to 24 bit).

In the following figure you can see how your signal flow is:

AD / DA conversion graphic

Settings for a good recording of speech or vocals

Mono or stereo?

Naturally Mono! I experience again and again that vocals are recorded in stereo. But why? In most cases, ONE microphone per track is used. So please mono!

Sample rate - the higher the better?

Jain. If you don't want to set a podcast or a movie to music, the output format is 16 bit wave with a sample rate of 44.1 kHz. No my friends not Mp3 128 kbps 😀 It is advisable to choose 24 bit as the recording format and to leave the sample rate at 44.1 khz or to switch to 88.2 khz (calculations are carried out more precisely here). Sample rates of 48 or 96 kHz only cause rounding errors in your calculation, which can lead to noticeable artifacts. Unfortunately, this mistake is made far too often, but hey, you can also record to Mp3 right away. Then what do you buy expensive equipment for? Well because it's like taking a photo.

The higher your output resolution, the finer you can edit and convert afterwards!

The right recording level

A simple basic rule applies here:

As loud as possible and as quiet as necessary!

So record in such a way that your recording signal is NEVER overdriven. You can tell this by the nice red flashing light on your preamp / converter / input channel of the DAW.

Unfortunately, I've often seen the opposite. I got tracks to mix with the recording level was so low that I had to zoom in on the track to see a wave at all. The only problem here is that your signal-to-noise ratio can be too low. So don't be surprised if you record too quietly where this "strange noise" suddenly comes from after compression.

Low cut while recording

Within the Vocal recording is it possible to use a low-cut filter on the interface or on the microphone in order to remove low frequencies, such as footfall noise. We recommend not using the low-cut when recording, but instead set it in your DAW after the vocal recording. We recommend 80-100 Hz as a reference frequency.

Raumakustik

Often forgotten or done wrong. Best served, at least for the beginning, with side partitions. Get out of your head to build a recording booth if you a) do not have the necessary change b) have the necessary knowledge c) have too little space d) have too much convoluted foam left over. A so-called "recording cabin" or as it is called in the "cool" specialist circles also "Both" - please make sure to emphasize the O as deeply as possible so that it sounds cool - can sometimes destroy you more than it brings you something. Especially when you try to paste every square millimeter with convoluted foam and you struggle in the mix to artificially conjure up the previously dead heights with cracked plugins. This is about as likely to work as lightning without thunder.

On the one hand, side walls are a space-saving solution and on the other hand you have a meaningful leisure activity to set them up so that your recording also sounds.

Mixing - Mixing down vocals

Once the vocals have been recorded, it goes to Mixing. How the vocals are mixed depends on that Genre in which you move. while in Hip-Hop the vocals are mixed rather dry so have EDM- Numbers sometimes have a very strong effect. Normally you have to do the following things to get good vocals:

1. With the help of a low-cut filter, removes the frequencies up to 80-100 Hz. There are often noises such as footfall sound there.

2. Between 100-200 Hz you can give the voice more warmth. You can change your voice as you wish. The following applies here:

Should it sound better - then lower it! If it should sound different - then lift it up!

3. By raising the frequencies between 3-5 kHz you can give the voice more space in the mix. However, this frequency range should be enjoyed with caution, one tends to overdo it there very quickly, which can lead to a pain in the inner ear that is not really pleasant at a higher listening volume.

4. Use a de-esser or a dynamic EQ to combat excessive S-sounds or to limit interfering frequencies at times.

5. Use a compressor to get the level fluctuations of the recording under control. Tip: try a little with one Multiband compressor playing around. This can work wonders.

6. Use reverb on your voice - how much depends on taste and genre

=> the less reverb, the drier the vocals. The more reverb, the more you can embed your voice in the mix.

So use the depth graduation (this also applies to instruments).

7. A delay can fill in gaps and make your vocals sound wider. Often less is more, so always be careful with the effect.

8. In order to separate your refrain from the part, it is advisable to record polyphonic or doubles and distribute the recorded tracks in the panorama. Always pay attention to the mono compatibility. If you don't do this, don't be surprised if you can't hear your many recorded tracks on mono devices such as smartphones.

9. If your voice seems too thin, then double this track by recording it all over again in the same way. If this is then placed under the main track, it compresses it strongly and adds it to the volume as desired. But be careful: simply duplicating does not bring you here, because you only double the volume.

Tip: Please make sure to duplicate any duplicated track as cleanly and synchronously as possible! This saves you a lot of time and work in mixing.

10. Always cut at the "zero line" and place a small fade at the beginning of your audio snippet and at the end (10ms is quite sufficient). This will avoid your cracking due to a bad cut.

11. After mixing, we recommend that you hand over the mastering to a professional studio. These have high quality acoustics and are specially designed for one high quality mastering tailor-made hardware.

If the whole mixing process is too much for you, we offer ours for you Online mixing service