Vocal recording is an art unto itself. During more than 26 years of experience as a recording studio vocal specialist, I have amassed lots of practical know-how that I will share with you in this blog category of Vocal Recording. First I'd like to address pre-production.
Most musicians can’t afford to waste recording studio time. It takes a lot of work, time and money to record an album that is good enough to get you noticed amidst the flood of music available these days. It isn't sensible to compromise the quality of the final recorded product by rushing into the studio before you’re ready. Sometimes singers contact me to be coached for their upcoming studio recording only a couple of weeks before the already scheduled sessions. That is too late.
There are many aspects to plan and prepare for your album recording including song choice, arrangements, backing vocals, choice of song keys, vocal technique, phrasing, style, etc. The more time you spend dealing with all that before you enter the recording studio, the smoother the sessions will go and the better the final album.
Just as an example, your vocal technique should be good enough for you to expressively sing your songs on-pitch with good tone and stamina without straining or blowing out. If you can’t do that, you’ll waste time in the studio with endless takes and lots of auto-tuning.
Before going in the studio, establish the right key, know the melody and lyrics smooth out pitch and range difficulties and lock in the rhythm. If possible, have the instrumental tracks recorded well in advance of the vocals and get a rough mix to practice with before you sing in the studio.
We'll cover other aspects of vocal recording in later blog posts. Be sure to post your comments and questions.
on September 3, 2014 at 3:36 AM said:When I recorded my poetry CD, I found that my voice sounded totally different on a Monday evening, than it sounded on a Saturday morning when I went in to record some changes. Like the difference between a trumpet and a clarinet. Also, the result was much better when I had my friend in the recording room as an audience, to focus my intention, than when I was in the room alone.
on September 3, 2014 at 3:48 AM said:I would totally echo (pardon the pun) your points here. As a studio recording engineer who often helps artists record vocals and also as a vocalist myself, you see time and again how people are not really ready or able to capture their best performance in the studio and can feel disheartened as a result. When all they needed was some more pre-studio preparations. I would also suggest shadowing/sitting on a session with someone more experienced if you can - then you can get used to the recording studio environment and see how it is done well. Also maybe do some home recordings - the more lo-fi and raw the better - and try and get it sounding good without all the expensive equipment and engineer's tricks :-) And lastly, I would warn that if you are starting out recording, only share your early endeavours with people you trust and can give u constructive and supportive feedback. Criticism that can knock your confidence and/or sentimental it all sounds perfect comments are not recommended. Enjoying yr posts!
on September 4, 2014 at 5:38 AM said:Great points, Caro! One other thing I found, when re-recording a stanza or two, or adding a second of time when the previous recording had cut it off too short: you can end up with dead air. Since even a sound-proof room has ambient noise, a pause is not dead. I asked the engineer to "copy and paste" some ambient pauses from other areas in my recording, and that worked like a charm!
on September 4, 2014 at 11:13 AM said:Thanks Anita and Caro for your - wonderful input on this subject! I'll be adding other recording tips in next week's blog update and look forward to hearing more from you and others.