The human voice can be one of the most difficult instruments to record in any recording studio. However, with proper setup and equipment selection for your home recording studio, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble down the line when recording vocals.
Choosing Your Studio Microphone
A condenser microphone is the most common studio microphone used when recording vocals. However, a great home recording can also be made using either dynamic or ribbon microphones as well; so don’t worry too much if your home recording studio doesn’t have a condenser microphone. With that being said, condenser microphones are typically used for recording vocals because they tend to produce a more clear and accurate sound when recording the human voice.
For those of you looking to add a condenser studio microphone to your collection, consider the MXL MXL2003 Large Capsule Condenser Microphone. The large diaphragm on the MXL2003 will help you capture all the clarity and depth you need for a great home recording. Additionally, the MX2003 includes some great features for any home studio, including a bass cut and -10db switch, a high insulation shock mount, and a built in preamp for a robust and smooth sound. The MXL2003 makes a great studio microphone for recording everything from vocals to acoustic instruments.
Since condenser studio microphones require phantom power to operate, they may not be a viable option in your home recording studio. Don’t worry though, a dynamic microphone such as the highly-popular industry favorite Shure SM57 will always get the job done to your satisfaction.
Setting up Your Studio Microphone
One of the best parts of having your own home recording studio is that you’re free to try new things whenever you want. Experimenting with new and innovative home recording techniques can often result in a unique and awe-inspiring recording. Still, before you start your own studio, it’s probably a good idea to know some of the basics:
1. Use a Pop Filter: a pop filter or pop shield is one of the most important accessories any home recording studio can have. A pop filter is just a piece of mesh that you put between the singer and the microphone when recording vocals. The mesh acts as a shield for the microphone, and reduces popping sounds while recording. For home recording purposes, a pop shield that attaches to the stand itself, such as the Samson PS01 Microphone Pop Filter, is often preferred. The metal goose neck allows you to move the pop shield in any position you like, and can rest an equal distance between the singer and the studio microphone.
2. Microphone placement: Unlike a live performance, when recording vocals it’s important to make sure the microphone and the vocalist remain in place. Although the correct distance a vocalist should stand from the microphone can vary; six to eight inches should usually suffice. Try and set up the studio microphone so that the vocalist can stand comfortably at this distance and sing directly into the microphone. Depending upon pickup pattern of your studio microphone, however, it may be beneficial to make adjustments to the microphone placement.
When using a ribbon microphone, such as the CAD Trion 7000 Dual Element Ribbon Microphone, you’ll want to pay attention to the pickup pattern when setting up. Since the CAD Trion 7000 uses a polar pickup pattern (meaning it records sounds from the front and the back but not from the sides) you may want to avoid setting up too close to a wall to avoid an echo. Of course, this is also one of the great features of many ribbon microphones, and maybe that slight echo is exactly the sound you’ve been missing in your home recordings.
3. Remember your headphones: You don’t want your microphone to pick up the sound of the music while recording vocals. Therefore, using headphones that properly insulate the sound will insure that your studio microphone picks up the vocals and nothing else.
By properly setting up your home recording studio for vocal recordings, you’ll likely spend less time correcting errors and making adjustments later when mixing your tracks. Of course, the freedom to experiment is one of the best parts of any home recording studio, so remember that these suggestions are by no means hard and fast rules you need to follow for your home recording projects.