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How is vocal recording supposed to be done?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by SPIT, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. SPIT

    SPIT Guest

    Ive had no experience with recording vocals but i have myself the neccessary equipment. I was just wondering, what is the correct way to go about recording?

    What i mean is, is the vocalist supposed to have head phones on, and what is supposed to be playing through them?
    Also, should there be any audio coming from my monitors? What should I be listening on/to?
    How is it set up so that the audio can be split for the vocalist on myself?

    Just hoping that you could help me with a quick overview.

    Apologies for the newbie questions but ive gotta learn somewhere ^_^ hope you understand the question

    Big thanks!
  2. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    Hey man,

    There are really several ways to do it, and no "right" way. Here are some suggestions/ideas.

    First, make sure that the vocalist is relaxed. You need to do everything you can to make it as easy as possible for him/her. They need to focus on singing, not on other stuff.

    If they are in the same room as you, you might need to monitor on headphones while they're singing, and then double check the sounds between takes. Usually I have the vocalist wear headphones...it's easiest to combat bleed that way and most do well with them if I get a good mix for them. When we can't do headphones for whatever reason, we get creative with monitors. Sometimes if we're in a big room for a mobile recording it's fine to use floor wedges. Other times in the studio, we've put 2 monitors across from each other, with the vocalist in the middle, and reversed the phase of the monitors so they canceled each other out at the mic (they've got to be running the same mono signal and be the exact same distance from the mic for this to work).

    When actually recording the vocals, you will have to experiment several ways. I've had the occassional great singer come in and nail every song all the way through in one or two takes.

    If your vocalist is having trouble, try this: Let them do one take allt the way through (or 2, just let them get warmed up). Don't let them go all out on those takes. Then, break up the song into verses/choruses, or shorter pieces even than that. Approach one piece at a time. If it's a verse, do that verse, and have it set up where you can do 3 - 5 consecutive takes on that one verse. You have to be able to do them all quickly. Then move to the next verse and do the same thing. After the verses, do the choruses like that.

    After everything is recorded, make a new vocal track called the "comp track." Go back with the vocalist and listen to every version on ever part of the song, bit by bit. Pick out the best one and put it in the new "comp track." After you finish it, listen to the whole song and make sure it all fits in together (with the old vocal tracks muted obviously). For some people you can get great results this way.

    Just remember that all of that stuff was just suggestions. No one way will work all of the time. Part of being a good engineer is being versatile and knowing when to use or not use the traditional rules.

    I'm sure that there are a lot of people on this board that have had success doing it many different ways. Maybe we can get a thread going on innovative vocal recording techniques!

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