How does one make vocals sound great on a recording?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by lawnmowerdude6, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. I need to know what kinds of effects to put on regular vocals and what kind of tricks can be used to get the best vocal sound out of my recordings.
  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    Aug 9, 2005
    From LV but Army brought me to TN
    What you need to do is purchase a blue Kiwi or Mouse from me. These both are great vocal mics.

    Aside from that I use a multiband compressor, and rarely ever EQ thanks to using great mics.
  3. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    Are you asking how to record a good vocal or how to mix to get the best vocal sound from what you have?

    Either way, it really starts with the recording. If you start with a well recorded vocal track, it should be relatively easy to make it sound great in a mix.

    A good vocal may consist of nothing more than a singer and the right microphone...or it may be a mic with compression with EQ with reverb with delay and whatever else someone can think to throw at it.

    Each singer is different and as such each needs to be treated differently. A lot of times, the best place to start is to find a microphone that sounds great with the vocalist. If you have several, try them all. Try them in different positions in relation to the singer. Have the singer step back, step forward, sing slightly off axis, whatever. Experiment. Find the best combination there first. Get the truest sound you can. Then, if needed start looking elsewhere.

    Mixing is a different beast. What to do is largely dependant on the Compression is used often on vocals but the magic is in using it properly. Sometime just a touch here and there can make a difference. Other times, you may need more.

    Frequency is important. Not like EQ'ing the vocal, but where it sits in a mix. If you've got a lot of sounds that are similar to the vocal then they are going to run into each other and sound like crap. I like to try to keep the vocal tracks in their own space, frequency wise. I read that somewhere and it works for me.

    Do you want to have effects on the vocal? Reverb or delay or both? One "trick" that can be used with these effects is to pan them differently. Maybe have a stereo reverb but pan the delay off to one side.

    One thing I've done is to double/triple/even quadruple vocal takes over each other. A simple doubling can make a big difference.

    There's lots of different things that can be done, you've asked about them and that'll get you going. Search around. There's been lot of topics on vocals and I'm sure you'll find a lot more helpful information.

    Some "tricks"
  4. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    the most important:

    a)Start with a great room;

    b) a great microphone;

    c) a nice a/d and outboard ( compressor, mic pre);

    d) A great singer;

    e)patience and time to make overdubs, additional takes;

    f) edits/composites;

    g) you may use different reverbers, compressors, subtractive and additive EQ, chorus, distortion, delays.

    h) make intelligent panning with an eye at the song´s arrangement.

    If you wanna listen to great vocals, tracked directly with only one singer, take a listen/download:

    DRDLKS Active Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    I agree with the way you record the vocal and where it sits in the mix. I have heared a lot of great songs that sound like crap because the vocalist is singing ontop of the piano or guitar. You cant hear them until the music drops out and the singer hits a higher range. Then the seporation allows you to hear what is going on.

    Everything else is based on the room and mic.

    Also record the vocals DRY. Too many singers like reverb when they sing so they can hide behind it. Dont do that to them. Make them better singers and let them hear what they sound like DRY. Always double your vocals. This only makes the singer more aware of what they are doing as well. They will start to sing better and better as they go along until you get 2 almost perfect tracks.

    When using effects. Try not to use your main track ( s ) Use a side track that way you can mix the effect with the dry and get a BIGGER sound.

Share This Page