I need some help with vocal recording.

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Dwrek, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. Dwrek

    Dwrek Guest

    So I'm working with limited space in my bedroom for recording vocals, and i have about 5x5ft. available to work with. What is better for me to do... build a vocal booth with the available space, or just somehow isolate the space with sound foam, etc?
    I'm using an AKG 414, if the mic makes any difference on what i should do.
  2. jfjewell

    jfjewell Guest

    Vocals in a bedroom


    There are many ways to answer your question. I would opt to make the room as acoustically dead as possible from behind the singer position. 5x5 is not too small to record vocals. It is better in my opinion to take as much of the room as possible out of the recording if you don't have a great room. You can always add in verb in post to liven up the vocals.

    I don't have a vocal booth in my studio. I bought 3 hollow core doors and covered one side with acoustic foam (not even the real expensive type) and hung them from the ceiling in a clam shape. When necessary I can turn one around so I have a live surface. Sometimes good for vocals, and acoustic guitars. This has worked very well for me.

    Now the 414 is not my favorite vocal mic but it is a way better than average start. The other thing that will make most of the difference is your signal chain. What preamp and compressor do you have?

    Signal chain is so critical in how vocal sound. I don't pre EQ my vocals but leave that for post production. I am also typically light on the compression just enough to keep the vocals in line.

    Hope that helps a bit. You will probably get a lot of suggestions on ways to do this.


  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Your entire bedroom is 5x5? or is that some kind of closet or offshoot from a larger room?
  4. Dwrek

    Dwrek Guest

    I've got 5x5 in my closet that i've cleared out and de-shelved. haha, i dont think i could EVER live in a 5x5 room.
    I'm running the mic straight into my interface and just using regular plugins for verb and compression.
    Thats probably my next investment... a couple pre's and a compressor... which i would love some recommendations for if there are any out there. And i'm probably going to buy a couple new mic's after the new years strictly for vocals. The 414 was mainly used for mic'ing hihats and as a room mic for drums before i got a pair of Neumann km184's.

    (I'm a guitarist formally and already have a sonic maximizer and a couple other things on my rack with my head, but i'm just getting into recording vocals. So any other tips would be awesome, and greatly appreciated)
  5. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Alright, fair enough. First things first, when doing any kind of acoustic recording (anything where a mic is involved) it is best to get the source material sounding the way you want it to before doing anything to it. Basically get the best capture possible. Basically what I am saying is keep the sonic maximizer and anything else out of the mix for now and worry about getting a good recording, then play with adding stuff later. That is, if you still need to ;)

    Try comparing recordings from inside the closet as well as from a larger room. I am willing to bet that the larger room recordings will sound better. Vocals, especially vocals on the louder side, need space to fully mature and a closet won't allow that to happen. Closet recording is great for things that are supposed to sound dry, think of a product voiceover or something. Don't let me convince you though, do a few recordings in different environments and you decide for yourself which sounds the most appropriate.
  6. Dwrek

    Dwrek Guest

    Yeah, I've already considered setting up a mic in my living room, which is 30x40. But my biggest concern is picking up outside noises, hence why I am setting up a vocal booth. With pro-tools or even logic, I can virtually emulate any room, so thats a moot point.
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    When you're in a cupboard, there IS a room there. It'll be 10 times bassier, more muddy, generally will stink acoustically. When you add reverb to that, then as if by magic your track will sound like a very large closet with stone walls, or something.

    Assuming you stand in the middle of the room...
    30' would give you ... a 34ms early reflection time? That will be audible as an actual echo. Less than 30ms is usually percieved as part of the original sound rather than as the acoustics of the room. In your closet you'll get ... 5ms. Which won't be "audible" as such but will contribute to the sound.
    (I think)

    Outside noises, pfft. I recorded something with a headset in order to test out a theory. I remembered that the headset mic picks up the headphones. Oops!
    But, when I mixed it into the full song, I couldn't hear it. Maybe if I had a professional monitoring environment then I might've noticed.

    For all the time it'll take to put the 414 into your living room and record a verse or two of a song; I'd do it for the experience. You get to hear a large room (you'll probably notice that your voice will sound thinner) and also get a good chance to breathe while recording.

    [no, it doesn't count if you leave the closet door open]
  8. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    Aug 9, 2005
    From LV but Army brought me to TN
    if you can, use the bathroom as this will provide more space. make sure your siblings aren't using it at the time, because as Remy would say, that would make for shitty recordings.
  9. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Home Page:
    My thoughts, FWIW:

    The 414 is a fairly sensitive mic, but I wouldn't be too worried about "outside" noises - just the ones from inside the room.

    If you try the large room, play with the pick-up patterns as they will play a big role in your sound.
    Also play with placement of the vocalist and the mic. And the placement of the vocalist relative to the mic.

    That's the fun thing about a large room - there's a great sound somewhere, you just have to find it.

    By the way, bookcases make for wonderful sound treatment. Try singing near one, if you have one (w/ books, of course).

    Finally, go for a pre if you can afford it. With your space(s) and some clever techniques, I think you can make good sounds. But a great preamp is a very valuable investment, IMHO.

Share This Page