Vocal recording in practice
The creation of a proper vocal recording depends on many factors. This article aims to help those who are new to this topic.
One important factor is choosing the right studio microphone. If we only sing as a hobby, professional quality may not be essential, but we should still aim for the expected minimum. Examples of such studio microphones are the AT2020 or the Lewitt LCT240. However, if compromise-free quality is important, we can choose the Lewitt LCT 440, which is, in my opinion, an excellent choice.
Choosing the right sound card is also important.
Cheaper sound cards may not deliver the expected quality of microphone preamp, so it's better to choose average or good quality sound cards. This articel can help you choose the right sound card: HERE
Another issue is the environment in which the singer is singing. If there is no soundproofed room, this can be problematic if the singer is singing far away from the microphone. In this case, ask the singer to stand closer to the microphone. The ideal distance is 15 cm or 6". If the room is untreated, it is worth getting an absorber that can be placed behind the microphone. This won't work miracles, but it helps reduce unwanted sound reflections.
Setting the signal level.
It is recommended to record the signal at 24-bit -48kHz. This way, we have enough headroom to not accidentally overdrive the signal, so a slightly lower signal level won't cause any problems with noise, but we won't clip it either. The music in the singer's headphones should not be too loud, so the singer can hear themselves well, otherwise their voice may become uncertain. Many singers only wear one side of the headphones to hear their own voice better, which can make them more confident.
There are good singers and bad singers. Some have an uncertain voice but are great to listen to, while others sing cleanly but have an unlikable voice. So during recording, the sound engineer must pay attention to the singer's abilities and provide appropriate instructions on where they are making mistakes. If the singer makes mistakes in a few places during recording, don't stop the recording because it interrupts the singer and they can't relax and unfold. So having a few extra tracks in the DAW won't bother anyone. It is worth stopping the singer only if the singing is still in the planning phase and the best singing style has not yet been determined. However, we can still give them instructions even after they have sung the appropriate line.
If we have more tracks available, we have more opportunities to perfect the final track. Choose the best parts. Once we have done this, depending on the style, we need to decide whether to use pitch correction tools or not, such as Auto-Tune or Melodyne.