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Have you ever tried recording your voice in a real studio? If ever you’ve already tried it, you’ll know that it is expensive. This is because a recording studio for rent is like a taxi equipped with a taximeter. You pay for every second you spend inside the recording studio. Thus, you need to be always in a hurry to maximize your time inside that studio.
What is your best alternative then for renting a recording studio?
Your best alternative, of course, is to create your mini recording studio at home. Well, you may say that it is impractical. Yet, gone were the days when building a home studio is expensive. You will only need a quality microphone, a laptop, and a sound recording software.
Of course, you need to treat acoustically the room where you are going to record. You need to do this to minimize unwanted sounds that your microphone may pick up. These unwanted sounds will make mixing your recordings later more difficult. Hence, you must lessen its effects on your recording.
Essential Factors When Recording Your Voice
Building your recording booth or studio at home can be very challenging. Yet, once you’ve done it at home, you will be amply rewarded because you would no longer need to rent a studio anymore. Moreover, you can quickly record your voice or composition at home. You can do this whenever you get inspired or in the mood to record. Here are the things and factors you need to bear in mind when creating your home recording studio:
1) A Room That You Can Acoustically Treat!
You should choose a room that is not near the street. Choose a place or even better a room that is a bit isolated or far from the maddening noise of the street. Now, if your room is near the street, you can still treat it acoustically to minimize the effects of sound coming from the outside.
When choosing a room, you need to consider the walls of the rooms. Are they bare? Are they flat? You should also consider the shape of the room. Is it perfectly square? If the room is square with bare walls, the sound waves will simply bounce back and forth. This messes up your recording. So, you should instead go for a larger room equipped with carpet, wall coverings, and curtains.
Your goal in acoustically treating a room is to eliminate all background noise. If you record with background noise, you can’t filter the background noise afterward. Even if you edit it.
Echoes can also mess with your recording. Hence, you should do away with it at the onset. To avoid it, you can hang some sound-absorbing materials on the wall like pillows and blankets. You don’t need to spend much on acoustic panels. You can use the materials available in your house to get rid of echoes.
2) Quality Microphone
You can make or break your recording with the type of microphone you are using. Mics come in different grades and qualities. You can’t use the ordinary microphone that you are using when you sing karaoke. You need to invest in a high-quality microphone for recording.
The top-rated microphones for recording include that of the condenser vocal microphone. So, if you want to come up with quality recording, you should opt for this type of microphone.
The condenser vocal mics, of course, are more sensitive compared to the dynamic ones. They also have better output ratings. The best condenser vocal microphones, of course, are expensive. The prices of these microphones can go as high as $1,000 or more.
3) The Setup of the Microphone!
Setting up the microphone can be a tricky process. Sometimes you need to engage in trial and error to achieve the best microphone setup. It is important to note the right distance of the mic from your mouth. To figure out the right distance, you need to record a short voice recording while you are singing. Then, listen to the recording and note the distance from your mouth. Once you’ve figured out the ideal distance range, remember that distance.
You should also figure out the volume of the recording from a certain distance. Make sure that you lessen volume fluctuations when you are recording your voice. This will help you decrease the compression needed during the editing process.
Third, you should also reduce the irritating popping sounds. Some words contain plosive letters. These plosive letters produce bursts of air that a microphone can pick up. So, to reduce these bursts of air, you should avail of a pop filter. The pop filter is usually positioned some 5-cm away from the microphone.
Another problem is the excessive hissing sound called “sibilance.” This sound occurs when you pronounce “S” or even “F”. Proper angling and distance can help reduce these sibilant sounds.
You should lessen the breathing sound too when recording. Breath sounds—when picked up by the mic—are awkward to listen to. So, more often, you need to edit them. You can move your head to the side when breathing. But if you are an expert singer, you can breathe and have your breath recorded. If you pace your breathing well, it becomes an art when recorded.
4) Choose a Good Sound Recording Software!
Our contemporary time affords us myriads of sound recording software options. You can even download them online. You can also buy a CD software and download it on your computer. Some of the top brands of sound recording software are Ableton Live, Logic, Pro Tools.
Some manufacturers of software may even offer free-trial periods. So, if you don’t have much budget, you can use their free-trial period to record your voice. The thing is, if you want to improve as a singer, you should try to critique your voice by listening to it.
5) Choose Good Audio Interfaces!
You can’t directly plug your mics into your computer. This is because it doesn’t have the necessary audio interface to do so. Hence, you will need a digital audio interface to process the analog sound input and convert it into digital data.
The audio interface allows you to record any external sounds like instruments and vocals into your computer. Your software, of course, can’t work on analog signals. Thus, you need an analog-to-digital converter. Whether you are a pro or a newbie, you will find myriads of options when it comes to the audio interface.
So, before buying an audio interface, you need to know what sounds you are recording. If you are only recording vocals, then you only need the most basic stereo line-level input. You can find many classic budget interfaces that come with two basic analog inputs and outputs. These include Emu 0404, ESI Pro Juli@, M-Audio Audiophile 192, and Echo AudioFire2.
At present, however, most digital audio interfaces with USB connectivity are already compatible with the major DAW software that works with Windows and Mac computers. Yet, you should still check if they are compatible before you buy one.
You should select an audio interface that comes with all the necessary connection types you will be using. Check also if they are compatible with the devices that you will be using. One good choice is the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen). This is a USB Audio Interface that delivers great sounding instrument input and preamp. However, it is a bit pricey, but it is worth investing in.
Additional Tips When Recording Your Vocals
1) Microphone Placement Technique
As mentioned earlier, once you’ve zeroed in on the right room, you should also ensure that the room is acoustically treated. During recording, however, you need to figure out the correct mic positioning. You may downplay the importance of mic positioning. Yet, it plays a crucial role in the results of your recording. It is vital to the tone of your voice.
The thing is you should not position the mic in the middle of the room. It is better to place the mic somewhere far from the walls. This will prevent weird resonance from being recorded. Find the sweet spot for the mic position.
You should discover the sweet spot for your microphone. You can discover it by experimenting on the microphone height, distance, and position and by doing several takes and comparing the recorded sounds.
2) The Right Microphone Height
Another critical factor when recording is the height of the microphone. Your mic should be on the lip level because that is the default height. As you lower the mic, you increase the low end of the sound. This makes the low-end sounds more prominent. As you raise the mic, however, you accentuate the top end. So, the mic should be on the lip level to get a balance reception of sounds.
3) Make Several Recordings
The recording process is not an easy thing to do. More often, you will need to do several recordings and choose from these recordings. Afterward, you can compare each recording. As you compare the recordings, you will discover that one recording would be livelier than the other while another recording would be more relaxed and more comfortable to listen.
The good thing, however, when you record at home is that you are not under a time constraint. You can record your song in the evening when your voice is a bit higher. You can also record it anytime you like too. With the benefit of time, you can come up with a better recording.
The good thing about a home recording studio is that you are not hard-pressed to finish your recording. So, this means you will have better song delivery. You can let your emotions come out through your recording if you have enough time. You can also bring out the energy needed to make your performance a professional one. It may be difficult at first to build your home studio. But your effort, of course, would be amply rewarded once you could build one.