Monday, 26 November 2018
4 Things to do Before You Record Vocals In A Studio
Recording in a studio can be sometimes intimidating as the whole process of doing it is quite different from how you would approach when recording at home. Especially, for vocalists, they can end up sounding completely different from what they might have imagined that they sound like. But one can always prepare to get the best out of your voice and studio time and here is how:
You must practice a lot before you head to the studio. Try to understand and correct the mistakes you have been doing while singing your part. You can record yourself (even on a phone) and listen to it, figuring out the mistakes and parts you need to work on and certain pronunciation that you might be struggling to get it out on the record. Clarity in your delivery of the song plays an important role in the quality of the output. Also, practice on delivering your phrases with emotion as it can give colour and weight to your voice which will help you get the sound you are looking for in recording. Also, it is vitally important that you do vocal warm-ups before you start recording as you want your best voice to be recorded.
2. Understanding your voice
Voices have different qualities, textures and ranges. You must have heard the terms like Soprano, Tenor, Alto, Bass which basically tells the voice type you have.Then there are other factors like the raspiness or the hint of nasal in your voice. All of these has its own charm, thus to get the best out of the type of voice you possess, there are different approaches you can take in the studio. So, understand the type of voice you have so that you can give an idea to the sound engineer - this also allows him to do what he must to get the best vocal recording out of you. Do a rehearsal and brief them about the type of sound your want to get out of your vocal range.
3. Knowing the Microphones
There are different type of microphones which functions differently due to its build. For vocals, there are mainly Condenser and Dynamic microphones.
Condenser microphones usually captures the room sound and subtle nuances of vocalist’s voice, making it sound organic. Most studios prefer condenser microphones as it does the work of recording voices very well with defined high and low ends. However, there are certain rules one must follow when using a condenser microphones, like the distance of your mouth from the mic should be around 15-20 cms. Eg. Neumann TLM 102
Dynamic microphones pick up lesser room noise and cuts off the sibilance. They work well with voices that have brighter tones in their upper range or those who tend to use their nasal voice. Dynamic microphones are flexible and durable as compared to condenser microphones. Eg. Shure SM57, SM58. Sometimes, if there is raspiness and lot of lows in a voice, we can also use the combination of both the microphones. But it always helps when you know and understand these microphones and confidently use your voice on it.
Even under these types, there are different models and brands of microphones that respond differently to different qualities of voices, however all that depends on their availability in the studio. All the good studios would keep the best options of microphones and provide you with the one that will work best for you. It also helps to call ahead or check out the studio's website for more information on their equipment.
4. Preventing Vocal fatigue
Your vocal cords are a sensitive instrument. You can quickly lose your voice if you overdo certain things. Vocal fatigue is a common issue amongst singers but there are techniques you can learn to preserve your voice.
Stay hydrated with water, avoid fizzy and sugary drinks, don’t overdo your vocal exercises and most importantly rest your voice regularly. If you have a recording scheduled in a day or two, make sure you don’t strain your voice too hard, just ease into warm-ups and vocal exercises, make sure you have a light meal before you are entering the studio and always keep a bottle of water with you.
Live a healthy schedule, and give yourself a sleep of at least 7-8 hours, keep your oral hygiene clean - all of this will help you develop your voice in the right way.
In summary, studio time is precious and expensive. Make sure you are well prepared before you go into a studio so that you get the most bang for your buck and the best sound out of your voice.
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