Tips and Tricks for Recording Your Voice

It’s finally time to put the voice into sound wave format.  Before you start singing your favourite notes, you will want to make sure that everything is set up correctly.  The voice is the trickiest part of the recording as well as the very last step to getting everything in correctly.  Before you begin, know exactly how to approach your notes.

Your first step to recording your voice is to not record your voice.  This means that you will want to have everything else exactly as it should be.  The rest of your instrumentation should be completed, including everything from the layering of instruments to the mixing.  Putting the voice in before you have anything else done will cause slight confusion in the end from all musicians and may cause some parts of the track to be off.

After you have everything set, prepare your recording studio in the correct way for voice.  This means that you should have an enclosed space to record, which doesn’t cause the voice to bounce off the walls from the resonance.  The microphone should be set in place to pick up all sides of the voice but should be able to muffle the rest of the sounds in the room.  The more enclosed and deadened the sound, the easier it will be to capture the voice.

One of the important parts of recording the voice is linked to the peaks in the voice.  It is easy for a vocal sound to peak, meaning that the sound wave goes past the maximum and into a ‘red zone’ of volume.  You will want to prevent this from happening and keep the voice condensed in a specific area.  Remember, it is always easier to get louder, but it is harder to get softer.  For this purpose, compressors have been created.  This is set into the microphone and compresses the sound wave before it is recorded into the software.  Always check the compression of the voice and the peaks that it has so that you have room to work with the volume.

From this point, it is a matter of putting the right mixes in for the voice.  Equalizers or EQs will help to get the right sounds of the high and low frequencies in and should always be set on the mixer as well as within the software.  You will also want to consider things such as noise gates, which stops the sound from resonating before it is recorded.  If the voice naturally resonates, the noise gate will have a cut-off point where the resonance will stop, making everything clear instead of sounding like it echoes.

After the voice is recorded, you can use it like you would any other instrument.  This means that you can normalize the sound waves so that it matches with the other instruments in volume and gain.  This also means that you can allow the volume to mix properly.

One of the greatest sets of tools for the voice is being able to manipulate the sound, which can be done after the normalization is complete.  Reverb, flanges and other vocal tools can add back into the voice what is taken out for compression.  This will depend on the type of voice and the effect that you want to have.  For example, if the voice has a slight accent or already has a strong resonance, the reverb will make it sound like an echo.  A clearer voice; however, will add a little sparkle to the mix.  You will want to analyze the type of voice you are working with before you add in the mix and will want to take some time to experiment with your options.

If you follow this simple set of rules, recording the voice can move from being the hardest and most complex part of recording to being the simplest step in putting together all of the sounds.  Giving yourself room to experiment with the voice and understanding what it needs in order to work right will allow you to get the exact results every time.

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