Early in their careers, many producers of electronic music have little or no experience of recording live vocals. This is obviously due to the fact that we are able to achieve often excellent results through the use of samples. Eventually however, many of us will want to start using vocalists as we try to push the boundaries of what we do. Over the course of a three part series, I will discuss the basics of recording and processing vocals for electronic music. This first article will focus primarily on tips and tricks for setting up your vocal recording space, and choosing the right microphone for the job. The second article will discuss ways in which you can elicit a great vocal performance from a singer, whilst the third will look at how you process and mix the vocal you have recorded.
Where Should I Record?
The answer to this for most of us is; “wherever you can”. Few of us are blessed with much space in which to work. The good news, however, is that with very little investment, you can capture a great vocal sound in almost any space. It can be worth experimenting with recording in different spaces around your studio/house – for instance, most of us have heard stories about great vocals being captured using the natural reverb of someone’s bathroom! However, for the most part, we look to capture vocals with as ‘dead’ a sound as possible. We want to try to eliminate natural reverb where possible, so that we have more flexibility to add the exact reverb we want at the mixing stage. You can create a perfectly serviceable ‘dead’ space for recording with just a few feet of space and two pieces of equipment; a reflexion filter and a duvet. A reflexion filter (or similar product) sits on your mic stand, behind the microphone. It stops the sound of the vocals from reverberating off the walls in front of the singer and bouncing back into the rear of the mic. It should not cost much more than $100, and is a really worthwhile investment. For more details, take a look at the video below: