This is a question that I get vey often from my students or from friends here in HomeStudioProject. It’s very important to understand that everything starts from the recording phase and to be more exact from the source you have.
We can have a very good vocal recording and a better sounding result in the end, if we know some basic things about how we can record properly. As I have told you before that a good mix is the one that you don’t have to do so many things.
There are lots of things that you can’t control in your home studio, like acoustic treatment. There are some factors that you can’t avoid ,once you work in your bedroom. Another factor is your microphone. Maybe another microphone has different sound,not better ,but different.
There are two things though you can control and if you handle them properly ,you can get the best of your recordings. The one is the distance from your microphone and the second is gain staging. These two can make the difference in your recordings ,no matter what gear you have or where you record!
Let’s see how can we have a good vocal recording. The first thing you have to do is to set the right height of your microphone. There are two settings you can do. The first one is to set the microphone exactly where your mouth is and another one is to set the microphone a little bit lower,so if you sing too loud and the song has too many dynamics ,you can avoid clipping.
Very important! You must have a pop filter. If you don’t ,go and buy one before you start recording! What is a pop filter? It is what you see in the picture below and it helps us in two things. One ,it eliminates the p’s ,that can be very annoying.And the second thing is that help us to keep a right distance from the microphone. A very good position to place the pop filter is about 10 cm from the microphone. I have seen some home studio owners ,they put the pop filter right next to the microphone and this is wrong!
As I have told you in previous blog posts, the microphones we use in our home studios are large diaphragm microphones and all these types are cardioid. That means that the closer we get to the microphone , we have more bass response. So I suggest to keep a right distance from the microphone. A proper distance is 10cm and from the pop filter. So in total you have a distance of 20 cm.
Another thing I want to tell you is that if you keep the right distance from your microphone ,you can avoid some volume changes in your recording. If you stand too close to the microphone ,you will have to step back sometimes ,especially if you have some louder parts. When we sing we can’t stand still without doing anything, we are expressional an we must move during our performance. So if we keep the right distance any move we make doesn’t change the dynamics of our recording.