Ciao Guys, Manuel's here from .

Being a mastering engineer gives me the opportunity to work with a lot of producers, bands and mixing engineers. I work with experienced professionals but also with beginners from all levels. Working with the latter I've noticed a series of common mistakes. In this article I would give you some advice particularly helpful when dealing with vocal recording and mixing.

Vocal Recording

  • In order to avoid the proximity effect, don't put the microphone too close to the singer.

  • If you have the opportunity, experiment with different microphones. Do it, and use the one that best suit the voice you are recording.

  • Experiment also with dynamic microphone (especially if you are a bedroom producer). Some very good vocal, even in studio, have been recorded with a Sure SM57. A Sure SM7 is also a great dynamic mic for vocal. The advantage of dynamic microphones is that they are less sensible to the surround noises and bad reverberation of the room.

  • If you have one use a portable isolation booth.

  • Try to angle the microphone if you feel it helps to reduce some annoying "s".

  • While recording pay attention to saliva noises. If there are some ask the singer to drink some water.

  • Use a pop shield (or pop filter) to reduce the plosive like "p", "b".

Vocal Mixing

  • If you need to tune the vocal, do it. If you don’t need to, it means you are working with a good singer. Of course the tuning softwares can be used also for creative purposes.

  • Forget trying to turn a bad vocal recording into a good one in post-production (editing). It just won’t happen. In that case you'll have to compromise a lot or consider to re-record the vocal.

  • If the recording is too dry, try using two reverbs: one room and one plate.

  • If you find yourself playing too much with EQing a vox, the recording is probably not good enough to be mixed.

  • Don’t over-compress the voice. Most of the time using two compressors back-to-back with less gain reduction work better. Set one compressor to reduce the peaks and the other one to control the RMS.

  • Pay attention to sibilants and plosives “s”, “c”, “p” and reduce them with a volume automation if you need. For sibilances you can also use a de-esser.

  • Pay attention to breaths and reduce them with a volume automation if you need.


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