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  • Manuel Scaramuzzino


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 recording and mixing voice.

recoring in my room


Voice 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 suits the voice you are recording.

  • The experiment also with dynamic microphones (especially if you are a bedroom producer). Some very good vocals, even in the studio, have been recorded with a Sure SM57. The advantage of dynamic microphones is that they are less sensible to the surround noises and the 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".

Voice 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 software 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 re-recording 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 works 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 volume automation if you need. For sibilances you can also use a de-esser. - I like to use a combination of both de-esser and manual de-essing.

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



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