In our last post, we shared three basic technical rules to follow in order to get a good vocal recording. In this one, we’ll look at how to get the best performance for that recording.
Getting a great recording will do more to help your mix and master than anything else. It’s like starting a recipe with the finest ingredients. The key to a great recording is a great performance.
So here are three tips for getting a better performance when recording vocals:
Make sure the singer is comfortable
This may seem fundamental, but it can make the difference between capturing a great take and a dud. Make sure your singer is warmed up and comfortable. Have the lights turned low. Don’t have the studio temperature too cold. Also, have water or hot tea available to drink.
It’s also best if your singer is standing up rather than sitting. This allows more comfortable movement and opens up the body’s diaphragm. It also allows for easier movement around the mic in case she needs to back away slightly during louder phrases.
Use reverb in the headphone mix
Putting a little reverb in the headphone mix of the performer can make her sound a lot better to herself, making her feel more confident in her delivery. You can also throw a high-pass filter on it to cut out any sub-frequencies or building hum.
Basically, if the singer believes she sounds good, she’ll feel good and deliver a better performance.
Take your time
Plan to take your time on this. Nothing can be more frustrating than being in a studio with a deadline looming over you and needing to produce a perfect take. Don’t impose such deadlines. Get comfortable with the fact that it might take a few times through just to get into a good flow.
Also, don’t hesitate to keep certain parts of a take and punch in for other parts. That’s how countless records are made these days and it can allow for your singer to add extra focus on difficult passages.
While there’s no magic bullet to recording great vocals, there are basic principles. Stick to these basics and you’ll be on the right track to getting the sound you want.