It may come as a shock to people new to the industry, but many great songs were actually written and recorded at home. This was especially the case during recent years when many of us were socially distancing, and artists had to get creative from their houses.
Insider lists OneRepublic's upcoming album, "Human," and Pitbull’s optimistic track, "I Believe That We Will Win" among the many examples of songs that were recorded with home setups.
This tells us that anyone can record great vocals from home as long as they've got the right tools and set-up. If you’re unsure where to start, here’s our guide to help you out.
A large room with a sturdy and dense base, such as wood flooring, is optimal for classical vocals and sounds to bounce off. For rock and pop vocals, you want a “deader” room with minimal reverb.
This can be achieved by closing the curtains or placing wood furniture against the walls to dampen the sound. Otherwise, you can use a few of our suggestions for great sound absorbers, such as a thick carpet or a blanket, to block out more unwanted noise from your environment.
You can later add reverb when you mix with the variety of reverb plugins available in today’s digital audio software.
Dynamic microphones like the quintessential Shure SM58 are popular for live shows due to their neutral frequency response optimized for vocal performance.
For studios, however, many artists prefer condenser microphones because of their wider frequency response and dynamic range.
If you're not sure where to start, Shout4Music has a list of reviews and recommendations that fledgling musicians can look through to determine what mic will best suit their needs and sound.
For example, they recommend the Neumann U87 AI as it is the top choice for industry leaders, with notable musicians such as The Beatles and Ray Charles using it over the years.
However, the Warm Audio WA-87 is a much-favored choice by many starting artists who cannot afford the U87 AI. Like the Neumann, the WA-87 contains a large-diaphragm tube condenser to bring vintage sound to a new generation.
Most microphones are capable of producing their own tone, but a preamp allows you to adjust the “warmth” or distortion of your recordings.
The Scarlett Solo is one of the cheaper mic preamps and interfaces that independent musicians on a budget commonly buy.
But to take it a step further in quality, the ART ProMPA II is a bargain-priced preamp that delivers a total of 70dB of gain and is perfect for beginners.
For those with a larger budget, however, the reviewers on MusicPlayers highlight the D.W. Fearn VT-2 as one of the best choices thanks to its -20dB padding, "LO-Z" option, and VU meter on/off switches.
Related Post: What Is A Scratch Vocal?
If you are looking to do some mixing and editing yourself, there are a variety of ways to manipulate vocals — from compression, to reverb and delay, to mild flanging and chorus — using editing software.
In Audacity, adjusting the audio’s intensity is as simple as choosing Amplify or Normalize in the Effect menu. This will allow you to set the amount you want to amplify or normalize the audio by.
Choosing 0dB doesn't change the audio at all, for example, while 1dB increases the level by a decibel. For more advanced home recorders, Samplitude Pro X’s range of editing tools and features may be more worthwhile.
Regardless, it is best to always start with a clean vocal recording, as a recording with more ambient sound is always harder to clean up.
If you don't want to get into mixing, edits, and mastering on your own, you can find audio engineers on many sites, including Upwork and Fiverr, where they advertise their work to other artists looking to polish the final release.
The good thing about sites like these is that you can hear plenty of samples of their previous work and read detailed reviews on how it is to work with them for your songs.
Check out some mixing and mastering recommendations that work really well for music makers on a budget.
With these tips, you are ready to start recording quality vocals from your home. To learn more about how you can improve your output, check out our other posts on Yona Marie Music in the recording section.
Written by: Carol Ching
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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