Garnish Music Production School in London

How To Record Vocals by Piers Moth

Recording Vocals | Piers Moth’s Blog # 4

This week was principally aimed vocals and mixing and how to record vocals which naturally spills over to some acoustic instruments and techniques for recording and production.

We started by learning about the chain of recording vocals, the importance of a pre-amp, the sort of microphones which are best suited for recording vocals and about having damp sounding surroundings to avoid hearing the room so you are working with the dryest possible signal in the first place, which can have reverbs etc added afterwards in the studio. We talked about using more than one mic, and how to avoid phase cancellation, and about constructive and destructive phasing, we were shown how with a few sample delay to one of the parts this can be avoided, or about the use of the polarity button to turn destructive phasing into constructive phasing.  We were given some advice on pre-amps to go for in a home studio set up, and about the usefulness of pop-shields, mic-stands, duvets, and reflection filters, and getting the best possible signal through in the first place.

Recording VocalsCarrying on from previous weeks about cleaning up sound sources before putting them in the mix, we learned about strip silence, once again refreshing what we had previously covered with noise gates.  We carried on to learn about de-essing, and how to scoop out pops and de-ssing both as an insert, using a compressor to do it, and how direct monitoring can be used to improve a singer’s performance and make them feel more at ease  by avoiding any latency issues. We went on to learn about some different types of auto-tuning, how it can be used both naturally and as an effect on vocals, something which has become increasingly popular in pop music of recent years.

Moving on to vocals in the mix, we were shown how rather than parallel compressing everything, compression in series can be very effective, and act more smoothly with vocals, unlike the parallel smashing compression drum effects that can be used to beef them up.  Talking of beefing up drums, we were shown how substituting/adding extra kicks/snares to each transient can be used to fatten up the sound, and how to copy them in.

To reinforce ADT (automatic double tracking) from the previous week, we were shown that by using auto-tunes it is possible to create a similar sort of chorus effect to Bv’s and/or the main vocal line. We also moved onto have a look at filters and ring modulators and had a play before the session ended.

At lunch, I had a cracking game of ping pong with Al at the Pub on the Park, yet to be resolved, it stands at 1 game each. I don’t give up or forget these things Al and I do anticipate us finishing off the match, and victory in my court!  I know about your forehand, you know about my Left Hand Side!

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