Professional tips for good vocal recordings at home with low budget | 2023
Do you want to get the most out of your home studio vocal recordings? Here there are the top 3 tips by our professional mixing and mastering service team for 2023!
1) Room choice and very cheap room audio treatments
A good recording starts from a good ambiance. Even a cheap mic can sound nice if recorded in a nice ambient. Have you noticed a lot of “room noise” in your recordings, that reverberation that comes into the microphone from your voice bouncing on the walls, ceiling and floor of your room? That’s because your room has anything stopping those unwanted soundwaves from bouncing in a loop inside the room.
The basic principle is to STOP THEM.
Take all your house pillows, mattresses and similar foamy things and place them around the microphone and test various positions, distances from mic, quantity (sometimes too much absorbing material will make your vocals thinner) until you find that in the mic there’s nothing but the sound of your voice, or at least you don’t hear that room noise so high as before.
Mandatory: Listen, listen, listen. Listen to the result of each test you make, put yourself in “scientist mode”. Make as more tests as possible until you find the sound of your voice great even without any equalization or compression, just good as rough recording, with the less noise, click, pops possible.
Remember that some reflection of the room ambiance can help to make your voice more spacey and natural, giving them a real “space”. But if you hear that the room noise is almost at the same volume of the “dry” vocal signal, something is wrong in the room treatment, or in your position while recording.
2) Mic distance and positioning
Too far = less details and more room sound.
Too close = too much pops, annoying “s” and “t” and other “proximity effect” (search for this term on search engines) issues, like prominent bass resonations and “head” sound resonation (yes, your head resonates when you sing). But yes, less room sound.
Again, find the perfect balance having good sounding vocals without processing.
If you hear problems like “pops” coming from letters P, T, D, B, you can try to sing a bit off axis from the microphone turning its capsule some degree (less than 10°) away from your mouth (or move your self a tiny bit on the side). This will attenuate pops, sibilants and hard pronounced letters/words, but at the same time it might take away some warmth from your voice, depending by the microphone you are using.
Make tests and listen carefully, you will know your microphone better and how it reacts. Normally you can find recording techniques focused on every single microphone easily on the web or on the manufacturer’s website.
3) Use of plugins for cleaning your audio material
There are plenty of plugins you can use to clean your audio if there are major or minor problems made by different manufacturer, here there’s a list of some very cheap audio restoration plugins you could try:
Izotope RX 10 – 29$
The entry suite of the glorious audio restoration plugin suite by Izotope we use every day in its pro version, but with a reduced complexity and a more graphic approach with big knobs and no complex settings. It includes tools from de-reverberation, to adaptive and AI powered surgical tools to get rid of almost any issue on your recordings. If you like it and you want to try the advanced versions, even if they need a lot of knowledge and practice to be used at best, they can reach outstanding results if you have the will and the patience to learn.
Waves Clarity VX- 29$
Super easy and impressive ambient noise reduction plugin. No difficult settings, almost a “one knob” style plugin. Really impressive for the cost. I tried the demo some time ago, and I found it really great, but I prefer a more detailed approach on those issues, I want to be able to control each shade of what I do, but this can be a great start for you with the art of audio restoration!