Overlooked Vocal Session Tricks

It’s that time of the month again where we move to a new focus, and what better topic to discuss as a manufacturer of microphones than Recording Vocals


For many, recording vocals can be very difficult to nail when starting out, and there’s a lot of moving parts that have to be working together in order to get the best result - but there are some tricks you can do to help all sessions no matter how much experience you have in recording. 


So, let’s dive in!


Confidence Is Key

Over the last decade or so, one thing has been made more and more apparent - a lack of confidence can completely kill a session. What makes this a little more complicated is that it can strike at any time, even before you’ve pressed the record button for the first time; so it’s important to give thought to the session before it starts. 


One of the best ways for an artist to be confident in their ability is to practice beforehand so they ensure they know the lyrics, and they know the rhythms and melodies for each section of the song. But you can also do this in part by simply asking for a demo of their song before the start of any session or any recording if they have it (this doesn’t have to be in the form of a full song structure either, it could just be with an acoustic guitar and their voice). 


This ensures you know how the song goes, you can give direction if they forget a part mid-session, but you can also give your thoughts on harmonies, changes to the rhythm, the specifics of a word, or similar, which then gives them confidence in you. 

 

Setting up and making sure the vocalist is comfortable is also key. I like using an oil diffuser to create a vibe within the room, as well as using lighting to add more atmosphere.


Knowing as a vocalist that you’re in good hands is one of the most important things I learnt, and no one ever said it to me - but it became obvious after multiple sessions with multiple artists, and they get stronger and stronger takes as the session progresses because they know you’re not judging them, and that you’re enjoying their music as much as they enjoy writing it. 


Matching the Mic to the Voice

If you only have the one mic you record with, then this tip is more food for thought, but to those with more than one, taking the time to match the mic to the voice can do wonders for several reasons. In terms of the bigger picture, when you come to mixing their vocals you’ll have a much easier time for starters, but even before then, if you’ve chosen the best mic to suit their voice, upon playback of the takes you should find the vocalist is more comfortable with their takes. 


I’ve found that with a mic that for example has a fuller body, or less top end content, used for a vocalist who already have a round and full voice (perhaps has a deeper voice as well), results is the obvious build-up of low end, but can throw off a singer when listening back to their takes. The same applies to the opposite, with a thinner voice or maybe female singer singing into a very bright microphone - the result is for the most part going to be them critiquing their own voice rather than being surprised at the quality of the recording or confident in their singing ability. 

The V67 and the BB29 are a good pair to have at your disposal for any session, with one being much brighter than the other and able to cover all vocal types and ranges.

Taking the time to match the microphone to the vocal type can really bode wonderful results, and if you only have the one mic at the moment, then this is a great example as to why many engineers have what’s commonly referred to as a ‘mic locker’ (plus, this matching of the mic goes the same for matching the mic to any instrument - with vocals though, it’s the only instrument that can tell you it doesn’t like how it sounds!)


Right now, we are currently running our Summer Sale, so if ever there was a better time to add to your personal locker of microphones, now is one of the best chances to jump on! You can also find a graphic in our FAQ that will show our darkest mic’s though to our brightest so you can make a well informed choice.


French