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When it comes to the fine art of recording, few aspects can be as challenging as capturing perfect, crystal-clear vocals. Even in a professional studio, replete with soundproofing and other high-end equipment, recording a high quality vocal performance can prove to be a challenging undertaking.
Imagine, therefore, how tough it can be to replicate these conditions in your home. This is because, in general, the typical house was not designed with recording in mind and thus, isn't always ideal for creating a controlled environment - unless you plan ahead first.
Do not despair - studio-standard recordings can still be achieved, especially when using purpose-designed recording equipment, such as the range from RØDE. While our range of microphones and recording equipment will stand you in great stead for capturing fine vocals, you'll still need a little preparation to ensure that it's as good as can be.
Let RØDE be your guide:
Which microphone should I use?
Firstly, it's important that you have the tools to complete a satisfactory job. There's no point using substandard equipment, as even if you were recording the world's most angelic vocals, bad gear will not do the voice justice.
Instead, opt for one of RØDE Microphone's offerings. We have a broad range of cutting edge equipment for you to try out, such as the NT1 Cardioid Condenser, or the Classic II Limited Edition, which evokes memories of the classic microphones of old. Once you've chosen your weapon, it's time to take the next step - picking your recording space.
Where shall I record?
One of the most important decisions that you'll make is exactly where you'll record. Even using RØDE's equipment, if you choose to record in a noisy and unsuitable location, you'll have difficulty getting outstanding sound quality.
The fact is, no matter which room you choose (unless you have a custom-built home recording studio) it won't have been built with recording in mind. External sounds can, literally, come from anywhere, whether you're in a bedroom or the study. Additionally, you'll also have to block out noises that aren't actually apparent until you start recording, such as-conditioning or the hum of traffic outside.
The main issues will come from external sounds that reverberate around the room - especially sounds that approach from in front of the vocalist's head. This is because soundwaves will bounce off the wall behind the recording artist, and will be picked up by your recording equipment. How can we effectively contain this?
It's a matter of absorbing external sounds, so temporarily cover the wall behind the microphone with the thickest quilt, blanket or curtains that you can get your hands on. This will absorb the majority of sound reflections, leading to a better class of recording. For best results, cover all four walls of the room - you could even canvas the ceiling if you have the time! If you're in a room with a window, shut the curtains.
Finally, pick a room with a carpet or rug - it will help the blanketed walls in absorbing reflected sound.
Where should the microphone sit?
Now that you've got your impromptu recording room fully decked out, you don't want to ruin all of your hard work with a poor choice of microphone position.
Though it may seem the most logical choice, avoid the temptation to place the microphone in the centre of the room, as this is where undesirable frequencies (known in the trade as standing waves) are at their most noticeable, and your microphone will pick them up. On the flipside, standing too close to a wall can increase the risk of intrusive sound reflection, affecting the microphone's ability to provide a natural sounding recording. So what's a budding recorder to do?
Try to put yourself three feet or so from the most thickly padded wall from the room, as long as this isn't in the centre. Additionally, try to choose the wall that's furthest from the windows - this can further reduce the risk of picking up sound reflection. When it comes to the position of your vocalist, try to put him, her or yourself approximately a foot from the microphone itself.