How To Record Vocals At Home

Introduction

Recording vocals at home isn’t as hard and expensive as it used to be a few years ago. With the advancement of music technology and affordable prices of consumer and semi-pro recording equipment, almost anyone can have a home recording studio these days and record music at home without having to spend a fortune as before or having to spend money to record in a professional recording studio.

3 Important Things

The 3 most important things you’ll need in order to record vocals at home are: 1) a microphone, 2) an audio interface, 3) a computer with DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software.

Computer

Most of you probably have a computer already. Be it a PC or MAC, a laptop or desktop computer, it doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s not too old and is in a good working condition.

Then you’ll need to install a DAW of your choice, such as Reaper, Audacity (freeware), Cubase, Sonar, Pro Tools etc. You might want to start with something simple and free such as Audacity and when you have some more experience, you can invest in something more professional and advanced such as Cubase or Pro Tools.

Audio Interface

Now that you have a computer and a DAW, you should invest in a separate audio interface. Most computers come equipped with an onboard soundcard, but these are most of the times not suitable for recording and will give you less than acceptable results and also introduce latency etc, which will make it almost impossible to record properly.

There are plenty of affordable audio interface options right now and which one you choose largely depends on how many tracks you want to record simultaneously, your budget and the type of connection your computer supports. I recommend an audio interface with a USB or Firewire connection.

Microphone

Most home studio owners and recording artists choose to use either a Dynamic or a Condenser microphone with a XLR connection. Which one you choose depends on what your audio interface supports, and the room you’re recording in.

Condenser microphones will generally give you more professional sounding results, but they require phantom power, so make sure that your audio interface supports it (most do nowadays).
They also pick up much more of the surrounding noise, so you’ll either have to make sure you’re recording in a room that’s as quiet as possible or you’ll have to make a vocal booth to record in. Another option is to soundproof and/or treat your home studio, but this is usually very expensive and i wouldn’t recommend it unless you really know what you’re doing.

Dynamic microphones on the other hand don’t pick as much room noise and don’t require phantom power as condensers do. But they generally produce inferior results compared to condenser microphones, so i recommend you choose a dynamic mic only as a 2nd option, if you don’t have the proper room to record with a condenser. Still that doesn’t mean that a dynamic mic can’t produce professional results, so don’t worry if that’s your only option for now.

Another option would be to get a USB microphone. Though these might be adequate in some cases and are usually more affordable since they don’t require a separate audio interface, i strongly recommend that you avoid these and invest in a microphone with a regular XLR connection and an audio interface, since most of the times these provide better results and will be the better choice in the long run.

Do I Need Anything Else?

Some other things that i highly recommend you get for recording vocals -whichever microphone type you choose- are: a Mic Stand, a Pop Filter, which will reduce the
vocal plosive sounds (p’s, t’s etc) and so produce better and more professional vocal recordings, as well as a pair of Studio Headphones (preferably closed-back), cause even though you can record while listening to regular computer or stereo speakers, headphones will prevent the music from bleeding into your microphone and getting in your recordings, especially if you’re recording with a condenser microphone.

Conclusion

I hope this post has helped you understand what is required in order to record vocals at home. Stay tuned on this blog for more recording and music marketing tips and articles!

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