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Music blog

Vocal Recording Tips

Posted by: Michael Smith
Hip hop vocals, like in any other genre, are the soul of the song. A lot of young artists have the misconception that softwares can do anything these days.

While this is true to an extent, there in nothing better than a well defined and perfectly recorded vocal track.

It becomes a ‘diamond in the rough’ that can be polished and cut beautifully at the mixing table.

Here are some of the things you can do to ensure that you have a perfect vocal take.vocal recording tips


The Studio


The ambience of the recording setup is a key factor in giving the vocalist the space to deliver his best take.

Chose a studio where you are comfortable working with the recording engineer.

The engineer must understand your needs and your short comings.

Not only does he need to push an artist to give his best but he also needs to know how. A bad take or fumble can generate poor confidence levels.


A good engineer can make all the difference in helping an artist overcome confidence issues.

If you are recording at a studio, ensure that you inform the engineer about your specific requirements.

This could include pop filters, a specific mic or anything else that you require. If you are recording at a home or in a booth, ensure that it is acoustically dead and doesn’t boom or echo.


Noise from external sources must be nil otherwise they will interfere.


The Mic


Placement is key. Adjust the height that suits your stance and don’t stretch or stand awkwardly.

Once again, comfort is the key.

The distance of and from the mic plays an important role in the outcome of your vocal recording. Ensure that you maintain equal distance from the mic at all times.

 A lot of hip hop singers and rappers move back and forth in a swagger once they are into a song.

This has a direct effect on the vocals unless you are altering your throw. Don’t touch the mic-stand or move it, not only will it pick up the sound but you will also change the output.

Ensure that you get rid of booth noise. Modern day microphones are sharp and sensitive.

They can pick up the sound of your watch sliding down your wrist as you swing your hand. Avoid jewellery or any kind and spit out chewing gum.

Anyone who is not required in the booth should be shown out; this is applicable to many artists who want to be videotaped. Needless to say, cell phones should be switched off.








Though it is recommended to record the vocal take dry and add EQ later, it always helps to add some reverb to the headphone line.

This will create warmth and help the vocalist ‘feel’ the song.

Some artists like the mix blasted into the earphones and some like it low.

When blasting the headphones, make sure the sound doesn’t leak into the mic. That is when you know it is too loud.




Dry vocals are the wet clay that can be moulded into a masterpiece. Recording with dry vocals lets you re-create and add whatever EQ you like.

Some hip hop artists prefer not to punch in and out vocals because it makes a slight difference to the overall sound.

This is a personal choice. Unless you are a perfectionist, the difference isn’t glaringly obvious for most people to tell, at least not the layman to whom who want to sell your music.

With softwares like Pro Tools, Cubase and others, you can remove pops and breathes that crept into the take.

The EQ is flexible and precise filter of words or phrases can be done while editing and mixing.

Keeping these simple things in mind can great affect the outcome of your efforts.

Your song is your brainchild. As an artist, you want to take every action and precaution to ensure that you deliver it to its maximum potential.

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