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How Do You Record Vocals Properly?

5 Tips For Better Vocal Recordings At Home


woman singing with microphone home recording

Whether you're a seasoned singer or just starting to explore your voice, knowing how to record vocals properly can make all the difference in bringing your music to life. In fact, here at Girls Twiddling Knobs, how to record vocals professionally from home is one of the most common questions we get asked.


So, in this blog post, we're diving deep into this essential aspect of music production, sharing our top five tips, tricks, and techniques to help you capture pristine vocal recordings from the comfort of your own home.



1. Warm Up Your Voice


We have to always start with warming up when it comes to a singer's precious vocal chords. But this isn't just important for vocal health. You'll also noticeably hear the difference on your recordings. A warmed up voice will feel more relaxed, expressive and, well, warm - all good things for a great sounding vocal recording. So try doing some warm up exercises followed by 3-5 practice takes of whatever you're about to record.


Pro Tip: Record your warm up takes! Sometimes because the pressure's off, there's a magic moment in there and it's great to know you can use it later down the line. Just make sure you or the singer genuinely treats these takes as warm ups - otherwise the magic won't work!



2. Create the Ideal Recording Environment


Let me say up front that if you're acoustics aren't dialled in, there's no point spending any silly money on an expensive microphone, because your home recordings will still sound pants. That is how important this step is. So, choose a quiet, well-insulated room free from external noise and distractions. Then I highly recommend exploring ways to acoustically treat your home recording space to minimise unwanted reflections and reverberations.


This doesn't have to take lots of money or time but you do need to understand the basics of sound treatment. Luckily, we go through this step-by-step in our Home Recording Starter Kit:

Home Recording Starter Kit

3. Use A Good Microphone (But Expensive Doesn't Equal Better)


After you've thought about your recording environment, having a good microphone will make all the difference to your vocal recordings. And if we all had limitless cash, I'd be advising every single home recording vocalist to book themselves into a fancy recording studio with a bunch of amazing mics, do a mic shoot out to hear which one suits your voice the best, before investing in that microphone for your home recording projects. But I'm guessing you don't have thousands of £££ to spend, or hundreds for that matter.


Luckily, some microphones are great value for money and (generally) compliment most people's voices. My favourite? The trusty Sure SM58 because it's: a) cardioid, meaning it will mainly just pick up what's in front of it (i.e. your voice), b) dynamic, so you can also use it at live gigs and to record amped instruments; c) it has a well rounded tone, which generally suits most people's voices, and; d) its very affordable, coming in at just over £100.



4. Use A Pop Shield To Record Vocals Properly


home recording woman with microphone vocals

As a home recording vocalist, one of the best investments you'll ever make is a pop shield. These little contraptions can be attached to your mic stand and curled round to sit between your mouth and the mic. Their thin fabric mesh catches any breath from your mouth as you speak or sing that might cause plosives on your recordings (those 'p' and 'b' sounds that will be very difficult to edit out afterwards). The best part? They're also very affordable, ranging from around £10-£50, but you can also make one yourself from a clothes hanger and a pair of old tights. Our recommendation is the Hercules MH200B coming in at just under £20.



5. Get Comfortable


While we could have rounded off this list of top 5 tips with things like making sure your mic's positioned correctly, dialling in your headphone monitoring or the pros and cons of recording with a dry or wet signal, none of those are as important as feeling comfortable when you record your voice. If you feel emotionally stressed, physically uncomfortable or like you can't relax for any reason, you might hear it on your vocal recordings but you're also far more likely to get in your own head about either your vocal performance or the quality of your recordings too.


Many of my students will share recordings they made during a long, stressful recording session, totally convinced there was something terribly wrong with what they captured. Often me and their fellow students can't hear anything wrong, and that's a lot of wasted time and energy. So, take some time to get comfortable before you start, however that looks for you. And if your session starts to feel stressful, take a break!



Final Thought: Practice Makes Better


Recording vocals is as much an art as it is a science, and like any skill, it requires practice and patience to master. Don't be discouraged by setbacks or imperfections—view them as opportunities for growth and learning. Take the time to experiment with different techniques, equipment, and approaches to discover what works best for you and your unique musical style.


And if this list of tips got you feeling excited about recording your voice like a pro from home, your next best step is to grab our Home Recording Starter Kit. It's only £7 and takes you through everything you'll need to get set up for success, including home acoustic treatment, budget friendly but good recording gear and getting your music tech mindset on point.

Home Recording Starter Kit

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