How To Set Up A Home Studio To Record Your Vocals Professionally

Modern technological advances have made  music rapidly more accessible in creation & consumption. 

 

A major benefit of this for singers/rappers is that it is now easier & more affordable than ever to record high quality vocals at home!

 

But first lets clear up a few things…

 

Will a £50 mic sound the same as a £2500 Neumann u87? 

 

No.

 

Does that mean you have to spend a fortune to be able to record your vocals at home professionally?

 

Absolutely not! 

 

But it’s always worth remembering the goal for recording your vocals professionally is to capture the best possible quality of the source sound (you).

 

In this article we will be covering what you will need to begin recording your vocals professionally  from home so you can start working with producers & musicians all over the globe!

 

What You Will Need & What Does It Do?

 

To start you will need a microphone, pop filter (image left), shock mount (the cradle the microphone sits in) and a microphone stand.

The microphone records the source signal (in this case you).

 

The pop filter protects the signal from noise. When singing or rapping the rapid movement of air from the vocals can cause unwanted pops. This is more noticeable for words containing the letters P, T, K, D & G. A pop filter is used to reduce the effect of theses sounds in your recording.

 

Lets face it…we all like to move about when we sing!
Unfortunately any contact with the microphone during recording will cause a low frequency rumble. A shock mount protects from you this and is therefore an essential part of maintaining a professional sound.

 

 

So now that we have our microphone ready and noise free, where do we plug it into?

An audio interface. 

Above is an example of one of the most popular and cost effective interfaces on the market, the Focusrite Scarlett Solo. An audio interface converts the signal coming from the microphone into something your computer can work with.

 

In the photo you can see the front of the device, where you insert inputs such as a microphone or guitar. On the far right you can see a connection for your headphone jack wic brings us on to the next component…

 

 

 

Headphones!

Remember to always record with the music only playing through the headphones. This prevents what is known as noise bleed. For example if you recorded yourself whilst the music was playing on speakers, that would also be recorded by the microphone. 

Make sure to get closed back headphones for recording!

 

 

Finally you will need a computer (desktop or laptop). For the purpose of only recording vocals a laptop would be more cost effective.  

 

On your device you will need to install a DAW (digital audio workstation). This is the software you will record in, examples include Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Ableton, Garageband, Fl Studios…

 

Below is a list of free DAWs for both MAC & PC.

 

MAC:  Garageband, Audacity, Ardour, SoundBridge

 

WINDOWS: Audacity, Ardour, Pro Tools First, SoundBridge

 

Make sure to check YouTube & Google for free tutorials on your DAW.

What about the room itself?

In terms of quality nothing can compare to an acoustically engineered environment as found in professional recording studios. However this doesn’t mean you can’t get great vocal recordings in your environment. 

 

Lets starts with the easy things.

 

1. If theres cupboards in your room, try ad fill them up but make sure they are shut whilst you are recording.

 

2. Avoid facing mirrors and glass

 

3. Covering walls with acoustic foam reduces the average reverberation time in a room.

 

 

The most simple solution is to use a reflection filter (show above) around your microphone.

 

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