Saturday, June 8, 2013

HOW TO RECORD VOCALS (a guide for dummies) PART 1/2

Hello and welcome to this week's article! In the past we have already covered the topic of Mixing Vocals (Here), but this time we'll take a look at how to record them properly.
First off we'll need to find the right Microphone. There are two roads we can take here (I have purposely omitted the residual types of microphones available because they're quite expensive and not very common, such as the ribbon or the tube ones):

- Condenser Microphones: these are very sensitive microphones, that reproduces a very detailed image of the captured sound in a wide range of frequencies; those microphones needs a 48v phantom power on the preamplifier in order to work, so we must make sure that our audio interface features this option. 
With these microphones a proper room acoustic treatment is important too, since they can easily pick up unwanted room resonances; there are also portable isolation devices that can be mounted on the mic stand itself, and they will absorb the sound of the singer's voice avoiding resonances. 
An example of these isolation devices is the Primacoustic Voxguard.
This type of microphones, that put emphasis on the higher frequencies, are particularly suited for genres such as Pop or R n'B, and some brand with a good quality-to-price ratio are Rode, Audio Technica, SE Electronics
Finally, these microphones also need a spider shockmount, which is a mechanical fastener that connects the microphone to the mic stand with elastic bands, leaving it in a "floating" state that protects it from catching vibrations and other sounds we don't need.

- Dynamic Microphones: these ones doesn't need 48v phantom power, and are usually mono directional, with a cardioid pattern: this means that they take the sound of what's in front of them and tend to attenuate or cancel the sound produced behind them (which is particularly useful in a live environment). 
These microphones are less sensitive than the condenser ones, and usually put less emphasis on the higher frequencies, resulting in a more round sound, less bright and crisp, which is more suited for aggressive vocals, like screaming or growling, also because this type of microphones tends to accept higher volumes and air movement better. 
The most famous and common dynamic microphones brands are Shure and Sennheiser.

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