7 Magical Tips for Recording Homemade Vocals

7 Magical Tips for Recording Homemade Vocals

Indeed, recording vocals correctly from home is the pillar of a good mix. Reason being that the voice facilitates the narration and determines the emotional tone.

1. The choice of the recording room!

Recording in a domestic context generates many challenges. Thus, choosing a room simply for its easy accessibility is a major mistake. Indeed, the room in which you are recording should in no way alter the tone of your voice.

So, if your vocals are recorded in an unsuitable environment, it will be absolutely obvious, when listening, in the final mix. Reverb brings vocals to the back of the mix. The more reverberation is present, the less the element concerned will be “frontal”.

Therefore, on the contrary, it will seem more distant. Thus, it is good that the voices are close and present. Moreover, recording vocals in a room with strong reverberation makes this intimacy impossible.

Thus, the repair that a part brings can give, to the compression and the rectification, of the height (pitch correction) an artificial aspect.

So which room should you choose?

Ideally, you want a small to medium-sized room that contains many “soft” objects. That is to say, for example, textiles such as a bed, a sofa, cushions, carpets… Indeed, all these elements tend to absorb sound, thus making the room a less reverberant and therefore more neutral so you can get the best out of vocal recordings.

Please note that rooms with many rigid surfaces and windows should be particularly avoided. Therefore, your kitchen and bathroom are probably not the ideal places to record vocals.

A downside exists in all this: You will need a relatively inert room acoustically, but not too much… indeed, if there is too much absorbent material in your room the sound will disappear and your voices will be muffled.

Contrary to popular belief, a closet is not an ideal location for recording vocals. This myth arose from the fact that vocal booths tend to be small and reclusive.

But the difference comes from the fact that professional vocal booths are frequently armed with nearly 30 cm of fiberglass! Unless your closet is done the same way, avoid it for voice recording…

2. Your microphone placement is not correct

Once the right part has been found, your work is far from over!

Thus, you will have to find the right placement of the microphones. Indeed, this may seem like a minor detail, but the placement of the microphones makes all the difference in terms of tone.

Two essential rules for the placement of microphones:

  • Do not place the microphone in the exact center of the room
  • Place the microphone as far away from the walls as possible

This will prevent the unintended recording of strange resonances that may occur outside the “sweet spot”.

But what is the sweet spot?

sweet spot for recording tips

Point your microphone towards the corner of the room. In effect, this will increase the distance to the nearest wall.

3. Your part is not “processed”

Note that condenser microphones are very sensitive. Also, they can pick up stray acoustic sounds from across the room. Therefore, treating the environment around them is essential!

Also, if you have real acoustic panels, set up a temporary vocal booth built around the vocalist.

If you don’t have real acoustic insulation panels, use what you have available. For example, mattresses, duvets, curtains because they can help to create a quality ephemeral cabin.

Worried that an item is absorbing too much sound? Try shouting at it and pay attention to the amount of sound absorbed. The more, the better!

Tip : If you can’t create the classic “triangle” vocal booth, place something behind the singer’s head. This is the area that most affects the recording.

4. You are using the wrong type of microphone

So, at this point, you begin to understand the main rule of voice recordings: EVERYTHING affects pitch. Therefore, take the time to set things up correctly.

Each vocalist has a different vocal tone. Thus, some are deep and powerful. Others are high-pitched and lighter. Also, indeed, thousands of possibilities lie in between.

Therefore, it is important that you use a microphone that matches your vocalist!

Indeed, each microphone has its own identity.

  • Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphones

Small condenser microphones tend to sound light and crystal clear. Also, the low frequency response is clearly weak with this type of microphone.

  • Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones

Large condenser microphones tend to sound clean and focused. Thus, their frequency response is generally rather balanced.

  • Dynamic microphones

Dynamic microphones tend to sound warmer and more aggressive. Indeed, they have less high frequencies, which can work very well for certain singers and for certain styles.

In conclusion, the microphone you choose should depend on what you want to get from your vocalist.

Indeed, you may be looking for a microphone that accentuates their natural tone. For example, if your vocalist has a high-frequency voice and you want to emphasize that tone, a small-diaphragm condenser microphone will be perfectly appropriate.

Sometimes, on the contrary, you will want to use a microphone that will compensate and balance their tone. If you feel like your vocalist’s voice is overly bright, a dynamic microphone might be the right solution.


In any case, be sure to do some testing! Indeed, set up 2 or 3 microphones and have your vocalist perform vocal tests in each of them.

If you only have enough budget for one microphone, I would go for a very well balanced affordable condenser microphone for the price.

Remember to change the microphone if you intend to record harmonies! Indeed, the change of key will help to highlight the main voices.

5. Avoid placing the microphone at lip level when recording…

These three placement factors will impact the resulting tone:


So if you’re using a condenser microphone, the distance between the microphone and the vocalist will have a big impact on the tone due to the proximity effect.

The proximity effect is a phenomenon that induces the fact that the closer you get to the microphone, the more the voices picked up are filled with bass:

  • If I stand 30 cm away, the vocals will sound open and airy.
  • If I stand 5 inches away, the vocals will sound full and intimate.

Also, placing the vocalist 15 cm from the microphone is a good starting point. Indeed, one can easily approach or move away from the microphone afterwards to obtain the desired tone.


Also, height is another factor that can impact the tone obtained by the microphone. This is because when a microphone is placed at lip level, it is placed at the “default” level.

Thus, by lowering the microphone, the bass naturally present in the voice will be amplified. The closer you get to the bust, the more the bass will be accentuated.

Conversely, when the microphone is raised, the treble is emphasized. So, make sure that the vocalist is looking straight ahead during vocal takes, otherwise he/she will have to wear out his vocal cords more quickly!


Finally, the last factor is the axis of the microphone.

Pointing the microphone at the vocalist is standard practice, of course. However, slight rotation of the microphone will reduce its bass presence. As well as the prominence of plosives. This is a very suitable trick for singers whose diction includes very pronounced P’s and S’s.Moving the microphone 20 degrees left or right may yield better results.

If you adjust these three variables wisely, you should be able to get the tone you’re looking for before you even have to fiddle with an EQ.

6. Your levels are too high

Indeed, in the digital age, recording levels are not as central as they were in the 1960s and 1970s.

However, when determining levels, try to maintain about 10dB of headroom. Indeed, the digital sweet-spot is around -18dBFS. This is the area where plugins will sound their best.

So when determining your levels, try to aim for an average of -18dBFS. Indeed, the maximum values ​​must be around -1-dBFS. Also, make sure not to exceed -6dBFS as the maximum value.

Indeed, this will prevent clipping! However, avoid recording at too low a level…

7. You only recorded one take

So, make sure you have multiple takes recorded when recording vocals.

Indeed, you sometimes work with vocalists whose level impresses you and who give you the impression that you only need one take. Then, inevitably, you start mixing and… certain notes are not precisely hit…; some words are mispronounced…; the timing of certain sentences does not work at all… Anticipate!

So, always make sure you have enough content to work with afterwards. Indeed, you will need to compile the voice recordings to create the best possible version of your song. Under these conditions, it is better to have too many recordings …

Also, vocalists don’t always realize that they are making mistakes. Thus, it is important to direct them towards the best performance they can provide. But be careful not to tarnish their self-confidence…

Rule of thumb: Make sure you always get a minimum of three takes from a vocalist. Even when the first take seems unbeatable!

Some techniques to try during recording:

  • Create the right mood in the recording room: If it’s a happy song, create a bright atmosphere. If it’s a more intimate piece, turn on a dimmer light. Do what you think is necessary depending on the mood of the song.
  • Regularly compliment the vocalists: Singing tends to make people very (too) aware of their limits, so you have to put them in maximum confidence.
  • Coach Occasionally, but NEVER Criticize: Sometimes vocalists won’t know they’re doing something wrong. Gently coach them to guide them in the right direction, but try not to make them doubt themselves. It’s up to you to help.
  • Make sure they can visualize the lyrics: Singing is an intensely personal practice! You can help vocalists deliver a more emotional performance by running them through the lyrics and asking for their thoughts on them. Your vocalists must perceive the text as a story and not as a simple sequence of words.
  • Take more breaks: Take longer breaks than you initially thought you would need. Aim for 5 minutes of break for 25 minutes of recording.

See 10 Tips For Your Studio Session! | Microphone Technique for Voice Over Talent

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