Crystal-clear vocals are the goal for any recording venture of a singer, but this can seem like a goal that’s hard to reach. However, when you keep clarity in vocals as your focus, mastering the vocal booth doesn’t have to be a fairytale. Make it your reality with these best practices for your recording session. To make it easier, we call these practices the three P’s: preparation, posture, and position. Together, the three P’s ensure you have the best practices for the right process. We’ll go over each of these P’s in more detail below!
Consider Your Preparation
Crystal-clear vocals don’t come from recording on the fly, no matter how talented the vocalist is. Instead, a singer needs to intentionally prepare for the recording session. This includes obvious practical measures such as:
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Drinking enough water
- Warming up the voice
- Avoiding harmful substances, including smoking and drinking
There are other preparation methods that don’t involve the body as an instrument, including:
- Familiarization with the material to be recorded
- Consideration of the message in the music
- Awareness of how vocals will be stacked or otherwise used with effects
The preparation process will look different depending on the project, but there are certain standards to count on considering.
Consider Your Posture
As important as it is for a vocalist to have the correct posture for singing, their shoulders back and breathing from the diaphragm, it’s even more critical to pay attention to the broader sense of posture in the recording studio. Singing is, obviously, the focus of being in the vocal booth, but it is not all that happens or that could be focused on, and an experienced vocalist will need to posture appropriately.
This means a combination of confidence and carefulness that brings intentionality to the recording session. We could have also called this “P” presence because that’s really what you want to have: a unique presence as a vocalist that shines through in your recording. Crystal-clear vocals, here you come!
Consider Your Position
Position might seem related to posture (and it is), but there are plenty of other aspects to consider here. Being in the right place, the right position can dramatically affect your sound. An investment in a quality position, especially a professional music recording studio, can likely make more difference than any switch in posture or any extra preparation. The crystal-clear quality of vocals you want is much easier to get with the best equipment that you have access to in that kind of professional recording environment. If you have to create a home studio, prioritize sound quality wherever possible. Little shifts in position can go a long way.
Considering position in the studio may look like this:
- The vocalist singing directly in front of a pop filter
- A clear space where the equipment is pointed to capture the acoustic nature of the room
- Mic placement that matches the range the vocalist will sing for the recording
- Intentional placement of the vocalist relative to the sound engineer
And speaking of a sound engineer: yes, it takes a village to master the vocal booth. Even the best quality vocalist in the world needs a supporting team to get the crystal-clear vocals recorded. No matter what your recording setup looks like, realistically, you can’t do it all by yourself (at least not all at once). Separating out the different roles will be extremely helpful in considering what each position is responsible for when it comes to the final product. There’s plenty of skill that goes into that kind of mixing DJ essentials. Even if you’re not going to be the one mixing the sound, it helps to be aware of your position in terms of the recording process. Ideally, conversations will happen well in advance of the recording session so everyone is on the same page when it comes to relative position.
Practice Makes Perfect
While some recording sessions will go better than others, when you follow the best practices of the 3 P’s, you will make a better recording session far more likely. If crystal-clear vocals are your goal, then you need to consider your preparation, your posture, and your position. Mastering the vocal booth takes practice - and these best practices are a whole lot better than random trial and error. We wish you luck applying these principles to enjoy a great recording session with even better results!