The cat’s out of the bag – paying attention to the details while you’re recording is what will help you make great recordings.
But that’s hard to do – especially when you don’t know which details you should really be listening for.
When it comes to producing a great vocal track, this couldn’t be any more true. We all know it’s really important to listen for all the small things that make up a great performance, but it’s hard to keep track of all of them unless they’re listed out in front of you. (Or you’ve being doing it for years and have them memorized. Even then, a little refresher isn’t a bad idea).
These five details are extremely important when it comes to recording vocals – make sure you check them off your list while you’re tracking vocals in order to get the absolute best performance and production possible. Obvious things, like “pitch” and “timing” are also important, but not mentioned in this list. These are the top five points we tend to forget about, but play an equally important role.
1. Level. Make sure it’s appropriate. Set it so that it won’t clip on the high notes and won’t be too soft on the low notes.
2. Positioning. Make sure the vocalist is singing into the microphone and is in a good “dry” spot in the room. This can have a huge impact on your overall sound.
3. Use the proximity effect where desired. For a warmer, rounder vocal tone, step a little closer to the mic (assuming it’s a cardioid mic). For a more distant and thin sound, step back.
4. Diction. Make sure you can hear and understand all of the words. Especially when it comes to difficult words, like “waltz.”
5. Emotion. Make sure that you hear the right “emotional drive” from the performance. A happy song shouldn’t sound depressing, and vice versa. Pair emotions with lyrics to get an even better performance.
Paying attention to details like these is important – just as important as “pitch” and “timing” – so keep them in mind the next time you’re tracking vocals!