Recordings Tips for Better Vocals

It’s annoying as hell when you think you’re all set for nailing a vocal session, only to later playback the recording and discover something’s off. Without a sound engineer to help, the problem isn’t always obvious and it’s easy to make mistakes. Factors like not having the right mic setup or a bad room layout are usually the main culprits, but there are a myriad of other things that can go wrong as well.

Luckily, there’s a few actions you can take to eliminate the common issues that you’re likely to come across when recording vocals or live instruments. And most of the solutions don’t even require you to spend a dime.

Pick the Best Mic for the Job

Depending on what you’re going to be using it for is what will determine the best mic for recording vocals. Condenser mics are usually a done deal and work great for soft vocals, but it’s recommended to have a dynamic mic at your disposal too. Cardioid designs like Shure’s SM58 is a good option when you need to cover louder parts in a track.

Use the Right Isolation Gear

If you want clean and quality vocals, it’s always recommended to have a pop filter in front of your mic and an isolation shield behind it. Both will eliminate most of the unwanted noise from the room and any harsh consonants or plosives that escape your mouth. In addition, you might want to look at investing in a mic stand and shockmount if you’re picking up sounds like footsteps or TV noise from other rooms while recording.

Prep the Room

If you’re going to be working in a room which isn’t soundproofed and is prone to reflections, you can utilize many of your household items to isolate the environment better. Drape thick blankets and duvets from the walls and windows, or put a wardrobe or bookcase in front of your door to dampen sounds from outside. You can also position yourself or your vocalist against a wall to reduce the reflections and create a better barrier for the room’s acoustics. 

Set the Mood

If you’re just wanting to record a snippet or just a few seconds of sound, there’s probably not much need to do this. If however, you’re going to be recording a vocalist performing a full track, this can take hours to get right. So it’s definitely in both of your best interests to make sure the singer feels relaxed and comfortable in their surroundings. This will save a lot of time with retakes because they won’t feel as nervous, and they’ll be able to give it their best.

Keep Your Distance

Not keeping a reasonable distance from the mic creates a common problem called the Proximity Effect, which in turn, creates interference when your mouth is too close to it. Omnidirectional mics are best for solving this as they are immune to this issue, but how you separate yourself from the mic will solve it too. Aim to put yourself around 6-18” apart from the mic with the pop filter in place for the best sound.

Set Your Levels

You’ll need to watch out for latency issues and clipping while you record. It’s always useful to set the levels on your mixer or audio interface before you start recording. Make sure it’s the same with your headphones too so all the channels are in tact. Another good idea is to test how hot the signal will get. Sing one of the loudest sections of the song before recording so you can make adjustments where needed.  

Monitoring Through Headphones

It’s always a good idea to have a decent set of headphones for monitoring your vocals. A lot of vocalists prefer to work this way so they can ensure they’re in tune with the track. Closed-back are good for preventing the tune in the headphones bleeding out into the mic. They’re also good for those who prefer to sing while listening through one of the cans so they hear themselves better. If you’re struggling to hear your voice in the headphones, try adding a little compression.

Hold Off the Effects

Many musicians and vocalists prefer to record their sound dry to begin with. This allows you to hear the sound in it’s clearest format, as you may end up needing to re-record it if there is sibilance or a pop somewhere. Adding a small touch of reverb is fine for giving your vocals a more acoustic feel, but these things can be easily missed if you’re masking the sound with a ton of effects or plugins and processors from the start. So it’s a good idea to save them until you’re happy with the recording in its rawest form first.

Make Sure You’re In Tune

If you’re going to be recording and overdubbing vocals or tracks separately, there’s a possibility they might be slightly out of tune with the other elements in the track. Especially if the keys clash or don’t fit together properly. The best way to get around this is to tune everything in advance. You can use hardware or your DAW’s built-in tuner to test each sound and make sure everything is harmonically accurate.


Using these tips should definitely help make the whole recording process easier, and create an environment where your vocals will sound notably clearer. Of course, you’re not going to get the same quality as you would expect from a professional studio, but it’s going to sound much better than if you hadn’t applied any of these at all. Saying that, the biggest contributing factor really comes down to the vocalist. If they sound like banshee on crack, nothing will save you. Make sure they fit the bill, then everything else should come together naturally.

Different types of DJ equipment

DJ Headphoes

You can’t DJ properly if you can’t hear what you’re doing or gauge what the audience is hearing. This is why a top-class pair of headphones is essential in any DJ setup. There are hundreds of great headphones on the market, but what you need to factor in when buying is whether they will be in-ear or over-ear, the cup size, orientation, comfort, and durability, among other things.

Different types of DJ equipment


 If you haven’t got some already and need to add speakers to your shopping list, you’ll want to avoid cheap brands and opt for some which are powerful but suitable for your DJing environment. You wouldn’t go out and buy a huge PA system if you live in a cupboard under the stairs, and you wouldn’t invest in some tiny desk speakers if you are mixing in a large room with thick walls and high ceilings. A set of speakers that fit somewhere in the middle is best.

Different types of DJ equipment

DJ Software

If you’re looking to play solely digital, you’re going to want to invest in some good software. Some DJs who play from USB still do not use software, but the truth is, it can seriously help you stay organized. Software not only allows you to prepare your tracks into neat and tidy playlists, but it also detects the BPM and key of all your tunes, lets you set hot cues, make loops, mashups, and other really cool stuff that wouldn’t be possible if you simply stuck all your tunes on a USB stick or burned them to CD. If you’re just starting out as a DJ, there’s no question that using a high-quality software program will make mixing easier and your sets sound better.

Different types of DJ equipment


 DJ controllers are highly convenient because they are an all-in-one setup that you can carry around with you, then plug in and play right off the bat. They also eliminate the need to spend thousands on individual pieces of gear. There are many different types of DJ controllers that are ideal for beginners, each with different functions, personalities, and more. Some are fantastic for multi-deck mixing, changing the volume, tempo, track settings, looping, panning, playing drum pads, and even scratching.

Different types of DJ equipment


For any analog DJ setup, a mixer is an essential bit of kit. Besides being used to make seamless transitions from one song to another, they also have a wide range of other functions. The crossfader can be used to make epic scratch performances, while the vertical sliders control the volume levels, panning, and can be used in conjunction with effects. They also act as a soundcard to process the music signal you’re sending out to your audience, and let you cue up your next track in your headphones while the current song is playing.

Different types of DJ equipment


As mentioned, mixing on turntables is the classic way of DJing, and even some digital DJs still have a vinyl player or two in their repertoire. Turntables are ideal for those who want to get into scratching. They also allow you to switch between songs and albums, slow down tempos, alter the pitch, and do other creative tricks. While laptops and digital DJ setups are the most popular in this day in age, we still recommend learning how to mix on vinyl, even if you don’t plan to buy turntables or use them in your setup. The saying is true – if you can play on wax, you can play on anything.