Tips for recording

Vocalists

What we have experienced

Over the years we have seen professionals and amateurs in the studio. The following is what we have seen constantly when it comes to professional artists.

Warm-up before your session

Be prepared, hydrated, and ready to hit the mic. Stay away from cold/iced drinks as they can shrink your vocal cords. We try to keep room temperature water on hand for our guests but feel free to bring anything you need to your session. *

 

As a college music teacher once told me, "Practice at home."  This means you shouldn't wait until you go to the studio to decide what you are going to record.  Of course there are times where you want to do some experimenting on the spot. But even then you need to be experimenting with things you have already considered prior to your session.

Know your lyrics

Confidence while performing helps with any situation.  The more you own it, the more time you'll have to concentrate on doing your best. We have artists who use their phones, iPad, or handwritten lyrics during the session. But try to memorize as many of your lyrics as possible prior to your session. 

Know how you're going to sing your parts

Know your melody, harmonies, and any other vocal lines before the session. The best way to learn how to be a great recording artist, outside of actually putting in the time, is to research vocals. To start, identify a vocal reference or two that you’d like the recording engineer to be familiar with when you start tracking. Many vocalists enjoy having some “sauce” – live effects – on their vocal while they track so that they can be in the moment; bringing in an example of how you wish to sound can help the engineer understand what you’d like to hear. 

Concentrate on your best performance

When you are in front of the microphone you should be focusing on delivering your best performance. Melodies and intonation are important. However, there is nothing better than a performance that creates an emotional response. Don't get hung up on something that's slightly off-pitch. If you have a great performance you can always use tools such as Autotune to correct minor pitch issues. 

Autotune

Autotune is a wonderful tool. From using it slightly in a transparent fashion to cranking it up for the classic Autotune vibe, Autotune is here to stay. 

We usually suggest to our clients to track (record) their vocals without Autotune being engaged. However, if it's part of your sound go for it. We have had both pros and amateurs use it while tracking, but for the most part pros and more advanced singers tend to only use it after they've recorded their vocals.

Creativity & getting down to business

There is a time to be creative and then there is a time to get to work. Unless you have a big budget, we suggest using the time at the studio for work. There's always creativity when in the studio, but as stated earlier, your number one concern should be giving the best performance possible. 

How far to stand from the microphone

The distance you stand from the microphone makes a huge difference and how you sound. Learning how to use this distance to your advantage can help enhance your performance. 

The closer you get to a microphone the more low end you will hear. The farther away you are the more of the room sound comes into play. This is why pro studios have vocal booths with higher ceilings to capture the sound of the room. 

The usual range is around 6" to 12" from the microphone. However, I've heard vocalists come in and stand closer and further depending on what kind of sound they're looking for. 

Creative Sessions

After discussing when to work and when to be creative, we also suggest booking the occasional session where the sole purpose of the session is to encourage creativity. 

Many of our clients have their own home studio where they write and create. However, even in the best scenario they still need inspiration, and many find it coming into our studio. Creative sessions at Prescott Studios tend to be relaxed, positive and fun.  

 

Let yourself get down with the music

To get yourself fully loose and ready to track something incredible, feel free to get your groove on. While being in a booth can feel isolating and a bit intimidating, it can also be your own private dance club of one. All the rooms at Prescott Studios has multi colored lighting. You can pick out any vibe you want including standard white lighting. I’ve found I can do the zaniest moves, hand gestures, and facial expressions to get myself in the zone, and getting as physically comfortable as I can in the booth allows me to have the best vocal takes possible.