26th February 2008
Tips & Techniques:Recording Vocals
Everyone has their own method of recording vocals but I think that I have found the most effective method. Some people believe that the best way to record vocals is to have the singer sing the whole song, record muliple takes (tracks) and then "comp" the best bits together into one track. Others work line by line, until the vocalist can get it right, then move on. I have an approach that is a compromise between those two extremes.
I like to work in sections. Say, verse 1, then verse 2, chorus 1, chorus 2, etc. Within each section I'll try to get 3 good takes (tracks) and punch in if I have to. When you work this way, you and the singer can really "zero in" on nailing the pitch and timing. In my opinion, the "heart and soul" should be inherent in the singers voice and built into the song. And, I'm a big believer that studio singing and live singing are as different as apples and oranges. Studio singing and playing should be precise and controlled, with foremost attention given to pitch and timing.
This approach is similar to the way movies are made. They shoot one scene over and over again, and then jump to the next scene that will occur in that location. Then when it is time to edit, they make the different scenes flow together artificially. Live singing is more like theater, where the actors have to perform the story in continuity.
When I am finished recording and have my 3 vocal tracks, I send the singer home. Then, I edit the three tracks into one good track, taking the best bits from each. Once I have an in time and in tune performance, I apply pitch correction, eq and effects. If there are any Cher "Believe" warbles when I apply pitch correction, I know that I have to have the vocalist come back in and do it again, but usually this never happens because this method provides excellent results. " class="inlineimg" />
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