How 'Not' To Record Rap Vocals (Tutorial)

How 'Not' To Record Rap Vocals (Tutorial)

June 21, 2019 26 By Kailee Schamberger



what up y'all straight up one thing that turns me off is when an artist gives me their new mixtape EP album or whatever and the vocals sound like straight garbage can't stand it quickest way to get tossed out the window and not hating on the performance or Talent shout out to them but the quality of the recording is what I'm talking about it's tragic to me when an artist clearly has a shot at winning but regardless their production quality keeps them from being taken seriously now we've seen clips of the big stars in the studio with all the high-tech million-dollar equipment and all the fancy stuff in the silver spoons but it doesn't take a million dollars to get their major label quality if you know what you're doing people are all into getting home Studios now and it's all about the equipment and the plugins and which software is right to use and this is OK for me to mix and fruity loops but one of the most important issues that people neglect its sound treatment and that's why they mix tape sounds like trash but I'm help y'all out today by addressing the science behind getting a good vocal recording which is not really all that complicated once you understand what's going on you always hear rappers talking about being in the booth so people at home trying to make boots out of walking in closets showers tubs but i'ma tell you what space that spa is about the worst place in which you can record here's why all right sound travels at about 1130 feet per second that's about as long as three football fields it takes one second for sound to reach from one end to the other that breaks down to about one foot per millisecond a millisecond is a thousandth of a second the millisecond is a standard unit in audio production many pieces of equipment have dials measured in milliseconds for various reasons so being a thousandth of a second that means that if you're in a room that's thirty feet long it takes about 30 milliseconds for a sound to get from one end to the other now in your recording space you want to have enough distance between the mic and the performer from the surrounding walls at least eight feet of distance is good to prevent a nasty effect called comb filtering that happens when you stand too close to walls if you're less than about seven feet from a wall you can get comb filtering which makes the voice sound boxy and thin what's happening is the voice and it's mirror reflection off the wall both going to the mic and less than seven milliseconds apart from you other and since that's so close together virtually on top of each other they cancel each other out because they're like polar opposites like one plus negative one equals zero hearing my voice right now I'm simulating with comb filtering sounds like and it's making my voice sound boxy thin and phasing this is how it was sound if I was standing say two or three feet away from the wall or glass concrete is the worst the heart of the surface the worse the problem will be because of more resistance same goes for modal ringing which I'll talk about in a few back to with our comb filtering to fix this problem engineers cover the walls with absorbing material usually studio foam or rigid fiberglass aka bass traps I like rigid fiberglass myself Owens Corning 703 or 705 work well you can find this stuff at building supply warehouses or online like eBay here in Atlanta I got mine from a place called Trident distribution off camera roll and like $7 a panel for a 2 by 4 foot panel on about 2 inches thick but the point of these panels is to absorb sound just like a sponge absorbs water what sound goes in the panel's stays in the panel's so it's the same as if there were no walls just pure sound and the comb filtering disappears and let me clear this up real quick drink cartons mattress pads egg crates carpet curtains bookshelves none of it really works well I noticed like urban legend but real talk none of it absorbs down to the low base range where it makes a real difference some instead it just makes everything sound muddy by absorbing only the trouble of the voice but not the base of the voice so it still leaves the cone filtering what's going on man anyway comb filtering isn't the only issue next I'm going to also talk about modal ringing another problem in getting a good sound on a sidenote you can find a lot of good do-it-yourself tutorials on building based raps on YouTube I built my own and the difference is crazy haven't looked back since and the material to build them is pretty cheap word of caution though use gloves wear sleeves goggles and a mask when handling fiberglass you must wrap it in some thick material it's fiberglass it makes you itch and you don't want to breathe it in just be careful when you're handling it now what is modal ringing modal ringing is a rooms resonant frequencies or to simplify it's a rooms pitch you know how you blow across a bottle and get a pitch well the same thing happens in rooms with parallel walls including the floor and ceiling with the room though you have a pitch for the three dimensions of the room the length width and height when you speak or sing in the room the pitch of the room is stimulated causing four kind of glowing pitchy effect on the voice like you hear now I've heard many of students projects where they record in the closet at home and I hear pitchy : filtered vocals as a matter of fact let me add in some comb filtering okay this is what it sounds like to record in the closet a hallway or even a small room it might not sound as bad as this depending on how much absorbent material you have in there like clothes carpet and furniture but the bottom line is you don't need it in your sound at all can Pro Tools logic or some type of plug-in fix this nope bass traps will fix it though once again no walls no modal ringing you can try to EQ out some of the pitch but the vocals are affected by that and no matter what there's no current computer technology I know of that removes comb filtering or modal ringing so once you record it that way you're stuck with it so looking to getting treatment because it's going to eliminate those reflections and give you that dry crispy vocal sound also on the market you see a lot of reflection filters which are barriers around the microphone to help cut down on reflections be aware that they don't solve all the problems putting up bass traps to really soak up the sound is the best way to cut out comb filtering and modal ringing and the smaller the room like 8 by 8 feet or smaller you need as many bass traps as you can get in the room so I hope this helps me and my cuz the ER we got some bangers up on the channel be sure to check them out hit me in the comment box like a subscribe if you have any requests for tutorials let me know in the comment section I'm now Andres you