How to record vocals into the DAW 2019 – Part 1

How to record vocals into the DAW 2019 – Part 1

October 26, 2019 8 By Kailee Schamberger


Hi and welcome to – How to properly record
vocals in any DAW. In this first episode we will look at the
recording chain. And we will look at different microphones,
how to choose the correct microphone for your voice. We will talk about pre-amplification and how
to set up you audio interface within the DAW. My name is Mattias. Don’t forget to subscribe. And let’s take the tour! [I sail the rain. My eyes gave way for you.] [Cause that is what you made me do.] [As you pushed me on open sea.] [Embrace the waves, as the strength grew in
me.] Ok, so let’s discuss the first part in our
vocal recording chain. And that’s obviously the microphone. And in most cases I’m using the Neumann TLM102
for recording vocals. It’s a condenser microphone and so it requires
phantom power to operate. So make sure that you have either a mic pre-amp,
or that your audio interface or mixer can feed +48V phantom power to your microphone. And this is a condenser microphone so it’s
quite sensitive to SPL. SPL stands for Sound Pressure Level. So for recording very high voices, or very
high sounds, you can make use of another microphone instead. And I have this Shure SM58. And this is a Dynamic Microphone. It can handle SPL, or the sound pressure level
much better than the TLM102. But it’s not the same high quality sound that
you get from a condenser microphone. But the Shure SM58 is goes for around €100-150
Euros and the Neumann TLM102 goes for around €700 Euros. So that’s a quite big difference in budget
(price). But for general voice over recordings I usually
go with the Shure SM58 because it’s such a decent sound. And it’s very good at cancelling sounds that
comes from the sides. So if you have a very noisy room definitely
look for a dynamic microphone, or a more direct angled microphone (shotgun) like the Shure
SM58. Then again the Neumann TLM gives you a much
better and more clear vocal sound. My recommendation is always to get the best
microphone you can get for the budget your have. Ok, so let’s talk a little about microphone
recording techniques. And generally I have about 20-25 cm from the
mouth to the actual microphone. And if you get closer to the mic you will
notice that we will have more bass. And a “hump” in the bass area, or the low-mids. That can be quite problematic in your mix
when you are mixing. And I always think that it’s better to fix
the audio at the recording level rather than trying to fix it in the post mix. So even if you add tons of EQ you will still
have a quite weird sound if you get too close to the microphone. But that’s personal preference, so if you
like it, do it. But I like to record my vocals maybe 20 cm
from the microphone. Then the audio goes from the microphone to
my mixer which acts as a pre-amplifier in this case. I’m using a Mackie CR1604VLZ, it’s a 16 channel
mixer but basically I’m just using it to have access to the pre-amps and do a little bit
of pre-eq’ing before the audio goes into the audio interface. I usually use the Apogee Duet for iPad/Mac
but in this case it’s the Steinberg UR22mk2 audio interface. And yeah, it’s just a basic interface which
goes for around €120 I think. So it’s not expensive at all, but it’s a decent
audio interface. Ok, so now it’s time to talk about how to
set up the audio interface within your DAW. Today I am using Bitwig Studio. You might be using another DAW like Logic,
Studio One, Ableton Live or whatever. But…FL Studio. Basically it looks almost the same in all
these DAWs. So go to the settings and the Audio Interface
tab within your DAW. Make sure that you have your Input device
selected to the audio interface of choice that you have. And I’m using a little bit of special setup
here. So I have a custom device that I created here
in Mac OSX called Aggregate Device. But you should choose your audio interface
here so…choose your audio interface for the input and for the output section. Then you go down to your input busses. In this case with the UR22 we have a stereo
pair. So we have input one and two. I’ve set this up as a stereo bus for this
channel here. Then down here we have UR 1 which is a separate
mono input for input 1. And we have UR 2 which is the second mono
channel. That’s basically because maybe I want to record
vocals separately on channel 1 (input 1) and then maybe guitars on channel 2 (input 2). Then you can also set up your output section
here if you have separate outputs on your audio interface. Ok, so let’s setup the proper recording level
for the vocals. And when I’m recording vocals I try to keep
the max peak level at around -8 to -10db. And that’s just to make sure we have enough
headroom so we don’t go into the “reds” and break up the signal. So make sure to have enough headroom there
because you can always boost the signal at a later time. But it’s very hard to fix a broken and digital
distorted signal. So make sure to have enough headroom and maybe
set the level to around -8 or -10db. In this case I have a little bit more gain
boost than I usually have because this is a voice over recording session. But try to keep enough headroom and you will
be safe! Now let’s listen back to a dry vocal recording
and halfway through I will activate the effects processing. [Dry audio – vocal recording]
[I sail the rain, my eyes gave way for you.] [Processed audio – vocal recording
[Cause that is what you made me do.]] [As you pushed me on open sea.] [Embrace the waves, as the strength grew in
me.] More in episode 2!
Ok, so I hope you found this first episode of vocal recording and processing helpful. If you have any questions please write them
in the comments section below. And soon you can continue and watch the next
episode in this vocal recording series. Thanks for watching today, make sure to SUBSCRIBE! Hit the bell notification, so you get a notice
when I release new videos. My name is Mattias and see you in the next
video. Bye!
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