How to Record Your Voice for Singing

Learn how to record your voice from vocal coach Cari Cole in this Howcast singing tutorial.

"Hi, I’m Cari Cole. I’m a celebrity vocal coach and artist development expert, and I help artists find their voice, craft their music, and create successful music careers. I’ve worked with Donald Fagen from Steely Dan, Courtney Love from Hole, I’ve worked with the band Journey. I’m going to teach you how to be a better singer, and performer.

So, I’m going to talk today about how to record your voice, how to use the recording microphone and what are some tips for how you can get the most out of your recording. First off, it’s important to have the right equipment, so a lot of people are doing records on Garage Band these days and using just, you know, mics and equipment that isn’t necessarily so good. It’s important to have good quality stuff, and if you want to have really the bottom line of the top shelf, I would say a microphone like Audio-Technica, or I have an AKG 414, and you use it with and Avalon 737 that’s actually in the shot here. That’s an EQ and a compressor that is the bottom of the top-end. So, with those two pieces of equipment, I can record a record, and I’ve recorded five records in this space, the vocals for five records in this space and over-dubs and what not.

In recording your voice, there’s just a couple of things that I think are really important to know. One is, you want to be prepared for that, so I recommend practicing on a recording microphone. You know, if you can find a voice coach with a good set-up, somewhat like I have. And you can practice before you get in the studio because the moment that the studio time is running, vocalists tend to get nervous, they tend to freeze up, even even good ones. When you start recording you’ll be wearing headphones. Every now and then, a singer doesn’t use headphones and they put the speakers out of phase, so they can not have to wear headphones because it feels too confining for them. But 99.9% of all of the singers that record records have headphones on. There is a trick to that, because if you have both headphones on both ears, you’re going to sing off-pitch. Even the best singers, this is a problem, so you have to take one headphone and put is slightly off the ear, and that way you can hear your voice in the room, as well as hear your voice in the headphones.

I usually record my vocals dry. I don’t record them with and reverb, also for the same reason. If you put too many sound effects on your voice and you know, try to wash out the sound and make it sound really cool and amazing, you’re going to sing off pitch, and then you’re melodyne person who fixes the pitch is going to go crazy on your record. One of the most important things about recording is you don’t want to sound too stiff. And, this is a general tendency when you’re not used to recording because you’re trying to make it perfect. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being really good and delivering that song and that message. So, more important than, even though pitch is non-negotiable for a singer, but pitch can be corrected with a tweak in melodyne. I’d almost prefer to get a more emotional experience, you know, emotional expression from that singer, rather than worrying about being so perfect, because ultimately that is what’s going to blow people away. You know, that’s what’s going to raise the little hairs on their arm and give them the chills is, that intangible element of really connecting. I know, I was just listening to Adele’s record, her ""21"" record, and that element is in that record from start to finish. She is as connected as one could be to the story of that song. I don’t mean in a musical theater way, it’s not about acting it, it’s about being it and being in the space of that song and delivering that lyric. So, that’s a really, really, really important element in recording, because people are listening to you they’re not watching you. So, they really need to get that,that part from you.

So, those are some tips for how to record your voice and I hope that it makes your recording even easier and I hope it makes your vocals really rock out.