We know, we know. One of the most troublesome aspects of attempting to record at home is the level of vocal quality that one is able to capture. Is it truly impossible to get a decent sound in this case or are there viable options that we may be able to explore?
The room treatment will make or break the final version of your track, so it’s best to take your time to properly research every option. Your choice will depend on the amount of space that you’re working with, as well as the time, tools and financial resources that are available for you and your projects. While it is possible to sometimes fix audio in the post production process, ideally it is best and most professional to create as clean of an initial recording signal as possible.
MOAM’s slogan is “preparation, recording technique and performance” and we’re absolutely here for it. We truly stand behind the idea that practice makes perfect and strategy is the stuff that ushers perfection into what legends are made of. So, start small when it comes to strategy. Break it down into manageable tasks. This is where the proper attempt at a soundbooth will be a permanent fixture in your recording process and you’ll be thankful for that when you’re trying to hone in on other elements on the journey of musical creation.
There are rumors that some of The Beatles most gorgeous vocal takes were done in slightly cavernous bathrooms with a magical amount of natural reverb. Have you ever sung in the shower, or even an elevator? This is a similar effect with a bathroom that has that perfect ratio of tiling and not. “Choose a room with lots of soft furnishings, and avoid rooms with lots of hard surfaces or windows. When recording vocals, you want the room to be as dead as possible. Reverb is not particularly desirable on vocals, neither are room resonances or reflections. Reverb pulls the vocals back in the mix, making them harder to hear. You want the vocals to be in your face right at the front of the mix. Lively medium and small sized rooms impose an amateur element onto the vocal.” says Musician On A Mission.
They elaborate with “This noticeable reverb can also make it harder to blend in artificial spaces in the mix. Pitch correction isn’t as effective when vocals have reverb on them. Due to the large dynamic range of vocals, heavy processing is often applied to balance out the volume (in the form of automation, compression and limiting). If the vocals have a noticeable reverb on them, heavy dynamic processing will also affect the reverb and sound unnatural”.
It’s important to remember that whether you’re in a recording studio or a home studio, it will always be almost impossible to plan a flawless recording scenario at all times. It’s important to remember that ultimately you must be inspired so that you can give that dazzling, dreamy performance. So, as long as a space speaks to you, you’ll be able to sing for it. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to be wise in your spatial choices and their effects on your final audio quality. You and your colleagues will thank you later.