GUIDE: HOW TO MAKE STUDIO QUALITY VOICE RECORDINGS AT HOME

Following this tutorial, you’ll be able to obtain high quality voice recordings with just a few hundred bucks worth of equipment.

These tracks have been recorded following the same method.

FIRST STEP: PREREQUISITES

Sound card & PC

  • Any sound card that is compatible with ASIO drivers and with an XLR/combo socket.
    If you want to delve deeper, you can read our guide to choose the right sound card..
  • AnyPC able to efficiently run the sound card is ready to record voices.

We advise against using multitrack recorders,as they make the procedure much harder.

If you want to record voices only, Focusrite Scarlett Solo or Steinberg UR12 sound cards are two great choices.

Microphone

First of all: don’t worry about the brand.
In most cases a better brand does not necessarily indicate a better sound quality,just a better resistance to shock and wear. Both mishaps can easily be avoided with a little care.

To get professional results you can choose between 3 kinds of microphone. Keep in mind that they must be condenser ones..
Here they are in descending order of sound quality.

BEST OPTION: MEASUREMENT MICROPHONE ("PROBE")

A great example is the Behringer ECM 8000: absolutely affordable and with great sound quality. There’s only one problem: low-cost measurement microphones are quite delicate. Better have a spare one with you.

Behringer ECM 8000

INTERMEDIATE OPTION: "OVERHEAD" MICROPHONE

This type of microphone is good too. It is of a lower quality than the aforementioned one, but it gets the job done.

Behringer C2

FALLBACK OPTION: WIDE DIAPHRAGM MICROPHONE

The less desirable kind when speaking of quality, although still suitable for professional purposes.
Since it’s so common, you’re going to save quite some money: it’s almost impossible not knowing someone who owns one.

Behringer B2

Room

The most silent you’re able to find:: noisy neighbours or a passing truck can ruin your recording.
There must be close to no reverb (that is jargon for “echo”), to avoid messing up the recording.
Usually, bedrooms (as “unprofessional” as they may sound) are a good fit: beds, couches, chairs, wardrobes, bookshelves… all this furniture helps in reducing reverb.

Headphones

No specific requirement here. It’s better to use closed headphones or earphones: the chance of sounds passing through and reaching the microphone is greatly reduced.
If you don’t own them already, even something as simple as the Sennheiser HD 201 headphones will do.

SECOND STEP: ROOM PREPARATION

In this list you can find the precautions you need to take to have an optimal positioning.
They’re intentionally unordered, since they’re all of the same importance: memorize them or write them down, and you’ll be ready to record.

  • Make sure that the noise made by PC fans doesn’t get into the recording. The ideal setup would be to keep the PC in another room behind a closed door: no sound will pass through.
  • Place the microphone away from walls and corners above all: it will reduce reflections.
  • Point the microphone towards the middle of the room: it will further reduce reflections.
  • If you have a wardrobe full of clothes, or a full bookshelf, try to place yourself in order to face it during the recording: these items are surprisingly good at killing reflections.
  • Always make some tests before going for the final recording: since you’re working in a non-professional environment, some unexpected issue might arise.
  • Try to keep the headphones volume at a reasonable level, otherwise it will be recorded by the microphone. Keep in mind that you just need to hear the metronome and the base.

Microphone positioning

The microphone will have to be positioned in order not to record the air released by the singer during the performance.
A very simple method to find this position is to have the singer exhale, and move the microphone in a spot where you can’t feel the blown air.
Place it at about 20 cm from the singer’s mouth, always pointing towards it.
This picture illustrates a typical good microphone positioning.

Voice recording microphone correct position

NOW YOU’RE READY TO RECORD

If you want to know the reason behind the realization of these tutorials, you’ll find it here:

Our first post

Also, on our website you’ll be able to listen to the products of our expertise.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

If you have found this post to be useful, share with us your experiences on our socials!
Maybe you could also add a link of what you’ve created, and by using the hashtag #lmkmprod we’ll be able to find all of you.

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