Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Basic Recording Studio Fundamentals from a Singer Point of View

If you still have not seen or visit a professional recording studio, then you need to read this short guide in order for you to prepare the real world as a professional studio singer. It is because if you still have not visit a recording studio, then most likely you only know 3 things – the microphone, your speaker and even your headphones.

Even with these 3 things, the real studio is filled with out of these world microphones, speakers (monitors) and headphones. In short, the equipments you know in your home are NOT the same as what you will see in a professional recording studio.

If you are ready, then prepare to get to know the lists of equipments and studio gears below:

1.) Condenser or Ceramic type microphones – if you are recording in a professional made studio, you will not be using dynamic microphones (these microphones are the ones you had in your home). But you will be using condenser microphones in the recording studio.

Below are the tips for using condenser microphones (see screenshot below for the picture of a condenser microphone):

a.) Since is microphone is “ultra” sensitive in picking up sounds, put your mouth at least 5 inches from the microphone. This is not a strict rule, feel free to experiment and follow what the engineer advises you to do for best recording results. Do not record if you have colds (nasal congestion for example) or mouth related problem as it can really ruin your day at the studio.

b.) Most condenser microphones include a pop filter, so get used to it. The purpose of that is to prevent the “pops” and “clicks” in your mouth in reaching the microphone, so that the recorded vocal is clean.

2.) Headphones – this is not an earphone you commonly used in your iPod but this a “full” headphone such as shown below. In the picture of me below, you will also see the condenser microphone with a filter (black in circular shape).

Tip: Be comfortable with your vocal level, you will actually hear it in the headphones. So if something is not comfortable or distracting, feel free to report the problem to your engineer.

3.) Control room – this room is where the engineer and producer are sitting to watch you recording the vocals. In most professional studios, you can only hear them through headphones or microphones; it is because the control room is separated from the vocal booth. A sign language is important; so in case you have a problem and they won’t hear you taking in the microphone; feel free to give a “sign” language to them (waving a hand for example).

You can see the control room through a glass from the vocal booth.

4.) Vocal booth – this is where you will be recording the vocals. This is done purposely to avoid bleeding of noise from other sources or instruments.