Recording your vocals at home is not as difficult as one might imagine and can be very rewarding. You may not get a pristine high-end studio sound but you can definitely capture a great performance while sounding professional and of high quality. There are a few pieces of equipment that are essential to use and a few protocols to remember when recording yourself at home.
The EquipmentYou will need to have a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation such as Ableton Live, Cubase, Pro Tools, Cakewalk etc.) a microphone, mic cables and a stand, a Pre-Amp, a Pop-filter, an Audio Interface (also known as a Soundcard) and as an option, you can use a compressor. In most cases, you will use a unidirectional (only records sound from one direction) cardioid condenser microphone. I have been using the RODE NT-1A vocal package which includes the microphone, pop-filter, and cable. There are many options on the market when it comes to buying professional sounding equipment on a budget and most are fairly similar in quality.
The Chain, Compression, and Pop-FilterThe chain of cables to equipment will be, Microphone to Pre-Amp to Compressor to the Audio Interface and then to your DAW. You don't necessarily need to use a compressor until post-production unless you are working with very loud vocals or when trying to even out your levels against an uneven or loud mix. If you use compression, then you should probably use less than you believe you need. The rest of the equipment is imperative and if you don't have a Pop-filter it will be very difficult to record your voice with out such 'popping' sounds appearing on your track. The Pop-filter serves as a sound absorber and is basically a cloth screen between the 'popping' sounds of your mouth and the receiving face of your microphone.
The RoomWhen you listen to a recording you can always hear the tone of the room it was made in. You want to use a dry room that does not produce a lot of reflections and echoes but that is also not totally dead.
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