Recording - May 2013 - 25

Earthworks, Lewitt, MXL, Neumann, sE
Electronics, Sennheiser, Shure, Sontronics,
and Telefunken among many fine choices.
A pop filter is a necessity as well, and
its proper placement is key (see Figure 1).
It should be set parallel to the mic’s
diaphragm, at a distance that not only
provides protection from plosives (‘P’s,
‘D’s ‘B’s ‘Fr’s and other blasts of air), but
keeps your vocalist from “eating the mic”
by standing too close to it.
Position the mic so that the diaphragm
is pointing comfortably toward the
singer’s lips. It should be high enough to
keep the singer from slouching, but not so
much that he or she is straining to reach it.
I often tilt it slightly downward as well (see
Figure 2), which picks up more chest tones
and helps minimize plosives.
Dynamic mics like the Shure SM58 can
make a fine choice when dealing with
exceptionally “bright” voices or aggressive musical styles, such as Metal, Indie
Rock or Rap. In fact, many successful
singers like Bono and Björk often use them
when recording, because they are familiar and stand up well to handling noise.
This allows them to ‘perform’ in the studio
much as they do in concert.
While it is certainly true that professional results can be obtained using “ordinary” microphones, the best advice is to
purchase the best microphone and cable
you can reasonably afford for this important task.
Preamps, eq and compression
The next link in the vocal recording
chain is the preamplifier. Microphones
typically have very low output levels. A
preamplifier (or preamp) increases this
signal to line-level, the signal strength
required by effects and other devices in
your signal chain.
For many of us, the only preamp available is the XLR mic input on our mixer or
digital audio interface. There is generally

FIG 1
an associated Trim or Gain knob for fine
tuning just how much the signal is boosted. Most likely, there is a single red LED
light that will illuminate when your signal
is clipping, exceeding the recommended
level and causing distortion. Having the
singer go through some of the loudest passages during setup will help you to find
this level, at which point you can turn it
down slightly until the clipping disappears. The quality of your preamp can’t
be overstated, because an inferior one
can degrade the sound of even the best
microphone.

EQ (or equalization) is the salt and pepper in your sonic pantry. Some microphones sound great right out of the can,
while others could use a little more or less
of certain frequencies. You might want to
add a bit of ‘air’ around 12 kHz, for
example, while de-emphasizing muddiness by pulling things down 2 or 3 dB at
250 Hz.
Less is definitely more when it comes to
eq and if you can get by without it at this
stage, all the better. Why? Because eq is
yet another form of distortion. You are permanently altering the signal by moving
RECORDING May 2013

25



Recording - May 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - May 2013

Recording - May 2013
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Fast Forward
Jim Anderson Records Patricia Barber
Lewitt Authentica LCT 940
PreSonus Eris Series High-Definition Studio Monitors
How To Record Great Vocals At Home
Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone
Plug-ins To The Rescue—Real-Life Remedies For Vocal Tracks
Moon Professional 3500MP 2-Channel Microphone Preamp
DPA Microphones d:fine Series Headset Microphones
Plug-in Outlet: Toontrack EZmix Pack: Vocal Toolbox
Plug-in Outlet: iZotope Nectar Elements
Blue Spark Digital USB Microphone
Plug-in Outlet: Noveltech Vocal Enhancer (and Character)
Readers' Tapes
Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 17: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 4
CAD Audio Acousti-shield 32
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - May 2013 - Intro
Recording - May 2013 - Recording - May 2013
Recording - May 2013 - Cover2
Recording - May 2013 - 1
Recording - May 2013 - 2
Recording - May 2013 - 3
Recording - May 2013 - Fade In
Recording - May 2013 - 5
Recording - May 2013 - Contents
Recording - May 2013 - 7
Recording - May 2013 - Talkback
Recording - May 2013 - 9
Recording - May 2013 - Fast Forward
Recording - May 2013 - 11
Recording - May 2013 - 12
Recording - May 2013 - 13
Recording - May 2013 - Jim Anderson Records Patricia Barber
Recording - May 2013 - 15
Recording - May 2013 - 16
Recording - May 2013 - 17
Recording - May 2013 - Lewitt Authentica LCT 940
Recording - May 2013 - 19
Recording - May 2013 - PreSonus Eris Series High-Definition Studio Monitors
Recording - May 2013 - 21
Recording - May 2013 - 22
Recording - May 2013 - 23
Recording - May 2013 - How To Record Great Vocals At Home
Recording - May 2013 - 25
Recording - May 2013 - 26
Recording - May 2013 - 27
Recording - May 2013 - 28
Recording - May 2013 - 29
Recording - May 2013 - 30
Recording - May 2013 - 31
Recording - May 2013 - 32
Recording - May 2013 - 33
Recording - May 2013 - Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone
Recording - May 2013 - 35
Recording - May 2013 - 36
Recording - May 2013 - 37
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-ins To The Rescue—Real-Life Remedies For Vocal Tracks
Recording - May 2013 - 39
Recording - May 2013 - Moon Professional 3500MP 2-Channel Microphone Preamp
Recording - May 2013 - 41
Recording - May 2013 - DPA Microphones d:fine Series Headset Microphones
Recording - May 2013 - 43
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: Toontrack EZmix Pack: Vocal Toolbox
Recording - May 2013 - 45
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: iZotope Nectar Elements
Recording - May 2013 - 47
Recording - May 2013 - 48
Recording - May 2013 - 49
Recording - May 2013 - Blue Spark Digital USB Microphone
Recording - May 2013 - 51
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: Noveltech Vocal Enhancer (and Character)
Recording - May 2013 - 53
Recording - May 2013 - Readers' Tapes
Recording - May 2013 - 55
Recording - May 2013 - 56
Recording - May 2013 - 57
Recording - May 2013 - 58
Recording - May 2013 - 59
Recording - May 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 17: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 4
Recording - May 2013 - 61
Recording - May 2013 - 62
Recording - May 2013 - 63
Recording - May 2013 - CAD Audio Acousti-shield 32
Recording - May 2013 - Advertiser Index
Recording - May 2013 - 66
Recording - May 2013 - 67
Recording - May 2013 - 68
Recording - May 2013 - 69
Recording - May 2013 - 70
Recording - May 2013 - 71
Recording - May 2013 - Fade Out
Recording - May 2013 - Cover3
Recording - May 2013 - Cover4
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