Recording - February 2018 - 23

Now that we are ready for the singer,
the first thing to do is to get a level on
the preamp. The best way to do this
without asking the singer to sing without music (which they hate!) is to ask
them to do a quick warm up runthrough
of the song, so they can get headphone
levels and get comfortable. Usually, if
you are quick and have experience,
you'll know where you need to be after
the first few lines... and of course you
are recording it, right? Because that
might be the best take of the day and
you don't want to miss it, right?!
You probably know that a singer's
voice is usually best in the later part of
the day. Try not to schedule your vocal
sessions in the early morning, or you'll
get that hoarse morning voice that
nobody wants to hear.
Consider the pace and how demanding it is for the singer to sing multiple
takes. You don't want to wear the
singer out, and you also don't want
to have too many takes to comp from.
I am a fan of 2-4 takes at the most.
Usually the magic happens in the first

couple of takes and there is no reason
to keep doing takes if the earlier takes
sound great. Of course, all of this
becomes exponentially more important
if you are doing multiple songs in
one day!

Playing your part

What you should be doing while the
singer is tracking is worth a whole
article itself. If there is a producer in
the room and you are just the engineer,
watch your mouth-you are not there
to pass any judgment or offer any
opinions that undermine the producer.
If there is no producer present and the
artist is open to ideas, you might-
should you feel so inclined-offer an
opinion here and there on how good
a take was or what could be improved
upon and how.
Needless to say, if you are the producer you should, in the most sensible
and kind way, guide the vocalist onto
the path of the best performance. You
must be patient, encouraging, professional,
kind, and many other things... as I said,

that is the subject of a whole article on
the psychology of studio sessions!

And now we can
comp and mix...

Unless you're very lucky in which
singers come to perform in your studio,
gone are the days when magic vocal
performances happened in one take.
Still, I can assure you that the quickest
and most direct route to that perfect
vocal recording still starts with the
most basic element: the source. So if
you have the option to choose who to
work with, choose a great singer and
prepare your session as I've described.
Chances are, you'll end up with a great
vocal recording with a lot less work on
your part!
Marc Urselli (urselli@recordingmag.
com) is a multiple Grammy-winning
audio engineer and soundtrack composer
who lives and works in New York City.
He's still stoked about his recent tracking
sessions with U2... wouldn't you be?
Learn more at marcurselli.com.


http://www.marcurselli.com http://dpamicrophones.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - February 2018

Contents
Recording - February 2018 - Intro
Recording - February 2018 - Cover1
Recording - February 2018 - Cover2
Recording - February 2018 - 1
Recording - February 2018 - 2
Recording - February 2018 - 3
Recording - February 2018 - 4
Recording - February 2018 - 5
Recording - February 2018 - 6
Recording - February 2018 - 7
Recording - February 2018 - Contents
Recording - February 2018 - 9
Recording - February 2018 - 10
Recording - February 2018 - 11
Recording - February 2018 - 12
Recording - February 2018 - 13
Recording - February 2018 - 14
Recording - February 2018 - 15
Recording - February 2018 - 16
Recording - February 2018 - 17
Recording - February 2018 - 18
Recording - February 2018 - 19
Recording - February 2018 - 20
Recording - February 2018 - 21
Recording - February 2018 - 22
Recording - February 2018 - 23
Recording - February 2018 - 24
Recording - February 2018 - 25
Recording - February 2018 - 26
Recording - February 2018 - 27
Recording - February 2018 - 28
Recording - February 2018 - 29
Recording - February 2018 - 30
Recording - February 2018 - 31
Recording - February 2018 - 32
Recording - February 2018 - 33
Recording - February 2018 - 34
Recording - February 2018 - 35
Recording - February 2018 - 36
Recording - February 2018 - 37
Recording - February 2018 - 38
Recording - February 2018 - 39
Recording - February 2018 - 40
Recording - February 2018 - 41
Recording - February 2018 - 42
Recording - February 2018 - 43
Recording - February 2018 - 44
Recording - February 2018 - 45
Recording - February 2018 - 46
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Recording - February 2018 - 48
Recording - February 2018 - 49
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Recording - February 2018 - 53
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Recording - February 2018 - 79
Recording - February 2018 - 80
Recording - February 2018 - Cover3
Recording - February 2018 - Cover4
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