Recording Vocals in a booth – Strategy from the front line

There’s a lot of human psychology that goes into nurturing a performance out of great singers.  The studio environment is where it’s cultivated when it’s time to actually capture it.

I am working at the Sound Kitchen today and wanted you to see my way of capturing the performances this time as opposed to the last time I recorded this group.  The name of the group is the Browders and they are a blast to work with.


How do you record vocals?  Do me the honor of commenting below 🙂


  1. Hey Nick. Pretty simple really. All 4 channels were the board pres (Neve VR) Summit Audio on 2 channels, 1176, and an LA-3a.

    I think we took a picture, I’ll get Jon to post it in the comments

  2. Kevin,
    You definitely hit the nail on the head! “Chemistry” is soo important and I really did not put much thought into it until I had time to decompress (elementary music teacher). I can say this was very evident the last time I had a few horn players over for a session. I had “pre-recorded” some horn parts prior and found myself more musically locked in when playing with the t-bone and tenor sax (trumpeter myself). Great stuff and thank you for putting this into perspective for me!
    Musically, Tal Pipkin

  3. The word you are looking for is synergy,musicians all ways perform better when other musicians are watching,nothing like a little competition nobody likes to compete with themselves

    1. I think synergy is a perfect word Wayne. When I’m having trouble getting a vocalist to really put emotion into a performance, I get them to look at me while they are singing. The difference is amazing. It’s a performance thing.

      Thanks for commenting.

      PS I still can play that one Etude I learned in college 🙂

  4. Hi Kevin,
    Yes, what you tell is 100% true. Always we should me the Artistes feel comfortable and homely and i keep telling “Yes the pass is good, keep going… ! good take.!
    So we really really get a best take in our Session. Kevin, I use the API 512c Mic Pre and into my Avid HD Omni and use the Rode NT 1a or sometimes the KEL Audio’s HM7U for a different Feel.
    Thanks Kevin, great Post.

  5. Wow Kevin,

    Nice room! My sound kitchen is a 8×13 mix room treated acoustically of course. I cut the vocal right there with the singer. It is a comfortable set up low key, not intimidating. One vocalist I recorded actually preferred this method compared to a local studio we just worked together in. Her vocal also sounded more natural here in this little room. She knows what she’s going to get for a finished product here so she is comfortable to sing without reservation. That produces the chemistry for her.

  6. Kevin,

    Nice setup a& great approach…. lovely mics… how were the mics chosen for each singer? ( knowledge from previous sessions)?…… how did the isolation work for the vocalists? did they enjoy and focus on the “sound” as result, or did the booths create a lack of communication between them visually? just curious, great studio!

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