Vocal Recording Tips and Principles – Part 2

Here is the second post by Jon Wright. Written while sitting in on a vocal session with Kevin Ward and Wayne Haun.

“The first and one of the most important tips: Be open with the artist about what you are doing.

Let them know when you are editing, changing settings, swapping out gear, and even any technical difficulties you’re having (without passing any blame of course).

The artist is now in a somewhat unusual situation. Rather than performing in the room with a lot of people they are now trapped “alone” behind the glass; and as anyone who finds themselves there can probably attest to it tends to become a somewhat awkward (even vulnerable) frame of mind. The artist begins to wonder if the engineer is taking too long between takes because they sound awful. They see people chuckle through the glass and wonder if they are being laughed at. A lot can go through an artist’s head when they’re in the booth.

Because the comfort of the artist is key to getting great takes. If you have great communication and openness you are well on your way to a great session!

This reminds me of a tip I heard from Nathan Chapman at the last Nashville Recording Workshop, he likes to place a male’s microphone slightly higher than the vocalist needs it (because male singers typically want you to think they are taller than they are). while for female vocalists he places it lower than they will need it (because there is something about raising the mic up for themselves that boosts confidence and says, “I’m ready to do this”). — Paraphrased and unproven, but might be worth an experiment or two . . .

– Jon”

About The Author

Jon Wright

As a graduate of MTSU with a degree in Audio Engineering and Technology Jon has been working as a full time mixer and engineer in Nashville. He loves running, writing, and all forms of entertainment. He also enjoys long walks on the beach with his wife.