Vocal is a basic component of a track. When you record it, any flaws are quite noticeable. Without quality equipment and basic principles sound may turn out to be apart from expectations. So, before you get down to recording, you’d better make sure that the singer has prepared himself, is not having butterflies in his stomach, has the text on a soft copy convenient to him at hand (just a piece of paper with the written text or a tablet PC will do). Help him to fix the position of the microphone in the right way. If the vocalist feels some usual physical discomfort, it will undoubtedly have an impact on the quality of his performance and make much trouble for you when get to online rock music mixing services. It is also important to see that the backing track in his headphones has been properly tuned.
The use of pop-filter for a microphone is a standard and absolutely acceptable requirement. It will allow you to get rid of the necessity to tidy up undesirable aspiration and explosive sounds “b” and ”p” when mixing vocal into the song. In this case it’s not sufficient to use only wind shields. The sound quality will also depend on the used microphone. The model selected with account of an artistic task and the voice of the exact performer will let you get rid of the necessity of complicated vocal equalization. The choice of a distance between the vocalist and the microphone is also important. The distance of 2–3 inches gives “just in face” sound saturated with low harmonics. For hip-hop mixing this approach works great! It is better to place the microphone at a large distance from the vocalist, for instance, 6–9 inches to get much more binaural vocal sound.
Preliminary explanations to a vocalist of such details as the distance between him and the microphone, the necessity to move nearer or away during certain pieces of melody help out with completing work faster and of higher quality. When recording, it is advisable to use light compression and to leave more space for work with sound during further mixing and mastering hip hop vocals. Until the stage of mixing track it is also advisable to put off the gate in order to avoid unnatural cutting endings of phrases. An equalizer is used with special caution. Some small amount of reverberation is used to create the effect of a real space.
Another important moment addressed to you more as an engineer. If you haven’t managed to achieve a desired result during one vocal session – do not get lazy and mark basic settings of devices (a microphone preamp, a compressor) – then next time you won’t need to pick them all over again, and the compiled final vocal track will sound homogenously.
This article can’t surely contain all nuances of art recording, but I think it will be a starting point for your search for an ultimate sound.