Best microphone For recording vocals
Get better results when recording at home.
We regularly get questions on how to achieve the best recordings at home. While many Blue users are recording in professional studios, even more are recording in their home office, bedroom, living room, basement or garage. There are a few easy ways to get studio acoustic results, at home. (See our home recording feature in the November issue of Stuff Magazine, on stands now!)
We’ve put together a list of 15 basic ways to improve your recording setup and acoustics at home, including: setting up your acoustic environment, setting up your gear, achieve correct mic technique, and more! Also, find out what to AVOID.
Take your at-home recordings to the next level–
Recording environment: (#1 factor that impacts your recordings)
1. Avoid hard surfaces: Hard surfaces can be your biggest enemy for home recording. Hardwood floors, concrete walls, tiled walls and counter tops are all reflective, bouncing sound around the room like Flubber, creating an echo that can be noticeable in your recordings. Carpet, curtains, rounded/fabric furniture and even inside of clothes closets can help to “deaden” the room and create a more acoustically sound environment. Any hard surface is reflective, including slat blinds and windows (glass is extremely reflective). Close those curtains!
2. Reflection shields can be purchased or made to help minimize sounds being picked up from the back and sides of the mic (best if you are using a strictly omni-directional mic). However, most at-home recording happens with a cardioid (forward directional) microphone. This type of mic is rejecting most noise from the sides and back. However, a cardioid microphone is most sensitive to sounds reflecting from behind the vocalist (see next tip for ways to reduce those reflections).
3. DIY acoustical treatment: The best at-home treatment is to hang a thick blanket on the wall or shelf or bookcase that is directly behind the vocalist, covering as much of the surface as possible. Staying away from desks or other reflective surfaces can be beneficial (especially if you aren’t getting the recording results you desire). Did you know? Bass frequencies are notorious for building up under desks.
4. The place not to record: in the middle of the room. This is where frequencies build up and you get “standing waves.”
5. Where to record: Back yourself closer to the wall with the hanging blanket and further from the opposite wall. Without sticking yourself in the middle. Clothes closets can also make for great vocal booths. Clothes naturally absorb sounds; they are typically carpeted and there is less room for echo.
6. Shhhhh! Make sure that background noise is minimal or nonexistent. Turn off the AC, and the TV, and the washing machine, and the microwave, and the fan and your fish tank…well maybe just move the poor fish into another room.
Headphones and Monitors:
7. Monitors are great for playback. Headphones are great for recording and direct monitoring.
8. For at-home recording, closed-back headphones are best so that the sound from your headphones doesn’t bleed into your microphone. Zero-latency, direct monitoring is critical for multi-tracking (featured on, , and ). If there are multiple people recording or even listening in, consider getting a headphone splitter box.
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The best microphone for recording vocals?
I'll also throw in a recommendation for the MXL 990 (holy crap, MF has them for $50 now?? Buy a dozen). I don't think you'll find a more capable vocal mic for a home studio without spending way, way more money than it's worth. Honestly, depending on what you intend to use the projects for, you can get away with using a lot of cheap Chinese equipment in a home studio. To me, it just doesn't make sense to use top-of-the-line mics in a sub-standard space (apologies if your home studio is acoustically perfect; most of us don't have that luxury).