Vocals are the main instrument. It is easy to convey shades of emotions through vocals that are inaccessible to other instruments, and in terms of the strength of the emotional impact, it will be compared with the rest of the arrangement on the track. Musicians often have to master vocals: someone wants to rap, someone wants to sing on stage, and someone just doesn’t have enough backing for their work in Fruity Loops. All of them are united by the need to record their voice for classes and demos. What devices are needed for this?
The guitarist has a guitar, the violinist has a violin, and the vocalist has a microphone. Only the opera does not need it, in all other cases it will have to be sung to it. The choice of a microphone is an individual matter and depends on the timbre of the voice, the manner of performance and, of course, the budget. This device seems to be simple in appearance, but there are a lot of characteristics in it, which can easily confuse. Therefore, it is easiest to choose a microphone based on the scope of application.
Microphones for practice. To record exercises and analyze errors, USB condenser-type cardioid microphones are suitable. Firstly, they combine a sound card and a microphone, it turns out two devices in one. On the built-in audio interface, you can even work in a DAW and mix music. Secondly, the cardioid directivity will cut off the clatter of neighbors, the noise of the freeway and the screams of the children on the playground outside the window. Condenser microphones are very sensitive, so they pick up all the noise with a bang. Directionality can also be switched – such microphones are more versatile and will help you to run your blog or podcast.
USB microphones come in different classes:
For networking and gaming. Usually they care little about the evenness of the frequency response, detail and dynamics, but sometimes they go along with utilities to improve voice clarity and eliminate noise.
For voice recording – podcasts, streams, blogs. Usually these are desktop microphones, which are often supplied with a small stand so that it is convenient to speak while sitting at a PC. Often produced by computer manufacturers.
For home studios. These are models from manufacturers of professional audio equipment, for example, Audio-technica AT2020USB.
Microphone Audio-technica AT2020USB+ black
[wired, desktop, -37 dB, 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, USB]
17 199 *
Stores: 4 stores
Microphones from the second and third groups can be used to record vocals – the voice will not sound as expressive compared to adult studio models, but more than enough for a demo recording.
stage microphones. At concerts and rehearsals, the situation is completely different – a very noisy environment, the risk of interference from closely spaced line speakers. Dynamic microphones with a cardioid pattern work best with such conditions. They are not as sensitive as condenser ones, so you have to sing close to them. But they do not catch the signal from the instruments around and do not start from the feedback.
AKG D7 microphone black 16 099 *
Another option is a radio system. It gives freedom to move around the stage and removes unnecessary wires. But you need to carefully look at the range of its action and the quality of the microphone in the kit. Many models are designed more for performances in auditoriums and karaoke.
Studio microphones. A good quality condenser microphone is used for vocals 80% of the time. Large studios usually have a fleet of microphones with a total cost of a fleet of cars – each vocalist is selected for his own, depending on the timbre of his voice and manner of performance. However, there are also budget models for home studios – for example, the Rode NT1A or the very similar Behringer B-2.
Microphone Behringer B-2 PRO silver 19 999 *
The remaining 20% can be dynamic (in particular Shure SM7B is often used for rough male vocals – from the raspy Metallica type to growl a la Cannibal Corpse), tape (for a vintage matte sound with a smooth decay at high frequencies) or something even more exotic. for specific effects.
Studio microphones are connected via XLR, they need an audio card to work. It is highly desirable that it has phantom power , which is necessary for the operation of condenser microphones.
Accessories for microphones
Rack. There is a microphone, but where to fix it? You can’t hold it in your hands – you can still hold the stage one, but the studio one is already inconvenient. The right solution is a microphone stand. Useful for classes, essential for recording, and unusual-looking custom stands can become a decoration for concerts.
Microphone stand ROCKDALE 3617_T
[crane design, thread 6 mm, up to 1600 mm, telescopic]
2 450 *
Pop filter. Explosive consonants like “p” and “b” overload the microphone membrane, and during processing this recording defect is not easy to remove programmatically. The problem is solved by a pop filter, which is mounted on a rack and closes the membrane with a thin double mesh so that sudden air movements do not overload it.
Spider mount. Sensitive condenser microphones perfectly pick up the smallest nuances of the performance, as well as the steps of a neighbor’s child. Even in a recording studio, for all its soundproofing, they use spider-type mounts – at least to remove the steps of the vocalist himself. These mounts decouple the microphone stand and the microphone so that floor vibrations do not get into the recording.
XLR cord. Although a balanced connection eliminates the effect of conductor quality on sound quality, this does not mean that the cheapest cable can be used. These are often torn around the connector, and a short circuit with phantom power turned on can take a sound card or microphone with it. The easiest way to choose a cable is by thickness: the thicker, the more reliable.
Cable THRONMAX XLR – XLR
[XLR cable, male – female, 6 m]
1 899 *
24In stores: today (from 20:00)
Both for practicing at home and for professional recording of vocals, good closed-back headphones are needed. The closed design prevents sound from leaking from the headphones into the microphone. Vocalists often record with a metronome, a high-pitched click that sensitive condenser microphones pick up perfectly. It is difficult to remove it from the record later. Therefore, the better the sound insulation of the headphones is, the less problems there will be during processing, and the better the vocals will sound.
The frequency response of headphones for recording vocals is not as critical as that of headphones for mixing music. There may be a rise in the sweet spot – 1-5 kHz, as well as a small hump in the region of 100-200 Hz to make the voice sound more assertive. However, there should be no sharp peaks and dips either, otherwise some notes will sound louder than others, which will confuse the vocalist. The detail and resolution of the headphones is also very important – they must play out the nuances well so that the performer can hear his mistakes.
Wired headphones Audio-Technica ATH-M40X black
[2.0 female, 15Hz – 24000Hz, 35Ω, wired, cable – 3m, black]
8 999 *
Stores: 30 stores
USB microphones already have a built-in audio card, but it has only the most basic functions and stripped down features. An external audio interface will give you more options:
Connect different microphones.
Connect several microphones at once, for example, to record a singing guitarist, vocal duet or choir.
Fine-tune the signal amplification level.
Process vocals on the internal resources of the audio card – they often have a built-in DSP that allows you to throw compression or reverb individually into the vocalist’s headphones. It does not eat up computer resources, speeds up and simplifies recording.
Connect external processing devices – studio preamps, rack compressors, effects pedals, etc. All this will open the field for experiments with timbre and will allow you to achieve an individual memorable sound.
Change the sampling rate and recording bitrate over a wide range – will allow you to record a higher quality.
Connect high-impedance headphones, because the impedance of studio models often reaches 300 ohms.
And, of course, external audio cards themselves are made on higher quality components compared to those built into USB microphones – after all, the lack of restrictions on the size of the case makes itself felt. This is especially true of the quality of preamplifiers and audio converter chips from electronic pulses to digital ones.
For example, Focusrite sound cards are equipped with legendary preamps from the ISA line. With them, the recording will turn out to be clearer, more dynamic, readable and generally sound more pleasant. Interestingly, the company produces vocal recording kits with more than decent studio microphone and headphones.
FOCUSRITE Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen Recording Kit
[sound card, microphone, headphones]
38 999 *
12In stores: in 1 store
An alternative to a sound card would be a recorder. This is a professional voice recorder for high-quality recording of sounds in the field. Usually this is a voice for an interview or some rustling of leaves for a film dubbing. But no one forbids using it in a home studio as a sound card – most of them have such an opportunity. They can record at different sample rates and bit rates, you can connect multiple microphones to them, you can even mix music on them, and most importantly, you can take them with you on a trip for practice or recording outside the home.
Zoom H5 Recorder 31 199 *
Recording vocals without extraneous sounds can be a real headache. This problem is relevant not only for the vocalist, but also for the vlogger, streamer and anyone who needs to record a speech.
In the studio, the voice is recorded in a vocal booth, built on the principle of a room in a room and upholstered in mineral wool with foam rubber. At home, you can recreate the semblance of this design from a closet full of grandma’s fur coats – this is how countless underground albums have been recorded. The microphone is placed in a closet, a blanket is hung on top of the open doors.
A more professional solution would be an acoustic screen. It attaches to a microphone stand and forms a barrier between the voice and the room. Some of the sounds still seep into the recording, but there will be no room echo, and working with such a thing is much easier than standing in a closet or with a box on your head.
Acoustic baffle Maono AU-S02 3 499 *
A musician must always think creatively. Therefore, you can approach recording from the other side – take a recorder and go to a cave or an abandoned hangar, where you can record vocals with natural reverberation. Then you don’t have to jam the room or stand in the closet, and the resulting recording will become legendary, at least for its participants.