Most engineers would agree that recording vocals requires a great attention to detail. What does your singer sound like and what qualities of the voice do you want to bring out most for this particular track? How will it be mixed? With a little bit of planning, the microphone and hardware units can make a tremendous difference in the overall quality of your recording. As long as you have a good quality converter (article coming soon) and well-treated room there are two things that can get you to a professional quality vocal sound.
First things first, the Microphone. This is the most important piece of the puzzle but it can be expensive, so when you are ready for final recordings, book a studio that has high-end microphones. Large diaphragm condensers are a good choice for capturing the full timbre of your source. We use a Neumann U87, which can be very forgiving, to smooth out the vocals when desired and give ourselves a more compressed sound to work with. Another option for those seeking clarity is the Neumann TLM 49 which is very open sounding and transparent; a great choice for experienced singers who want their signal clean for processing later. For a more classic, polished sound, with subdued high-end we might choose a Royer 121 Ribbon Microphone.
Pre-amplifiers are important for our vocal track because it will boost the signal, transparently or in a distorted euphonic way, and add different harmonic quality depending on the components inside of the hardware unit. Here at the Fish Tank we have an assortment of quality microphone and instrument pre-amps available to meet the needs of any client. For vocals we like to use an APi 512b 500 Series Pre to get a more aggressive sound that cuts through a mix and a Rupert Neve Designs Portico 517 for something less aggressive which will provide more transparent harmonics when driven.
Do visit our recording studio miami!