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Maximizing Vocal Recording Quality: The Crucial Role of Gear & Clean Audio
Learn how quality gear and clean audio enhance vocal recording. Discover expert tips on processing recordings for optimal sound, plus guidelines for podcast loudness.

The Importance of Quality Gear and Clean Audio in Vocal Recording

When it comes to making a great record, the very first step to take is ensuring that you have quality gear and clean audio for your vocal recording. High quality audio is vital because even with the best mixing and mastering processes in place, low quality vocals can still degrade the end result of your work. So, begin by investing in a good microphone and recording equipment that will allow you to capture your voice in its purest form, with minimum noise interference.

Clean audio, on the other hand, refers to sound that has not been tainted by unwanted noise or distortion. This can be achieved through techniques such as correct mic positioning, soundproofing your recording space, and using pop filters. By starting with clean vocal recordings, you're giving your tracks the best possible chance to shine through when they are finally mixed and mastered.

Steps in Processing Your Vocal Recordings

After capturing your clean audio, the next crucial step is drumming up your expertise in processing the recording. This procedure includes several steps such as plugin selection, EQ adjustments, dynamic control, and so on. Let's break them down:

Plugin Selection and Background Noise Removal: Plugins are tools that allow you to add effects to your tracks and manipulate the sound to achieve your desired outcome. Before anything else, it's essential to remove any underlying noise that might have escaped your notice during recording. A variety of noise-removal plugins are available to help with this.

EQ Adjustments: This step involves tweaking various frequencies to find a balance that makes the vocals sound just right. Key things to remember here include getting rid of any boomy frequencies and reducing excess bass that can muddy your vocals. 

Dynamic Control: By using a compressor, you're able to keep the loud parts of your vocals from becoming too overpowering, and the quiet parts from being too soft. This help to achieve a more consistent volume throughout the recording.

DeEsser: Nothing can be more grating to a listener's ear than sharp "s" sounds referred to as sibilance. By using a deEsser, you can handle these and make your vocals sound smoother.

Adaptive Limiter: This is used to control your output level and prevent distortion. An adaptive limiter ensures that your track's volume does not exceed a certain level.

Bouncing or Exporting the Track: After these processes, the final step is to bounce or export your track with suitable settings. Ensure you select the best format for your needs and, most importantly, don’t rush the setting up of your export parameters.

The Recommended Loudness Level for Podcasts

When it comes to podcasts, it's important to keep loudness at around -16 LUFS (Loudness Units relative to Full Scale). This level tends to work well for most listeners, regardless of whether they're tuning in via speakers, headphones or in noisy environments.

It's also worth noting that different platforms may have different loudness standards. Therefore always check these requirements before bouncing your final mix. Consistent loudness levels offer your listeners a more pleasant experience, as they won't have to constantly adjust their volume to hear you clearly.

Comparison Between Raw and Processed Recordings

Taking the time to compare your raw and processed recordings can be a great learning tool. While the raw recording consists of the uncharted and untamed audio, the processed version has gone through all the steps mentioned above. By comparing, you can really appreciate the effect of each processing step and learn how to make better decisions when processing your vocals.

Remember, though, perfection comes with practice. Keep refining your process with each recording and soon enough, you'll be an expert at maximising the potential of your vocal recordings.

What you should do now
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Crate is the easiest way to store, organize, and share unreleased music. With Crate, your unreleased music syncs across your devices. Available for iOS and desktop.
Rylan Talerico
October 20, 2023
Before founding Crate, Rylan Talerico was signed to Warner Records as a recording artist, producer, and songwriter. These days, Rylan enjoys spending time with his family and working on Crate building tools to empower musicians to be more creative and connected.
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Ella B.

Songwriter, producer, artist

I keep finding songs in my library I forgot about with

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