As one might think, vocal recording can be one of the most important pieces to any form of modern recorded music. Therefore you would assume that vocal recording would be the most tedious and time consuming processes. Well, the good news is that tracking and recording vocals might not be as difficult as one might think. This article will review how to make recording simple on a fixed budget, and help you squeeze out the best professional sound at the best price.
The first thing that you will obviously need is a great singer, preferably one that can sing in key. Now you might laugh at my little statement here, but finding a good quality vocalist can be more difficult than you think. Remember, you can’t fake it on a recording. If all else fails and you cannot find a great one, a good singer will suffice with the auto-tune plug-in for Pro-tools.
Once you have your singer all lined up will need some equipment. Some of the items that I am listing are quite obvious, but I want this article to be clear for all experience levels.
- Pentium Class computer (Preferable, Duo core processor or better)
- Audio Recording software (Free: Cubase/Garageband, Paid: Fruity Loops/Sonic Producer, Pro: Pro-Tools)
- USB Soundcard with a built in Preamp
- Small 4 Channel mixer (Example: Mackie)
You can get all of this equipment ranging about $1200, and most people reading this article will have a computer and audio recording program. I highly recommend that you invest in a USB Soundcard with a built in Pre-amp. My recommendation is to get the M-audio MobilPre USB Interface with Preamp (Read reviews). It is a budget conscious soundcard and sounds great!!!
Next, you will need a good condenser microphone. My personal favorite budget conscious mic would be the Condenser Microphone Audio-Technica AT2020 (Read Reviews). It is a versatile microphone and captures vocals really well.
Once you have all of the proper equipment for good vocals on a budget, you will well on your way to recording some fantastic vocals, and with the equipment mentioned in this article you will be surprised at the professional sound quality you will get of this affordable equipment.
In future articles I will write more on how to capture great vocals and some tracking tips.
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Good post. I worked in the TV and radio industry for years. We had clients all over the US and some did their voice parts on systems we set up in their offices. We always spent money on the best microphones as it was vital for sound quality. This was back in 2001 when MP3 files were just beginning to be shipped to media markets.
I do my video work in Final Cut Pro but have used Garage Band to record simple tracks. It works great. I’m on my first iMac ever and never plan on going back to PC. It’s like a multi-media workstation. Of course, I did upgrade to 8 gigs of ram which helps:-)
I am new to doing vocal recordings and would like to try it out. I find good suggestions on this article. I just would like to ask where I can find the power usage for the equipment mentioned?
You can find more on the power usage for typically on the microphones packaging or instructions. Mircophones alone do not use any power, but the mixing consoles and pre-amps behind them provide the power to mic. That would be the best way to assess the power usage of the mic.
@Peter David Gustafson – I have to agree with you, macs are superior when it comes to multimedia. I have a Mac for my main studio console with Pro Tools. Garage Band is a surprisingly affective tool when it comes to recording basic tracks. It was a well thought out program for apple.
“Once you go Mac, you’ll never go back” ha!
Very informative article. I have a question. Can I use a dynamic mic for lead vocals or go with condenser?