A huge key in creating recordings that you'll love to share for the rest of your life is to slow down and be present throughout the whole process. Great vocals don't just happen, and recording isn't always easy.
But the great singers fought for it. They rehearsed, edited, tuned, and hand-crafted their vocals until they loved them.
So to give you the tips and tools for you to create your own great recordings that you love, here's our final Part 3 of our IHMV Singer Secrets to Recording guide!
In case you missed it, for Part 1 click here and for Part 2 click here!
Here's Part 3:
What To Do After You Record Your Vocals!
After you've laid down all of your amazing vocals, you now get to be involved in the creative work of bringing your recording to life!
We now move into what is called the post-production phase; it's now time to 'comp your vocal takes'.
...is a fancy word for editing together an amazing performance from the best parts of your different takes.
Here's how you do it:
Listen back through your takes in reverse order. This is because your takes usually get better each time you record, and it helps to hear your best work first.
Choose your takes by what sounds best to your ear. Go with the vocals that have the most emotional impact--the takes that really capture a feeling, a vibe, or the meaning of the lyrics. The vocals that have that special something, whether it's riding the groove or using a tone that gives you goosebumps.
Don't worry too much about pitch--this can be corrected by the engineer with tuning software. Feeling is more important than pitch, and it can't be artificially created!
If you've only recorded a few takes of each section, you can just go by memory to choose your faves.
If you're sorting through 10+ takes, we highly recommend grabbing a piece of paper and making notes of what sounds good and what doesn't! Our favorite method is using a rating system, like 1-5!
After you've chosen your best-sounding takes for each section, make sure to listen back to the whole song.
Listen for flow and continuity between takes. If you notice that your takes sound too different from each other or you just don't like how something sounds, always feel empowered to go back and make changes until you are happy.
Don't let yourself feel rushed!
The comping stage often involves choosing takes and then replacing them multiple times until the song has a good flow to it. You can always go back and find another take if something doesn't sound right.
Make sure that you are happy with how you sound on every single phrase before you agree that the comping phase is finished.
Once you've made your comp track, the next step is tuning your vocals!
...is all about crafting your vocal performance to perfection by nudging your pitch, timing, volume and vibrato!
Before you record, you should ask the studio what kind of tuning software they use. There are many different tuning softwares out there, and the software the studio uses will tell you a lot about what kind of vocal you're going to get from your session.
Software like 'Auto-Tune' tells you in the name that your vocals are going to be automatically tuned--which is generally not a great thing. Your vocals may be in tune, but will have an artificial quality to them. Having your vocals tuned by a robot just won't sound as realistic and convincing as having your vocals hand-tuned by the trained ear of a musician.
Melodyne is the industry's standard for getting authentically tuned vocals.
Make sure to ask if the studio will manually tune your vocals or use automatic tuning software.
Just as with every other stage of recording, let the studio engineer know which notes you'd like changed and how.
Now that you've comped and tuned your vocals, it's time to mix your vocals.
...is the skill and art of choosing volume levels, EQ settings, compression, reverb, delay and special effects like chorus and phaser so that your voice sounds like a million dollars.
Often singers will not be present during the mixing process, but you certainly can ask to be present.
After mixing is finished, tracks are usually 'mastered', which is the process of mixing the whole song as a single track to make it sound as loud, full, deep, and professional as possible.
It is now common for studio mixing engineers to do a quick master of the track after it is mixed. Unless you are budgeting for a major release, you don't need to worry about having your song mastered by a dedicated mastering engineer.
After the studio emails you the track, the final phase is giving your revisions!
...are the process of listening multiple times and taking notes of what you'd like to change, then having the studio make your revisions until you are happy with it.
Organize your notes to be super clear, so the studio can find and understand the specifics about what you want changed.
Here are some things to listen for:
Does the volume of your voice stay consistent? Is your voice super loud in the verse? Does the track bury your voice in the chorus? Do even certain words or phrases sound too loud or soft?
How do the vocal effects sound with your voice? Are they too electronic-sounding? Does your voice sound like a robot from being auto-tuned too much? Does your voice sound flat, bassy or boxy, or does it sound too harsh or shrill or nasal? Is there too much reverb or delay, or not enough?
Always keep your ears open for anything, and trust what they tell you!
You've put in a ton of work to rehearse the song, record it, comp and mix your vocals, so give the revision process the same quality attention you gave every step up to this point.
It's often those final revision notes you send to the studio that make the difference between your loving a track or not!
THAT'S A WRAP!
You've made it to the end of our guide, IHMV Singer Secrets to Recording.
We made this guide to help our clients prepare for their recordings with us and any studio they work with. Now you have know everything you need to rock the mic in the studio--every time!
We also created this recording guide because the recording studio industry can sometimes be like the car sales industry; it isn't always known for having the client's best interests in mind.
No matter what, make sure you find a recording engineer you like and trust. You want someone who really cares about you loving your recording and who is willing to go the extra mile with you to make it sound amazing!
You can visit IHMV Studios to RECORD your cover song!
Learn how to deliver vocals you love in the studio, gain courage and invaluable experience. I will be there to support and guide you through the process to capture your best vocal performance.
Learn how our clients' recordings have gone viral on YouTube--all while growing your skill and having a blast singing your heart out!
CLICK HERE to record your cover song in LA!