Pro Studio: Vocal Mics in the Studio

Fast Forward’s Pro Studio guru puts four mics through their paces

One of the key elements in any popular song is the vocal performance, and an essential part of capturing a vocal performance accurately is the microphone used in the recording. Top recording engineers know how important it is to match each singer’s particular vocal qualities and timbre to the microphone that will best capture the power and subtleties of that voice. This month, Fast Forward brought four high-quality vocal microphones (i.e. list price of $1,000 or more) into the studio and ran each through its paces, recording male and female vocal tracks and some narration. By the end of the session, you’ll have a good idea of which of these mics may be worth the investment for your home recording studio and what you might want to look for in studios near you. The four contenders include: the Kiwi, from BLUE Microphones; the TLM 103 from Neumann; the Black Hole BH-2 from JZ Mics; and the KSM 44 from Shure. I invited my colleague Jeff Crawford, a local producer and engineer over to provide a second set of ears for the evaluation. Two singers were asked to help with the testing, each one bringing a backing track of a song that they were familiar with to use for the test session. Read more…

Best Voices In Indie Rock

Paste Magazine’s Kate Kiefer put together a top 10 list of the best voices in indie rock. Who did she miss?

Brandi Carlile inspired this list. I’ve been listening to her fantastic new record nonstop lately—mainly because I’m addicted to her voice. But some folks prefer a calmer and steadier voice like Mark Kozelek’s, and others are partial to Neko Case’s clear-as-a-bell-ness or Chan Marshall’s sultriness. Here are my picks for the best voices in indie rock. Who did I miss?

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How to Record Vocals in a Bedroom

Don’t have a dedicated recording studio? Recording in your house? Check out these tips and tricks from Audiotuts+ to get the most out of your sound in an imperfect setting.

The number one factor in vocal recording is the room. You might’ve thought it was the mic you’re using or the pre-amp you’re running it through, but the truth is if you’ve got a U87 and an Avalon but the room you’re recording in is crap, you won’t be much farther ahead than a guy using a Behringer mic through an Mbox.

You could buy one of those (often rather expensive) reflection shields that attach to the stand and sit behind the microphone, and this will do you some good, particularly if your mic is omnidirectional. However, most common vocal microphones for both home and studio users are cardioid, so the shield will still help to an extent but the majority of problem reflections will come from the front — that is, the surfaces behind the vocalist’s head.

Click here to read the entire article on Audiotuts+.