Studio Night

Giving the vocals the “treatment”

Mic in a blanket
Mic in a blanket

As part of our May “finish the record” marathon, I’ve recorded lots of vocal tracks this weekend. I have one good condenser mic (an AKG C414 that I’ve had for about a dozen years) and I generally use that. I’ve used a Shure SM57 on occasion, but I don’t get the “air” that I like on the vocal tracks, so it’s usually the 414.

I’d like to get a different, more specific vocal mic, but that’s going to have to wait until the budget allows. Meanwhile I’ve been trying to figure out how to improve the vocal tracks using the gear I have.

For the first time I decided to make a poor-man’s vocal booth – a thick moving blanket hung from the ceiling in a semicircle around the mic. Normally I just have the mic in the middle of the basement and I let it fly (usually in “omni” mode because [a] it sounds cool and [b] it eliminates the proximity effect).

I think it made a significant difference.  Without all the room reflections, the vocal performances sound tighter (in terms of acoustics if not in delivery). I can always add some reverb to give the sound some space.

The 414 seems to have taken on new life for my vocals using this simple hack. At least until the gear coffers are fluch with cash again…