Microphone users often wonder how to get the best recording quality at home. Of course, many people use this product in the studios. However, there are not few people who record their projects at home – in the room, in the kitchen or in the living room. We have collected 15 tips to help you get a studio-quality recording even at home. Let’s mention the acoustics, microphone settings, other devices and much more. In addition, we will also tell you what you should avoid. And if you are interested in Studio microphones, then read about the best models in this article.
- Avoid hard surfaces
The first problem with recording is the reflection of sounds from surrounding objects, concrete walls, parquet, windows, etc. The sound begins to “walk” and an echo is created that spoils the final recording.
- Use reflectors
When using a bi-directional and omnidirectional microphone, make sure to use reflectors. They minimize the volume of sound from the back or sides. If you’re using a unidirectional microphone (which only picks up sound from the front), you’d better put the reflector behind the speaker. Thus you don’t make any unnecessary sounds that might appear behind your back.
- Create the acoustics with your own hands
If you don’t have a budget for professional solutions, you can create the perfect recording environment with a tight blanket on the wall or closet behind the speaker. The main thing is to cover as much space as possible.
- Do not record in the middle of the room
Never record in the middle of a room. Usually, the frequencies are collected there and create a “standing wave” effect. As a result, it negatively affects the balance of the recorded sound. You shouldn’t record at the tables either – it’s usually underneath them that the basses accumulate.
- Where to record?
Instead of the center of the room, step back to the wall with the blanket (or carpet!) on it. If you have a dressing room at home, it is best not to find a place to write. Clothes will absorb sound, which means that nothing extra will come out of the recording.
- Keep it down!
The best records are created in the quietest environment possible. Make sure that there is no unnecessary noise or minimal noise around you before you start recording. Turn off the air conditioning, washing machine, TV, microwave, fan, and even aquarium lighting. Or drag the aquarium (or dog) to another room.
- Headphones vs monitors
Headphones and monitors have their pros and cons, so it’s better to know when to use them. Monitors are ideal for listening and mixing. They allow you to understand the sound of your recording on most audio devices. It’s better to use headphones while recording – in this case, the sound from the microphone will not be duplicated when leaving the monitor. Moreover, the stands for these monitors can affect the output of the work. Although it often gets overlooked, according to MusicCritic, “the response produced by speakers located against walls, or standing on floors or desks will not sound the same as your final mix.”
- Open or closed headphones?
Using closed headphones like the Mix-Fi during recording will help control-click tracks and virtual channels. That is to say, they don’t fall into the microphone; even with the coolest soundproofing that allows you to focus on recording. The open headphones are ideal for sound evaluation and mixing testing, as they allow air to flow freely to and from the speakers, making them more saturated.
- Sound delay
One of the main enemies of a good recording is delaying sound. To clarify – the effect that occurs after the digital processing of sound and before the result of your manipulations in the headphones. Many interfaces (and even USB microphones such as Yeti, Yeti Pro and Raspberry) have a zero-delay monitoring function to ensure that everything happens at the same time when recording.
- The perfect triangle
To get the most intense music picture possible, you need to place the monitors correctly. Imagine the perfect triangle where your head and each speaker are the tops. Using a tape measure, lanyard or even an audio cable, measure the distance between the two monitors. Then make sure that the distance from each monitor to your ears is identical to that number. In the future, try to sit at this point when listening and recording.
- Adjust the recording levels
Adjust the sound level of the headphones before recording using a commercial track. If the level is too low, you may get excessive compensation for the amplification of the incoming signal, which will result in distortion or too rich sound.
- Pop-filter is our rescue
Condenser microphones are ideal for capturing the smallest details of the voice. However, they are also very susceptible to flat or explosive consonants that spoil the recordings. Studio-quality pop filters (like The Pop) solve this problem. But if you don’t have a pop filter, try talking a little away from the microphone – it will allow extra air not to get into the recording.
- Keep your distance
The distance between the speaker and the condenser microphone capsule plays an important role and can greatly affect the tone of the recorded voice. The closer you get to it, the more the microphone emits low frequencies and creates what is known as the “proximity effect”. To avoid the intimacy effect, the speaker should be positioned approximately 5 inches away from the microphone. A group of podcasters can be seated even further to create the effect of “discussion in the room”. We recommend experimenting to find the perfect sounding distance.
- Directionality solves
Condenser microphones can capture sound from either one or more directions, depending on the direction of the capsule used. You need to understand which directions can be used in your microphone and choose the right one for each recording. For example, unidirectional microphones are ideal for single recordings; and omnidirectional microphones will record sound from all sides, which is ideal for a chorus or ensemble.
- Singing aside
For some people it is obvious, but when using microphones with lateral aperture placement, it is necessary to speak not at the top, but at the side of the microphone. In such microphones, the capsule looks outward, not upward. To get a great sound, speak or sing to the side of the microphone as shown in the picture.
To sum up, you can write entire books about creating perfect recordings… But all that’s above are basic and very important rules that are ideal for those who want to further explore the world of sound recording.