How To Record Vocals

How to record vocals
In this video we talk about the basic principals of recording vocals with a condenser microphone.
I'm showing with Natalie Jansen an Apprentice from the Recording Connection some techniques and tricks on how to capture a great vocal sound and make the artists feel comfortable, so they can deliver a great performance.
Working with Apprentices has been a hugely rewarding experience for me!
Over the last few years many of my Assistant Engineers have gone to be incredibly successful.
Phil Allen who Assisted, Engineered, Co Produced and Co Wrote with me won a Grammy for recording Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’. Brian Joseph who was my Assistant for The Fray’s self titled second album won a Grammy for Bon Iver’s second album. Robin Holden who Assisted and Engineered for me now is a very successful creating music for Film, TV and Commercials. 
They say that you will never learn as much as when you teach. The truth is as I explain recording basics I am constantly reminded of subtle things that can influence capturing great performances. 
Ultimately creating an environment where an Artist can perform is the most important thing! 

The basic technical side must be understood but it shouldn’t our main focus.

I hope you enjoy the video!

Have a marvellous time recording and mixing,


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  • Martin Weeks

    Delightful Video. And very helpful. Thank you Warren. And as usual brings up some questions.
    1. I know you do “Hybrid” Recording. Sometimes you’re going through the console to Pro Tools. Sometimes directly to the computer.
    I am for the moment completely in the box..
    You explained (very well) how the mic “Pre” works for the mic you were using. I’m assuming that this specific set up is for going through your console.
    I use the Focusrite 2i2 Digital Audio Interface. Which according to Focusrite has “Pre’s” in them. But it does not have any type of “Pad” like the Pre you were demonstrating on. I asked another person who uses Studio One like I do about applying Gain Reduction in the DAW to create the same sonic effect you described in this video. He said it doesn’t really work for the recording part of a session as it’s in the DAW not in the actual D/A Interface. Is that correct or can I use the DAW’s gain reduction features during a recording (vocals for example) in the same way you can adjust the “Pad” using your mic pre?
    2. Regarding using those little curvy vocal sound booth thingies that folks are selling now. They always have them curving around the back of the mic. Ergo based on what you said about deadening behind the vocalist as the mic is pointing toward the vocalist…if I were to use one of those little mini vocal booths, wouldn’t I want to put it behind the vocalist as well?

    Thanks for another great video and again we wish you and family a Warm, Safe and “Marvelously” Merry Christmas.

    Marty & Linda

    • Warren Huart

      Hi @martin_weeks:disqus great question! The Hybrid set up for mixing, I like to use the SSL’s Dynamics and EQ functions on the channels, plus of course the Bus Compressor on the Master section. I would suggest getting a Pad for your mic, they are fairly inexpensive and you can get them from most music stores. Yes I would dampen behind and to the sides of a singer first, create a little vocal booth. Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!! Have a marvellous New Year! Many thanks Warren

  • Dave Wietzel

    Warren – you mentioned I believe your vocal chain 1073 preamp and DBX 160A(?) into 1176. I have read that one is generally used to capture peaks and the other to smooth out the rest. Since I am a home recording enthusiast I do have an DBX 160A, a Pre73 and thinking of getting the Warm Audio 76 but had not thought of using the DBX and Warm Audio together for a vocal chain. Could you give me a little guidance how you would use the two compressors and what you expect each one to do for you? Thanks! I am learning a lot from your videos and appreciate all you do to bring expertise to my level.

    • Warren Huart

      Hi @davewietzel:disqus great question! Yes, my favourite vocal chain is my BAE 1073 to a DBX160 VU to an 1176. The DBX compresses lightly and the 1176 just captures the peaks! I think the warm should do a great job for the money! Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!! Have a marvellous New Year! Many thanks Warren

      • Dave Wietzel

        If you don’t mind a follow up. I do have a Urei LA-4. I was thinking of selling to get the Warm Audio. But before I do, do you think the LA-4 would server the purpose of the 1176 for the vocal chain? or would the Warm Audio give me a more versatile piece than the LA-4? Thanks Warren…

        • Warren Huart

          Hi @davewietzel:disqus I would definitely try the LA-4 on Limit! I think it would sound great! Honestly I wouldn’t sell it and buy a Warm, I really like the LA-4’s on guitars! They sound great! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren

          • Dave Wietzel

            Glad I asked! Thanks Warren…

          • Warren Huart

            Definitely @davewietzel:disqus! It’s the best compressor/limiter they made, however it will hold it’s value and I wouldn’t personally sell it. Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren

  • Chris Vex

    Excellent mentoring, Warren…

    • Warren Huart

      Thanks ever so much @chrisvex:disqus! Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!! Have a marvellous New Year! Many thanks Warren