So you want to know how to record rap vocals? Or R&B vocals?
In this article, I will give you direction so you can start to learn how to record yourself over instrumentals and be taken seriously. I will show you what equipment you need and what you need to know so you can start using it properly.
First things first, clean up your computer. I’m not going to tell you to buy a new one but get serious. If it's a little slow, Google search ways to tune it up or think about upgrading.
Here’s the bottom line of what equipment you will need:
• Microphone: AKG Perception 220 Large-Diaphragm True Condenser Cardioid Microphone $120
• Audio Interface: M-Audio Fast Track USB - Audio input adapter - Hi-Speed USB $120
• Speakers: M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 Left / right CH speakers $95
• Headphones: Sony MDR-7510 Professional Headphones $120 --- This isn’t totally necessary but I don’t recommend spending less than $70 on headphones. Anything below that price point is going to be subpar for a studio setting. Trust me, I’ve done it and regretted it.
• DAW Software: Cubase 6 Elements $100
• Other(mic cables, digital stereo cables, mic stand, pop filter): $75-$100 total -- I recommend getting a small mic stand that sits on your desk if you are pressed for space.
The knowledge set that I am going to list below is absolutely required. Non-negotiable. This stuff doesn’t take very long to learn if you just go to the right sources and watch/listen carefully. Take notes, literally or you will forget. I’ve listed a couple of links at the bottom to affordable tutorials.
• Learn which effects to use, how to use them, and in what order the effect chain should go. I use this chain to start: Gate, Compressor, Equalizer, Other… Research compression for rap vocals specifically because it is a key element in the traditional rap sound. Note: If you are using Pitch Correct/Auto-Tune, try to put it before any reverb, delay, filter, etc. I usually just put it after the gate.
• Learn to use a seperate FX delay channel with a sidechain from your vocal channel. This will clean up all that overly garbled delay mess. When your main vocals are playing the delay effect gets lowered automatically with sidechain.
• Learn how to punch in and out for fixing mistakes within a long recording take.
• Learn how to comp vocals so you can use the best parts from multiple takes.
• Learn the basics of audio editing. This way you can discretely improve your vocals. For example you can move a certain syllable or phrase to be better on time. You can also fix volume discrespencies.
• Learn the basics of mixing down and exporting your finished files.
Here are the two recording and mixing tutorials I recommend. The example songs they use are corny but the videos are full of vital information. There are plenty of others you can choose from just make sure they have positive reviews. Seriously, get some Adderall if you have to and watch these videos or other highly rated ones in their entirety after you have all the equipment and software setup. You will save yourself so many headaches and embarrassments.
Best Of Luck,
ps Don't hesitate to ask me a question if you think I can help.