Join Scott Hirsch for an in-depth discussion in this video Checking and setting levels, part of Vocal Production Techniques.
- The human voice has a naturally large dynamic range,…and this can make setting the input level…on your mike preamp without clipping…or overloading the level a little tricky.…Let's discuss some techniques to do this methodically…so you'll be set up to capture optimum levels.…I'll touch on this again later on,…but there's a very delicate performance art…to consider once the singing begins.…In terms of checking and setting levels,…you don't want to tire out your vocalist while you take…your sweet time setting up your mic pre-level.…
So the first step in setting a level…is to already have a ballpark input level…set before your singer arrives.…You can do this with yourself or with an assistant.…The spot you're aiming to hit is about…halfway up the digital full scale meter.…The very highest instant peaks can reach -4 to -6,…but the average should hover around -20 or -18 dbFS.…Then when your vocalist arrives, you can have them sing…near or into the mic when they're warming up,…and that'll give you a sense of their general loudness.…
First, learn how to get the singer comfortable in the recording studio and select the right microphone and preamp for the session. Scott discusses how to set up a good headphone mix and configure your DAW, and interviews the recording artist featured in the course, Jade Hendrix, about warm-ups and vocal health. Next, Scott moves directly into recording: positioning the mic, setting levels, and using compression. Then he delves into the psychological aspects of vocal production, like coaching the singer and giving feedback over the talkback mic. In the final chapter, Scott demonstrates some creative production techniques, including doubling vocals, stacking multiple vocal tracks, using Auto-Tune while recording, and methods for harmonizing.
- Warming up
- Selecting a microphone, preamp, and headphone mix
- Setting levels
- Dealing with dynamics
- Recording vocal takes
- Creative production techniques: doubling vocals, using Auto-Tune, and more