Recording Vocals in a Home Studio
Updated 10th December 2018
In a home studio, it’s important to have the right tools for the right job. One of the most important tools you could own is a microphone that works for your voice. It’s a difficult decision to make because for many people the option of having lots of microphones at hand to test is unrealistic.
We’ve designed this guide to help you make an informed choice on the types of microphone available on the market. Hopefully we can help you gain professional results, no matter what your style is, without breaking the bank.
Marantz Professional MPM-1000 Bundle
We’ll kick things off with the Marantz Professional MPM-1000 Bundle, which includes a selection of accessories to help get you off to a flying start. In the pack you’ll find the Marantz Professional MPM-1000 condenser microphone, which features a pure-aluminium 18mm diameter diaphragm for capturing vocals with the utmost fidelity. Boasting a generous 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response with high sensitivity and low self-noise, the MPM-1000 captures the subtle timbre of your voice beautifully.
Thanks to the included accessories such as stand, shock mount, windshield and cable, you have everything needed to connect to your audio interface and capture your recordings.
Rode NT1A Microphone Package
Another low-cost microphones on this list is the outstanding Rode NT1-A. This is perfect for a beginner’s entry into home studio recording, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a cheap sounding mic. On the contrary, the Rode NT1A stands up against far more expensive microphones. It has won numerous awards too for its exceptional quality and low noise.
The NT1-A is warm, clear and can withstand high sound pressure levels, which makes it extremely versatile for all sorts of recording applications, not just in the studio. It’s quiet in operation, making it great for voice overs and environmental recording. But where you’ll get best results is in your home, no matter your gender or vocal range. Expect crisp, shimmering highs and a smooth low-end to boot.
What we love even more about this fantastic product is the additional extras which include a shockproof cradle, pop shield and 20-foot XLR cable. We feel that’s a testament to Rode’s commitment to the quality of this device, providing clarity along the signal chain all the way to your preamp. It’s highly tweakable too, meaning there’s lots of scope to alter the tone in your DAW. There’s a reason so many professional recording studios own these mics, even though it’s billed as a budget option.
Sontronics STC-2 Cardioid Condenser
The Sontronics STC-2 Cardioid Condenser is one of those mics for the discerning audiophile. It works beautifully with professional vocalists who send shivers down your spine. The STC-2 features a low-cut filter switch and an attenuation or pad switch with -10dB cut, making it highly versatile across a wide range of recording applications (not just for vocals). Sontronics’ are experts in their craft and pay meticulous attention to detail, from the hand-seated capsule to the carefully executed electronics, you can rest assured that with this beauty in your arsenal your vocals will be captured in all their glory.
Each mic is supplied with a unique spider-style shock mount, aiding in the isolation of sensitivity against transient noise. Not only that but Sontronics’ are so confident in their mics’ endurance, they include a lifetime warranty. Sealing the deal is an exquisite aluminium flight case for getting your STC-2 from A to B in style.
Shure Beta 57a
The Shure Beta 57a is something of a legend when it comes to a low-cost all-rounder microphone. For a start, it’s more rugged than Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies. They are practically bomb proof.
Although ideal for stage work, the Shure Beta 57a is also excellent for use in the home studio. It’s especially useful when you’ve got a strong rock vocal pounding into its diaphragm. The super-cardioid polar pattern is excellent for picking up what’s in front of the microphone but rejecting unwanted sounds. That’s great for a project studio where the acoustic treatment isn’t at a professional standard. If anything, the Beta 57a works best for upfront vocals; rock singers or rapper who dig into the microphone, allowing them freedom of movement. In most situations, holding a mic isn’t the best way to capture a clean vocal take but the advanced pneumatic shock mount system minimises unwanted noise. In addition, you can take advantage of the bass response gained from the hardened shell of the capsule which facilitates the use of the proximity effect.
sE Electronics X1 S Studio Bundle
Last up, the sE Electronics X1 S Studio Bundle. The X1 S has been a go-to mic in many a studio around the world thanks to its superb performance and affordability. The Studio Bundle takes things up a notch for those who want a package that won’t break the bank, whilst enabling professional quality recordings to be captured in style. Along with the excellent X1 condenser microphone with highly responsive gold-sputtered diaphragm, the bundle includes the sE Electronics RF-X reflexion filter for the perfect portable booth, an sE isolation pack with pop shield and 3-metre cable. All you need to do is warm up your voice, connect to your DAW of choice, and lay down your vocals.