If you’re just starting to record your own tracks or have been for awhile you may have ran into the problem of your vocals not sounding loud enough with out turning them up to the point where they sound bad. Some of it can be caused by certain frequency ranges being mixed to high in the beat, using a microphone not designed for studio vocal use or any number of other things. Here are a few ways to make your vocals stand out with out turning them up so loud they sound like crap.
You’ve got 2 channels, use them.
One way to really fatten up your sound is by utilizing both stereo channels. What I like to do is an my main vocals a bit to the right, and on my over dubs I will record them twice and pan one take hard left and one hard right, you can also record your verse a second time, turn it down a bunch and pan it to the left to fill out your main take that is panned to the right. Try experimenting with this and you will love how full and wide your vocals sounds.
A wee bit of reverb.
Another easy way to improve your vocal recordings is to add a bit of reverb. I don’t like to use so much that it sounds echoey, but just enough can really bring out your vocal tracks. Most reverbs will have a setting for the type of reverb and the amount of reverb that gets mixed in, often labeled wet/dry. I like to set the reverb type to plate and the wet/dry to about 3-4% wet (3-4% of the reverb mixed in) depending on which reverb you use this amount may be different but you only need a very little bit of reverb to make your vocals sound more full before they starting sounds like you recorded your voice in the shower.
The thing your rap/sing into.
No amount of creative mixing or tricks can make bad recordings sound good, the best way to prevent this is by having good equipment. As far as a microphone goes, a large diaphragm condenser mic is going to be your best bet, you can buy them from anywhere from 50 dollars and up, and expect to spend between 150-300 on a good quality vocal mic. You may also want to consider adding a tube preamp to your set up as this combined with the condenser mic will give you very rich and full vocal recordings.
Don’t rap like a drunk bafoon.
I hear this time and time again, people rapping but you cannot understand a single word they are saying. This one is tough to notice yourself because you know what you said so your brain just hears that, but other people may not know what you are saying. Ask some of your friends or other artists you know to give your music a listen and ask them if they can understand what you are saying. If a couple people say that your lyrics are hard to understand then really try to make it a point to pronounce your words well while you’re rapping. You have a much better chance of people appreciating your lyrics if they can understand them.
I can give you little tips and tricks and you can find a plethora of information on the internet but the best teacher is experience and as you record and mix more and more of your own vocals you will learn what sounds good with your voice and what doesn’t and with some effort and practice, you’ll be mixing like a pro in no time!