[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Rob Mayzes. Recently, Rob went into ‘DIY Vocal Mixing Mistakes’ to avoid. For more home studio help, be sure to catch up on TuneCore’s ‘Basics of Home Recording‘ Live Session.]
If you record music at home, you’re used to dealing with a less than perfect recording space. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create incredible music.
In this article, I’m going to show you three mic hacks that’ll improve your recordings and make your home studio sound better than ever!
Hack #1: Stop Plosives & Sibilance in their Tracks
If you’ve recorded vocals before, you know how important it is to use a pop filter. They keep large gusts of air from smacking the mic capsule and creating loud bassy booms or shrill S sounds.
But what happens if your pop filter isn’t cutting it? Or maybe you don’t have one? (Don’t worry, I won’t judge).
Here’s another technique you can use to help avoid plosives and sibilance. Simply tilt your mic back a bit. It doesn’t have to be much either. Experiment with different angles until you land on the perfect spot.
When you tilt your mic back from a vocalist, the air travels across the mic capsule instead of directly into it. This will cut down on those harsh sounds and result in a much more professional vocal recording.
Hack #2: Eliminate Outside Noise
Unlike professional recording studios, home studios have to battle with a ton of sounds from windows facing outside, computer noises, household noises, air conditioning, the list goes on!
It can seem like an impossible task to avoid all of these sounds, but your microphone can help!
If you’re using a cardioid microphone, your mic has a bit of a blind spot, or in this case, a deaf spot.
The backside of a cardioid microphone picks up almost no sound. You can use this to your advantage! Point the back of your mic at the offending sound.
Your mic will naturally ignore most of what’s behind it, resulting in a much cleaner recording with fewer chances of noise ruining the take.
Pay attention to the sounds you want to avoid and experiment with your mics to find the best set up to avoid unwanted noises.
The difference can be huge!
Hack #3: Pump Up the Bass
This last tip can be used for any sound source but works best on instruments and percussion.
Rooms with square corners (90 degrees) create a lot of issues. Bass frequencies build up in them, oftentimes skewing the sound.
This can wreck the sound of your instrument or throw off the balance of your mix. With that said, you can use it to your advantage.
Sometimes you’ll mic up an instrument and no matter what mic position you choose or how many adjustments you make, it just sounds thin and lifeless.
If this happens to you, try moving the instrument to the corner of your room!
The bass that builds up in the corner of your room can add depth and warmth.
I can remember a time when I needed to record a violin. No matter what I did, it sounded so shrill and weak.
When I moved the player into the corner, the violin suddenly sounded full and warm.
This tip won’t work for everything but is a great tool to keep in the back of your head when you need it.
Next time you run into problems with your recording, try fixing it with your mic placement.
Home recording comes with its fair share of challenges, but leveraging what you have and making the most of it is one of the most rewarding and fun parts of creating music at home.