Thanks to improvements in home recording technology, and the rise of the internet, anyone can now start recording at home and putting their work out there. It's made making music, podcasts and more much more accessible than ever before. However, you want your work to sound as good as possible, and it won't if you're making any of these common mistakes. Here are the mistakes you may be making, and how to correct them.
1. Being Too Close To The Mic
You'd think being closer to the mic is better, but in fact you want to ensure you're not on top of it when you're recording. When you're too close, you run the risk of distorting the sound, or putting too many mouth sounds, such as 'p-pops', on the track you're recording.
You can back up from the mic, around 4 – 6 inches, and that will solve some problems. However, you also need to be aware of the kind of mic you're using. If it's a cheaper mic, you will have to work harder to avoid the 'popping' sounds that happen when you record. “Using a pop filter will help a lot here” says Martin Jeavons, a music industry writer from Paper Fellows and Boom Essays. “You'll see that helps a lot with the 'plosive' sounds that happen as you record.”
2. Compressing Vocals Too Much
Compression is a useful tool, but if you're new to home recording it's tempting to use it too much. It's something that professionals can pick out a mile away. Over-compressing vocals leads to 'sibilance' and 'pumping'. These are when the 'ssss' sounds cut through the vocals and are too prominent, and when there are unnatural drops and spikes in volume. Don't be tempted to compress everything, otherwise it'll hurt your final recording.
3. Using Too Much AutoTune
AutoTune has become a mainstay in the recording industry in recent years, and when used right it'll help a lot. However, if you're using it as a beginner it's very tempting to simply over use it, ensuring that every note is in place.
The problem is, when you have a heavy hand with the auto tune, it starts making the singer sound like a robot. Some composers and performers have used this deliberately to get that effect, but that may not be what you want. You can use AutoTune, but it's best to go in and manually correct the notes that need it, leaving the rest of the vocals alone. It'll sound much more natural when you're done.
4. Too Much Room Noise
This is a problem that home recording newbies have, as they don't have access to a recording studio. When they record, there's a thin and echoing quality to the recording. It detracts from the rest of it, and that's something that you don't want.
Not everyone can set up a full recording room in their home, so what can you do? Ideally, the best thing to do is ensure that you're close enough to the mic. Again, 4 – 6 inches away is the perfect distance. When you're close enough, you're the main thing the mic picks up, and you'll get better sound.
5. Relying Too Heavily On Presets
In your recording software, you'll see that there's probably some presets available to you. These will labeled like 'guitar' and 'female vocal', for example. It's tempting to use them when using these instruments, but the problem is every instrument is different. They'll be a good starting point, but they won't give you optimal sound on your recording.
“Experiment with the presets, and see what they can do” says editor Jennifer Saul from Thesis Writing Service and Oxessays. “You may find that some presets work better with different instruments, so put them to the test and see what happens.” That way, you'll drastically improve your sound as you record.
These mistakes are all easily made, and you may well be making them as you start out. If you make these small tweaks to how you work though, you can drastically improve your sound and make it better. Try these tips and you'll see your home recordings come out way better than before.