How can I get clear, not overly edited sounding vocals (like Lana Del Rey) while sounding professional?

I have a Blue BlueBird Cardioid Condenser Studio Microphone and I plug it into an MBox Mini. I also have protools and garageband. Now the quality is super clear on the microphone, but I don't know how to give the actual recording a professional sound? Is there other equipment I need? Would putting foam pads around the recording space? I just need some tips, sorry if I sound odd :P.

Also if you guys don't know who Lana Del Rey is, here's some examples:

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Thank you and please sorry if this is worded horribly ;|

1 Answer

  • Jason
    Lv 4
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    There are a few key points to making a vocal track sound great.

    First, start with a good EQ. ProTools is a good program for this. Boost your vocal about 3 db or so right around 2.5-3.5 Khz. This will give your voice some "presence" and help it punch through your mix.

    Also, giving yourself a very slight boost at 1.2 Khz can increase your intelligibility, but be careful there because that's where your "nasal" resides" (You can actually drop it down 3 db or so if you sound nasally to begin with (but make the bandwidth or Q very narrow in that case.)

    You can give your voice some "chest" or "punch" by raising the EQ right around 250 Hz, but be careful not to get muddy down there. :)

    Then there's compression. Use a good compressor and start with 12dB on Threshold and a 3:1 ratio. You can vary it from there. (You want between 6-9 db of reduction) turn OFF Auto Gain and just turn up the volume until it sounds good. (You can put about 2-3 ms on attack and around 250 ms on release, as this will make the compressor sound more natural)

    Then, use some re-verb. Make it sound like there's some space, but don't overdo it.

    Foam pads in your room would help "deaden" the room which will give you more control over your sound, but if you like the way your room sounds acoustically, then just leave it. :)

    Dopes all that help? If you have any questions, you can email me or whatever.

    Of course, that bluebird mic has a pretty hot vocal presence already, you might not have to increase your 3K range at all. You might even have to reduce your 5-6K range (Sibilance, or consonants like S, T, F, th, etc.)

    Edit: Or just use a "de-esser".


    Another tip to use would be to record your first run-through as a "scratch track". Then listen to yourself singing in the mix and record a second track. Then listen to the second track (with the scratch track way down low) and record a third. Do this until you get a fourth or fifth track (don't do more than that, you'll get tired) Then you can "comp" your vocal track.

    In other words, when you listen to yourself, it's the "shower" effect. You feel more confident in your singing because there's "someone singing along with you."

    You can then take bits and pieces from each track and use what you like out of each one. :) That's how pro's do it.

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