“Singing is a way of escaping. It's another world. I'm no longer on earth.” - Edith Piaf
Music is a popular activity among many of us and it includes everything from singing, playing instruments, or joining a choir. It'd be difficult to find anyone who doesn't listen to music in some form or another.
With so many people listening to music, it’d be hardly surprising to hear that there are quite a few people interested in singing. If you’re using your voice as an instrument, you might be interested in recording it. While some prefer to learn with certain vocal exercises, others might like to learn with the help of a singing teacher.
No matter how you’re learning, you still may need to record yourself.
So how can you make a home studio? How can you record your vocalisations and vowel work without leaving the comfort of your own home?
Here’s our mini guide to recording your singing with a home recording studio setup.
The Best Microphones for Singing
Every singer will tell you, the microphone is essential! When it comes to recording your voice, your microphone is responsible for most of what you’ll get out of your recordings and how they’ll sound.
Just like any other audio equipment, there are different categories according to your needs and budget. Here’s our non-exhaustive list of mics that’ll give you a good sound for practising singing.
- Shure SM58, a robust and ergonomic microphone that’s used by greats including Bjork and U2.
- Rode NT1A, a versatile microphone that’s great for beginners.
- AAKG D5, a clear, balanced, and powerful microphone.
- MXL 770, a popular microphone amongst rappers and great value-for-money
- Shure SM7B, the microphone that Michael Jackson used, which gives the voice a natural sound.
- Sennheiser MD421, a dynamic microphone with good resistance to the Larsen effect.
- AKG C214, a microphone that’s well suited to singing.
- Rode NTK, an all-rounder at a good price.
- Neumann TLM 102, a dynamic microphone with a good cardioid directivity.
Amongst the best microphones for singing, you’ll see that these will capture your voice well and are great for recording. Then it’s up to you to work on your breathing, vocal techniques, and do your best to improve your singing.
A good microphone won’t do all the work, you’ll still need to put the effort in yourself.
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Sound Cards for Recording Vocals
Of all the choices you have to make when opting to record your voice, choosing a sound card is an important step as it’ll improve the finished product.
You can also get external sound cards, allowing to you treat the audio at input or output. It’ll manage the analogue signal (in this case, your voice) and convert it into a digital signal which is exactly what you want when recording your voice at home.
Many people are opting for external sound cards when recording their singing. There are two types of connections you can choose from:
- USB or USB 3.0 for PC or Mac.
- FireWire, a faster connection but less commonly found on computers.
To be able to record your voice, you’ll need the right ports on your computer or sound card. Usually, you’ll need one or several XLR ports.
Generally, you’ll just need one if you’re only recording your singing, but you will need several if you plan to also record instruments. Luckily, most sound cards will come with several.
You’ll also need converters. The AD/DA (Analog to Digital/Digital to Analog) converter is the main part of a sound card. However, this is what allows you to take an analogue signal (your voice) and convert it into a digital signal. You'll need an audio interface and some recording software (commonly known as a digital audio workstation) to create a digital recording of your voice.
You need good audio quality so you can hear the best and worst parts of your voice when practising. When it comes to sound cards, some of the best include:
- Behringer UMC22 U-Phoria
- Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Generation)
- Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
- PreSonus Audio iTwo
- And many others...
What better way to listen to yourself singing?
The Best Headphones for Singing
To listen to your singing in real-time, you’ll need to hear your vocal technique. This is why headsets or headphones are important when recording yourself. Furthermore, you won’t have the same equipment as a professional studio.
You must choose a headset with good sound quality. Additionally, you also need something ergonomic and comfortable and practical. With that in mind, here’s a list of decent headsets or headphones:
- Beats Solo3: a good set of headphones that optimises the acoustics with padded cushions and high build quality.
- Denon AH-GC30: great headphones for singers, great value-for-money, and good noise-reduction.
- Sennheiser Momentum: good headphones with great shape and feel.
- JBL Everest 710: comfortable folding headphones with a great range.
- Nura Nuraphone: powerful headphones, low distortion, and some great functionality.
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II and QuietComfort 35: robust headphones with a vocal assistant built into the second model.
- Sony WH-1000XM3 and WH-1000XM2: Quick charging headphones with 28 hours of battery life and great noise reduction.
- Marshall Mid A.N.C: the perfect headphones for singing thanks to its noise-reduction, balanced sound, clarity, and control.
If you’re getting all this equipment, you can expect to pay for it.
So how much will this all cost you?
How Much Does It Cost to Record Your Singing?
If you’re going to record yourself to improve your singing, you’re going to have to pay for it.
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You’ll have to start by buying your microphone first.
You need to know that a good quality microphone can cost you a few hundred pounds. Of course, you need to weigh up the cost against how much you’ll use it.
If you’re regularly going to use your microphone to record yourself practising, you’ll need to set aside £200 to get started.
A recording program can cost a pretty penny whereas as others such as Audacity are completely free. For a home studio, some like to record with something like a Zoom. You can pay around £300 for some recorders. The more outputs, the more you pay.
In terms of sound cards, you can pay around £200 for a decent one. Of course, this is just an average price so you can get stuff for more and less.
Accessories can also end up costing you more than you’d think. For example, you can pay around £10 for a pop filter, £30 for a mic stand, and between £150 and £200 for a good set of headphones.
If you want to record a singing voice, you’ll need the right equipment, which won’t be the same as it would be for a speaking voice. Your home studio will be designed with you in mind.
You need to choose what works for you and your budget.
If you need more help with your singing, consider getting in touch with one of the many talented and experienced tutors on Superprof. There are three main types of singing tutorial available and each has its pros and cons so have a look at what's on offer and see what will work best for you, your learning style, and your budget.
Face-to-face tutorials are between just you and your tutor. Since you're the only student, the tutorials will be planned around you, what you want to learn, and how you like to learn. Of course, this bespoke service comes at a price and face-to-face tutorials tend to be the most costly per hour of tuition. That said, they're also the most cost-effective since every minute in a tutorial is spent teaching you how to sing.
Online tutorials are similar to face-to-face tutorials in that they're between a single tutor and a single student. However, thanks to the marvels of modern technology, you can be taught over the internet thanks to video conferencing software. However, since your tutor won't have to travel to you and can schedule more lessons each week, they can also charge more competitive rates.
Group tutorials tend to be the cheapest per hour because the tutor's time is being paid for by everyone in the class. Unlike the other two types of tutorials, the tutor won't be able to offer bespoke tuition as they have several students to keep happy. However, if you and a few friends all want to learn how to sing, you can share the cost of private tutorials between yourselves in group tutorials.
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