Damon Cisneros
*After countless hours in the recording studio working on song after song you learn a thing or two about what works and what doesn't. I'll be sharing some of the basics here in this article. Remember: I'm a songwriter not a journalist so I urge you to take this article for what it is... My personal experiences in the studio. - Enjoy.

Large Diaphragm Condenser MicrophoneHip Hop Toolbelt
It doesn't matter what type of music you plan to record in the studio. Everyone asks for the same thing; "Make me sound like those fools on the radio." There's lots of factors involved and some of your favorite songs didn't just happen overnight BUT there are some guidelines that you can follow to make sure that you get the most out of you're time in the studio. Most music producers agree that the vocals are the most important element of a song. Let's go over some of the basic tools that you'll need to have at your disposal.

The Right Microphone
Do your homework. If you're in the market to buy a microphone, don't just walk into Guitar Center and point to a mic on the wall and say, "If that's a mic I'll take it". To get the job done right you'll need the right tool. So what's the short answer? You need a large diaphragm condenser mic (preferably with a 'high-pass filter' or 'low roll-off' switch). A large diaphragm microphone is extremely sensitive and has a very detailed yet full sound. This type of mic will help you get your vocal tracks to sound "polished". There are hundreds of mics to choose from so, again, start doing your home work. Ask friends and put on your 'Google fingers'.

Here are a couple manufacturers that make great microphones:

Like I said, there are lots of companies that make good stuff so don't take this as a complete list! By the way, if you do choose to pick up a large diaphragm condenser mic you're going to also need a pop filter. - fyi

Plug It Into What?
So now that you've got yourself a mic you're ready to record right? Yes, but you might want to seriously consider a microphone preamp. The reason you should get your hands on a mic preamp is simple; every album that you've ever heard has used a mic preamp on the singer, vocalist, rapper, etc... What does it do? The mic preamp allows you to shape the sound of whatever signal you put through it. In this example the "signal" is a voice coming from a microphone.

If you've ever heard a song before it was mastered and then heard it again after it was mastered you most likely said, "Holy sh*t! That sounds way better! If used properly, the microphone preamp can have a similar impact on the overall "polish" of a vocal track.

There are 2 main types of mic preamps: Tube preamps & Solid State preamps. With a little research you should be able to easily decide which will work best for your circumstances.

Are We There Yet?
The last thing I'd recommend taking a peek at would be a compressor. Yet another valuable tool that audio engineers reach for when running recording sessions (especially vocal tracking). Compressors are extremely versatile pieces of gear.

Final Note
You could easily "break the bank" building up your recording studio arsenal but if you make the right choices the 1st time around you'll save yourself a lot of hassle and dollars. So save your $$$ and get your hands on the equipment that best suites your voice/ music project.

If you need an experienced engineer to record your vocals contact me today.

No headache audio solutions. Don't trip.

- Damon Cisneros

© Damon Cisneros 2008 - 2009
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