I stumbled across a fun trick the other day while recording  vocals for a song.

I was recording myself. If you’ve ever recorded yourself singing, you know that it’s almost impossible to really hear what the recording sounds like while you’re belting away.

So you need to record a snippet and then play it back for a quick listen. Make adjustments. Rinse and repeat until you’re happy with the sound.

But…

What if you want to apply some EQ on the way in?

Normally, when I’m tracking a singer, I’ll simply adjust the EQ on the channel strip while she’s singing a warmup take. But when it’s ME who’s singing, I can’t really do that.

The solution? It’s so simple I can’t believe I’ve never done it before.

I recorded a snippet of my vocal.

It sounded fantastic except for a little bit of harshness around 3 kHz.

So I ran the recorded track through an EQ, found the exact frequency that needed to be cut, and turned it down until the track sounded more balanced.

THEN I applied that same EQ setting to my channel strip.

The end result? A great-sounding vocal track at the source. By applying EQ on the way in, I got rid of the slight harshness without having to resort to an EQ plugin later.

The recorded vocal sounded better.

And that, my friend, is what it’s all about.

Try it on your next session.

If you have a channel strip, but you’re a bit afraid you’ll mess things up with it, use this method. It’ll give you one more tool in your arsenal to help shape the tone of your recordings…even before they get recorded.

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Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner

  • Martin Morissette

    That sounds good… What about rerouting your track to your channel strip and then making the adjustment directly on the hardware itself? Would that work?

    • That COULD work, but you’d have to add in two more conversions (digital to analog and analog to digital). Plus, if your channel strip only has a mic input, you can’t really run a line signal through it.

      Not an idea scenario, but I suppose you could do that.

  • Nick

    Indeed that’s a good trick. Also it’s really useful to have some graphic equalizers that you’ll find the best settings for each instrument you’re recording while tracking. It gives you a much better starting mixing point so you don’t have to think about the common eq you usually apply but you can focus on the details right away.