As you may recall, I’m doing a video series for my VIP members all about producing a really great-sounding guitar-vocal demo.

In the latest installment, I showed how I go about recording vocals.

It’s a fairly simple song. It doesn’t call for much in the way of vocals except during the last 60 seconds.

At one point in the video, there are seven vocal tracks playing at once. Let’s focus on the lead vocal for now.

Have you ever had a problem with sibilance? It’s one of those things that can plague your mixes if you don’t know how to handle it. There are tools out there like the de-essers that can help, but I would much rather deal with the issue at the source.

For years I’ve talked about how important it is to get mic placement right, but sometimes you have to compromise.

For example, I usually like to record lead vocals from 8 to 12 inches away from the mic. It sounds more balanced to me.

I’ve noticed, though, that my voice tends to sound more sibilant from that distance. I’ve wrestled with many a lead vocal track in a mix, because I recorded the vocal from too far away.

What I discovered (and what I teach in this week’s video) is that sometimes it’s better for me to record the vocals very close to the microphone, as opposed to farther away.

As I mentioned already, there is some compromise involved.

The vocal will tend to be a little more boomy, but the sibilance is much more under control. I’m okay with that compromise.

The end result is a better-sounding vocal, and that’s what matters, right?

This is one of many lessons I’ve packed into this week’s video.

If you’re not a member yet, you can join for just ten smackeroos over at:

Joe Gilder
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