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5-Step Tutorial on Recording Vocals at Home

by Arthur Kody, iZotope Contributor April 2, 2021
5-Step Tutorial on Recording Vocals at Home

Record high-quality vocals anywhere:

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Spire app for iOS

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In today’s world, people are looking for ways to do just about everything from the comfort of their homes. Now, thanks to developments in audio technology on our phones, the days of having to physically go into a recording studio to capture high-quality vocals are over. In this article, I’ll walk you through five steps on how to record professional sounding vocals at home with the Spire app for iOS (plus some sweet Spire Pro features).

Step 1: Find the right place to record your vocals

When recording vocals at home, you want to find the quietest room possible. This doesn’t just mean finding the room furthest away from the refrigerator’s hum. You also want to hunt down the room with the lowest amount of reverb. Rooms with carpet and few windows tend to work best. For me, the best place for recording vocals at home is my walk-in closet. The clothes dampen the reflections surprisingly well, but I also put a few pieces of soundproofing foam on the walls and ceiling to deaden the reverb even more.

Although it’s unlikely you’ll find a space in your home that’s totally free from background noise and reverb, scout out the best option and then get it as quiet as possible. But, even if your room isn’t completely soundproof, Spire Pro will intelligently remove reverb and background noise automatically to get you a crystal clear recording every time (more on this later). Check out this video by LXGEND for a detailed walkthrough on how to use the background noise removal feature in Spire Pro.

Step 2: Prepare to record your vocals

If you want to record vocals over an instrumental, you’ll first need to import your instrumental track into the Spire app for iOS and plug in your headphones (Bluetooth headphones might cause a delay, so wired headphones typically work best). I also like to paste my lyrics in the notes section of the Record tab for easy reference.

Paste lyrics in the Spire app notes section for easy reference
Paste lyrics in the Spire app notes section for easy reference

Step 3: Use Spire app’s Soundcheck feature to avoid clipping

Before you start laying down your vocals, run the Soundcheck feature in the Spire app by tapping “Soundcheck” and rap/sing exactly as you will when recording. The app will listen and, using technology from Neutron and Nectar, will sculpt the tone of your voice and set the gain levels to ensure you won’t get any distortion.

Spire Pro members have access to Soundcheck Pro that adds a layer of personalized processing using Ozone tech to help your vocals sound more crisp and consistent based on the environment.

Use the Spire app Soundcheck feature to sculpt your tone and avoid clipping
Use the Spire app Soundcheck feature to sculpt your tone and avoid clipping

Step 4: Record and mix your vocals 

To lay down your vocals, simply tap the record button and start performing. The Spire app allows you to record up to seven tracks of audio in addition to your instrumental. I typically use the first three tracks for my main vocal and two vocal doubles. Then I use the remaining tracks for adlibs and harmonies.

There’s a few extra features that really make vocal recordings sparkle that are available to Spire Pro members. Immediately after you record a track, Spire Pro applies background noise removal and a virtual pop filter to cut out pesky plosives. Make sure you’re connected to WiFi to utilize these features. 

After recording, navigate to the Mix tab. Here, you can drag each track around in the visual mixer. I like to keep my main vocal front and center with the wide/narrow feature set to “wide” (this gives the vocal some extra stereo width). Then I pan my doubles/harmonies/adlibs until the mix sounds balanced.

Spire Pro members have access to some extra effects on the right side of the mixer. Use the Tune feature to apply pitch correction, or use the Lo-Shift/Hi-Shift feature to change the formant of your vocals. I personally love playing with the “Inspire Me” feature, which applies random effect presets to help dial in a unique vocal vibe.

Tap Inspire Me to add mix effects in Spire Pro
Tap Inspire Me to add mix effects in Spire Pro

Step 5: Export your vocals with cloud sharing

Once you’ve finished your mix, it’s time to share it! With the Spire app, you can send a link of your recording to anyone, allowing them to download your finished song, the individual tracks, or the Spire project file from the cloud. Sharing your recording as a Spire project is a great option if you’re collaborating with producers, as sharing the entire Spire project through the cloud allows others to add time-stamped comments and mix notes.

Export your recording as a Spire Project link and send it by text or email
Export your recording as a Spire Project link and send it by text or email

Start recording professional vocals at home

Now you know all the steps to start recording at home. As you can see, recording high-quality vocals at home with the Spire app is a breeze! Download the free Spire app to get started.

Learn more about Spire:

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