Learn Music and Audio Production | iZotope Tips and Tutorials

Do You Need an Expensive Studio Mic?

by Arthur Kody, iZotope Contributor April 22, 2021
4 Tips for Vocal Recording on Your Phone
Do you need an expensive studio mic to record release-ready vocals? Let's find out.

Record high-quality vocals anywhere:

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Spire app for iOS

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As a professional vocalist, I get asked about my recording setup quite a lot. Most people are pretty surprised when I tell them I record all my tracks in my walk-in closet. They typically follow up by asking me what kind of studio mic I’m using—assuming my microphone must be pretty special in order to get my vocals to sparkle like they do. Again, they’re shocked to find I mostly record my vocals with my phone!

People often assume that, in order to get high quality recordings, you have to pay for time in a luxurious studio (or invest thousands of dollars in fancy studio equipment). I’m here to tell you that’s hogwash. And, I’ll explain why...

Why you don’t need an expensive studio mic

Recording technology just isn’t what it used to be. And, that’s a good thing! As musicians, we no longer need to rely on expensive, old-school hardware to do the trick that software can do so effortlessly. iZotope has been around for 20 years and, during that time, they’ve made some very impressive advances in the audio technology field.

For two decades, the iZotope team has been developing cutting edge software that continues to change the game. With a full line of products like Ozone for mastering, Neutron for mixing, RX for audio repair, and Nectar for vocal processing, they’ve become an industry leader in audio technology. And now they’ve brought this innovative tech to the vocal recording arena with Spire Pro

With Spire Pro, all you need to do is import your beat and you’ve got what you need to record great-sounding vocals. Here’s a snippet of an upcoming track of mine, recorded entirely with my iPhone mic (no studio mic involved) using Spire Pro. 

Spire Pro Recording Example

"365" by Arthur Kody

What is Spire Pro?

To put it simply, Spire Pro is a membership that turns your iPhone into a recording studio. It runs within the Spire app for iOS, but brings a lot more features and functionality to the table. Incorporating technology from their many other products, iZotope created Spire Pro so singers and rappers can get high-quality vocal recordings–using just their iPhone! There’s even a free three-day trial available to try out all of the features. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key features of Spire Pro that bring the latest tech to your phone:

Soundcheck Pro

The Spire app already has some killer features to help you record high-quality vocals, including a Soundcheck feature that sets your levels to avoid clipping and sculpts the tone of your recording automatically. With Spire Pro, Soundcheck listens to your vocal and also your environment to automatically apply personal processing to your recording. This guarantees you’ll get crisp, pro vocals no matter where you record.

Soundcheck Pro applies personalized processing to your vocal track
Soundcheck Pro applies personalized processing to your vocal track

Noise Removal

When connected to WiFi, Spire Pro will automatically remove unwanted background noise from your vocal recordings. Using iZotope’s RX award-winning audio repair tech, Spire Pro can reduce the echoes and reverb from an untreated space and even clean up the sound of people talking in the next room.

Virtual Pop Filter

Using iZotope RX’s de-plosive technology, Spire Pro will remove plosives from your vocal recordings automatically (when connected to WiFi). Say goodbye to unwanted “pops” –oh, and your need for an actual pop filter!

Vocal Effects

Whether you want to sound like Cher on “Believe,” or you’d prefer to keep things sounding more natural, you can be sure your vocal pitch will stay nice and tight with the Tune feature. Modify the formant of your voice using the Lo-Shift (great for Deep House bangers) or Hi-Shift (perfect for adding texture to Trap vocals) features. You can even add some extra vibe to your voice with the Chill effect. Powered by iZotope Nectar, these Spire Pro vocal effects help your vocals stand out–both from the crowd, and in the mix!

Use the vocal effects included with Spire Pro to get your vocals to stand out
Use the vocal effects included with Spire Pro to get your vocals to stand out

If you still love your studio mic...

I don't blame you! You can hook up your favorite condenser mic to Spire Studio, the wireless, rechargeable, and easy-to-use vocal and instrument recording tool that pairs perfectly with the Spire app. 

Bonus: Spire Studio also has a studio-grade omnidirectional condenser mic built in for multitrack recording. Record instruments like acoustic guitar and drums as well as vocals, and mix them all in the Spire app. 

More bang for your buck

Why pay hundreds (or even thousands) on a microphone when Spire Pro can turn your iPhone into a professional studio mic? Throw in all the additional features that add polish to your recordings, and it seems like a no-brainer to me. 

Ready to record some pro vocals? Start your free trial of Spire Pro.

Learn more about Spire:

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