I am a session singer who is in need of help. I’m pretty new to home studio recording.
My set up is a se X1 condenser mic and the focusrite Scarlett 2i2.
The problem I am having is my recording. The songs I am singing have a lot of dynamics so when I am setting levels I don’t know whether I should set levels to my ordinary, quiet volume or whether to set the levels around my belting powerful parts. If I set them to my belting voice then the waves seem far to small when I sing quiet (until I compress them), when belting the waves are fine.
If I set the levels to my quiet voice then the waves are fine up until I start belting and the waves are heavily distorted and the gain on my focusrite is always in the red.
Is it just a case of pulling away from the mic? If I do so then I lose a lot of the depth in my voice.
It’s pretty hard to explain this issue, I’m just wondering if I’m doing something heavily wrong.
I’m wondering if I should set a level for my quiet voice and record all those parts first then start a new track and set a level for the belting parts. This just seems odd to me though.
Set your levels to your belting powerful parts. If you get clipping distortion your show is irreparably trashed, so that must be avoided at all costs.
We generally recommend aiming for a maximum peak level of around -6 dB (half the track height). If you go a little over that, no problem, but if the waveform hits the top of bottom of the track, don’t waste time trying to fix it - just hit “Undo” and start again.
Note that when singing the quiet parts you can get closer to the mic. Not only does that improve the signal level (and so make less work for the compressor, which is generally a good thing), but also tends to lift the bass a little which can help to give a warmer, more intimate timbre to the voice. You will need to experiment with this - it takes a lot of practice to get it consistently right, but it’s one of the things that separate “singers” from “professional singer” (professional singers know how and when to “work the mic” - and when not to work the mic).