Best way to easily record vocals in Ableton
This guide walks you through the process of recording vocals and provides advice on how to get the best vocal takes when you record vocals in Ableton.
In today’s music industry, many artists prefer to record vocals in their home studio.
We can all record and produce commercially ready songs right from our bedrooms now that we have so much music technology at our disposal.
This guide explains the basic techniques for recording vocals with Ableton Live.
EQUIPMENT TO RECORD VOCALS IN ABLETON
Before you begin recording vocals, double-check that your equipment is up to the task. The following is a list of the essential equipment for recording vocals:
1. Computer: High-end laptop or desktop computer to avoid crashes.
2. Ableton Live is the digital audio workstation used in this tutorial.
3. Microphone: For recording vocals, condenser microphones are ideal. There are numerous other options available for various budgets, so do some research.
4. Audio Interface: A computer’s audio interface connects studio monitors, microphones, instruments, headphones, and other gear.
5. Studio Headphones: For recording, closed-back headphones are preferable to record vocals in Ableton. They keep audio bleed from being picked up by the microphone.
ABLETON PREPARE LIVE FOR VOCALS RECORDING
Arrangement View and Session View are two different ways to work with audio in Ableton Live. We’ll be working in Arrangement View to record vocals in Ableton. The following are the steps to getting Ableton Live ready to record vocals:
STEP 1 | INSTALL ABLETON LIVE ON YOUR MICROPHONE
Connect your microphone’s XLR cable to an audio interface input if you’re using a condenser mic. Then, to power your microphone, turn on the ‘Phantom Power’ (48V) on your audio interface. USB microphones can also be connected directly to your computer.
STEP 2 | SET THE PREFERENCES FOR LIVE
In Ableton Live, set up your microphone input. Select File > Preferences from the File menu. Go to the Audio tab in Preferences and select the ‘Audio Input Device’ chooser. After that, choose your audio interface. Also, make sure your headphones are connected to the ‘Audio Output Device.’ Select ‘Built-in Output’ if you connected them directly to your computer.
STEP 3 | CHOOSE A TEMPO FOR YOUR SONGS
Make your song’s tempo. The default tempo in Live is 120 BPM. The Tempo control on the Control Bar can be used to change the BPM. If you have a specific beat in mind but don’t know the BPM, use Live’s Tap Tempo button. Every beat, press the ‘Tap’ button once, and Live will set the tempo for you.
STEP 4 | TURN ON YOUR METRONOME
Using the built-in metronome is the simplest way to record in sync. From the Control Bar, enable the Metronome button. After pressing the Record or Play buttons, it will start ticking. However, this is a personal choice. If you feel like you don’t need a metronome to record vocals in Ableton, that’s up to you.
STEP 5 | MAKE A TRACK WITH INSTRUMENTS
When recording vocals, it’s helpful to have a beat or an instrument track playing. Starting with a guitar track is one of my favorite things to do. The piano tracks are also fantastic. Use an existing arrangement, import a sample loop, or record an instrument.
If you don’t have a full song or the instrument track is short, create a loop around the instrumentation or beat. Select a section of the Arrangement and toggle the ‘Loop’ switch on the Control Bar.
STEP 6 | MAKE AN AUDIO TRACK FOR VOCALS RECORDING
To record your vocals, make a new audio track. Press CMD+T on a Mac or CTRL+T on a PC.
Open the In/Out Section of the mixer. The ‘Input Channel’ chooser lets you choose the input for your microphone.
STEP 7 | MAKE RECORDING AVAILABLE
Click the ‘Arm Arrangement Recording’ button in the I/O Mixer Section to record-enable the track.
Enable the ‘Arrangement Record Button’ on the Control Bar to begin recording vocals.
AUDIO EFFECTS FOR RECORDING VOCALS
While recording your vocals, you can also use reverb and delay. When recording vocals, reverb is beneficial. You could also use saturation and compression to warm up the vocals and smooth out the recording.
Use Sends and Return tracks to apply audio effects. This method allows you to perform parallel processing on your tracks. Inserting effects on the vocal track is less effective than parallel processing. Why? It lets you apply effects while keeping the original audio signal intact. The effects devices, for example, are housed in the Return tracks. The audio is then fed into the effects through Send controls on each track.
VOCALS RECORDING GUIDELINES
With these tracking tips, you can make the recording process more efficient and effective. Recording vocals can be done in a variety of ways. You can record a whole song in one take or just parts of it. Combining these strategies is also a very effective strategy. The following is how it works:
RECORDING A FULL TAKE
To begin, I like to record the entire song for at least two takes. Then I’ll concentrate on recording individual sections. The vocalist can warm up by recording the entire song. It also allows them to become more comfortable with the song’s direction and dynamics. Furthermore, compared to recording separate sections and comping them together, recording one take sounds more natural.
SHORT PHRASES RECORDING
It’s rare to get a flawless one-take vocal performance. Many people prefer to record vocals in sections. Comping (short for compilation) is the term for this process. Even if they make mistakes, have the vocalist go over their parts several times. Keep going with the recording. They’ll get that perfect take eventually. When it comes to editing, it’s also better to have too many takes than not enough.
I’M COLLABORATING WITH ANOTHER VOCALIST
If you’re working with another vocalist, make sure to provide feedback after you each record vocals in Ableton. Singing is a difficult task, and recording psychology adds a layer of sensitivity. Giving constructive feedback to your vocalist can help them feel more at ease and improve their performance.
VOCAL RECORDING MANAGEMENT
You’ll have a variety of takes to edit at the end of your recording session. It’s possible that keeping them in large chunks will make your job more difficult. Chopping them into different parts is one way to make them easier to manage. In Ableton Live, use the shortcut CMD+E [Mac] or CTRL+E [PC] to split audio clips. CMD+J [Mac] or CTRL+J [PC] can also be used to combine parts.
HOW TO MAKE A CHEAP DIY VOCAL BOOTH
After recording, select the best takes and combine them to make it sound like one take. Comping is the term for the process of combining different takes. So, before beginning to comp a track, I recommend working with a clear and rested mind. It can be difficult to choose the best vocal take from dozens of vocal takes. A separate editing session with fresh ears is preferable. For example, I start editing vocal tracks after they’ve been recorded for a while, especially if it was a long session.
These are the techniques to record vocals in Ableton, recording serves as a foundation for more advanced techniques. As your music production skills improve, you’ll discover that there are many different ways to achieve the same results. Keep in mind that great songs take time and effort to create. The more songs you make, the better you will become. So start recording some vocals, and most importantly, have fun while making music!