Do I really need a booth to record rap vocals? The Crazy Truth
This article is for people who may ask the questions:
1) I see rappers in a booth and in studios there is a booth. That looks like it makes it higher quality. Do I need a vocal booth to record my vocals? Does a Vocal Booth Matter?
2) How do I set up a room / bedroom to record my vocals
3) Is A Home studio booth necessary for rappers or only singers? 🙂
I can’t even tell you how looooooooooong I spent thinking I really needed a booth to make my rap vocals more ‘Professional’ and ‘better sounding’. I spent months upon months on home studio forums trying to learn about room acoustics, sound dynamics, how to build a booth and a bunch of other (nearly useless) stuff.
Because I wasted so long thinking the answer was yes, I figured this article would really help everyone get over a 3+ month hurdle of learning.
I used to want to build a full out booth where I lived. I mean the whole sha-bang.. shabam? She Bangs just started playing in my head by that William Hung guy from American Idol in 2004 :’D Anyways The whole craziness. lol @ what Google Results first turned up for that guy. I’m dying laughing.
(It was so funny I had to include it in the article LMFAO)
I wanted to make a booth that was like 6 foot by 8 foot and have the glass in it so I could look out. Why? I have always recorded myself… I still do. Now that I’m typing this… why the hell did I ever want the booth with the glass? Lol!? Just to feel like a pro I guess? But screw that, what a waste of time that would have been!
I started seeing other major artist recording between mattresses or in the middle of a room and it made me rethink a lot of stuff. Then I researched further and learned you don’t need a booth. Actually sometimes (depending on the acoustics of the booth) it can actually make your vocals worse (boxy and muddy). Then I started experimenting and learning more and more about the best ways to do things.
I was learning how to engineer, mix and master my own music as well. So I researched further on mix environments and room acoustics to learn the best set up for studio monitors (studio speakers) and how I could mix my stuff to my best ability from home.
The reason that people use a ‘booth’ is to control the environment around the microphone. This is because what goes into the microphone is the most important part of a song. You want to be able to cut out any unnecessary noise. You want to be able to control the room, the reverb, the echo and all other environment things that contribute to a good recording.
If you are recording in an untreated room you will hear the reverb of the room annoying the hell out of you when you are mixing it. Sometimes it adds a lot of character to the song but it all depends on the sound you are going for. Nowadays you can add all of the effects in the mix so what you really need is a solid crisp clean clear vocal recording.
I personally record in the middle of a room with a custom set up of hand made acoustic treatment mixed with other creative sound treating materials. You can see more of that information in this article ‘How to make your own acoustic treatment for CHEAP (REALLY WORKS!)‘
So what I am really saying is “No! You do not need a booth to record high quality rap vocals.” What you need is a better microphone and preamp.
Best Home Studio Microphones – http://www.smartrapper.com/what-are-the-best-microphones-for-recording-rap-vocals/
Best Home Studio Pre Amps – http://www.smartrapper.com/what-are-the-best-preamps-for-rap-vocals/
1) Avoid recording against a wall or in a corner. Give yourself at least 3-5 feet from any wall
2) You may think it is a good idea to do what the picture on the left is doing… Don’t. When your microphone is enclosed like that, it will give your recorded vocals a BOX sound. And not just because this guy has his microphone literally set up in a US Post Box. rofl
3) Try not to record with out covering the walls a bit. Whether it is eggcrate foam, a mattress, a blanket or something else to stop the bouncing of sound around a room and back into your microphone
4) Turn off any fans or anything loud when recording
5) You may think it goes without saying but you should wear headphones. For the first couple years of recording I never wore headphones and honestly I didn’t start until after I had already blown up and had a lot of fans.
You can set up your home studio and be recording tomorrow in a solid set up after some very basic understanding that ‘sound waves bounce’ and you just need to control where they are bouncing.
I hope this really helped you get over the mindset that you need a booth. Sure it will make you look cool to your rapper friends who you think will want to come over and record at your place. But… I mean… if you are a rapper and not a 100% producer, that is something you actually want to avoid. Focus more on building yourself as an artist. Don’t waste time on other people if they aren’t making you a better artist.
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you have a booth, what microphone and preamp you have and how cool your studio looks if you aren’t making quality music. If I could go back in time, I would have spent MORE TIME focusing on writing choruses and lyrics. After all, the song is what matters. You can have a song that sounds like total shit and a major label A and R will know if it’s a hit even if it sounds like most of Soulja Boy’s first songs.
Then after you have the song, it comes down to marketing the song. So you need to build your marketing skills too. It is a lot more work than 99.9999999% of music artist realize. The reason I made Smart Rapper is because I have learned all of these skill sets and built them all to a high level. Now I am trying to help YOU learn and focus to become the greatest you that you possibly can. 🙂 I wish you the best of luck and I hope this helped!
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Then you can also check out my Master Courses on chorus writing and lyric writing where I teach you what I have learned in my YEARS of self taught experience to help you not have to go through YEARS of mistakes to learn. Just copy me and be ahead of the pack.
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