Is it better to sit or stand while recording rap vocals?
This is a question I used to actually argue with people about when I first started recording and thought I knew it all. Back when I had literally only been recording for a few months and thought I knew the answer to everything.
So I am writing this article because I am assuming you think you know it all or you are smart and want to know it all 🙂
Honestly it all comes down to a few factors.
Read closely below.
1) What is the amount of air that will be exerted during the performance?
This is a very important factor in deciding whether or not to stand up or sit down during a rap vocal performance.
If you are singing or your rap style is being LOUD and screaming then you are going to get much much better performances out of standing up to record. Why?
Because of the way the diaphragm works. I won’t go into detail with that here but you can Google it and see what I mean. It is actually a pretty good thing to understand when it comes to rap delivery. Breath control is something else you should really look up. Again, I won’t discuss that here, those deserve their own full articles.
2) Which makes you the most comfortable?
You need to be as comfortable as you can possibly be so that every rap vocal recording take you make is the best it can possibly be. If you are uncomfortable (think, something is poking your lower back that’s annoying) then how are you going to get the best vocal performance?
If you feel like you have the most energy while standing up, then stand up. If you prefer to sit down, sit down!
What matters in the end is the BEST TAKE and you are only going to get that by recording while you are flowing with energy because you are comfortable.
If you’re a singer or do a loud vocal there is a good chance that you will prefer standing up because the pressure on your diaphragm will be inherently less.
3) Your Music Gear, Microphone And Room Set Up
Sometimes your room may be too small or you may only have the ability to record sitting down or standing up. In a second I will talk about my method of recording and why I do it the way I do to record rap vocals.
How do I personally record? Why I Sit Down To Record?
I have always recorded sitting down. If I am doing a louder take or singing I arch my back and lean more off of the chair I sit in in order to give more ability for my diaphragm to have free range.
Why do I sit down to record my rap vocals!?
Because the way that I record I try so many ways of vocal tones, melodies, chorus layers, vocal layers, random ideas, adlibs etc that I would be on my feet for hours at a time when recording some songs.
Why I Don’t Stand Up
Standing Up each and every take would require me to do this:
1) Hit ctl+spacebar or Numpad 3 to record in Pro Tools
2) Rise my body upwards while turning around to face the microphone
3) Record the vocal take
4) Turn back around, lean down and hit space bar to stop the recording
5) While still leaning over, awkwardly grab the mouse and drag that vocal take down to it’s corresponding track I want it on.
6) Possibly label the name of the file for later use while still leaning over awkwardly.
7) Repeat this process for 100s of vocal takes required to record an entire song.
How annoying is that? All just to stand up and record. See in a studio where you have an engineer or someone tracking your vocals for you. You just have to say “Ready” and they hit record and do the rest for you as you stand in front of the microphone.
In our cases since we are hustlers and do all of this ourselves from our home studios, we don’t have that luxury.
Let’s look at the process of recording rap vocals while sitting down:
1) Left hand is on the Pro Tools ‘Record’ button and my face is already in front of the microphone.
2) I hit record, pull my hand off the keyboard and record my vocal take.
3) I simply reach my hand back a foot and press stop.
4) I spin in my swivel chair back towards the screen and drag the file down with ease.
5) I’m sitting down and positioned perfectly to type and name the file quickly
6) I repeat the process.
*It is just so much easier like this.*
Would I Prefer To Stand Up While Recording Rap Vocals?
While in major studios I stand up and I definitely feel the energy of standing up. I like the feel and it can be fun.
Here is the catch.
But every time I’m in a major studio I then have to rely on the engineer to track the vocals. I have to rely on him hitting record at the right time and I have to tell him ‘Save that one’ or ‘Name it this’. Honestly it is annoying. I can knock out twice as much recording in half of the time.
Also engineers get annoyed when you are a perfectionist like I am. They feel like a certain take was good enough but we don’t want “Good enough” we want “The perfect take” and they will get frustrated that you keep wanting to try different ways or make it better. Then them being frustrated will eventually frustrate you.
The thing I would really recommend you take from this article is that it doesn’t really matter if you sit or stand while recording rap vocals. The thing that matters the most is what allows you to get the very best takes out of your home studio or professional big studio recordings.
The thing that matters the most is the END RESULT. After all that is all that people end up hearing.
If I had to lie down flat on my stomach to get the best vocal takes, I would do it. Whatever allowed me to get the best recording. Obviously that wouldn’t be too comfortable though, but I’d do it! haha.
You got this! I hope this made you smarter.
– Novi NovAK
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